CDS EXAM, 2020

CDS Exam(Combined Defence Services Examination)is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC). Through this exam, the conducting body recruits Commissioned Officers in Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. This exam consists of two stages such as the written test and SSB Interview.

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Latest Updates:

The results of CDS(I) 2020 has been announced on March 23, 2020, in the PDF format on their official website The further notification for CDS(II) has not been released due to the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 all over the world including India. Check Here CDS (I) 2020 Results

  • CDS syllabus of the Written test includes Three sections: English Language, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics.

  •  After cracking CDS theoretical written test the qualifying candidates need to prepare for two-staged SSB Interview. Check Here CDS 2020 Selection Process

  • Through this interview, recruiters will recruit the candidates as per their capability and preference.

  • candidates can expect 56,100 – 1,77,500 at the beginning of their career.

CDS 2020 Highlights:

Name of ExamCombined Defence Services
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commision
Mode of Application Online
Application Fees 200 INR
Mode of Exam Offline
Total Vacancies 418
Frequency of Exam 2 times / year
Stages of Selection Written test and SSB Interview
Official website
E-mail [email protected]

CDS (I) Exam 2020 Important Dates:

Last Date of Application November 19, 2019
Period of Application Withdrawl November 11, 2019 - December 13 2019
Date of Admit Card January 27, 2020
Date of Exam February 2, 2020
Date of Results March 23, 2020

CDS (II) Exam 2020: Important Dates:

Last Date of Application August 05, 2020
Period of Application Withdrawl August 25, 2020
Date of Admit Card 3 weeks before Exam
Date of Exam November 08, 2020(tentative)
Date of Results December 2020(tentative)

CDS 2020: Eligibility Criteria:

CDS 2020 Eligibility Criteria is divided into 4 sections: Nationality, Age, Marital Status, and Gender. Though candidates from both gender can participle in this exam but the criteria is different. Physical fitness also plays a vital role here. To know in details, click CDS 2020 Eligibility Criteria 

Nationality : 

Candidate must be unmarried and must be any of the followings:

  1.  a Citizen of India,

  2. A subject of Bhutan,

  3. A subject of Nepal,

  4. A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India,

  5. 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. 


  • Candidates under 2, 3, 4 and 5 must have certificated or proof issued by Indian Government in favour of their statement.

  • Candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal are not required to show any kind of certificate of eligibility. 

  • A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary may be admitted to the examination provisionally subject to the necessary certificate being given to him/her by the Govt. before the declaration of result by UPSC. 

Age Limits, Sex and Marital Status :

As per the declaration of UPSC, the candidates need to be unmarried and should not be a widower or should not be a divorcee. Here is a chart clarifying the eligibility criteria related to Age relaxation, gender and marital:

ServiceAgeLimitGenderMaritial Status
Indian Military Academy (IMA) 19 – 24 Male Unmarried
Indian Naval Academy (INA) 19 – 24 Male Unmarried
Air Force Academy 19 – 23 Male Unmarried
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC) 19 – 25 Both (M & F) Unmarried

Educational Qualification: 

Candidates who are applying for CDS Exam, have to be a graduate or at least appearing the final exam of eligible degree. . 

  • For I.M.A. and OTA, candidates should have a degree of a university or equivalent degree from institutions that have been recognized by Central/State Government. 

  • For INA( Indian Naval Academy), candidates will need to have a Degree in Engineering from a recognized University/institution. 

  • To apply Air Force Academy, applicants needs a degree of a recognized university( with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2) or a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. 

Note: candidates who are in the final year of their eligible degree also can apply for CDS. but they will need to show the proof of passing the qualifying exam by a date to be specified in the Commission’s Notice for the CDS Exam. 

CDS 2020: Syllabus and Exam Pattern: 

CDS syllabus and Exam pattern is different for IMA, INA , AFA and OTA. the written test is a one-day exam, it is quite a long procedure. Candidates applying for IMA, INA, and AFA give the test of 6 hours containing 300 marks whereas the OTA applicants gives 4 hours of exam containing 200 marks. 

CDS 2020 Syllabus: 

CDS syllabus consists of three sections: English Language, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics and the Elementary Mathematics are divided into 7 parts such as Arithmetic Ability, Trigonometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Geometry, Statistics and Numbers System. 

English Usage of words, Grammar, Vocabulary, Antonyms & Synonyms, Parts of Speech, Direct & Indirect Speech, Idioms & Phrases, Active & Passive Voice, Ordering of words in a sentence, Spotting Errors, etc.
General Knowledge Indian History, Indian Geography, Current Events (National & International), Indian Culture & Heritage, Indian Economy, General Politics, Indian Constitution, Biology Statement true/false Physics Chemistry Defence-related Environment Current Awareness
Mathematics Arithmetic Ability, Trigonometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Geometry, Statistics and Numbers System.

