CDS(Combined Defence Services)

CDS stands for Combined Defence Services, candidates  who wants to be a part of Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy have to apply for Combined Defence Services Examination. CDS exam is conducted twice in a year by UPSC (Union Public Services Conducted), candidates who have cleared CDS written exam will be called for interview by Service Selection Board (SSB) and the successful candidates will be appointed with respective training academies.

The Notification for the CDS exam is usually released in the months of October and June, and CDS exam is conducted twice in year in the months February and November.

Candidate who have cleared their written CDS exam will be called service selection board (SSB) To qualify,  a candidate needs to score minimum qualifying marks separately in written exam and SSB test as fixed by the commission. Qualified candidates will then be placed in the final order of merit on the basis of total marks secured by them in the Written examination and the Services Selection Board Tests along with consideration of their medical fitness.

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Selected candidates are admitted to various branches of armed forces like

Eligibility Criteria

  • Age Limit for CDS Exam

Indian Military Academy         :   19-24 years
Air Force Academy                   :   19-24 years
Naval Academy                         :   19-22 years
Officers’ Training Academy  :   19-27 years

  • Educational Qualification for CDS Exam

Degree of a recognized University or equivalent for IMA and OTA

B.Sc. with Physics & Mathematics or Bachelor of Engg for Naval Academy

B.Sc. with Physics and/or Mathematics or Bachelor of Engg for Air Force Academy


For CDS exam, applicants can be from any stream but for entry to Air Force and Navy, candidates should have studied physics and maths up to Class 12. Candidates who are studying in the final year degree course and have yet to pass the final year degree examination can also apply for CDS Exam.


Candidates who have opted for IMA, NA and AFA are going to write objective type three papers each of 100 marks  on – English , General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics.

Candidates who have opted for OTA are going to write objective type three papers each of 100 marks  on – English and General Knowledge.

Instructions for CDS Exam

The whole paper will be comprise of multiple choice questions only.

Negative is applicable in CDS examination, 1\3rd marks will be deducted on every wrong answer.

Commission have discretion to fix qualifying marks in any one or in all the subjects.

Use of calculators are not allowed for the candidates for answering the objective type papers like Test Booklets.

Examination process

Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy and Naval Academy

It includes three papers of 100 marks each

  1. English – 100 marks
  2. General Knowledge – 100 Marks
  3. Elementary Mathematics – 100 Marks

Total = 300 Marks

Subject No. of Questions Marks Timing
English 120 100 2 Hours
General Knowledge 120 100 2 Hours
Elementary Maths 100 100 2 Hours
Total 340 300 2 Hours

Officers Training Academy

  1. English – 100 Marks
  2. General Knowledge – 100 Marks

So there is no mathematics.

The most important paper is mathematics where you have to answer 100 questions in just 120 minutes. So prepare enough before entering the examination hall.