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CDS Exam 2023: Exam Date, Eligibility, Salary & Vacancies

June 5, 2023

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is CDS Exam?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts a national-level examination called the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam to select candidates for admission to Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Officer Training Academy (OTA).


The CDS Exam is conducted two times a year, known as CDS 1 and CDS 2, and the CDS Exam Date 2023 for both exams has been announced by the UPSC. UPSC will conduct CDS 1 2023 on 16th April 2023 and CDS 2 2023 on 3rd September 2023. This article aims to give a thorough overview of the CDS Exam, including eligibility requirements, exam syllabus, format, and preparation tips.

Latest Update:

24 March 2023: CDS 1 Admit Card Released here.

4 May 2023: CDS 1 Result 2023 Released.

CDS Notification 2023

The CDS (I) 2023 Examination for 341 vacancies has been officially announced with a detailed advertisement and UPSC CDS notification released on December 21st, 2022. The notification includes all relevant information for the exam, such as the number of vacancies, important dates, the application process, and more. We have provided a direct link to CDS Notification 2023 from the official website.


CDS Exam Overview

Organization Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Full-Form Combined Defence Services
Number of Vacancies 341 (CDS 1 2023)
CDS Exam Date CDS (1) Date -16th April 2023,
CDS (2) Date – 03rd September 2023
Application Mode Online
Application Fee INR 200/-
Exam Mode Offline
Recruitment Process Written examination
Intelligence and Personality Test (Interview)
Medical examination
Final merit list
Education Qualification To be eligible to appear for the Common Defense Services (CDS) Exam 2023, candidates must have a minimum educational qualification of a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or institution.
Age Limit Candidates must be between 20 and 24 years old.
Official website

Check out other Defence Exams

CDS Exam Date 2023

The Union Public Service Commission has announced the dates for the 2023 Combined Defense Services I and II exams. According to the calendar, the online registration for CDS I 2023 will start on 21st December 2022 and end on 10th January 2023. Make sure to take note of all the important dates for the 2023 CDS exam and set reminders.

Important EventsCDS 1 DatesCDS 2 Dates
CDS Notification 202321st December 202217th May 2023
Online Registration Starts21st December 202217th May 2023
Online Registration Ends10th January 202306th June 2023
Online Application Withdrawn18th to 24th January 2023To be notified
CDS Admit Card release24th March 2023 August 2023 (Tentative)
CDS Exam Date 202316th April 202303rd September 2023
CDS Result 20234th May 2023September 2023 (Tentative)
Interview dateTo be notifiedTo be notified
Final ResultTo be notifiedTo be notified

CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria

The Union Public Service Commission sets the CDS Exam 2023 eligibility criteria for defense recruitment. To be eligible, candidates must meet the standards for nationality, education, age, marital status, and sex, as outlined below.


Candidates must be citizens of India, subjects of Nepal/Bhutan, Tibetan refugees who migrated to India before 1962 with the intention of permanent settlement, or individuals of Indian origin from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Zaire, and Vietnam who migrated to India for permanent settlement.

Educational Qualification:

  • For I.M.A and Officer’s Training Academy, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • For Indian Naval Academy, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a recognized university/institution.
  • For Air Force Academy, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level or a Bachelor of Engineering.

CDS Age Limit:

  • For Indian Military Academy (IMA) is 19 years to 24 years.
  • For Indian Naval Academy (INA) is 19 years to 22 years.
  • For Air Force Academy is 19 years to 23 years.

Marital Status & Sex:

  • For the Indian Military Academy and Indian Naval Academy, only unmarried males can apply.
  • For Indian Air Force Academy, both married and unmarried males are eligible, but marriage during training is not permitted.
  • For Officer Training Academy, both unmarried males and females can apply.

Medical and Physical standards:

The eligibility for CDS requires both physical and mental fitness according to the standards set by the UPSC. Unfortunately, many qualified candidates are rejected due to medical reasons.It is highly advisable for those seeking to take the CDS exam to undergo a medical examination before submitting their application.

Common medical issues among candidates include ear wax, deviated nasal septum, hydrocele/phimosis, being overweight or underweight, an undersized chest, piles, tonsillitis, gynaecomastia, and varicocele.

