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CDS

Combined Defence Services Examination

Overview

The Union Public Service Commission administers the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) to recruit Commissioned Officers for the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. Tests are normally administered twice a year, in February and September. Every year, a considerable number of candidates take the national-level defence entrance test. Candidates are chosen based on a written exam, followed by an SSB interview for IQ and personality testing.

Highlights :

The CDS announcement has been published in order to select applicants for admission to INA, IMA, AFA, and OTA. The notification is available in PDF format on the UPSC's official website. The announcement covers information regarding the test, such as eligibility requirements, the application procedure, crucial dates, training process, remuneration, selection process, etc. 

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Eligibility

Candidates must fulfil the Union Public Service Commission's qualifying requirements for defense recruiting. Check the detailed eligibility (nationality, education, age, marital status, and gender) from the list below:

  • Nationality: A candidate must be an Indian citizen / a subject of Bhutan/ Nepal, or
    • A Tibetan refugee who migrated to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanent settlement, or
    • An individual of Indian origin who migrated from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uganda, Burma, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, or Vietnam with the intention of permanent settlement in India.
  • Educational Qualification:
    • For I.M.A. and Officers' Training Academy – Bachelor’s degree (any topic) from an acknowledged university or similar is required.
    • Indian Naval Academy - Graduation in engineering from an acknowledged university/institution.
    • Air Force Academy - Graduation from an acknowledged university (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or a Bachelor of Engineering.
  • Age Restrictions (as of 1st July 2022): The applicant should be between the ages of 20 and 24.
  • Marital Status and Sex:
    • Indian Military Academy and Indian Naval Academy - only unmarried males are eligible to apply for the CDS Exam.
    • Indian Air Force Academy - Both married and unmarried males can apply, and marriage while training is not allowed.
    • Officer Training Academy - Unmarried males and girls can apply for the CDS Exam.

Syllabus

The CDS Syllabus includes subjects such as English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. The standard for Mathematics Syllabus is of Class 10 level, whereas for other courses its graduation level. The syllabus is available below for candidates to review:

  • English: Comprehension, Antonyms, Synonyms, Sentence improvement, Spotting Errors, etc.
  • General Knowledge: Current Awareness, Economics, Biology, Defence, Chemistry, Physics, etc.
  • Elementary Mathematics: Trigonometry, Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Statistics, and Mensuration etc.

 

Exam Pattern

  • The CDS exam pattern consists of a written test and an SSB interview. General Knowledge, English and Elementary Mathematics are the three sections of INA, IMA, and AFA written exams. 
  • The OTA admissions test consists of two sections: English and General Knowledge. Each part lasts two hours. The test has a total score of 300 for IMA, INA, and AFA, and a score of 200 for OTA. 
  • The SSB Interview for IMA, INA, and AFA is worth 300 points apiece, while OTA is for 200 points. The SSB Interview process is divided into two stages: I and II. Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) exams and Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT) and Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and Conference form Stage I of the SSB Interview.

Exam Paper

  • Every year, lakhs of applicants take the CDS test, therefore competition is fierce. Candidates must prepare thoroughly in order to ace the exam. It is critical to comprehend the test format and syllabus. Solve past years' question papers to get a sense of the sorts of questions asked in the test and the level of difficulty. Make a point of emphasising the most crucial topics. Make a proper timetable and stick to it religiously. Clear the basic math principles from your high school textbooks.
     

Exam Prepare

The CDS Syllabus includes subjects such as English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. The standard for Mathematics Syllabus is of Class 10 level, whereas for other courses its graduation level. The syllabus is available below for candidates to review:

  • English: Comprehension, Antonyms, Synonyms, Sentence improvement, Spotting Errors, etc.
  • General Knowledge: Current Awareness, Economics, Biology, Defence, Chemistry, Physics, etc.
  • Elementary Mathematics: Trigonometry, Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Statistics, and Mensuration etc.


