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Written ExamsCDS ExamCDS Full Form: Check the Full form of CDS Exam?

CDS Full Form: Check the Full form of CDS Exam?

The CDS (Combined Defence Services) exam, conducted by the UPSC, serves as a gateway for aspirants dreaming of commissioned roles in the Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and Officers Training Academy.

Embarking upon a journey towards a distinguished career in the Indian Defence services begins with a pivotal milestone: the CDS exam. Annually orchestrated by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the CDS exam—short for the Combined Defence Services examination—serves as a gateway for aspirants dreaming of commissioned roles in the Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and Officers Training Academy.

With the zeal to unlock the profound legacy of India’s defence forces, we recognize the significance of this national-level exam, conducted twice a year, and its rigorous selection process that not only tests the mettle of candidates but also shapes the country’s future military leadership.

Our dedication to empowering defence aspirants like you brings us to delineate the structure and expectations of the CDS exam. By enlightening you with clear, authoritative guidance, we ensure you comprehend the eligibility nuances, ranging from age to educational qualifications for respective academies, and unravel the intricate layers of the selection process—comprising a written examination, SSB interviews, document verification, and medical examination.

As we unpack the essence of the CDS full form and dive deeper into ‘what is the full form of CDS’, our blueprint will chart your course to not only grasp the examination’s pattern but also envision the prestigious career trajectory and potential emoluments that beckon post-selection, catalyzing your ambition to serve the nation with valor and integrity.

What is the Full Form of CDS?

In our quest to demystify the CDS examination, it is crucial that we first understand its foundational aspect—the CDS full form. The acronym CDS stands for “Combined Defence Services,” a title that encapsulates the unification of various defence services under one national examination. This prestigious exam is meticulously conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and is the stepping stone for entry into the esteemed Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy.

  • Acronym Unveiled: The CDS full form, Combined Defence Services, signifies the collective recruitment for the Indian defence forces.
  • Conducting Authority: The UPSC, a central agency in India, is responsible for administering the CDS exam, ensuring a fair and systematic selection process.
  • Frequency and Timing: Aspirants can mark their calendars for this biannual event, with exams typically scheduled in February and November.

Eligibility is a cornerstone of the CDS exam, with the UPSC setting clear parameters for prospective candidates. To embark on this journey, one must be an unmarried graduate, ready to dedicate their life to the nation’s service.

  • Educational Prerequisites: A graduate degree in any discipline is the academic gateway for eligibility.
  • Marital Status: Unmarried individuals are called upon to apply, reflecting the commitment required for the ensuing training and service.

The CDS examination is not merely a test but a comprehensive assessment through a triad of stages—English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. This tri-stage structure is designed to evaluate the intellectual and analytical prowess of the candidates.

  • Examination Structure: The three-pronged approach of the CDS exam ensures a holistic assessment of candidates’ capabilities.
  • SSB Interviews: Following the written success, candidates are invited to the Services Selection Board interviews, a testament to their potential.
  • Training and Commissioning: Successful candidates undergo rigorous training for 1.5 to 2 years, after which they are appointed as officers, ready to lead with valor.

The journey of a CDS aspirant is marked by milestones, from passing the exam to the declaration of results within a few months of the test date. The financial aspect is also taken into consideration, with an application fee of INR 200, while providing exemptions for SC/ST candidates and female candidates. Training at the respective academies is comprehensive, encompassing leadership development, physical fitness, and specialized skills tailored to each service branch.

By understanding the CDS full form and the depth it represents, we pave the way for our aspirants to not only prepare for the exam but to visualize the transformative journey that lies ahead. As we continue to explore the facets of the CDS exam, remember that our aim is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to succeed and serve our nation with pride.

CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria

As we delve into the prerequisites of the CDS exam, it is imperative for us, as aspirants, to meticulously comprehend the eligibility criteria. The framework of these criteria serves as the foundation upon which our journey to join the Indian Defence Forces is built. Here, we lay out the specifics that you must meet to ensure your candidacy is valid and recognized.


  • Indian citizenship is a primary requirement, though subjects of Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibetan refugees who arrived before January 1, 1962, are also considered eligible under specific conditions.
  • Candidates who are persons of Indian origin who have migrated from select countries with the intention of permanently settling in India may also apply.

