Which is better, JEE Main or NDA/ KVPY - Compare and Decide!

Last Updated - June 25 2018

Choosing a career path after 10+2 is probably the most crucial judgments of your life. And not only it is crucial, it is very confusing and tough too. Tens of courses, exams, colleges and what not, all this makes this judgment tougher than ever.

One classic confusion that science students face during this phase is whether to go for JEE (Joint Entrance Examination), NDA (National Defence Academy) or KVPY (Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana). Therefore, before choosing any one of them, a proper research and basic things about all the three must be done. All three of them are pretty rewarding career options and are considerably hard to succeed in.

To ease out things for you, we have done a comparative analysis of all the three career choices. Right from their difficulty level to career prospects, we have compared all three on relevant and important criteria. So, let’s not waste any time and walk you via the all exhaustive comparison of three most coveted exams you can take during your 11th and 12th. “Which one is better – KVPY, JEE or NDA?” find out below: -

JEE Main v/s KVPY v/s NDA: What these exams are for?

Before moving on to the comparison among these exams, let us know the purpose of these in a brief.

JEE Main

The first one, JEE Main, as we all know, is for admission in the top engineering colleges of the country. While a good score in JEE Main can land you in best of the NITs, a good score in JEE Advanced, which is the next step after JEE Main, can get you a seat in the prestigious IITs.

Upcoming Events in JEE Main 2019

EventReference Links
Registration from Dec.’ 18Click Here
Exam in April’19 (Online mode)Click Here
Announce of Results in April’19Click Here


KVPY, on the other hand, is not an entrance exam in the first place. KVPY also serves as a platform to get admission in the coveted Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. We can rather call it a scholarship exam, which is organized to select some of the brightest young minds in the field of science, to encourage them for doing research. KVPY scholars get a regular stipend, get reach to some of the most advanced libraries and laboratories of the country, and can also get the chance to meet eminent scientists and research scholars of the country.

Upcoming Events in KVPY

EventReference Links
Registration from July’19Click Here
Exam in Nov.’19 (Online mode)Click Here
Announce of Results in Dec.’19Click Here


The third one, NDA, is a totally various league altogether. The exam is organized by UPSC for all 3 sections of nation’s defense services, The army, The navy and the Air Force. It is organized to select some courageous young minds of the nation, who could, later on, become country’s bravest army members.

EventReference Links
Registration in Jan. & JuneClick Here
Exam in Apr. & Sept. (Offline mode)Click Here
Announce of Results in July & Nov.Click Here

JEE Main v/s KVPY v/s NDA: Selection Process

Let us start the comparison by looking at the selection process.


Your success in JEE depends totally on how well you score in the exam. The only significant part of the selection, in both JEE Main and JEE Advanced, is your writing. In order to get selected in the best of the colleges via JEE, just perform well in the exam(s) and fill the forms for counseling. Although the distribution of seats happens via counseling, again, the results of counseling depend on your score only.

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While JEE might only be based on the written exam, the case is not the same as KVPY. And it is an obvious fact that most of us fear sitting for interviews. After clearing the exam, you have to appear for the interview, which plays an important role in your final selection. So here, the interview part makes it a little tougher exam to crack than JEE, when considered only on the basis of the selection process.


Similar to KVPY, NDA exam is also followed by an interview, but the interview of NDA is completely various than that of KVPY. It is actually the SSB interview that makes NDA such a difficult exam to crack. SSB Interview of KVPY is a 4-5 days procedure which involves doing rigorous physical tasks and psychological practices too, which is further followed by a face to face interview.

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JEE Main v/s KVPY v/s NDA: Difficulty level (of the written exam) and Competition level

When it comes to competition and difficulty, all 3 exams are a champion on their own.

JEE Main

JEE, in terms of competition level, is one of the most difficult exams in the world. It is to be noted that total seats under both the steps of the exams are around 35,000, out of which around 11,000 are only under JEE Advanced. Around 12 lakh aspirants appear for JEE Main every year, out of which around 2.2 to 2.4 lakh are selected for the next step, which is JEE Advanced. Such a low selection ratio makes JEE a seriously tough exam to succeed in.

In terms of the difficulty level of the paper, JEE is certainly a very tough exam. Further, the unpredictability of the exam also makes it a tough exam to crack. It covers the whole of the syllabus of Class 11 & 12 and sometimes asks some really tough and calculative questions. Many of the aspirants preparing for anywhere between 1 to 4 years to crack this exam.

Download JEE Sample Papers


On the other hand, KVPY is not too much focused on calculative questions, but it rather twists the concepts a lot and checks your deeper understanding. The purpose of the exam also allows it to check your in-depth knowledge of the concepts. As you are going to research scholar ahead, checking your real understanding in compulsory. When compared to JEE Main, you can call KVPY a slightly tougher exam.

In terms of competition, KVPY has a much smaller audience when compared to JEE. According to Wikipedia, around 1 lakh aspirants appeared for the test in 2015-16. However, the selection ratio is still merciless as only 2500 (approximately) were selected out of these 1 lakh aspirants.