Exam Pattern 

  • The CDS exam pattern consists of a written test and an SSB interview. General Knowledge, English and Elementary Mathematics are the three sections of INA, IMA, and AFA written exams. 
  • The OTA admissions test consists of two sections: English and General Knowledge. Each part lasts two hours. The test has a total score of 300 for IMA, INA, and AFA, and a score of 200 for OTA. 
  • The SSB Interview for IMA, INA, and AFA is worth 300 points apiece, while OTA is for 200 points. The SSB Interview process is divided into two stages: I and II. Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) exams and Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT) and Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and Conference form Stage I of the SSB Interview.

Exam Important Date

CDS - I:

Notification 22nd December, 2021
Application Process  22nd December, 2021 – 11th January, 2022
Admit Card 2nd week of March, 2022 
Exam 10th April, 2022

CDS – II:

Notification 18th May, 2022
Application Process 18th May – 14th June, 2022
Admit Card First Week of August, 2022
Exam 4th September, 2022

Exam Application Process

The three-stage selection process is specified in the Combined Defence Service notification. Candidates will be chosen based on a written examination and then shortlisted for an interview. It will be used to assess applicants' intelligence as well as their personalities. The CDS Recruitment board will undertake a three-stage procedure, which will involve a written test, Viva-Voce, and document verification, on the basis of which the selection will be decided.

  • Candidates will be required to take a written test.
  • Candidates who pass the written examination will be invited to an interview.
  • A final merit list will be generated based on their written and interview processes.
  • Successful candidates will be asked for a medical exam, and those who pass will be called for a document verification round.

 

Cut Off:

After the entire selection procedure is completed, the CDS cut off is released. Minimum qualifying marks in each subject and minimum aggregate marks are used as the cut-off for the written test. The ultimate CDS cut-off is determined by the marks of the most recently suggested applicant. Each topic requires a minimum of 20% to pass. Candidates can see below the CDS I cut-off from the previous year:

  Written Exam (Aggregate marks of last qualified candidate) Final Exam (Marks of last recommended candidate)
IMA 130 250
INA 118 242
AFA 143 274
OTA (Men) 93 173
OTA(Women) 93 177

Exam Center

The Combined Defence Services Examination- II will be held in a number of locations. While completing out their CDS- 2 application form, the individual must select their desired centre.

Agartala Dharwad Kochi Rajkot
Agra Dispur Kohima Ranchi
Ajmer Faridabad Kolkata Sambalpur
Ahmedabad Gangtok Kozhikode Shillong
Aizawl Gaya Leh Shimla
Aligarh Gautam Buddh Nagar Lucknow Siliguri
Almora (Uttarakhand) Ghaziabad Ludhiana Srinagar
Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) Gorakhpur Madurai Srinagar (Uttarakhand)
Aurangabad Gurgaon Mumbai Thane
Bengaluru Gwalior Mysore Thiruvananthapuram
Bareilly Hyderabad Nagpur Tiruchirapalli
Bhopal Imphal Navi Mumbai Tirupati
Bilaspur Indore Panaji (Goa) Udaipur
Chandigarh Itanagar Patna Varanasi
Chennai Jabalpur Port Blair Vellore
Coimbatore Jaipur Prayagraj (Allahabad) Vijayawada
Cuttack Jammu Puducherry Visakhapatnam
Dehradun Jodhpur Pune Warangal
Delhi Jorhat Raipur  

FAQ

Q1. Is the CDS given online?
Ans.
No, the CDS  is administered offline or on paper mode. 

Q2. How many papers are in the CDS ?
Ans.
According to the CDS syllabus, there are two papers: paper 1 and paper 2. Both papers are given in two separate sessions on the same day.

Q3. How many CDS test retakes are permitted?
Ans.
There is no restriction to the number of CDS exam tries. Candidates who meet the specified age restriction may apply for the test.

Q4. Do PhD holders have an edge in the CDS ?
Ans.
PhD holders can apply for CDS  even if they have less than 55 percent in MSc, but they must have at least 50 percent in aggregate.

Q5. What if a candidate consistently wears spectacles? Are they going to be considered for CDS?
Ans.
Except for the Air Force, candidates who wear spectacles are eligible for other CDS categories. You must not use spectacles on a regular basis if you want to join the Air Force.

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