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CDS Exam Dates, Fees, Eligibility & Notification

Combined Defence Services logo
CDS Exam Dates, Fees, Eligibility & Notification
August 24, 2021
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About the CDS Exams

The CDS Exam’s full form is the Combined Defence Service Exams. This CDS Exams get organized twice a year by the UPSC. CDS Exams is for enrolment in the post of Indian Naval, Air Force and Army officers. The CDS Exams usually occur in February and November.

CDS Exams is a national-level defense entrance examination. Millions of Indian people take part in CDS Exams and become defense officers.

The selection of the applicants will be on the basis of a theoretical exam. After that, an interview for the intelligence and personality will get taken. The written exams are CDS Exams 1 and CDS Exams 2. Interviews got done by the SSB.

The CDS Exams 1 2021 written exam has occurred on 7th February 2021 in offline mode. The result has already got declared on 23rd March 2021. The CDS Exams 2 2021 exam will be taking place on 14th November 2021.

Particulars Details
Name Combined Defence Service Exam
Abbreviation CDS Exams
Organized by Union Public Service Commission
Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat
Exam level National
Occurrence Twice a year
Mode of Exam Offline
Recruitment process Written examinations and SSB interviews
Duration Two hours
Language of Question Paper English and Hindi
Application Fee INR 200/-
Exam motive Enrolment of Indian Naval, Air Force and Army officers
Vacancies CDS Exams 1: 345CDS Exams 2: 344
No of the exam centers 41
Official Website


Table of Contents

CDS Exams Notification and News

The UPSC publishes the notification on their official website in October and August. There are around 400 vacancies every time. The applicants should keep in mind that the number of openings is temporary. It can get altered at any stage by the SSB.

The CDS 2 2021 notification got released recently on 4th August 2021.

Applicants can download the CDS notification from the official website. It is preferable to go through this official notification . The applicant will understand the exam process before sitting for the exam.

CDS 1 2021 Events Important Dates
Notification and starting of the application process 28th October 2020
Last date for the application process 17th November 2020 (6 pm)
Application withdrawal 24th November – 30th November 2020 (6 pm)

CDS 2 2021 Events Important Dates
Notification and starting of the application process 4th August 2021
Last date for the application process 24th August 2021 (6 pm)
Application withdrawal 31st August – 6th September 2021 (6 pm)


The CDS notification can be download using the following steps :

  1. Search for the official website of UPSC.
  2. Select the “What’s New” section.
  3. Under that, look for the CDS 2 2021 notification link and select it.
  4. The CDS 2 2021 notification comes on the computer screen.
  5. The applicant should download the notification PDF.


CDS Exams date

The application form of CDS get released on the official website. CDS application form consists of 2 parts. One part is that the applicants need to create their ID registration. The second part is that the applicants need to submit their application fees online.

CDS Exam Events Important Dates for CDS 1 Exam Important Dates for CDS 2 Exam
Admit Card 7th January 2021 3weeks before the CDS exams
Exam date 7th February 2021 14th November 2021
Result date 23rd March 2021 December 2021
SSB interview Will get informed Will get informed


Subject Papers Exam time table
English language 9 am – 11 am
General Knowledge 12 pm – 2 pm
Elementary Mathematics 3 pm – 5 pm


CDS Exams Application Fee

The fee for the application form for the General Category students is INR 200/-

The reserved category applicants are not required to pay the application fees.

Both online and offline mode of transaction is available for the students. The student can complete the process using Credit Card or Debit Card or Net Banking. The applicant can also deposit cash to any SBI bank branch.

Category CDS Application fee
General 200/-
SC/ST/Females Not required


CDS Exams Eligibility Criteria

Educational Qualifications –

The educational qualifications differ for various positions.

  1. For IMA and OTA, the applicant should be a graduate.
  2. In case of INA, the aspirant should hold an engineering degree.
  3. Then for AFA, the candidate should hold an engineering degree. He should also have Physics and Math at 10+2 or should be a B.Tech graduate.
  4. The applicants in the first choice category should have their provisional certificates.
  5. The applicants who are sitting for their finals can also apply for the exam. They should not have backlog in any examination. They have to show their passing degree at the beginning of their course.

Nationality –

  1. Firstly, the applicant should be a native Indian or can be a citizen of Nepal or Bhutan.
  2. Also, the aspirant can also be a Tibetan migrant who came to India before 1st January 1962.
  3. Furthermore, they can also be an Indian person who resettled from outside India.
  4. Lastly, they should have a certificate provided by the Government of India. But, this certificate is not compulsory for the Gorkha residents of Nepal.

Age Limit –

The lowest age limit for the CDS Exams is 19 years.

The age limit also has an essential role in the CDS examination.