Educational Qualification

  • A bachelor’s degree from a recognized university is the academic cornerstone for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA).
  • For the Air Force Academy (AFA), a degree in Engineering or a Bachelor of Science with Physics and Mathematics is required.
  • Aspiring Naval Academy (INA) candidates must hold a degree in Engineering.

Age and Marital Status

  • The age requirements vary: IMA candidates must be between 19 to 24 years, AFA aspirants 20 to 24 years, INA applicants 19 to 22 years, and OTA candidates 19 to 25 years.
  • Marital status plays a crucial role; all candidates must be unmarried, with the exception of OTA aspirants, where certain relaxations are provided for divorcees or widows without encumbrances.

Physical Standards

  • A set of prescribed physical standards must be met, which includes specific height and weight criteria, as well as fitness levels.
  • Eyesight requirements are also specified; candidates must meet the vision standards without the use of corrective lenses for the Air Force.

It is paramount for us to adhere to these eligibility criteria meticulously, as they are the stepping stones to our dream of adorning the uniform of the Indian Defence Forces. The full form of CDS, ‘Combined Defence Services’, is not just an acronym but a representation of the unity and integrity we aspire to embody. As we continue to explore ‘what is the full form of CDS’, let’s keep in mind that understanding the CDS exam full form is just the beginning of this prestigious journey.

Overview of CDS Selection Process

Embarking upon the rigorous CDS selection process, we find ourselves facing a triathlon of assessments, each designed to meticulously evaluate our suitability for a career in the defense services. The process unfolds as follows:

  1. Written Examination
    • Our initial challenge is the written test, a series of multiple-choice questions spanning English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. Each subject is allocated a 2-hour window, and we must navigate through with precision, as incorrect answers attract negative marking. This stage is not just a test of knowledge but also of time management and accuracy.
    • Candidates eyeing entry into the Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy will engage with all three subjects. In contrast, those aspiring to join the Officers Training Academy will focus on English and General Knowledge, reflecting the tailored requirements of each academy.
  2. SSB Interview
    • Upon clearing the written examination, we advance to the SSB Interview, a five-day crucible that rigorously tests our potential. This phase encompasses Officer Intelligence Rating tests, Picture Perception & Description Test, Psychology Tests, Group Testing Officer Tasks, personal interviews, and culminates in a Conference. It’s a comprehensive assessment of our personality, intelligence, and compatibility with defense forces ethos.
  3. Medical Examination
    • Physical robustness is paramount, and thus, a medical examination ensures we meet the stringent health standards required for commissioning. Women candidates undergo this evaluation by a specialized Medical Board, ensuring thoroughness and fairness in the process.

Our performance across these stages determines our position in the final merit list, with the written exam and SSB interview being pivotal factors. The official answer key released by UPSC aids us in gauging our performance post-exam, we must keep our preparation both strategic and intensive.

The CDS exam full form, ‘Combined Defence Services’, reflects the amalgamation of diverse challenges we must surmount to earn the honor of becoming commissioned officers in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. As we continue to unravel ‘what is the full form of CDS’, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to excel at each stage of the selection process, always keeping in mind that the minimum age to embark on this journey is 19 years. With each step, we move closer to our aspiration of serving the nation, upholding the integrity and unity that ‘cds ka full form’ signifies.

Training and Career Progression Post-CDS

Upon successfully navigating the selection process of the CDS exam, our aspirants embark on a transformative journey of training and career progression within the prestigious Indian Army, Navy, or Air Force. This phase is critical, as it molds individuals into leaders capable of upholding the nation’s defense.

Initial Training and Remuneration

  • Officers commencing their career in the defense services through the CDS route are enrolled in a rigorous training program specific to their allocated academy. For instance, cadets destined for the Indian Military Academy undergo a detailed course designed to instill military knowledge and leadership skills.
  • The initial monthly salary for officers post-commissioning starts at an impressive Rs. 56,100, providing a strong financial foundation as they dedicate their lives to service. This remuneration reflects the gravity and responsibility of the role they are about to assume.

