(Exam Info) Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS Exam)

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Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS Exam)

Defence services are for those young and courageous individuals who nurture a patriotic sentiment and who have dedicated their lives to defending their country and its people. A candidate with the above sentiments can join the nation’s defence services after taking the Combined Defence Services Examination.

Combined Defence Services Examination is conducted by UPSC twice every year in the months of February and September for recruitment to officer cadre of the Army, Navy and Air force.

The finally selected candidates are sent to one of the following institutes for training:

(a) Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun
(b) Naval Academy, Goa
(c) Air Force Academy, Begumpet, Hyderabad
(d) Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai

Candidates selected in the Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy get permanent commission, however cadets passing out of Officers Training Academy get short service commission.

 Eligibility :

The eligibility criteria for this examination are as follows:

Attribute Indian Military Academy Naval Academy Air Force Academy Officers Training Academy
Age 19-24 Years 19-22 Years 19-23 Years 19-25 Years
Marital Status Unmarried Unmarried Unmarried Married / Unmarried
Gender Male Male Male Male
Educational Qualification Degree from a recognized University B.Sc. with Physics & Mathematics
Bachelor of Engineering
Degree from a recognized university (with physics & mathematics at10+2 level)
Bachelor of Engineering
Degree from a recognized University


Pattern of Examination:

The Combined Defence Services examination comprises of the following stages:

Stages Question Paper Pattern Language of Question Paper Duration Marks
Stage I : Written Examination Objective Type Only English / Hindi 2 hours each paper 100
Stage II: Interview        

Subjects :

Attribute Indian Military Academy Naval Academy Air Force Academy Officers Training Academy
Subjects English English English English
General Knowledge General Knowledge General Knowledge General Knowledge
Elementary Mathematics Elementary Mathematics Elementary Mathematics -


Following is the syllabus for UPSC Combined Defence Service (CDS) Examination:
The question paper is designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and uses of words.

General Knowledge includes knowledge of Current Events, History of India and Geography of nature.

ARITHMETIC: Number System-Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations-addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square roots, decimal fractions etc.

Unitary method-time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to simple and compound interest, profit and loss, ratio and proportion, variation etc.

Elementary Number Theory - Division algorithm. Prime and composite

Intelligence and Personality Test:

All the candidates Qualified in written examination are called for the Interview and put to Intelligence Tests (both verbal and non-verbal) which have been designed to assess the basic intelligence. They are also put to Group Tests such as group discussions, group planning, outdoor group tasks, and asked to give brief lectures on Specified Topics. All these tests are intended to Judge the mental caliber of a candidate. In broad terms, this is an Assessment of his Social Traits, Intellectual Qualities and Interests in Current Affairs.

Tentative Schedule:

Examinations are held twice a year:

(i) Notification of Examination: September-October & April - May

(ii) Conduct of Examination: February & September

Application Form:

The candidates have to apply in the Common Application Form of the UPSC which can be purchased from the designated Head Post Office/Post Offices: throughout the country. Each such form can be used only once and only for one examination. In case of difficulty in obtaining Application Forms, the candidates should immediately contact the concerned Post Master or UPSC's "Forms Supply Monitoring Cell" Over Telephone No.011-23389366 / Fax No.011-23387310.

Examination Centres:

Agartala, Ahmedabad, Aizawl, Allahabad, Bangalore, Bareilly, Bhopal, Calcutta, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Cuttack, Delhi, Dharwar, Dispur (Guwahati), Gangtok, Hyderabad, Imphal, Itanagar, Jaipur, Jammu, Jorhat, Kohima, Lucknow, Madurai, Mumbai, Nagpur, Panaji (Goa), Patna, Port Blair, Raipur, Sambalpur, Shillong, Shimla, Srinagar, Tirupati, Trivandrum, Udaipur and Vishakhapatnam. The centres and the date of holding the examination are liable to be changed at the discretion of the Commission.

Various concessions, like reservation in posts, are available for NCC cadets appearing in the examinations.

How to Prepare:

Coaching Institutes: There are many coaching institutes across India for the preparation of this examination. Before joining any such institute, you must check for the following:

  1. Competency of the faculty-You can do so by attending one or two trial based classes. (Generally these are offered for free).
  2. Check whether the institute has full-time faculty. Most coaching institutes generally have part time faculty who may not be available when you are need them.
  3. Previous years’ result of the Institute.
  4. Interact with the senior batches of the students; it will help you in knowing more about the institute.
Reference Books: General Knowledge, General English and Elementary Mathematics. For practice of examination oriented questions buy the books which cover the entire syllabus. You must ask your book seller for the latest edition / print. Flip through magazines, newspapers, books, and websites to enhance your General Knowledge and communication skills.


    Under Secretary (CSP),
    Union Public Service Commission,
    Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road,
    New Delhi-110 011.

For more details, please visit the official website of UPSC: http://www.upsc.gov.in