Designations Age limits Born within
IMA 19 – 24 2nd July 1998 – 1st July 2003
INA 19 – 24 2nd July 1998 – 1st July 2003
AFA 20 – 24 2nd July 1998 – 1st July 2002
OTA (men and women) 19 – 25 2nd July 1997 – 1st July 2003


Gender and Marital Status Requirements

Gender and Marital Status are also very much necessary.

Designations Gender Marital Status
IMA Male Unmarried
INA Male Unmarried
AFA Male Unmarried
OTA Male Married / Unmarried
OTA Female Unmarried


The applicants whose age is less than 25 years old should remain unmarried. Marriage is not allowed during the training session. Married individuals above 25 years of age get permission to apply.

During the training session, they cannot have any married living quarters. They also cannot live with their family out of the property.


CDS Vacancies

The UPSC has published the CDS vacancy details along with the official notification.

The applicants can read the CDS vacancy details. It will help them to understand the hiring process.

Below are the details for CDS 1 Vacancy and CDS 2 Vacancy according to the designations.

For CDS 1 2021 Vacancies

Designations Course NCC Vacancies Total Vacancies
IMA, Dehradun 152nd DE course starting from January 2022 13 100
INA, Ezhimala Executive Branch (General Service) / Hydro course beginning from January 2022 6 26
AFA, Hyderabad Training Course (Pre–flying) starting from January 2022 3 32
OTA, Chennai 115th SSC (Non-Technical) Course for Men beginning from April 2022 Nil 170
OTA, Chennai 29th SSC (Non-Technical) Course for Women initiating from April 2022 Nil 17
Total   22 345


For CDS 2 2021 Vacancies

Designations Course NCC Vacancies Total Vacancies
IMA, Dehradun 153rd DE course starting from July 2022 13 100
INA, Ezhimala Executive Branch (General Service) / Hydro course beginning from July 2022 3 22
AFA, Hyderabad Training Course (Pre–flying) starting from July 2022 3 32
OTA, Chennai 116th SSC (Non-Technical) Course for Men beginning from October 2022 Nil 169
OTA, Chennai 30th SSC (Non-Technical) Course for Women starting from October 2022 Nil 16
Total   19 339


CDS Salary

After getting appointed, a Lieutenant will get INR 56,100 – 1,77,500/- per month. Throughout the training session, other applicants get a fixed salary of INR 56,100/- per month. From Lieutenant to Brigadier, one gets a proper military service salary of INR 15,500/- each month. The applicants can get an idea about the CDS salary structure from the table below.

Positions Level Salary Promotion after
Lieutenant Level 10 INR 56,100 – 1,77,500 Promotion after the training gets completed
Captain Level 10 B INR 61,300 – 1,93,900 After two years of service
Major Level 11 INR 69,400 – 2,07,200 After six years of service
Lieutenant Colonel Level 12 A INR 1,21,200 – 2,12,400 After thirteen years of service
Colonel Level 13 INR 1,30,600 – 2,15,900 After fifteen years of service
Brigadier Level 13 A INR 1,39,600 – 2,17,600 After twenty-three years of service
Major General Level 14 INR 1,44,200 – 2,18,200 After twenty-five years of service
Lieutenant General Level 15 INR 1,82,200 – 2,24,100 After twenty-eight years of service
HAG + Scale Level 16 INR 2,05,400 – 2,24,400 After twenty-six years of service
VCOAS/ Lieutenant General / Army Cdr Level 17 INR 2,25,000 (allotted) No limitations
COAS Level 18 INR 2,25,000 (allotted) No limitations


CDS Syllabus

Applicants can download the previous year’s papers for better knowledge. The CDS Exams get organized based on the questions from three sections. Those are General Knowledge, Elementary Math, and English Language. All the appeared applicants can later see their results on the official website of UPSC. Some candidates get selected for SSB interviews. These successful applicants are then designated into the particular post by the SSB. A total of 6,552 applicants gets shortlisted for SSB interviews. The question paper gets divided into three sections. They are General Knowledge, Mathematics, and the English language. The applicants should be well aware of the subjects as well as the topics for the examination.

Subject Papers Topics
General Knowledge –        Current events of 4-5 months from the examination date.-        History-        Physical Science-        Biological Science-        Geography-        Political Science
English language –         Basic Grammar-         Synonyms-         Antonyms-         Comprehension Solving-         Error Spotting-         Para Jumbles
Elementary Mathematics –         Natural numbers-         Integers-         Percentages-         Rational and Real numbers-         Time and work-         Time and distance-         Profit and loss-         Ratio and proportion-         Prime and composite numbers-         Simple and compound interest-         HCF and LCM-         Euclidean algorithm-         Geometry-         Logarithms-         Trigonometry-         Statistics-         Mensuration


CDS Exam Pattern

The CDS 2021 examination pattern gets classified into two parts.

