CDS – Combined Defence Services


Combined Defence Services Examination abbreviated as CDS is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of officers in India Army, Navy and Air Force.

The exam is conducted twice a year usually in the months of February and November respectively. Lakhs of candidates appear for the national level examination and those who get selected are further interviewed for the Intelligence and Personality Test conducted by the Service Selection Board (SSB). Candidates who qualify both the written test and interview rounds are recruited for Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.

CDS is conducted for recruitment of officers into the Indian Army, Navy and Airforce those are beforehand trained by the below-enlisted academia.

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala
Air Force Academy, Hyderabad
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai

CDS 2018 Eligibility

Aspirants applying for CDS examination should ensure that they comply with the eligibility criteria. The admission process will be purely provisional but is subjected to satisfying the prescribed eligibility conditions.

The authorities with also conduct a background check in order to verify the details given by the candidates. However, the verification process will only be conducted if the candidate qualifies the written test and SSB round.

Criteria Eligibility
Nationality Candidates should be:

A citizen of India/A subject of Nepal, Bhutan or Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962.

A person of Indian origin who migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Ethiopia or Vietnam, intending to stay in India.

Age/Sex and Marital Status IMA/INA/IAF : Unmarried males born not earlier that January 2, 2995 and not later than January 1, 2000.

Officer Training Academy: SSC for Men – Unmarried male candidates born not earlier that January 2, 1994 and not later than January 1, 2000.

Officer Training Academy: SSC for women non-technical – Unmarried or issueless divorced candidates who have not remarried are eligible to apply. Age norms are similar as above.

Divorcee/Widower male candidates will not be considered as unmarried thereby not complying with the eligibility norms.

Educational Qualification For IMA and Officers’ Training Academy— Degree of a recognised University or equivalent.

For Indian Naval Academy—Degree in Engineering from a recognised University/Institution.

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

Physical Standards A candidates must be physically fir according to the standards as prescribed by UPSC.

CDS examination comprises two stages:

  • Written test
  • SSB

For Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy:—

Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge
Elementary Maths


For Admission to Officers’ Training Academy:—

Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge
Elementary Maths

Maximum marks allotted to the written examination and the interviews is 300 and 200 each for admissions to the Military/Naval/Air Force academy. CDS Question paper comprises objective type questions from the above mentioned topics.

Candidates are not permitted to carry calculator to answer mathematics questions.


CDS exam syllabus includes 10th level Elementary math, General knowledge and English. Take a look at the detailed UPSC CDS syllabus below:


ENGLISH (Code No. 01)




The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.


General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. The paper will also include questions on History of India and Geography of a nature which candidate should be able to answer without special study.






Number System—Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations, addition, substraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions. Unitary method, time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to simple and compound interest, profit and loss, ratio and proportion, variation.

Elementary Number Theory—Division algorithm. Prime and composite numbers. Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11. Multiples and factors. Factorisation Theorem. H.C.F. and L.C.M. Euclidean algorithm. Logarithms to base 10, laws of logarithms, use of logarithmic tables.



Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on (i) Properties of angles at a point, (ii) Parallel lines, (iii) Sides and angles of a triangle, (iv) Congruency of triangles, (v) Similar triangles, (vi) Concurrence of medians and altitudes, (vii) Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square, (viii) Circles and its properties including tangents and normals, (ix) Loci.



Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M., Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered). Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—analytical and graphical solutions. Simultaneous linear in equations in two variables and their solutions. Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or in equations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions. Set language and set notation, Rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices.




Areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangle and circle. Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book), Surface area and volume of cuboids, lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, surface area and volume of spheres.



Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0°

= 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° Simple trigonometric identities.

Use of trigonometric tables.

Simple cases of heights and distances.



Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts etc. Measures of central tendency.



The SSB procedure consists of two stage Selection process –

  •   stage I
  •   stage II.

Only those candidates who clear the stage I are permitted to appear for stage II.  The details are:-


Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception* Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.

Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference.  These tests are conducted over 4 days.


The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz.  The Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist.  There are no separate weightage for each test.

The marks are allotted basis the performance of the candidate in all the test. In addition, marks for Conference are also allotted based on the initial performance of the candidate in the three techniques and decision of the Board.  All these have equal weightage.


The various tests of IO, GTO and Psych are designed to bring out the presence/absence of Officer Like Qualities and their trainability in a candidate. Accordingly candidates are Recommended or Not Recommended at the SSB.

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