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What is CDS Exam

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what is CDSE

Many candidates are asking “What is CDS Exam” or ” What is Combined Defence Services Examination“. This post will tell you some basics details about CDSE exam which is conducted by UPSC. UPSC stands for Union Public Service Commission and like many other government examination, they also conduct CDSE [Combined Defence Services Examination] twice every year.

What is CDS Examination

It is written test conducted by UPSC two times every year. CDS written exam has three different tests namely English, General Knowledge and Mathematics.

CDSE is conducted by UPSC
CDSE is conducted by UPSC

Why do I need to write CDS Examination

If you want to join Indian Armed forces as an officer after your graduation, CDSE is the best way to do it.
Through CDS examination, you can join any one out of these services

  • Indian Army
  • Indian Air Force
  • Indian Navy

Also, you can get training under the most powerful military training academies like

  • Indian Military Academy for Indian Army Permanent Commission
  • Air Force Academy for Indian Air Force Pilot
  • Officer Training Academy for Indian Army Short Service Commission
  • Naval Academy for Indian Navy

Notification Month of CDS Examination

  • August
  • March

Date of CDS Written Examination

  • February
  • August

Age Limit for CDS Examination

  • 19-24 Years of age for Indian Military Academy
  • 19-22 Years of age for Naval Academy
  • 19-23 Years of age for Air Force Academy
  • 19-25 Years of age for Officers’ Training Academy

Educational Qualification for CDS Examination

  • Degree of a recognized University or equivalent for IMA and OTA
  • B.Sc. with Physics & Mathematics or Bachelor of Engg for Naval Academy
  • B.Sc. with Physics and/or Mathematics or Bachelor of Engg for Air Force Academy

Syllabus and Marking Scheme of CDS Examination

1. English (Objective type)
100 Marks
  • Indian Military Academy
  • Naval Academy and
  • Air Force Academy
2. General Knowledge (Objective type)
100 Marks
3. Elementary Mathematics (Objective type)
100 Marks
300 Marks

  • Officers’ Training Academy

1. English (Objective type)
100 Marks
2. General Knowledge (Objective type)
100 Marks
200 Marks
Marks for SSB Interviews
300 marks
200 Marks

Best Books for CDSE Preparation

Though there are lots of books available in the market for CDSE, but we recommend CDSE Pathfinder to our reader.

How to Pass CDS Examination

We have already covered this topic in earlier post, aspirants can check this link for the article: How to Pass CDS Examination.
So, now you know what you need to do to join Indian Armed Forces as an officer. If you still have any question regarding the combined defence services examination, CDSE. Do write it in the comment box below.

Also Read

 About SSBCrack Editorial Team

The Editorial Team of SSBCrack consists of a group of Professional writers and aspirants. Their main aim is to provide up to date information regarding SSB Interviews and sharing quality information about Indian Defence to help aspirants. Mail us to join our editorial team now.
The Editorial Team at SSBCrack consists of professional writers, journalists and defence aspirants.



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  1. Respected sir, I finished twelth standard and I get 61% marks I interested OTA study and how will you join in OTA Please advise him.

  2. hello admin.. I am an army aspirant . I have a tattoo on my left chest .. its is 6inch square,a religious symbol, 3 inch height & 2 inch wide.. Will I face problems if I make it to the SSB interviews.. pls suggest what to do. Can’t leave the army dream.. . pride and valour. reply asap

  3. sir
    I have seen number of vacancies for the CDS exam and I noted that in
    every course the total number of seats available for the AIR FORCE
    ACADMEY is very less ( only 32) in this course.. is it mean to become an
    officer in IAF the cut off required to clear the CDS is pretty much
    higher as compared to those who are applying for the army where there
    are a good number of vaccancies..

  4. hello admin…
    i have low percentage in my graduation (B.Tech computer science engineering- 56%)
    If i clear the CDSE written exam , will there be any issues during the SSB ??
    I mean will there be any problems in the psyche and Interview ??
    Like the IO may be uninterested in me because of my low grad %..


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