CDS 2020 Exam Pattern and Marking Scheme:

The syllabus for IMA, INA and AFA consists of 3 sections: English language, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. On the other hand, the syllabus of OTA consists of 2 sections: English and General knowledge. There will be negative marking of -0.33 for each incorrect attempt. 

CDS Exam: Marking Scheme:

The marking scheme is different for each section of the CDS Exam:

  • In both sections English and General Awareness, for each correct answers, candidates will obtain +0.83 and for each wrong attempt will be deducted -0.27 marks. 

  • In Mathematics, candidates will gain +1 marks for every correct answer and will be deducted – 0.33 for each wrong attempts. 

SectionNumber of QuestionsDurationMaximum Marks
English 120 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge 120 2 Hours 100
Elementary Mathematics 100 2 Hours 100
( Total ) For IMA, INA & AFA 340 6 Hours 300
For OTA 240 4 Hours 200

CDS Selection and Interview Procedure: 

Candidates who successfully qualify the written test will only be eligible for the Interview procedure. CDS Interview has 2 stages: 

  • Stage I contains Officer Intelligence Rating Test that means this test will check candidates’ capacity of Picture Perception and Description Test (PP&DT)

  • Stage II contains tests like Psychological Test, Interview, Group Testing Office Task, and Conference. 

Candidates also can request for postponing the Interview. This request will only be considered if the circumstances are very genuine and if it is convenient for Army headquarters /Air Headquarter /Naval HQ will be the sole deciding authority.

After the interview process, candidates will be taken for the document verification. Documents like Qualification Certificates, Proof of Identity( PAN, Aadhar, Voter Card), Birth Certificate, Passport-size Photograph, Category Certificate if belong to Reserve category and Residence Proof will be required in the document verification procedure.

CDS 2020: Vacancies: 

The number of vacancies varies every year. UPSC is offering 418 vacancies through CDS exam Here is tabular which denotes the number of vacancies each post has: 

Name of CourseNumber of Vacancies
Indian Military Academy, Dehradun 100
Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala 45
Air Force Academy, Hyderabad 32
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Men) 225
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Women) 16

CDS 2020: Career Growth and Opportunities: 

Candidates are always excited about the career opportunities and growth that have been offered to qualified CDS candidates. Let’s discuss the ranks and promotions:

RanksPromotion ( years of service)
Lieutenant On completion of training
Captain 2 Years
Major 6 years
Lieutenant Colonel 13 years
Colonel(TS) 16 years
Colonel 15 years
Brigadier 23 years
Major General 25 years
Lieutenant General 28 years
General No restrictions

CDS 2020: Results And Cutoff: 

UPSC releases two types of Cutoff :

  1. CDS cutoff of Written

  2. Final CDS Cut off

Candidates needs to score minimum 20% marks to qualify in each subject. Those who are declared as qualified candidates will only be able to attend SSB Interview. The final Cutoff is announced based on the written test and SSB Interview

Previous Year Cutoff:

CDS (I) 2019 had a sectional cutoff also. From previous year cutoff candidates will have an idea the cutoff range:

AcademyWritten Exam Final Exam
IMA 130 225
INA 110 225
AFA 150 264
OTA(Men) 86 169
OTA(Women) 86 172

CDS 2020: Preparation Tips:

Every candidate has their own method of preparation and rules. But there are few things those should be kept in mind while you are preparing for CDS Exam:

  • At the starting of preparation, go though CDS Syllabus and CDS Exam Pattern very carefully so that you can understand it thoroughly. 

  • If you have planned to appear for CDS, try to start your preparation at least 4 to 6 months before CDS Exam.

  • Follow the regular schedule that you have made by yourself as per your merit and comfort according to CDS Syllabus.

  • Follow the Current Affairs on daily basis both online and offline.

  • Try solving the question papers of previous years and sample question papers you can get and save the scratch papers for analyzing your merit.

  • Take mocks tests by setting up the timers in your watch. This will help you to maintain speed and accuracy to develop yourself. 

Recommendation of Books for CDS Exam :

Here are some recommended books which candidates should follow with online mock tests and can find online market also: 
English Crack the code, English. by Anjali Dhage
Mathematics Cracking the Code, Mathematics by Krisna
Geography Learn Geography Fundamentals, by Ashish Wankhade

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