UPSC CDS Form,Eligibility,Syllabus,Pattern & Books

CDS exam qualifications
Written by Dr. SS

Combined Defence Services Examination or the CDS Exam 2019 is a medium for Indian army entry after graduation. Check CDS Exam Qualification before filling the online application form. Percentage required in graduation, age, and height needed for male and female candidates etc, all eligibility criteria should be checked from notification released by official website. However, you can get all the information here. Scroll down to fill the form, a link is given below.

About UPSC CDS Exam 2019

Union Public Service Commission of India conducts CDS exam twice a year generally known as CDS (I) and CDS (II). Combined Defence Services are held in February (CDS-1) and November (CDS-2) every year. An Indian who wish to join any of the three wings of Indian Armed Force i.e. Air Force Academy/ Naval Academy/Indian Army can appear either in NDA exam or in CDS exam.

Difference between CDS and NDA

CDS exam and NDA exam both give the opportunity to join Indian armed force. In both CDS and NDA exams, the candidates appear in written exam,  SSB followed by the fitness test. Final selections are made by merit list.

In CDS, recommended candidates are trained in any one of following as per nature of the commission.

  • Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun for permanent commission in the Indian Army
  • Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai for the short-service commission in the Indian Army
  • Naval Academy Goa, for Commission in the General Services in the Indian Navy
  • Air Force Academy, Begumpet, Hyderabad for Commission in the Indian Air Force

NDA and CDS exam, both are to join defence but few differences exist.

NDA Exam

CDS Exam

Age Limit is 16.5 to 19 yearsAge Limit is 19 to 21 or (25) Years
An aspirant should have cleared XII with PCMAspirant should be graduate
Girls are not allowedFemale can also apply.

 Tip- As the max age limit for NDA exam is 19 years and the min. age limit for CDS Exam is 19 years, so one can be eligible for only one of these two exams at a time.

You can download your CDS Admit Card from given link- CDS Admit Card

CDS Exam Qualification required for 2019

Link to apply is just below.

AcademyAge CriteriaEducational Qualification
Indian Military Academy (IMA)19-24 yearsGraduate from a recognized University or equivalent


Officers Training Academy (OTA)19-25 yearsGraduate from a recognized University or equivalent


Air Force Academy19-23 years


B.Sc. with Physics and/or Mathematics or Bachelor of Engineering
Naval Academy19-22 yearsB.Sc. with Physics & Mathematics or Bachelor of Engineering

Note: If you are appearing for final year exam of your graduation you can appear also, however, you will be required to submit the proof of passing the requisite qualifying examination within a date as specified in the Commission’s Notice for the Examination.

Graduation Percentage Required

As mentioned above, a candidate must have a graduation degree. No percentage limit has been prescribed.

Height Needed 

The minimum acceptable height which will be considered in case of male candidates is 157.5 cms. (157 cms for
Navy and 162.5 cms for Air Force) Check notification pdf for concession detail.

CDS Eligibility for Female Aspirants

cds eligibility for female

  • Post-Female can apply for OTA only
  • Nationality-Female should be Indian
  • Age-A girl should be between 19-25 years of age-born not earlier than 2nd July, 1994 and not later than 1st July 2000.
  • Status– Unmarried/Single (Issueless widow/Divorcees)
  • Educational Qualification– Graduation in any stream from a recognized university.
  • Height-Minimum acceptable height is 152 cms.

UPSC CDS I 2019 Form Link

 Link to fill UPSC CDS I Form- Click Here


Recommended Books For CDS Preparation

UPSC CDS I Online Application 2019

If you fulfill eligibility criteria, you can apply here for UPSC CDS 2019 from the given link. Application form for CDS (2) will remain open till 26th November 2018.

Number of Vacancies-

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun->100

Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala-> 45

Air Force Academy, Hyderabad—(Pre-Flying)->32

Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras)->225

Officers Training Academy, Chenna->12

Check CDS 1 Notification-> pdf for details

Click here to Apply for CDS 2-> Link to fill CDS Form

CDS (2) Exam Pattern for 2018:

A graduate needs to clear three stages of CDS exam to get finally selected.

  • Written Exam
  • Personal Interview aka Intelligence and Personality Test and
  • Medical Examination

Question Paper Pattern for CDS (2) Exam 2018

IMA, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy

Total marks:300


Nature of question paper:Objective


General Knowledge100
Elementary Mathematics100
Total Marks300
Negative MarkingYes


Total marks:300


Nature of question paper:Objective


General Knowledge100
Total Marks200
Negative MarkingYes

CDS examination centers 2018

CDS exams are conducted on the following centers.

PanajiSambalpurPort Blair
Know about NDA Application Form 

Preparation for CDS (2) exam 2018

Preparation time: Recommended a dedicated time of minimum of six months


As stated above each part of the CDS exam paper has equal weight. In a paper of 100 marks, questions will be with multiple choices to select one correct answer. English question paper is just to test your basic understanding of the language. English syllabus will comprise basic grammar knowledge which will be checked questions like spotting the correct sentences, antonyms and synonyms fill the correct form of verb etc.

Tips to Prepare English for CDS (2) Exam 2018

  1. Read English Newspaper regularly. This habit will give you a double advantage. First, you would be update with current updates and second, you would feel that your vocabulary is enriching.
  2. Take out your school grammar book to give a revision to rules of Grammar.
  3. Make your own dictionary. Learn few new words along with their antonyms and synonyms on a daily basis. By doing this, you will soon find that you are developing a good hold over the language
  4. Use newly learned words in sentences. This practice will increase your confidence as well as your hold over language.
  5. Don’t forget to solve old question papers of CDS exam to have a complete idea of question paper as well as to increase your efficiency.

General Knowledge

The General Knowledge part of CDS exam paper asks 100 questions from various subjects like history, geography, day-to-day use of science and current affairs. This part does not demand any expertise of the domain but checks general observation of surroundings.

Tips to Prepare General Knowledge for CDS (2) Exam 2018

  1. Along with reading newspapers, watch television for news regularly.
  2. Read any monthly magazine which covers varied topics ranging from economy to sports everything. As you have to be aware of all the topics art, business, literature, politics etc.  As questions may be asked from any area.
  3. Go through CD exam question paper of last few years to see the pattern of occurrence of the questions.

Elementary Mathematics

The Elementary Mathematics syllabus of CDS exam is based on class X standard and cover topics like Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Mensuration and Basic statistics.

Tips to Prepare Elementary Mathematics for CDS (2) Exam 2018

  1. Before trying questions, first, give a revision to all topics of CDS exam syllabus.
  2. Start doing practicing with your strong topic as it will boost your confidence level and your zone will become stronger with the practice.
  3. If you are unable to solve questions of a particular topic, go for clarity of concept. Take help of teacher or friend instead of wasting time in trial and error. Concept clarity is must for speed and accuracy.

Personal interview: Intelligence and Personality test

If you get success in clearing written exam you would become eligible for the personality test conducted by SSB.

CDS II OTA 2017 Final Result Link

Check Here

Read the link to know about SSB Interview Preparation. This test is the same for NDA and CDS exam. To know more about CDS exam qualifications, candidates are advised to read UPSC notification pdf given above.

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Dr. SS

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