It should be noted that permanent body tattoos are not allowed and may result in disqualification. However, tattoos that are customary among certain tribes may be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

CDS Exam Application Form 2023

The CDS 2023 Exam fee of Rs. 200/- applies to all categories, except for SC/ST/Females, who are exempt from paying the fee. Payment options include online through Net Banking, Mastercard/Debit Card, or offline through cash deposit at any SBI Bank branch.

Instructions for Completing the CDS 2023 Exam Registration Form. To successfully register for the CDS exam, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the UPSC official website at or use the direct link provided.
  2. On the homepage, navigate to Examination >> Active Examinations >> Online Application For UPSC CDS 1 Exam.
  3. Click “Part-1” for the Combined Defence Examination (I) 2023.
  4. Read the instructions thoroughly and confirm by clicking “Yes.”
  5. Fill in your personal information on the new page that appears.
  6. Choose your preferred options in Part II.
  7. Pay the application fee through online or offline methods.
  8. Select your preferred examination center.
  9. Upload the required documents.
  10. Review all information and click “Submit”. Save a copy of your UPSC CDS 2023 exam registration form for future reference.

CDS Admit Card

The release date for the CDS I 2023 exam admit card has been set for March 2023. The written exam is scheduled to take place on 16th April 2023. To avoid any last-minute stress, it is recommended that candidates download their admit cards well before the exam date. Candidates must bring a physical copy of the admit card to the examination venue.

CDS Admit Card Details

UPSC has released admit card for CDS 1 2023 on 24th March 2023.

It is crucial to ensure that the information in the CDS Admit Card is correct and error-free. Candidates must verify the following details after downloading their admit card:

  • Candidate’s name,
  • Date, Day, and Time of the exam
  • Address and Code of the exam center
  • Candidate’s father’s name
  • Candidate’s roll number
  • Application number

CDS Exam Centre Details

The CDS Examination I will take place at designated centers. Candidates are required to select their preferred center while completing the CDS 1 application form. The listed centers below were previously announced, and any updates regarding additions or deletions will be communicated through this platform.

AgartalaGhaziabadPanaji (Goa)
AjmerGurgaonPort Blair
AhmedabadGwaliorPrayagraj (Allahabad)
Almora (Uttarakhand)IndoreRaipur
Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh)ItanagarRajkot
ChennaiKohimaSrinagar (Uttarakhand)
Gautam Buddh NagarNavi MumbaiWarangal
Work from Home, on your Own Schedule

CDS Exam Pattern

The CDS Exam Pattern is classified into two parts.

  • Theoretical Examination
  • Intelligence and Personality Examination.

The Officer Training Academy(OTA) exam pattern differs from Indian Military Academy(IMA), Indian Naval Academy(INA), and Air Force Academy(AFA). IMA, INA, and AFA have three subjects. The total marks for the exam are 300, and the candidate will have to complete the exam in 6hrs.

SubjectsMarksTime Scale
General Knowledge1002 hours
English1002 hours
Elementary Mathematics1002 hours

OTA has two subjects. The total marks for the exam are 200, and the candidate will have to complete the exam in 4hrs.

SubjectsMarksTime Scale
General Knowledge1002 hours
English1002 hours
  • The quality of the papers in the case of Elementary Mathematics will be of 10th class level.
  • The quality of the papers in other subjects will be of a graduate level.

To be considered for the interview round, the candidates must pass the CDS Written Examination successfully. The essential points for the examination pattern are outlined below.

  • The exam will consist of multiple-choice questions
  • Hindi and English versions of the General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics question paper will be available.
  • A wrong answer will result in a deduction of 1/3 mark
  • The duration of each exam is 2 hours and is separate for each.
  • The English language questions will be at the graduate level, and the math questions will be at the matriculation level.

