Combined Defence Services

Combined Defence Service exam (CDS)

Combined Defence Service exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission twice every year for recruitment to office cadre of the Army, Navy, and Air force.
Candidates qualifying for the written test are interviewed by the Service Selection Board and if finally selected, depending upon the choice given by the candidates and their merit list ranking, are sent to one of the following institutes for orientation training:

(a) Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
(b) Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala
(c) Air Force Academy,  Hyderabad
(d) Officers Training Academy, Chennai

(e) Officers  Training  Academy, Chennai 23rd SSC Women (Non-Technical)

Women candidates are eligible for OTA (Officers Training  Academy, Chennai) only

Those joining the first three institutes get a permanent commission. Cadets passing out of Officers Training Academy get a short service commission. Applicants are required to mention their preferences while filling up the application forms

Best CDS Coaching in Etawah

Educational Qualifications For CDS :

For IMA /OTA(Officers Training Academy): A degree from a recognized University or equivalent.

For Indian Naval Academy:  Degree  in  Engineering from  a recognized University/Institution

For Air Force Academy: Degree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10 +2 level ) or Bachelor of Engineering

Age For CDS : 

For IMA: Unmarried male candidates between 19-24 years.
For Indian Naval Academy: Unmarried male candidates between 19-22 years.
For Air Force Academy: Unmarried male candidates between 20-24 years.
For Officers Training Academy: (SSC  Course for men)  Male candidates (married or unmarried) between 19-25 years. 

For  Officers  Training  Academy—(SSC  Women  Non -Technical  Course) 
Unmarried women,  issueless widows who have not remarried, and issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible.


How to Apply For CDS :
Candidates are required to apply online only, by using the website

Detailed instructions are available on the above-mentioned website

Candidates (excepting Female/SC/ST candidates who are exempted from payment of fee) are required to pay a fee of Rs. 200/- (Rupees Two Hundred Only) either by depositing the money in any Branch of SBI by cash or by using net banking facility  of SBI, State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur/State Bank of Hyderabad/State Bank of Mysore/State Bank of Patiala/State Bank of Travancore or by using Visa/Master Credit/Debit Card

Exam Dates and Schedule

Tentative Dates

Notification of Examination         August and March in leading newspapers and employment news
Conduct of Examination             February/March and September/October


  1. Nationality: A candidate must either be  :
    1. a citizen of India, or
    2. a subject of Bhutan, or
    3. a subject of Nepal, or
    4. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st January 1962 intending to permanently settle in India, or
    5. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia, and Vietnam to permanently settle in India.
    Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (ii), (iii), (iv), and (v) above shall be a person in whose favor a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.
    A certificate of eligibility will not, however, be necessary in the case of candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal.

CDS Exam Pattern 

Candidates should note that the CDS exam pattern of IMA (Indian Military Academy), INA (Indian Naval Academy), and AFA (Air Force Academy) is the same and there is a slight change in the CDS exam pattern of OTA (Officers Training Academy).

  1. CDS Exam Pattern for IMA, INA & IAFA:
Name of the Subject Total Duration Number of Questions Maximum Marks
English 2 hours 120 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 120 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 hours 100 100
  1. CDS Exam Pattern for OTA:
Name of the Subject Total Duration Number of Questions Maximum Marks
English 2 hours 120 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 120 100

Important Details of the CDS Exam Pattern:

  • The exam of CDS will be offline, i.e. through pen and paper mode.
  • The question paper of Mathematics and General Knowledge will be set bilingually, i.e. in Hindi as well as English.
  • All the tests will consist of objective type questions only.
  • English and General Knowledge sections will comprise of 120 questions each, while the Mathematics section would contain 100 questions.
  • There is a penalty for every wrong answer. 1/3rd marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer marked by the candidate.
  • The help of scribe will not be permitted to write the answers in the exam under any circumstance.

CDS Syllabus 

Here is the syllabus of the CDS exam for each section:

  1. English Syllabus for CDS Exam

This section aims to test the understanding of English as well as word usage by the candidates. Questions in this section will be asked from the following topics:

  • Fill in the blanks
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Vocabulary (Synonyms/ Antonyms/ Phrases)
  • Sentence Rearrangement (Jumbled sentences)
  • Spotting Error
  • Sentence Improvement/ Correction
  1. General Knowledge Syllabus for CDS Exam

This section aims to check how well the candidates keep up with the current events and how well they understand their surroundings, especially about their scientific aspects.

Topic Description
Current Affairs Cover news of important international and national summits/ conferences, awards, sports-related news, books, and authors, etc.
Political Science Important facts of the Indian constitution, fundamental rights, and directive principles, powers of the president and prime minister, constitutional bodies, Indian judiciary, etc.
Indian History Questions may be asked from Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India.
Indian Polity Prepare important facts of Indian as well as world geography.
Economics Prepare topics like Budget, Five-year plan, foreign trade, etc.
General Science
  • In Physics, focus on topics like optics, motion, force, units, heat, electricity, temperature, etc.
  • In Chemistry, prepare important topics of organic, inorganic, physical, and general chemistry.
  • In Biology, focus on the topics of important diseases, botany, zoology as well as human biology.
Defense Related News Questions in this section may be asked from important defense-related topics like Army Day, Navy Day, recent developments, etc.
  1. Elementary Mathematics Syllabus for CDS Exam

Questions in the mathematics section will be asked from Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration, and Statistics. Here are the details of the topics which will be covered under these sub-sections:

Topic Description
  • Number System (natural, integers, rational & real numbers)
  • Fundamental operations (subtraction, addition, division, multiplication)
  • Unitary method
  • Percentages
  • Time & Work
  • Simple & Compound Interest
  • Time & distance
  • Ratio & proportion
  • Profit & loss
  • Elementary number theory
  • Composite & prime numbers
  • Divisibility tests
  • Theorem of factorization
  • Factors & Multiples
  • Euclidean algorithm
  • laws of algorithm & algorithmic tables
  • Basic operations
  • Remainder theorem
  • L.C.M. & H.C.F.
  • Polynomial theories
  • Quadratic equations (relation between roots & its coefficients)
  • Linear equations in 2 variables
  • Set language and set notation
  • Laws of indices
  • Conditional identities
  • Rational Expressions
  • All about Sine a, Cos a, Tan a when 0° < a < 90°, Sin, Cos and Tan values of important angles like 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90°
  • Simple trigonometric identities
  • Trigonometric tables
  • Heights and distance
  • Plane & plane figures
  • Lines, and angles
  • Important theorems (like angle property based)
  • Parallel lines
  • Congruency of triangles
  • Medians & Altitudes
  • Similar triangles
  • Parallelogram
  • Circles
  • Rectangle
  • Square
  • Areas of circles
  • Triangles
  • Rectangles
  • Squares
  • Parallelograms
  • Volume
  • The surface area of cuboids
  • Cones
  • Cylinders
  • Spheres
  • Tabulation of statistical data
  • Graphical representation of frequency polygons
  • Bar graphs
  • Histograms
  • Pie charts
  • Measures of central tendency

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