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CDS FAQs

Updated Sat, 11 Jul 2020 01:02 PM IST

India is a land of brave and courageous souls who did not think twice before sacrificing their lives for their motherland. Our brave soldiers are fighting with their lives at stakes each day to keep our country and its citizens safe. There are many individuals who wants to join the forces and fight for their country rather than opting for a regular job like a regular civilian. These individuals are courageous and nurture a patriotic sentiment and are willing to take any challenge while dedicating their lives in the service of their country and its people.

For such individuals who wants to attain a stature higher than a civilian and wants to be remembered for his service to the country, Combined Defence Service (CDS) exam is the path to reach their destination. CDS exam is conducted by the UPSC twice a year in order to recruit candidates to office cadre of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The exam is generally conducted in the months of May and October.

Candidates who qualify the primary step of this written exam went on to be interviewed by the Service Selection Board. Those who make out of SSB with flying colors are sent to one of the following institutes for their training as per the candidate’s choice:

  1. Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun
  2. Naval Academy, Goa
  3. Air Force Academy, Begumpet. Hyderabad
  4. Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai

Today we are here to answer any doubt that may come in your mind regarding the Combined Defence Service (CDS) exam.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for UPSC CDS Exam 2020

Who conducts CDS exam and what is its purpose?

Combined Defence Services exam commonly known as CDSE is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). Its purpose is to recruit worthy candidates into Officers Training Academy, Indian Military Academy, Indian Air Force Academy and Indian Naval Academy. This exam is conducted twice every year.

What are the eligibility requirements for CDS exam?

The candidate should be a citizen of India. The age and educational criteria differ according to the academies:

  • Officers Training Academy – 19 to 25 years, should be a Graduate from a recognised university.
  • Indian Military Academy - 19 to 24 years, should be a Graduate from a recognised university.
  • Indian Ait Force Academy – 19 to 23 years, should have graduated in engineering or B.Sc with Physics and Mathematics.
  • Indian Naval Academy – 19 to 22 years, should have graduated in engineering or B.Sc with Physics and Mathematics.
The candidates need to be physically and mentally fit according to guidelines of the academies.

How can one register for the CDS exam?

The mode of registration is online and the forms are available on the official website of UPSC.

Can women candidates apply for CDS?

Yes, women candidates can apply for CDS examination but only for the posts of Officers Training Academy.

Is there any registration fee? If yes, then what is the mode of payment?

Yes, and it can be paid through online or offline mode.

  • Payment by credit or debit card
  • By net banking facility of SBI
  • Cash payment can be done in any SBI branch

Are there any guidelines to refill or make changes in the registration form, in case of any mistake?

Yes, a candidate can fill any number of registration forms in case of some mistake. While filling the new form candidate is required to pay the registration fee through a new registration ID.

What is the procedure for exam centre allotment, can it be changed if already allotted by the authorities?

The candidates are asked to select three preferable cities out 41 cities given in the registration form. And are thus allotted the centre on the first come first serve basis. UPSC does not really entertain any requests for change in the exam centre until the situation is not very serious.

Is there any fixed number of attempts for appearing in CDS exam?

There are no fixed number of attempts for CDS exam, as long as the candidate fulfils the age criteria he/she can apply for the exam.

What is the exam pattern of CDS exam?

The paper mode is offline and questions are asked in MCQ (Multiple choice questions) format. Paper is available both in English and Hindi language. There are three section which need to be answered according to the candidates preference of posts:

  • English
  • General knowledge
  • Elementary Mathematics

Each of these section carries 100 marks and is allotted two hours respectively. Candidates wanting to join IMA, INA and AFA need to attempt all the three sections while Candidates wishing to join OTA need to attempt only English and GK sections.

Is there any penalty for wrong answers?

Yes, there is a provision of negative marking in case of wrong answers.

What does CDS exam include in it’s syllabus?

The syllabus for all three sections is as mentioned below:

  • English – Antonyms, Synonyms, Spotting errors, Comprehension, Sentence Improvement, Word Substitution and Ordering of words in a sentence.
  • General knowledge – Economics, Politics, History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Current Awareness, Defence related, Environment, Sports and Sociology.
  • Mathematics - Number System, HCF and LCM, Simple interest, Decimal fraction, Square roots and cube roots, Time and distance, percentage, logarithm, Linear Equations in one and two Variables, Quadratic Equations and In equations, etc.

What happens after qualifying CDS exam?

After the declaration of short listed candidates they are called for SSB (Service Selection Board) for personality and intelligence test. Based on the results of the further tests candidates will be placed according to their scores.

What salary can be expected after qualifying CDS exam?

The salary after qualifying CDS exam ranges from ₹15,000 to ₹1,00,000 per month depending on the posts.

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