CDS: SSB Interview

The SSB examination serves as an evaluation of a candidate’s personality and intellect. To succeed in the exam, candidates must comprehend the SSB grading system and create a comprehensive exam approach. The SSB interview is the final step in the selection process for CDS 2023, following the written exam for INA, IMA, and OTA. The interview lasts five days, and candidates who fail to qualify on the initial day will be required to depart the premises. The comprehensive pattern for SSB 2023 is outlined below:

Stage 1Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR)
Picture Prescription and Descriptive Test
Stage 2Interview Group Testing Officer (GTO) Tasks
Psychology Test
Stage 3Group Discussion

CDS Exam Syllabus 2023

Every six months, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) administers the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination, providing students with ample opportunity to take the test without waiting an entire year. To ace the CDS 2023 exam, it is essential to familiarize oneself with the syllabus used by UPSC to create exam questions. The syllabus for CDS is divided into three components: General Knowledge, English, and Elementary Mathematics. Those seeking to enroll in the Officers Training Academy (OTA) are exempt from preparing for the Elementary Mathematics portion. The CDS exam syllabus is readily available for candidates to access and review. A comprehensive syllabus outlining each subject’s topics is provided below.

CDS Subject-Wise Syllabus 2023

The exams encompass multiple disciplines that entail thorough questions. To excel in the exam, a candidate must comprehensively understand each subject included in the syllabus. For your convenience, we have outlined the subject-wise syllabus for the CDS exam to aid in your preparation.

  • General Knowledge
  • English
  • Maths

CDS Syllabus (General Knowledge)

The term “General Knowledge” encompasses an understanding of current events and familiarity with everyday observations and experiences that one with a graduate degree should possess. The general knowledge category encompasses subjects such as Political Science, History, Economics, and Geography. The questions in this section will cover a variety of topics listed below:

General KnowledgeEconomics
Current Affairs
Defense-related Awards

CDS Syllabus (English)

This part of the exam will assess the candidates’ knowledge of fundamental English. The evaluation will include questions on vocabulary, introductory grammar, and error detection, as well as idioms and phrases. Here is a complete list of all subjects covered:

EnglishBasic Grammar
Idioms and Phrases
Synonyms and Antonyms
Reading Comprehension
Solutions Word
Error Identification
Paragraph Reordering

CDS Syllabus (Maths)

The Maths section of the CDS syllabus is extensive and divided into various sub-sections, such as Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration, and Static. The written exam for INA and IMA includes this Maths section, but candidates appearing for OTA are optional to study it. Please refer to the detailed information on each sub-section below:

ArithmeticNumber System: Natural numbers, Integers, Rational & Real numbers, Remainder Theorem
Mathematics Operations: Subtraction, Multiplication, Addition, Division, Square Roots, Decimal, and Fractions
Time, Work, and Efficiency, Time and Distance
Simple and Compound Interest, Profit and Loss
Ratio and Proportion
Number Theory: Division Algorithm, Tests of Divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 11, Prime and Composite Numbers, Multiples and Factors, Factorization Theorem, H.C.F., and L.C.M.
Euclidean Algorithm
Use of Logarithmic Tables and Logarithms to base 10, Laws of Logarithms
AlgebraTheory of Polynomials
Solutions of Quadratic Equations, The relation between its roots & coefficients (only real roots considered), Linear Inequalities in two variables and their solutions
Linear Equations in two unknowns – analytical & graphical solutions
Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or inequations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions
Analysis of Rational Expressions and Application of Conditional Identities
Understanding of Set Language and Notation
Laws of Indices
TrigonometrySine ×, Cosine ×,Tangent × when 0° < × < 90°,
Values of Sin ×, Tan ×, and Cos × for × = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90°
Simple Trigonometric Identities
Use of Trigonometric Tables
Simple Cases of Distances and Heights
GeometryPlane & Plane Figures, Lines & Angles Theorems on Properties of Angles at a Point
Parallel Lines
Sides & Angles of a Triangle
Congruency of Triangles
Similar Triangles
Concurrence of Medians and Altitudes
Properties of Angles, Sides, and Diagonals of a Parallelogram, Square, and Rectangle
Circles and their properties, including tangents and normals
MensurationAreas of Rectangles, Squares, Volume of Cuboids, Parallelograms, Triangles, Surface Area and Lateral Surface, and Volume of Right Circular Cones and Cylinders
The volume of Spheres and Surface Area
StatisticsCollection and Tabulation of Statistical Data
Graphical Representation of Frequency: Polygons, Pie Charts, Histograms, and Bar Charts.
Measures of Central Tendency

Important Topics in CDS Syllabus

The following topics will be covered in the CDS preparation:

  • English: Vocabulary building, identifying mistakes, grammatical structure, and understanding of the text.
  • General Knowledge: Awareness of current political, economic, historical events, and geography knowledge of India and the world.
  • Elementary Mathematics: Basic arithmetic, trigonometry, geometry, measurement, and algebra.