Career Advancement Opportunities

  • The career progression for officers is systematically structured, offering numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. Promotions within the ranks are governed by a well-defined framework, rewarding experience, and merit.
  • Officers have the chance to specialize in various domains through advanced courses, enabling them to enhance their expertise and take on more significant roles within the defense services. This continuous learning environment ensures that officers remain at the forefront of military tactics and technology.

Retirement and Post-Service Benefits

  • Upon completion of their distinguished service, officers are entitled to a pension, ensuring financial security. Additionally, they have access to medical facilities and canteen services, among other benefits, which continue to support them and their families.
  • The skills and discipline acquired during service are highly valued in the civilian job market, offering a plethora of opportunities for officers after retirement. Their leadership experience positions them favorably for second careers in various sectors.

We, as aspirants and future officers, must recognize that the full form of CDS—’Combined Defence Services’—is not merely an academic threshold but a commitment to a lifetime of growth, responsibility, and service to the nation. The training and career progression post-CDS are designed to forge not just officers but leaders who will embody the values and integrity that ‘what is cds’ truly stands for.


Through this article’s exploration, we have unfolded the layers of the CDS exam, clarifying the pivotal role it plays as a gateway for the nation’s bravest to enter the esteemed Indian Defence Services. The journey from understanding the CDS full form—Combined Defence Services—to comprehending the multifaceted selection process emphasizes the exam’s integrity and the commitment required to forge a path in the military leadership. Our discourse has provided clarity on eligibility, the rigorous assessment of candidates, and the distinguished career and training that await successful applicants, solidifying the CDS exam as a cornerstone for national defense recruitment.

As aspirants set their sights on this honorable endeavor, they carry the weight of potential and the promise of dedication to service and valor. The broader implications of these discussions resonate with the importance of robust preparation, the gravity of the responsibility assumed post-commissioning, and the lifelong journey of personal and professional development that defines a career in the Indian Defence Services. The shared insights aim not only to inform but also to inspire and guide future leaders in their pursuit of excellence and service to the nation.


As we continue to navigate the intricacies of the CDS exam, it is essential to address some of the most pressing questions that aspirants like us might hold. Here, we aim to clarify these queries, further empowering us with the knowledge needed to approach the CDS exam with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions about CDS Exam

  • What is the frequency and format of the CDS exam?
    • The CDS exam is conducted biannually, typically scheduled in February and November.
    • It comprises a written test in an offline format with objective-type questions, an SSB interview, and a medical examination for final selection.
  • What is the structure of the written examination?
    • The exam for INA, IMA, and AFA consists of 300 questions, while OTA has 200 questions.
    • Candidates must select the correct option for each question, with negative marking applied for incorrect answers.
  • What can I expect during the SSB Interview?
    • The SSB interview is a comprehensive 5-6 day process, mandatory for all candidates who meet the cut-off marks.
    • It assesses general intelligence, personality, educational background, hobbies, current affairs knowledge, aptitude, leadership, and military and defense awareness.
    • Sample questions might include inquiries about your motivation to join the military, personal strengths and weaknesses, stress management, and knowledge of the specific wing applied for.
  • How can I prepare for the CDS exam, especially the General Knowledge section?
    • Utilize resources like SSBCrackExams courses for the CDS Exam.
    • Focus on important topics such as India’s physical features, historical timelines, constitutional knowledge, science fundamentals, and current affairs.
  • What are the eligibility criteria for the CDS exam?
    • Educational qualifications vary by academy; a degree from a recognized university is necessary, with specific requirements for AFA and NA candidates.
    • Age, marital status, and physical standards are also critical eligibility factors.
  • Can female candidates apply for the CDS exam?
    • Yes, unmarried female candidates can apply for the CDS exam, but only for the post of Officers Training Academy (OTA).
  • What is the stipend and salary structure post-selection?
    • Cadets receive a stipend of ₹ 56,100 per month.
  • How can I access my CDS exam admit card?
    • E-Admit Cards can be downloaded from the UPSC website approximately three weeks before the examination date.

To further assist our preparation, accessing previous year question papers and understanding the CDS exam pattern are invaluable. Moreover, keeping abreast of the latest updates and current GK questions can significantly impact our readiness for the exam. Remember, each step taken in preparation is a stride towards our goal of serving the nation with pride and distinction.

The Editorial Team at SSBCrack consists of professional writers, journalists and defence aspirants.

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