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Combined Defence Services Exam 2021

Eligibility | Dates | Pattern | Syllabus

Last Updated on 26th April, 2021
UPSC

The Combined Defence Services Examination (abbreviated as CDS Exam) is conducted twice a year, CDS-I in February and CDS-II in November by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment into the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. Both the exams are the same. Usually, notification for CDS-I comes in the month of October and for CDS-II comes in the month of June.

Only unmarried candidates are enabled to apply for this exam. In Airforce and in SSC (women non-technical course) married persons can apply. Female can apply only for Officer’s Training Academy (SSC women non-technical course) and only in this course widow or divorcees, who have no issue or have not remarried can apply.
The exam is conducted in two different phases, Written and SSB Interview. The qualified candidates for the Written Exam can appear for the Interview.

Exam Highlights

Level of Exam Graduate, National Level
Exam Medium English, Hindi
Exam Frequency Twice in a year
Purpose of the Exam Recruitment into the Indian Army Academy, Indian Airforce Academy, Officer’s Training Academy and Indian Naval Academy.
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
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CDS Exam Eligibity Criteria 2021

  1. Nationality
  2. (i) a Citizen of India, or
    (ii) a subject of Nepal, or
    (iii) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

    Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (ii) and (iii) above shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

  3. Educational Qualification
  4. (i) For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai — Degree of a recognised University or equivalent.
    (ii) For Indian Naval Academy—Degree in Engineering from a recognised University/Institution.
    (iii) For Air Force Academy—Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering. Graduates with first choice as Army/Navy/Air Force are to submit proof of Graduation/provisional certificates on the date of commencement of the SSB Interview at the SSB.

    Physical Standards

    Candidates must be physically and mentally fit. The minimum acceptability of height for men is 157.5 cms and for women
    150cms. In Airforce aspirants of 162.5 cms height are considered eligible. However, for candidates from some regions like the North-East, Lakshadweep, Garhwali and Kumaon get relaxation by 5 cms.

  5. Age Limit
  6. 1. Indian Military Academy- 19-24 years
    2. Air Force Academy- 20-24 years
    3. Officer’s Training Academy- 19-25 years
    4. Officers Training Academy (SSC women non-technical course)- 19-25 years
    5. Indian Naval Academy- 19-24 years

  7. Restrictions on Attempts
  8. There is no attempt restriction for the candidates provided the upper age limit has not been exceeded.

CDS Exam Important Dates 2021

Event Date
Starting Date of Application August 4, 2021
Last Date of Application August 24, 2021
Admit Card To be notified
Written Exam (C.D.S. II) November 14, 2021
CDS-II Result To be notified

CDS Exam Pattern 2021

The Competitive examination comprises:
(a) Written examination.
(b) Interview for intelligence and personality test.

Pattern for Phase I (IMA, AFA and INA)

CDS Written Exam for IMA, INA and AFA

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 English

This paper will check the understanding of English language of the candidates

Merit Ranking Nature 120 Objective (Multiple Choice) 120 mins 0.33 100
2 General Knowledge

The general knowledge paper will test the knowledge of the candidates in the currents affairs and matters of every observation.

Merit Ranking Nature 120 Objective (Multiple Choice) 120 mins 0.33 100
3 Elementary Mathematics

The standard of questions in this section will be from matriculation level. It will test the mathematical knowledge of the candidates

Merit Ranking Nature 120 Objective (Multiple Choice) 120 mins 0.33 100
Total Marks* 300

*The total marks shown here are considered for merit ranking purposes.

Pattern for Phase I (OTA)

CDS Written Exam for OTA

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 English

This test will check the vocabulary, grammar and comprehensive abilities of the candidates.

Merit Ranking Nature 120 Objective (Multiple Choice) 120 mins 0.33 100
2 General Knowledge

This section will test the awareness of the candidate about the current scenarios in the country and also about the world.

Merit Ranking Nature 100 Objective (Multiple Choice) 120 mins 0.33 100
Total Marks* 200

*The total marks shown here are considered for merit ranking purposes.

Pattern for Intelligence and Personality Test

The Intelligence and Personality Test is conducted by the Services Selection Board. The interview procedure consists of a two-stage selection process- Stage-I and Stage-II. Only those candidates who clear Stage-I are permitted to appear for Stage-II. These tests are conducted over 4 days.

CDS Exam Syllabus 2021

Syllabus for Phase I (IMA, AFA and INA)

1 CDS Written exam English

  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Spotting Errors
  • Sentence Improvement
  • Word Substitution
  • Selecting Words
  • Comprehension
  • Ordering of Sentences
  • Ordering of Words in a Sentence
  • 2 CDS Written exam General Knowledge

  • Indian Economy
  • Politics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Defence Related
  • Environment
  • Art & Culture
  • Current Awareness
  • Sociology
  • Award
  • Sports
  • Books
  • 3 CDS Written exam Elementary Mathematics

  • Arithmetic: Number System—Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations, addition, substraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions. Unitary method, time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to simple and compound interest, profit and loss, ratio and proportion, variation.
    Elementary Number Theory—Division algorithm. Prime and composite numbers. Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11. Multiples and factors. Factorisation Theorem. H.C.F. and L.C.M. Euclidean algorithm. Logarithms to base 10, laws of logarithms, use of logarithmic tables.
  • Algebra: Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M., Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered). Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—analytical and graphical solutions. Simultaneous linear inequations in two variables and their solutions. Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or inequations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions. Set language and set notation, Rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices.
  • Trigonometry: Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90° Values of sin ×, cos × and tan ×, for × = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° .
  • Geometry: Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on (i) Properties of angles at a point, (ii) Parallel lines, (iii) Sides and angles of a triangle, (iv) Congruency of triangles, (v) Similar triangles, (vi) Concurrence of medians and altitudes, (vii) Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square, (viii) Circles and its properties including tangents and normals, (ix) Loci.
  • Mensuration: Areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangle and circle. Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book), Surface area and volume of cuboids, lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, surface area and volume of spheres.
  • Statistics: Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts etc. Measures of central tendency.
  • Syllabus for Phase I (OTA)

    1 CDS Written exam English

  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Spotting Errors
  • Sentence Improvement
  • Word Substitution
  • Selecting Words
  • Comprehension
  • Ordering of Sentences
  • Ordering of Words in a Sentence
  • 2 CDS Written exam General Knowledge

  • Indian Economy
  • Politics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Defence Related
  • Environment
  • Art & Culture
  • Current Awareness
  • Sociology
  • Award
  • Sports
  • Books
  • Syllabus for Intelligence and Personality Test

    (a) Stage-I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception* Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on the combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.

    (b) Stage-II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference.

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