CDS Exam 2021: Application Form, Exam Date, Eligibility, Pattern & Syllabus

CDS which is basically termed as combined defense services which are exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission UPSC twice a year.  The UPSC conducts CDS examination to fulfill the requirement of the Indian Military Academy, officers training academy OTA, Indian Naval Academy (NNA), and Indian Airforce Academy (IAFA).

The dates on notification of the examinations usually released in the month of October and the tests are conducted in February and November respectively.

According to the policy of UPSC unmarried graduates males and females are eligible for CDS exams. Although divorced female candidates age, less than 25  considered as unmarried.

All the people who will be successful in the examinations will be sent to their respective Academies after an interview conducted by Service Selection Board which is called SSB.

The recruitment of CDS is for the defense bodies of India. This examination can give by any graduate irrespective with the field of education stream and course in IMA and OTA Female candidates are only eligible for OTA officers training academy Chennai.

New Click Here to Check UPSC CDS Exam I Result.

Important Dates for UPSC CDS 2021 Exam I

Date of Notification 28th October 2020
Last date to apply for UPSC CDS I Exam 17th November 2021
Exam Date ( UPSC CDS I Exam) 7th February 2021

Important Dates for UPSC CDS 2021 Exam II

Date of Notification August 2021
The last date to apply for UPSC CDS II Exam September 2021
Exam Date ( UPSC CDS II Exam) November 2021

Number of Vacancies

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun Will be updated soon.
Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala Will be updated soon.
Air Force Academy, Hyderabad Will be updated soon.
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai Will be updated soon.
Officers Training Academy, Chennai Women (Non-Technical) Course Will be updated soon.

Eligibility Criteria

Age limit

Indian Military Academy 19-24 years
Air Force Academy 19-23 years
Naval Academy 19-22 years
Officers’ Training Academy 19-25 years

Eligibility of CDS

  • The candidate must be a Citizen of India.
  • The candidate must be in the age group 18 to 24 years.
  • The candidate must have Complete Graduation.

Syllabus and Exam of CDS Examinations

The Scheme, Standard, and Syllabus of the Examination


  1. The Competitive examination comprises:
  • (a) Written examination as shown in para 2 below.
  • (b) Interview for intelligence and personality test (vide Part ‘B’ of this Appendix) of such candidates as may be called for interview at one of the Services Selection Centres.

The subjects of the written examination, the time allowed and the maximum marks allotted to each subject will be as follows:

For Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy:

The maximum marks allotted to the written examination and to the interviews will be equal for each course. The maximum marks allotted to the written examination and the interviews will be 300, 300, 300, and 200 each for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Officers’ Training Academy respectively.

  1. The papers in all the subjects will consist of objective-type questions only. The question papers (Test Booklets) of General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics will be set bilingually in Hindi as well as English.
  2. In the question papers, wherever necessary, questions involving the metric system of Weights and Measures only will set.
  3. Candidates must write the papers in their hand. In no circumstances will they be allowed the help of a scribe to write answers for them.
  4. The Commission have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects of the examination.
  5. The candidates are not permitted to use the calculator for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not, therefore, bring the same inside the Examination Hall.


The standard of the papers in Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level. The standard of papers in other subjects will approximately be such as may be expected of a graduate of an Indian University.


The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.


General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject.

The paper will also include questions on History of India and Geography of nature which candidate should be able to answer without special study.



  • Number System – Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations, addition, subtraction, 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.


  • Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M., Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, the 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.


  • Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90° Values of sin ×, cos × and tan ×, for × = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°
  • Simple trigonometric identities.
  • Use of trigonometric tables.
  • Simple cases of heights and distances.


Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on

  1. Properties of angles at a point,
  2. Parallel lines,
  3. Sides and angles of a triangle,
  4. Congruency of triangles,
  5. Similar triangles,
  6. The concurrence of medians and altitudes,
  7. Properties of angles, sides, and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square,
  8. Circles and its properties including tangents and normals,
  9. Loci.


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.


Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts etc. Measures of central tendency.


The SSB procedure consists of two stage Selection process – stage I and stage II. Only those candidates who clear the stage I are permitted to appear for stage II.

  1. Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception* Description Test (PP & DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.
  2. Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and the Conference. These tests are conducted over 4 days. The details of these tests are given on the website

The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz. The Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist.

There are no separate weightage for each test. The marks are allotted by assessors only after taking into consideration the performance of the candidate holistically in all the test.

In addition, marks for Conference are also allotted based on the initial performance of the Candidate in the three techniques and decision of the Board. All these have equal weightage.

The various tests of IO, GTO and Psych are designed to bring out the presence/absence of Officer Like Qualities and their trainability in a candidate.

Accordingly candidates are Recommended or Not Recommended at the SSB.

Exam Pattern

Objective Questions (MCQs) with subjects like English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics and criteria will be as:

For IMA, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy

Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
2 Hours 100
2 Hours 100

For Officer’s Training Academy:

Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
2 Hours 100

Education Qualification for CDS Examination

Post Name Educational Qualification
Indian Military Academy (I.M.A) Degree from a Recognized University or Equivalent
Indian Naval Academy Degree in Engineering from Recognized University
Air Force Academy Degree of a Recognized University with Physics and Mathematics or Bachelor’s in Engineering
Officer’s Training Academy 103rd SSC Course Professional and Technical Qualification
Officer’s Training Academy 17th SSC Women Course

Number of Attempts for CDS examinations – Unlimited 

Fees for CDS Examinations –

  • 200/- via Net Banking or Credit/Debit Card or at SBI via Chalan
  • Candidates (excepting Female/SC/ST candidates who are exempted from Payment of fee)

Use of mobile phones and Calculator in CDS examinations –

  • Mobiles phones, pagers/ Bluetooth or any other communication devices are not allowed inside the premises where the examination is being conducted.
  • Any infringement of these instructions shall entail disciplinary action including ban from future examinations.

Negative Marking for Wrong Answers in Examinations

There will be a penalty (negative marking) for wrong answers marked by a candidate in the objective type question papers.

  • There are four alternatives for the answer to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate. One third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
  • If a candidate given more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happens to be correct and there will be the same penalty as above for that question.

Contact Number and Facilitation Center Detail for CDS examinations

In the case of any guidance/information/clarification regarding their application, candidature, etc. candidates can contact UPSC’s Facilitation Counter near Gate ‘C’ of its campus in person or over Telephone No.011-23385271/011-23381125/011- 23098543 on working days between 10.00 hrs. To 17.00 hrs.

List of Courses an Allocation of Departments after giving CDS Examinations

  • Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
  • Officers Training Academy, Chennai (For Women)
  • Air Force Academy, Hyderabad
  • Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala
  • Officers Training Academy, Chennai

How to Apply for CDS Examination

Follow these steps to Apply Online for CDS:

  • Go to the above link
  • Click on Online Application and then on CDS  Exam
  • Now fill the form after reading all the instructions
  • The information should be correct or in details
  • Upload your scanned passport sized photograph on the given space for Photograph
  • Pay the application fees of Rs.200/- via Net Banking or Credit/Debit Card
  • Take a printout of the filled form

Centers for CDC Examinations


For any other query regarding the CDS Exam 2021, you can ask us by leaving your comment below.

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  1. Rajat Tyagi says:

    Thanks for sharing the detail information about the UPSC CDS exam. Very useful for job aspirants.

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