Download KVPY Sample Papers


In terms of the difficulty level of the written paper, NDA is probably the easiest of all. The questions in NDA’s written exam are such that even an aspirant with average IQ can crack the exam if offered with proper training for 6 or 9 months. It has three sections which ask questions on English, General Awareness, and Mathematics.

But in terms of competition, NDA doesn’t lag behind JEE and KVPY at all. Out of these, only around 300-400 are finally selected for the academy. According to Wikipedia, around 4.5 lakh students sit for the written exam. This makes NDA insanely tougher in terms of competition when compared with the other two.

Download NDA Sample Papers

JEE Main v/s KVPY v/s NDA: Life right after cracking the exam

Here comes an important part of the discussion, that how will your life change right after clearing any of the exams?

JEE Main

After clearing JEE, hopefully, you will get your desired engineering college, and 4 years of continuous study will begin. Well, thankfully, the top colleges of the country also give you immense opportunities to fulfill your passions also. Most of you will be staying in hostels, completing assignments, preparing projects and of course attending classes every day. So along with those hard and long engineering subjects, you will surely develop some new hobbies too.


After successfully clearing KVPY, you will get the prestigious ‘KVPY Scholar’ tag. Also, you will get an Identity Card with which you can visit nation’s best laboratories and libraries. Further, there are many camps conducted for KVPY scholars which are certainly a great learning experience. However, you cannot be sure if your life will change dramatically due to KVPY only, as many of the KVPY scholars go for JEE too. However, with KVPY, you can get admission into many other institutes like IISER.


After succeeding in NDA, you will witness a dramatic turnaround in your life. You will be staying in ‘the academy’ and will have to live your life according to strict branch and rules of the army. It can be stated that it becomes a little difficult to adapt yourself to the environment of the academy, but it is surely an amazing experience nonetheless. You will go via rigorous physical training and will also have to study for your graduation.

JEE Main v/s KVPY v/s NDA: Career Prospects

And now let’s move on to the topic which you all seeking to talk about, i.e. career prospects. Well, all the three are nation’s most coveted exams and certainly provide a great career ahead, both in terms of monetary rewards and prestige. However, your work or position in all three can be entirely various from each other.

JEE Main

After completing B.Tech, most of the students go for a corporate job. We all know about the exciting job provides and salaries given to IITians and students from other top colleges. You might be working in world’s leading technology firms or can be the establisher of country’s biggest startups. Engineering students are there in the academics field, research field, corporate field and are in public sector too.

To put it in simple words, engineering opens up a lot of avenues. It is your choice that what you seeking to become, offered you have the necessary capability to do so. It is all up to you. You can be the next Sundar Pichai, Chetan Bhagat, Arvind Kejriwal, Sachin Bansal, or Raghuram Rajan.


Assuming that you choose a research-focused education after completing KVPY, your career will also be mostly focused around research. Well, who knows that you might just be one of Nobel Prize Winners in the field of sciences? Although you might not have luxury cars and amazing apartments like some of your engineer friends, you will surely earn huge respect with findings and research. You will most likely be either a professor at a highly reputed science/engineering college or will be working at a research-based organization. Many of India’s most prominent names in science are alumni of colleges like IISc and IISER, and you can surely be one of them.


NDA provides a very bright career ahead. You will be in the team of nation’s saviors which is in itself a very motivating thing. The tons of perks that army professionals get will be a very useful and rewarding part of your work. The respect you will get will be unmatched.

NDA’s alumni have lead India to some major conflicts. The achievements of academy’s alumni are illustrious and certainly motivating. Academy alumni have received 3 Param Vir Chakras, 31 Maha Vir Chakras, 160 Vir Chakras, 11 Ashok Chakras and a lot more of other gallantry awards. With NDA, you will get the chance to be one amongst these highly decorated soldiers.

Conclusion: JEE Main, KVPY or NDA? Which one is better?

Well, all the three exams are significantly various from each other. Calling one of these as ‘better’ than the others depends upon what your aspirations and desires are. In terms of benefits, all three are great and can lead you to be one of the nation’s most intellectual persons.

So here comes the big question, which one you should go for? But since these combinations will be various for everyone, we would simplify the selection procedure to let you make the judgment. Well, there can be thousands of permutations and combinations based on your desires, abilities, family conditions and other factors, to suggest you about which one you should choose.

The first and the most obvious methods to choose is by looking at what you actually seeking to do in life. On the other hand, if academia and research is your desire, then KVPY is a significant achievement for such a career. If engineering and corporate jobs are your desired career, then JEE is a simple choice. If you seeking to cater the nation straight by being a part of defense service, then NDA is a great opportunity.

If you are not sure about your judgment of career path and are open to all kinds of options, then look at your abilities to choose the one. And after you have chosen a path, just forget the other two and get the most out of your opportunity. If a deep-learning based exam followed by an interview is not a tough job for you, go for KVPY. And if you think you have the ability to survive 5 days of SSB interview, then go for NDA. Good Luck! If you think you can sail via one of the most difficult exams in the world, go for JEE.

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