CDS 2020: Admit Card, Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation Tips

By | June 13, 2020
Combined Defence Service

UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) is yet to release the notification for CDS II 2020. CDS is known as Combined Defence Service. It is conducted to recruit for various posts in the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. UPSC conducts it twice (February and November) in a year. UPSC will conduct it on 8th November 2020.

The notification released for the CDS examination twice in a year in the months of November and February. Married candidates are not eligible for this examination.

CDS Exam 2020

The exam is conducted in 3 stages which are:

  1. Written Examination
  2. Personal Interview
  3. Medical Examination

Those who clear the examination successfully are eligible for a fixed stipend of 21000/- every month. Officers salary is increased after the announcement of 6th and 7th pay commission.

Important CDS Exam Dates

CDS 2 2020 Events Dates
CDS 2 2020 Application Start Date 05 August 2020
CDS 2 2020 Application Last Date 25 August 2020
CDS 2 2020 Exam Date 08 November 2020
CDS 2 2020 Admit Card Download Date Before 3 weeks of exam
CDS 2 2020 Result Date (Expected) Announced Soon

CDS Important Highlights

Exam Name Combined Defence Services Exam
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission
Official Website
Exam Type National Level Recruitment Test
Exam Date 8 November 2020
Eligibility Criteria Bachelor’s degree in Engineering required for IMA, INA and AFA
Mode of Application Online
Exam Mode Offline
Duration 2 hours

CDS Eligibility Criteria

Candidates who want to join Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy need to apply for CDS. Before going to apply for that they need to check their Eligibility Criteria, will they eligible for not?

Age Limit

  • Candidates whose age fall below than 19 years will not eligible.
  • The age will be calculated from 1 January 2020.
    • IMA – 19 years to 24 years
    • AFA – 19 years to 23 years
    • INA – 19 years to 22 years
    • OTA – 19 years to 25 years
  • Candidates should be a citizen of India. Candidates who are from Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Sri Lanka & various East African Countries will also eligible.
  • Candidate should be unmarried to apply for IMA, INA & AFA. Male Applicants at OTA are exempted from this restriction while Unmarried women, issueless widows and divorcees can apply for OTA.
  • Physical Standards: Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Combined Defence Services Examination (I), 2020 as per guidelines of UPSC.

Educational Qualification

The eligibility criteria are different for each post. The candidates are suggested to check the eligibility criteria before filling the application form. The candidates who are in final year/ semester are also eligible to apply for CDS Exam 2020 on a provisional basis.

  • For Indian Military Academy (INA), the candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • For Indian Naval Academy (INA), the candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • For Air Force Academy (AFA), the candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology from a recognized university OR degree from a recognized university with Physics & Mathematics as subjects.
  • For Officers Training Academy (OTA), the candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • For Officers Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course), the candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.

CDS Application Form

As per the latest information and past trends, for CDS Exam II the Application Form will be released on 5th August 2020. Candidates who want to apply for CDS Examination need to apply for it which follows two parts.

Part 1 Registration, where the candidates need to fill personal details.

Part 2 Payment, where the candidates have to pay the application fee.

The application form is available through online mode only. There is not any other mode available to apply for the exam. For GEN/OBS Category need to pay INR- 200 as an application fee and for the reserved candidates, the application fee is exempted.

CDS Exam Pattern

CDS Examination will be conducted in only offline mode i.e. pen and paper-based mode (PBT). It will be conducted both session, morning and forenoon session. CDS question booklet contain only multiple-choice questions which consist of  300 marks. For OTA written test, it will be of 200 marks. 2 hours will be provided for each paper.

Marking Scheme: Every incorrect answer, 1 marks will be deducted. For each correct answer, you will get 1 marks. It contains elementary mathematics, English and GK.

The maths syllabus came from the Matriculation standard while the standards for papers in other subjects will be of a graduate of an Indian University. Check here the clear CDS Exam Pattern:

CDS exam pattern for admission to IMA, INA & AFA

Subjects No. of questions Max. Marks Duration
General Knowledge 120 100 120 minutes
English Language 120 100 120 minutes
Elementary Mathematics 100 100 120 minutes

CDS exam pattern for admission to OTA

Subjects No. of questions Max. Marks Duration
English Language 120 100 120 minutes
General Knowledge 120 100 120 minutes

CDS Syllabus

UPSC Designed syllabus for CDS examination. The CDS Syllabus tells to the students that what are topics which they need to prepare for the examination. Syllabus

Here, we are listed important topics from each section which cover all the syllabus:

English Syllabus – Synonyms, Antonyms, Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Error Spotting, Jumbled Sentences, Sentence Correction & Fill in the Blanks.

General Knowledge Syllabus – General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. The paper also includes questions on History of India and Geography of nature.

Mathematics Syllabus – Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration & Statistics.

CDS Exam Centers

CDS Exam will be held across the country. The distribution of exam centres will be done on the basis of the total number of appearing candidates. They are recommended to apply as soon as possible so that they can get the examination centre of their choice.

CDS Admit Card

The authority will release hall ticket/admit card three weeks before the examination. Candidates can download their CDS Admit Card via online mode only. There is no any other mode available to download the admit card.

How to download Admit Card?

  • Visit the official website.
  • Enter your registration number and password then click on login.
  • Then download your admit card.
  • And keep safe it for future purpose.

Details mentioned under the admit card:

  • Candidate name
  • Date of examination
  • Venue
  • Timing
  • State
  • Country
  • Pincode
  • category
  • Roll Number
  • Registration number
  • Signature
  • Photographs

It is advised to the candidates please cross-verify your admit card details with original documents if in case you will found any discrepancies you need to contact with the conducting authority immediately.

CDS Result

The conducting authority will release the result for those who clear the minimum cut off marks. The authority will release the written exam result for CDS I in April 2020 (tentatively). Those who clear the written exam will be called by the Service Selection Board for psychological aptitude test, intelligence test and interview. The authority allotted the SSB venue as per the candidates’ preference which they have selected at registration time. The result date for CDS II is yet to be announced.

Those who clear all the process will go for the training process after completion of training he will go for the officer commission post.

CDS Answer Key

The conducting authority will release the answer sheet one week after the examination. Candidates can download the CDS Answer Sheet then will cross-check their answer with the answer and get some idea about either they can clear the examination or not. Candidates can download the answer sheet from the official website @

CDS Cut off

Cut off is the minimum score which is needed to qualify any examination. The candidates who score equal to or more than the cutoff will qualify the exam. The conducting body will release the cut off for the recruitment process once the is conducted successfully. Those who will score subjects wise cut off score will be able to see their result. Here we have listed last years cut off score which will give you an idea regarding the selection process.

Academy Written Exam Final Marks
IMA 102 225
INA 109 225
AFA 129 264
OTA (Male) 86 168
OTA (Female) 86 172

CDS Selection Procedure

The selection process is based on the performance of the candidate in the following phases:

  • Written test
  • Personal interview
  • Personality test

Candidates who clear all three processes qualify for the examination. Candidates will be called for the documentation process once he successfully clears the examination. Final selection will be based upon the total marks secured by the candidates in the written examination as well as in the SSB tests.

Those will clear the first steps(Written examination) will be called for Service Selection Board which comprises of the following steps:

  • Psychological aptitude test
  • Intelligence test
  • Interview

The SSB Conducting Board evaluates candidates on the basis of:

  • Intelligence
  • Personality
  • Compatibility
  • Potential of prospective

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Yashrika Bhardwaj
Author: Yashrika Bhardwaj

Yashrika is an Electronics Engineer passionate about technology and integrating it with innovative ideas to give startups an initial boost that they require.

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