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CDS Exam

CDS or Combined Defense Services Exam is held every year to recruit eligible young individuals for various armed forces throughout India. This exam provides individuals who dream of serving the nation by part of being in the armed forces with a great opportunity to do so.

CDS exam is conducted to select candidates in the following armed forces:

  • Indian Army
  • Indian Navy
  •  Indian Airforce
  •  Naval Academy
  • Officers Training Academy 


Both men and women can find many opportunities through this exam. Women/girls can also apply for the CDS exam under the posts of Officer Training Academy (OTA) only. It is a great career path field with glory and respect. Candidates who are interested in defense should definitely attempt this exam and start their journey with any one of the prestigious institutions of the Indian Defense Forces.

CDS Exam Courses


Nationality: Candidate should be a Citizen of India.

Age: Candidates age should not be below 19 years and not above 24 years..

Gender Requirement for Different Posts

Indian Military AcademyMaleUnmarried
Indian Naval AcademyMaleUnmarried
Indian Air Force AcademyMaleUnmarried/Married
Officer Training AcademyMaleUnmarried
Officer Training AcademyFemaleUnmarried

Educational Qualification

Check the educational qualification requirement of the UPSC CDS 1 2022 exam for different job posts from the table below.

PostEducational Eligibility Criteria
IMAGraduate from Recognized University
INAEngineering Degree from Recognized University
AFAEngineering Degree (Physics & Maths at 10+2) or B. Tech from Recognized University
OTAGraduate from Recognized University

CDS Exam Pattern

The aspirants who are preparing for UPSC CDS exam should be aware of the latest CDS exam pattern. Analysis of the pattern and proper understanding of the important topics of the syllabus will help students score better in this exam.

The CDS exam pattern is divided into two sections:

  • Written Examination
  • Intelligence & Personality Interview

The exam pattern of the CDS 1 examination is different for Officer Training Academy and Indian Naval Academy/Indian Military Academy/Indian Air Force.

CDS Exam Pattern for IMA, INA & OTA

The exam of Indian Naval Academy/Indian Military Academy/Indian Air Force comprises 3 papers, which carry a total of 300 marks. The total duration of each exam is 2 hours.

English1002 hours
General Knowledge1002 hours
Elementary Mathematics1002 hours
CDS Exam Pattern for Officer Training Academy (OTA)

The exam of Officer Training Academy (OTA) consists of 2 subjects with a total of 200 Marks. The duration of the two exams is 4 hours (2 hours for each exam).

English1002 hours
General Knowledge1002 hours

CDS Exam Syllabus

Candidates should be aware of the subjects of the CDS syllabus along with important topics. Candidates are required to check the entire syllabus of the CDS Exam for its thorough preparation.

General Knowledge
  • Current affairs of the last 4-5 months from the examination date.
  • History
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Political Science
  • Basic Grammar
  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Comprehension Solving
  • Error Spotting
  • Para Jumbles
Elementary Math
  • Natural numbers
  • Integers
  • Percentages
  • Rational and Real numbers
  • Time & work
  • Time & distance
  • Profit & loss
  • Ratio & proportion
  • Prime and composite numbers
  • Simple and compound interest
  • HCF and LCM
  • Euclidean algorithm
  • Geometry
  • Logarithms
  • Trigonometry
  • Statistics
  • Mensuration

CDS Selection Procedure

Below is the important detail for the UPSC CDS Selection procedure. The recruitment of AFA, IMA, INA & Officers Training Academy posts is done on the basis of:

  • Written Exam
  • SSB Interview/Personality Test
  • Document Verification
  • Medical Examination


A Merit list is prepared for those students who obtain good marks in the written examination and SSB Interview. Again note the final round of selection is based on the medical fitness for all available posts.

Note: The written exam of OTA consists of only 2 tests: GK and English.