CDS Exam Day Guidelines

  • Kindly make sure only to use a black ballpoint pen when writing and include your center, subject, and the test booklet series (in brackets), along with the subject code and exam roll number, in the designated area at the top of the answer sheet.
  • Ensure to encode the booklet series (A, B, C, or D as applicable), roll number, subject code and in the circles provided on the answer sheet.
  • Inform the invigilator immediately if either the booklet series is missing from the test booklet or the answer sheet is un-numbered to receive a replacement.
  • It is important to note that errors, mistakes, or discrepancies in filling out the OMR answer sheet, particularly regarding the Roll Number and Test Booklet Series Code, may cause the answer sheet to be declined.
  • After the start of the exam, please check that the test booklet supplied to you is complete, without any unprinted, torn, or missing pages or items. If there are any issues, request a replacement of the same series and subject.
  • Avoid writing your name or any other information not specifically requested on the CDS answer sheet, test booklet, or sheet for rough work.
  • Do not fold, damage, or mark extraneous on the CDS Answer Sheet. Additionally, do not write anything on the back of the answer sheet.

CDS Results

The UPSC will announce the results of the shortlisted candidates for the interview round after conducting the written exam. Results for each stage will be released separately. UPSC has released results for CDS 1 on 4th May 2023.

Check CDS (1) Result 2023 here –


Checking CDS Results:

  • Go to the official UPSC website at
  • On the homepage, click on “Written Result.”
  • A result PDF will open in a new window.
  • To locate your roll number in the PDF, press “CTRL+F” and search.
  • If your name appears in the PDF, you will soon receive details for the interview round.
  • CDS cut-off marks are published on UPSC’s website. To be considered for selection, candidates must score at least 20% marks in each subject. The UPSC releases two separate cut-offs ie. the written exam and the final cut-off. You can refer to the cut-off marks from the previous year.

CDS Cutoff 2022

CategoryWritten Exam Cut OffFinal Exam Cut Off
IMA ( Indian Military Academy)136258
INA (Indian Naval Academy)128256
AFA (Air Force Academy)147269
OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) Men100181
OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) Women100184

CDS Exam Salary 2023

Male or female candidates receive a monthly stipend of Rs 56,100 while training in their respective academies. This training period is not considered a part of their commissioned service. Upon successful commissioning, the salary of officers in the CDS will fall under pay matrix level 10. They will be entitled to retroactively receive any outstanding arrears based on their pay matrix from their training period.

The table below highlights the CDS Salary based on different Ranks –

CDS RanksCDS Pay ScalePay Level
LieutenantRs 56,100/ to 1,77,500/ Per monthLevel 10
CaptainRs 61,300/ to 1,93,900/ Per monthLevel 10B
MajorRs 69,400/ to 2,07,200/ Per monthLevel 11
Lt ColonelRs 1,21,200/ to 2,12,400/ Per monthLevel 12A
ColonelRs 1,30,600/ to 2,15,900/ Per monthLevel 13
BrigadierRs 1,39,600/ to 2,17,600/ Per monthLevel 13A
Major GeneralRs 1,44,200/ to 2,18,200/ Per monthLevel 14
Lieutenant General HAG ScaleRs 1,82,200/ to 2,24,100/ Per monthLevel 15
HAG+ScaleRs 2,05,400/ to 2,24,400/ Per monthLevel 16
VCOAS/Army CDR/ Lieutenant General (NFSG)Rs 2,25,000/ Per month (fixed)Level 17
COASRs 2,50,000/ Per month (fixed)Level 18

Please be advised that the Military Service Pay (MSP) for officers ranging from the rank of Lieutenant to Brigadier is set at a monthly rate of Rs 15,500.

