CDS Syllabus and Exam Pattern are discussed in the article.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination twice a year for recruiting candidates for the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. The Notification is usually released in the months of October/ November and June/ July, and the examination is generally conducted in February and November respectively. Only unmarried graduates are eligible to sit for the exam. Successful candidates are admitted into the respective Academies after an interview conducted by the Services Selection Board ( SSB ). To clear the examination, first, you need is the complete information of the pattern, syllabus and previous year exam analysis so that it would become easy for you to analyse the examination and to prepare a strategy further.

CDS Syllabus – Overview

Mode of exam
Number of sections Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Air Force Academy (AFA) – Three Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) – Two
Total marks of the test IMA, INA and AFA – 300 OTA – 200
Nature of questions Objective type
Language of question paper Hindi and English
Duration of the test 2 hours for each section of test

CDS Exam Pattern for IMA, INA, AFA

Maximum marks
English 2 hours 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 hours 100

CDS Exam Pattern for OTA

Maximum marks
English 2 hours 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100

CDS Intelligence & Personality Test

Candidates who qualify for the Written Test will be called for the SSB Interview. The SSB Interview consists of Stage I and Stage II. Aspirants who clear Stage I will go ahead for Stage II.

Stage I: This stage has tests based on Picture Perception (PP), Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR), and Description Test (DT). Aspirants are shortlisted based on their combined performance in OIR Test, PP and DT.

Stage II: This stage comprises an Interview, a Psychology Tests, Group Testing Officer Tasks, and the Conference. This stage takes over 4 days to get over.


CDS Syllabus  Marking Scheme

Negative marking is applicable for every wrong marked answer. In CDS 2022 paper, each question carries 4 options and out of which only 1 option is correct. For each incorrect answer, 1/3 of the marks will be deducted. More than one option marked is treated as incorrect. However, if a question is left unanswered there will be no negative marking.


CDS Syllabus – Subject-Wise Syllabus

Candidates can check the UPSC CDS Syllabus in the table given below.

English * Spotting Errors Questions

* Sentence Arrangement Questions

* Synonyms & Antonyms

* Selecting Words

* Ordering of Sentence

* Comprehension Questions

* Ordering of words in a sentence

* Fill in the blanks questions

* Idioms and Phrases

General Awareness (GK) * Economics

* Physics

* Current Affairs

* Politics

* Chemistry

* Sociology

* History

* Defence related Award

* Geography

* Environment

* Sport

* Biology

* Cultural

* Book

* Statement

* true/false

Elementary Mathematics 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

Arithematic * 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
Trigonometry * 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

Geometry * Lines and angles

* Plane and plane figures

* Theorems on Properties of angles at a point

* Parallel lines

* Sides and angles of a triangle

* Congruency of triangles

* Similar triangles

* Concurrence of medians and altitudes

* Properties of angles

* sides and diagonals of a Parallelogram

* rectangle and square

* Circles and its properties including tangents and normals

* 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

CDS Important Instructions

  • Write only in Black ballpoint pen, your Centre and subject followed by the CDS 2022 test booklet series (in bracket), subject code and the exam roll number at the appropriate space provided on the answer sheet at the top.
  • Encode your CDS 2022 booklet series (A, B, C, or D as the case may be), subject code and roll number in the circles provided for the purpose in the answer sheet.
  • In case the CDS booklet series is not printed on the test booklet or answer sheet is un-numbered then candidates should report immediately to the invigilator and get the test booklet/answer sheet replaced.
  • Candidates should note that any omission/mistakes/discrepancy in encoding/filling of details in the CDS 2022 OMR answer sheet, especially with regard to the Roll Number and Test Booklet Series Code, will render the answer sheet liable for rejection.
  • Immediately after the commencement of the CDS 2022 please check that the test booklet supplied to you does not have any unprinted or torn or missing pages or items etc., if so, get it replaced by a complete test booklet of the same series and subject.
  • Do not write your name or anything other than the specific items of information asked for, on the CDS answer sheet/test booklet/sheet for rough work.
  • Do not fold or damage or put any extraneous marking over the CDS Answer Sheet. Do not write anything on the reverse of the answer sheet.