10 Best Books for CDS Exam 2024 Preparation [Subject-Wise]

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam is taken by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) twice a year. It is for the recruitment of commissioned officers in the Indian Navy, Army, and Airforce. CDS is one of the most prestigious exams in the country, and several thousand students compete for the few seats it offers. Here, we have compiled the Best CDS Books for each of the three subjects and an additional book to practice the whole CDS syllabus.

The candidates appearing for this exam must have completed graduation or at least be in the final year of their graduation. The minimum age limit for the exam is 19 and the maximum is 24. The candidate must be unmarried at the time of the exam.

To come out with flying colors, you need to prepare with the right set of books. The exam consists of three sections; English, General Knowledge, and Mathematics.

Here are the top ten CDS Books which can help you crack the CDS exam;

Best CDS Books

English Books

English is a scoring subject. With the right amount of practice, this subject can help you zoom past ahead of your competition. The secret is to solidify your basics first and then move on to practice questions.

1. Wren and Martin

High School Wren and Martin English Grammar and Composition (Regular Edition) + Key to Wren and Martin English Grammar & Composition - COMBO

Author- P.C. Wren, H. Martin
Latest Edition- 2019
Publisher- S. Chand & Company Pvt. Ltd

Most probably, you would have read this book back in school, and it will still come in handy for your preparation for CDS. The CDS books has been in print for decades, and it still is one of the best and simple grammar books available in the market.

The authors explain everything in a lucid and straightforward style. It contains all the chapters of the syllabus of the exam and ample exercises to practice.

Remember, it has a separate book for solutions to the unsolved exercises. Here are some salient features of the book that make it so popular among high school students and competitive exam aspirants:

  • Lucid and straightforward writing style
  • Ample solved and unsolved exercises
  • Covers the entire syllabus

You can buy this book from here.

2. Word Power Made Easy

Word Power Made Easy

Author- Norman Lewis
Latest Edition- 2020
Publisher- Goyal Saab

In order to solve passages, synonyms, and antonyms, you need to have a good vocabulary. When you are young, it is easy to increase your vocabulary. It gets increasingly difficult as you grow older. This book makes that difficult part easy. It teaches you the roots of many words. In this way, you don’t just learn a single word, rather a parent word, and thereby understand the words that come from it.

The best way to use this book is to practice one exercise a day and move to the next when you are confident. It also has chapters dedicated to clearing some of the common mistakes in grammar, but the book is largely for vocabulary. In addition to everything, the book is very cheap.

Here’s what makes this book best to improve your word power:

  • Teaches parents words to improve your word power
  • Ample unsolved exercises
  • Clears common grammatical errors
  • Provides the correct pronunciation of the words

You can buy this book from here.

3. Objective General English

Objective General English

Author- SP Bakshi
Latest Edition- 2021
Publisher- Arihant

Unlike Wren and Martin, this book is written exclusively for competitive exams. The book has four sections; foundation module, verbal ability, sequence of sentences, and practice grammar.

Other than grammar and ample exercises to practice, it has idioms, one-word substitutions, and many other sections, which make it the complete book for various competitive exams.

It also has a comprehensive section to practice passage.

In addition to CDS, the book thoroughly covers the syllabus of many competitive exams like UPSC, NDA, SSC, IBPS, etc.

Some of the salient features of the book are:

  • Ample solved and unsolved exercises
  • Contains synonyms, antonyms, one-word substitutions, and idioms
  • Suitable for many competitive exams, including IBPS, NDA, SSC, UPSC, etc
  • Previous year questions of various exams
You can buy this book from here.

General Knowledge Books

The General Knowledge section is also a scoring subject if you prepare it well. There are two parts; static GK and current affairs. Both these sections require different books to prepare efficiently.

4. Lucent’s General Knowledge

General Knowledge

Author- Dr. Binay Karna, R. P. Suman, Manvendra Mukul, Renu Sinha, Sanjeev Kumar
Latest edition- 2018
Publisher- Lucent Publication

Lucent has made a name for itself in the competitive section books. Unlike many other books that only provide MCQs to practice, this book extensively covers all the topics of GK including History, Geography, Civics, and Science.

The authors have done a great job in condensing all the important topics from the various subjects into this book. It covers the GK part of many exams including NDA, CDS, SSC.etc in detail. Moreover, it also has an extensive list of all the awardees in recent years.

If GK is not your strong suit and you want to start preparing for it effectively, this book is a good option. In addition, this subject also requires memorizing several facts and information.

Some salient features of the book are:

  • Covers the syllabus
  • MCQs at the end of every section for practice
  • Useful for many exams including CDS, NDA, SSC, etc

You can buy this book from here.

5. General Knowledge By Manohar Pandey

General Knowledge 2022

Author- Manohar Pandey
Latest Edition- 2022
Publisher- Arihant Publications

This is another excellent book for general knowledge. It contains Current Affairs, History, Geography, Indian Polity, Indian Economy, General Science, and General Knowledge.

The latest edition of 2022 also has all the current affairs in the past year. It is as good as Lucent’s General Knowledge book, if not better. As the book is suitable for many competitive exams, it has way more than the syllabus of CDS.