  1. Theoretical Examination
  2. Intelligence and Personality Examination.

The examination pattern for OTA is different from IMA, INA, and AFA. CDS examination pattern for IMA, INA, and AFA IMA, INA, and AFA has three subjects. The total marks of the subjects are 300.

Subject Papers Marks Time scale
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
English 100 2 hours
Elementary Mathematics 100 2 hours


CDS examination pattern for OTA

OTA has two subjects. The total marks of the subjects are 200.

The total time scale is 4 hours.

Subject Papers Marks Time scale
GK 100 2 hours
English 100 2 hours


  1. The applicant gets negative marking in case of incorrect answers.
  2. The quality of the papers in the case of Elementary Mathematics will be of 10th class level.
  3. The quality of the papers in other subjects will be of a graduate level.
  4. The examination papers are set in two languages. English and Hindi.
  5. It consists of only MCQs.


CDS Exam Admit Card

The CDS admit card got released on the official website of UPSC. The admit card always gets released three weeks before the examination. The applicants have to visit the site. Next, The applicant should log in to their account with their Roll No and Registration No.

Then the applicant gets advised to go through the admit card. The applicant has to check that the information is correct or not. After that, the applicant can download the admit card. They had to bring it to the exam center. Or else, the applicant would not get permitted to appear for the examination.

If the applicants find any difficulty in the Admit Card, then they will not get permission to sit in the exam.


CDS Exam Result

The CDS Exams Result gets declared on the official website in two stages. Firstly, Theoretical exam and Lastly, Final selection. The committee first publishes the result of the theoretical examination. Then they publish the final result. The result shows the roll numbers and names of candidates in PDF format. These candidates are then interviewed by the SSB.

The applicants who sat for the examination get qualified to see the result.

The CDS Exams Results can get checked using the following steps :

  1. Firstly, select the official website of UPSC.
  2. Then, select the “Results” link under the “Navigation” section.
  3. Under that, look for the “UPSC CDS II Result” link and select it.
  4. Then, Fill in the necessary details such as Registration Number and Date of Birth.
  5. Select the “Submit” button.
  6. Lastly, Check the Result status with your Roll Number and Name.

Cut-off is the least score needed to appear in these examinations. The CDS Exams Cut-off score gets released after the CDS Exams Result.

Academics Theoretical examination Final examination
IMA 120 – 130 245 – 255
INA 105 – 120 233 – 245
AFA 145 – 150 268 – 270
OTA (Men) 73 – 85 162 – 170
OTA (Women) 74 – 85 164 – 170


How to apply for CDS Exam?

  • At first, the applicant should visit the official website.
  • Then, select the Online Application for Various Examinations of UPSC.
  • After that, the applicant selects the Part-I category.
  • Then click on the Combined Defense Services Examination section.
  • The applicant should go through the instructions from Part-I.
  • Then they should click on the ‘Yes’ button.
  • The application form comes on the computer screen.
  • Next, the applicant has to fill in the contact details and personal information.
  • Based on the age and notification, the applicant should select their desirable institute.
  • After that, the Registration ID gets created.
  • Then, the applicant should complete the Part-II Application form next.
  • The applicant should pay the application fees.
  • Then they can select their preferable examination center.
  • Next, the applicant should upload the scanned copy of their signature and photograph. This will be in the mentioned file size and dimensions.
  • After that, the applicant should click on the “Submit” button.
  • Lastly, the application form should get printed by the applicant.


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Q. What are the ways to get selected for the CDS Exams?

The CDS selection procedure gets divided into two processes.

Firstly, The Theoretical Exam and Lastly, The SSB Interview.

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

No. CDS-I and CDS-II are similar examinations that get organized every year. Hence, the applicant has to get eligible once to get considered for hiring.

Q. Is there any physical examination for CDS Exams?

Yes. There is a physical examination as well as medical examination in CDS.

Q. Are the CDS 2 2021 Admit Cards published?

No. The CDS 2 2021 Admit Card will get published on the official website of UPSC. It will be three weeks before the CDS 2 examination.

Q. When does the CDS 2 2021 notification gets published?

CDS 2 2021 notification got published on 4th August by UPSC.

Q. What is the pattern of CDS theoretical examination?

The theoretical examination of CDS gets carried out offline.

Besides, the exam paper consists of three categories. They are English, Elementary Mathematics, and GK.

The total exam score is 300. Also, the examination pattern is distinguishing for different courses.

Q. In how many shifts do the CDS Exams gets carried out?

CDS examination will get carried out in three shifts. Firstly, the English paper will be from 9.00 am to 11.00 am. Secondly, GK will be from 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm. Lastly, Elementary Mathematics will be from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

Q. Does UPSC release the CDS Exams answer key?

Yes. UPSC releases the CDS Exams answer key after the examination ends.

Q. What is the educational requirement necessary for the CDS Exams?

The educational qualification needed is Graduation.

Q. Can girls get registered for the CDS Exams?

Girls can get registered for OTA.

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