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 UPSC has announced the CDS Exam Date 2023 for both exams. UPSC conducted CDS 1 2023 on 16th April 2023 and will conduct 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.
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-Notification-2023
|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 Fee||INR 200/-|
|Recruitment Process|| Written examination|
Intelligence and Personality Test (Interview)
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.|
Check out other Defence Exams –
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 Events||CDS 1 Dates||CDS 2 Dates|
|CDS Notiﬁcation 2023||21st December 2022||17th May 2023|
|Online Registration Starts||21st December 2022||17th May 2023|
|Online Registration Ends||10th January 2023||06th June 2023|
|Online Application Withdrawn||18th to 24th January 2023||To be notiﬁed|
|CDS Admit Card release||24th March 2023||August 2023 (Tentative)|
|CDS Exam Date 2023||16th April 2023||03rd September 2023|
|CDS Result 2023||4th May 2023||September 2023 (Tentative)|
|Interview date||To be notiﬁed||To be notiﬁed|
|Final Result||To be notiﬁed||To be notiﬁed|
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
|Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh)||Itanagar||Rajkot|
|Gautam Buddh Nagar||Navi Mumbai||Warangal|
The CDS Exam Pattern is classified into two parts.
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.
|General Knowledge||100||2 hours|
|Elementary Mathematics||100||2 hours|
OTA has two subjects. The total marks for the exam are 200, and the candidate will have to complete the exam in 4hrs.
|General Knowledge||100||2 hours|
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 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 1||Oﬃcer Intelligence Rating (OIR)|
Picture Prescription and Descriptive Test
|Stage 2||Interview Group Testing Oﬃcer (GTO) Tasks|
|Stage 3||Group Discussion|
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.
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.
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:
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:
Idioms and Phrases
Synonyms and Antonyms
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:
|Arithmetic||Number 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.
Use of Logarithmic Tables and Logarithms to base 10, Laws of Logarithms
|Algebra||Theory 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
|Trigonometry||Sine ×, 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
|Geometry||Plane & Plane Figures, Lines & Angles Theorems on Properties of Angles at a Point|
Sides & Angles of a Triangle
Congruency of 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
|Mensuration||Areas 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
|Statistics||Collection and Tabulation of Statistical Data|
Graphical Representation of Frequency: Polygons, Pie Charts, Histograms, and Bar Charts.
Measures of Central Tendency
The following topics will be covered in the CDS preparation:
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 –CDS-Result-2023
|Category||Written Exam Cut Off||Final Exam Cut Off|
|IMA ( Indian Military Academy)||136||258|
|INA (Indian Naval Academy)||128||256|
|AFA (Air Force Academy)||147||269|
|OTA (Ofﬁcers’ Training Academy) Men||100||181|
|OTA (Ofﬁcers’ Training Academy) Women||100||184|
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 Ranks||CDS Pay Scale||Pay Level|
|Lieutenant||Rs 56,100/ to 1,77,500/ Per month||Level 10|
|Captain||Rs 61,300/ to 1,93,900/ Per month||Level 10B|
|Major||Rs 69,400/ to 2,07,200/ Per month||Level 11|
|Lt Colonel||Rs 1,21,200/ to 2,12,400/ Per month||Level 12A|
|Colonel||Rs 1,30,600/ to 2,15,900/ Per month||Level 13|
|Brigadier||Rs 1,39,600/ to 2,17,600/ Per month||Level 13A|
|Major General||Rs 1,44,200/ to 2,18,200/ Per month||Level 14|
|Lieutenant General HAG Scale||Rs 1,82,200/ to 2,24,100/ Per month||Level 15|
|HAG+Scale||Rs 2,05,400/ to 2,24,400/ Per month||Level 16|
|VCOAS/Army CDR/ Lieutenant General (NFSG)||Rs 2,25,000/ Per month (ﬁxed)||Level 17|
|COAS||Rs 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A candidate can appear for the CDS examination a maximum of four times.