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CDS Exam 2024: Exam Date, Eligibility, Salary & Vacancies

June 17, 2024

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is the 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 the 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 UPSC has announced the CDS 1 Exam Date 2024. UPSC CDS 1 exam 2024 notification has been released on December 20, 2023. This article aims to give a thorough overview of the CDS Exam, including eligibility requirements, exam syllabus, format, and preparation tips.

Latest Update from CDS

  • UPSC released CDS 2 notification 2024 on 15th May 2024 in online mode.
  • Along with the CDS 2 official notification, the application form will also be released at UPSC CDS 2 exam 2024 registration’s last date is 4th June 2024.
  • UPSC CDS 1 exam 2024 notification has been released on December 20, 2023.

CDS Notification 2024

The CDS (I) 2024 Examination for 457 vacancies has been officially announced with a detailed advertisement and UPSC CDS notification released on December 20, 2023. 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 2024 from the official website.


CDS Exam Overview

Organization Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Full-Form Combined Defence Services
Number of VacanciesCDS 1- 457
CDS 2- To be notified
CDS Exam DateCDS 2 – 1st September 2024
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 2024, 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

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CDS Exam Date 2024

The Union Public Service Commission has announced the dates for the 2024 Combined Defense Services I exam. According to the calendar, the online registration for CDS I 2024 will start on 20th December 2023 and end on 9th January 2024. Make sure to take note of all the important dates for the 2024 CDS exam and set reminders.

Important EventsCDS 1 DatesCDS 2 Dates
CDS Notification 202420th December 202315th May 2024
Online Registration Starts20th December 202315th May 2024
Online Registration Ends9th January 20244th June 2024
Online Application Withdrawn9th January 20244th June 2024
CDS Admit Card release10th-16th April 2024To be notified
CDS Exam Date 202421st April 20241st September 2024
CDS Result 2024To be notifiedTo be notified
Interview dateTo be notifiedTo be notified
Final ResultTo be notifiedTo be notified
Original certificates submissionTo be notifiedTo be notified
Note: After conducting the interviews, candidates who did not qualify will have their marks sheets available on the Commission’s website within 15 days of the final OTA results being published. The marks sheets will be accessible for 30 days on the website.

CDS Eligibility Criteria

The Union Public Service Commission sets the CDS Exam 2024 eligibility criteria for defence 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 the IMA and Officer’s Training Academy, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • For the 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:

  • The Indian Military Academy (IMA) is 19 years to 24 years old.
  • The Indian Naval Academy (INA) is 19 years to 22 years old.
  • 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 the 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, customary tattoos among certain tribes may be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

CDS Exam Application Form 2024

The CDS 2024 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 2024 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) 2024.
  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 2024 exam registration form for future reference.

CDS Admit Card

The release date for the CDS II 2024 exam admit card has been set for August 2024. The written exam is scheduled to take place on 1st September 2024. 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.

Admit Card Details

UPSC will release admit cards for CDS 2 2024 in August 2024.

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 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

You can also read our blog on CDS Previous year question paper.

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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 the 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 6 hours.

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 4 hours.

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 2024, 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.

To be eligible to receive call-up information for SSB interviews, candidates who passed the written exam and indicated the Army (IMA/OTA) as their first choice must register on the recruiting directorate website,

It is required that the original certificates be submitted for SSC courses exclusively. The Union Public Service Commission shall not receive the original Certificates from the candidates.

The comprehensive pattern for SSB 2024 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 2024

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 2024 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.

Subject-Wise Syllabus 2024

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 the 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.

Checking 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 Previous Year’s Cutoff

CategoryFinal Exam Cut-Off- 2023Final Exam Cut-Off-2022
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 2024 Selection Process

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Combined Defence Services (CDS) test for admission to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy. Here’s a thorough breakdown of the CDS 2024 selection process:

  • Written Examination: The CDS selection procedure begins with the written exam. It consists of two-hour papers. Candidates will just need to take the English and General Knowledge components of the exam to gain admission to the officer training program. Candidates for the Indian Naval Academy, Indian Maritime Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy must complete all three papers: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics.
  • SSB Interview or Personality Test: The personality exam, often known as the SSB interview, is the second element of the CDS selection process. Stages I and II of the SSB approach are two-stage selection procedures. Only applicants who have passed Stage I are eligible to take Stage 2.
  • Document Verification: During this stage, the necessary paperwork for the candidates will be verified.
  • Medical Examination: All shortlisted candidates will have a medical exam to evaluate whether or not they are medically fit. A Board of Service Medical Officers performs a medical examination on applicants nominated by the Services Selection Board.
  • Join Instructions: Selected candidates receive comprehensive joining instructions, including the course start date and academy location.
  • Training: For IMA (Army), candidates must go through 18 months of intensive training. For INA (Navy): Training lasts around three years. For AFA (Air Force), candidates train for around three years.
  • Commissioning: After successfully completing training, candidates are commissioned as officers in their respective forces (Army, Navy, or Air Force).

CDS Exam Salary 2024

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 Career Growth in INA & IMA

Candidates interested in joining the Indian Naval Academy or Indian Military Academy might refer to the table below for their CDS 2024 career advancement.

RanksTime Duration
LieutenantAfter completing training
Captain2 years of Commissioned Service
Major6 years of Commissioned Service
Lieutenant Colonel13 years of Commissioned Service
Colonel (TS)26 years of Commissioned Service
Colonel15 years of Commissioned Service
Brigadier23 years of Commissioned Service
Major General25 years of Commissioned Service
Lieutenant General28 years of Commissioned Service
GeneralNo restrictions

CDS Career Growth in AFA

Candidates interested in joining the Air Force Academy can view the AFA’s career progression opportunities in the table below:

Ranks AFA Time Duration
Flying OfficerOn Commission
Flight Lieutenant2 Years of commissioned service
Squadron Leader6 years of commissioned service
Wing Commander13 years of commissioned service
Group Captain26 years of commissioned service
Air Commodore
Air Vice Marshal
Air Chief Marshal HAG Scale
Air Chief Marshal Apex Scale
Air Chief Marshal

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.
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What is the 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 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.