Some salient features of the book are:

  • Covers complete syllabus
  • Includes one full year’s current affairs
  • Ample MCQs to practice
  • Includes names of national and international awardees

You can buy this book from here.

6. Pratiyogita Darpan

Genuine Pratiyogita Darpan Panorama Year Book Vol. 1 2021 English

Author- PD editorial Team
Latest Edition- 2021
Publisher- Generic

The other two books in this section cover the static part of GK. However, the current affairs’ part is equally important. As evident, static GK does not change and you can memorize it. Whereas the current affairs part is dynamic and you need to keep yourself updated on the recent national and international events of importance. Newspapers are a great way to do this. But, the issue is you’ll have to read at least two to three newspapers daily.

This is why it is better to get the yearly edition of Pratiyogita Darpan which contains all the events of previous years. In addition to this, Pratoyogita Darpan also publishes monthly magazines. It is an excellent idea to read the monthly magazines a few months prior to your exam date.

Some reasons why Pratyogita Darpan is a good choice for your Current Affairs preparations are:

  • Covers national and international events
  • Contains economic, sports, environmental, and military news

You can buy this book from here.

Mathematics Books

Depending on who you ask, aspirants either love or hate this subject. There are good reasons for doing both. If you are good at math you’ll find this to be a high-scoring subject. On the other hand, if you had spent your school time running away from Maths then you will be wary of this subject. But the good news is with the right books and guidance, you will be well equipped to tackle this subject.

Here are some books to help you with Mathematics practice;

7. Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations

Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations

Author- RS Agarwal
Latest Edition- 2017
Publisher- S Chand Publishing

This book has been in print for over three decades now. Several editions later, it still is one of the top choices for Mathematics for competitive exams. The book is also available in other regional languages like Marathi, Telugu, and Bengali. It extensively covers all the topics in your syllabus.

You can probably guess by its sheer size that it has ample solved and unsolved questions. The solved questions are explained in detail so that you do not need a tutor.

Some of the salient features which make the book so popular are:

  • Detailed solutions
  • Variety of questions
  • Ample solved and unsolved questions
  • Suitable for many competitive exams like Railway, SSC, CDS, etc

You can buy this book from here.

8. A Modern Approach To Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning

A Modern Approach To Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning (2 Colour Edition)

Author- RS Agarwal
Latest Edition- 2018
Publisher- S Chand Publishing

This is another classic book from the same publishing house and author. This book covers the verbal and non-verbal reasoning part. It has been in print for over two decades and contains quality content. It is divided into five parts: series completion, analogy, blood relations, coding-decoding, and puzzles. Moreover, it also has both solved and unsolved previous years’ questions.

The book is suitable for reading public sector exams like NDA, CTS, CTS, Railway, etc. It is also ideal if you are a complete novice to reasoning. The solved examples help you guide through to the concept. Overall, the book is a complete package for the reasoning section for both verbal and nonverbal.

Some of the salient features of the book which make it the top choice for Mathematical Reasoning are;

  • Ample number of solved and unsolved questions
  • Elaborate solutions to solve the question
  • Suitable for many exams like NDA coma CDS

You can buy this book from here.

9. Mathematics For Cds Entrance Examination Fully Solved By R.S. Aggarwal (Revised Edition)

Mathematics For Cds Entrance Examination Fully Solved By R.S. Aggarwal (Revised Edition)

Author- RS Agarwal
Latest Edition- 2018
Publisher- S Chand Publishing

This book is especially for the preparation of the maths section for the CDS exam. It is completely solved. This book is extremely helpful for beginners. It provides all the important formulae to solve questions quickly. Moreover, it has a complete description of the topics with chapter-wise division.

The book contains six parts; Arithmetic, Mensuration, Trigonometry, Geometry, Coordinate Geometry, and Statistics. Each chapter has the minimum theory and formulae followed by solved questions.

Here’s why investing in this book is a good idea:

  • Especially for the CDS exam
  • Chapterwise solved questions
  • Collects all the formulae at one place

You can buy this book from here.

Additional Books

10. Pathfinder for CDS

Pathfinder CDS Combined Defence Services Entrance Examination

Author- Arihant Experts
Latest Edition – 2021
Publisher- Arihant

This book is a complete package for all the sections of the CDS exam. It has four major sections; Mathematics, General English, General Science, and General Studies. It is only recommended if your basics are clear and you want to practice for the exam.

The best method is to solve the different sections individually every day. One complete set should be solved once per week. This will help you increase your accuracy and speed.

This book has the following advantages:

  • Especially for CDS
  • 8000 MCQs
  • Chapterwise division of previous year’s questions

You can buy this book from here.


Joining the armed forces is the dream of many amongst our youths. Indeed, serving your country is an honor, but you need to prepare well for fulfilling your dream. The right books are the kind of guidance you need to succeed in the exam.

The first step is to know your syllabus and then work on your weakness with the help of the best books. Even if you lag in a subject, you can work on others to maximize your chances.

If you are preparing for CDS Exam and have a favorite CDS Books that you didn’t find on the list, let us know in the comment section below.

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