CDS Preparation Tips

  • Make a study schedule: Allocate time for each subject and stick to it. Make sure also to include time for revision and breaks.
  • Prepare notes: Make concise and practical notes for each subject. These notes will come in handy during revision.
  • Practice past papers: Become familiar with the type of questions and the pattern that will be asked in the exam.
  • Seek help when needed: If you are struggling with a particular topic, don’t hesitate to seek help from friends, teachers, or online resources.
  • Manage time effectively: During exams, manage your time wisely by prioritizing the questions and allocating enough time to each.
  • Stay organized: Keep your study materials organized and easily accessible. Stay focused: Avoid distractions while studying and keep a positive attitude.
  • Get enough rest: Adequate sleep and a balanced diet are crucial for keeping your mind and body in top condition.
  • Take breaks: Regular breaks help refresh your mind and increase focus.
  • Believe in yourself: Confidence is key to success. Believe in yourself and your abilities to perform well in the exams.
Get Paid for Your Knowledge


What is CDS Exam?

Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) is a recruitment examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for selecting officers for the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Officers Training Academy (OTA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA).

Who is eligible for the CDS exam?

The eligibility criteria for the CDS examination are divided according to the academy to which one applies. Indian Naval Academy applicants must be Engineering graduates. On the other hand, the Air Force Academy applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Math as compulsory subjects. The Officers Training Academy and Indian Military Academy accept students from any field. All applicants must be Indian citizens or from Tibetan refugees, Nepal and Bhutan. For the Indian Naval Academy and the Military Academy, unmarried aspirants must be between January 1997 and July 2002. Officer training candidates should be between January 1996 to July 2002. The Air Force Academy accepts individuals with birth years between January 1997 to July 2001. Finally, single women, widows, and unmarried divorcees born between January 1996 to July 2002 can apply to the Officers Training Academy.

Are CDS and NDA the same?

No, the CDS examination is conducted for admission to the Officer’s Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy, and Air Force Academy. On the other hand, the NDA examination is held for admission to the Army, Air Force, and Navy departments at the National Defense Academy.

Is the CDS exam after the 12th?

No, a bachelor’s degree is a minimum educational requirement to attempt the CDS examination. The applicant could have either graduated with a relevant degree or is awaiting the results of the examinations. There are, however, requirements on the type of degree, depending on the institute one is applying to.

How is the CDS exam conducted?

The CDS examination, the first stage, takes place in offline mode. There are three papers English, Elementary Mathematics, and also General Knowledge. Candidates applying for the Indian Military, Naval, and Air Force Academy must attempt all three papers. The Officer’s Training Academy candidates must take only two papers, English and General Knowledge. Each paper is two hours in duration, and the questions are objective.

Is it essential to get eligible for CDS I before CDS II?

Yes, The CDS examination takes part in two parts. Part one is a written examination that consists of three papers. Applicants must obtain a pass in all papers to be eligible for the next round. The following rounds are a personal interview round and a medical test. Once all rounds are done successfully, applicants will receive an intimation about taking admission.

Is there any physical examination for CDS Exams?

Yes, Candidates who complete phases one and two will have to attend a medical test. This is crucial to ensure that the chosen candidate is physically fit. They must have the stamina and be able to carry out all duties of an officer. Any disabilities or diseases, if not present currently but could come up later due to work stress, are also looked into.

What is the pattern of CDS theoretical examination?

The written part of the CDS examination consists of three different papers. There is English, Elementary Mathematics, and General Knowledge. Each paper is two hours long and has 100 marks in total. The question type of all the papers is objective type, and there are three sections. There are negative markings for each wrong answer, where a 1/3 mark is deducted.

How many shifts do the CDS Exams include?

The CDS examinations occur twice a year, named CDS 1 and CDS 2. On the examination day, there are three shifts, one each for each subject. The English paper is the first and takes place between 9:00 am to 11:00 am. After that, the General Knowledge paper is between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, and Mathematics takes place between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.

Does UPSC release the CDS Exams answer key?

Yes, UPSC does release the examination answer key. The answer key is available online after the examination and the results are declared. One can expect to access the answer key after the merit list for the CDS examination is also declared. The estimated time period from the declaration of the results to the release of the answer key is around 30 days.

Can women register for the CDS Exams?

Yes, women who are not married yet, widows, and unmarried divorcees can apply to take the CDS examination. However, women cannot apply to all the academies to which the CDS examination offers admission. The non-technical courses at the Officer’s Training Academy are open to women only.

How many times can a candidate appear for the CDS examination?

A candidate can appear for the CDS examination a maximum of four times.