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CDS Eligibility Criteria 2024, Age Limit, Qualifications, Physical Standards

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit officers into the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA). Candidates must pass the CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria to be recruited into one of the three Indian Armed Forces. Even though there are various qualifying standards for recruitment in the three Indian Academies. Here is comprehensive information on the CDS Eligibility Criteria 2024 you need to fulfil to apply for the CDS exam.

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CDS Eligibility Criteria 2024

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) provides detailed eligibility criteria for the Combined Defence Services Exam (CDS) in its official recruitment notification. Prospective candidates are strongly advised to carefully review these criteria before proceeding with the application process. Failure to meet any of the specified eligibility requirements may result in disqualification from the examination. The key aspects of CDS eligibility include:

  • CDS Age Limit
  • Nationality
  • Educational Qualification
  • Marital Status
  • Medical Conditions
  • Physical Standards

CDS Exam 2024 Age Limit

Here candidates can check the CDS Age Limit 2024 for every category and Branch:

Branch CDS Age Limit 2024
IMA & INA (Indian Military Academy & Indian Naval Academy) Born not later than 1st January 2006, and not earlier than 2nd January 2001.
AFA (Air Force Academy) Between 20-24 years as of 1st January 2024. Born not later than 1st January 2005, and not earlier than 2nd January 2001.
OTA (Officer’s Training Academy) Born not later than 1st January 2006, and not earlier than 2nd January 2000.

CDS Age Relaxation

Candidates with a valid and current commercial pilot license issued by DGCA (India) are entitled to age relaxation, up to 26 years. Note that age relaxation in the exam is exclusive and is provided only to a limited number of candidates.

CDS Exam Eligibility Nationality

Those who want to take the CDS Exam in 2024 must not be married and must either:

  • A citizen of India;
  • A subject from Bhutan, or
  • A Nepali person, or
  • A refugee from Tibet who reached India prior to January 1, 1962, to settle permanently;
  • An individual of Indian descent who moved to India to reside there permanently, such as someone from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and the East African nations of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zaire.

Educational Qualifications for CDS Exam 2024

Before applying for the examination, candidates should be familiar with the educational requirements. Here, we have provided comprehensive information about the educational requirements for the CDS Exam 2024 Notification.

Academy Educational Qualification
Indian Military Academy Graduation Degree
Indian Naval Academy B.E/B.Tech (10+2 with Physics & Maths)
Air Force Academy Graduation, B.E/B.Tech (10+2 with Physics &Maths)
Officers’ Training Academy (Men) Graduation Degree
Officers’ Training Academy (Women) Graduation Degree

CDS Exam 2024 Marital Status Eligibility

Candidates applying for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam must adhere to specific marital status criteria. The eligibility criteria for male and female candidates in different branches are outlined below:

CDS Eligibility for Male-Marital Status 

Branch Marital Status
IMA & INA Unmarried
AFA Candidates below 25 years old must be unmarried. Candidates above 25 years old and married can apply, but no accommodation for a spouse will be provided during training, and living with family outside the premises is not allowed.
OTA Unmarried

CDS Eligibility for Female – Marital Status 

Branch Marital Status
OTA Unmarried females, Widows who have not remarried, and Divorcees who have not remarried and possess divorce documents are eligible.

Candidates need to verify and fulfil the specific marital status requirements for the branch they are applying to. For male candidates, the status varies across IMA & INA, AFA, and OTA, while female candidates applying to OTA have specific conditions related to marital status. Compliance with these criteria is crucial to ensure eligibility and a successful application process for the CDS exam.

CDS Exam Medical Eligibility 

Medical Conditions CDS Eligibility Criteria
Overweight/Underweight Must meet the prescribed weight standards.
Undersized Chest Chest should be well-developed.
Piles Not allowed.
Wax (Ears) No specific restriction, but overall ear health is considered.
Deviated Nasal Septum Not allowed.
Tonsillitis Not allowed.
Gynaecomastia Not allowed.
Varicocele Not allowed.
Hydrocele / Phimosis Not allowed.

A detailed medical examination report is required to confirm the candidate’s medical condition before proceeding in the recruitment process.

CDS Exam Physical Eligibility 

Physical Criteria CDS Eligibility Criteria
General Health Good physical and mental health, free from diseases or disabilities.
Constitution and Body Defects No evidence of weak constitution, bodily defects, underweight, overweight, or obesity.
Mental Health No past history of mental breakdown or fits.
Height (Male) Minimum 157.5 cm (157 cm for Navy, 162.5 cm for Air Force). The minimum height for all entries is 148 cm after waivers/dispensations.
Height (Female) Minimum 152 cm. The minimum height for all entries is 148 cm after waivers/dispensations.
Chest (Male) Well-developed chest.
Body Mass Index (BMI) Should be below 25.

Candidates must ensure they meet these specified medical and physical standards, in addition to educational and age criteria, to be eligible for the CDS examination.

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CDS Eligibility Criteria 2024 FAQs

Can the 12th pass apply for the CDS exam?

No, to be eligible for the CDS exam candidates must have passed graduation from a recognized university. For IMA and OTA, candidates must have a degree from a recognized University or equivalent. Candidates for INA must hold an engineering degree from a recognized university or institution.

Which degree is best for CDS?

For the CDS exam, applicants can be from any stream but for entry to the Air Force and Navy, candidates should have studied Physics and Mathematics up to Class 12.

Which subject is compulsory for CDS?

The three main subjects elementary mathematics, general knowledge, and science would be covered in the CDS exam questions for the written examination for admission to the Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy.

Are CDS easy to crack?

The CDS exam is only to test your mental ability and general awareness. If you are very clear with your basic concept of English, mathematics, and science which you studied till 10th standard, some good general knowledge of India and the world including current affairs. It is easy to crack.

Can I join CDS without maths?

Yes, one can apply for the UPSC CDS exam as a commerce student. Math is not a mandatory need in the eligibility.

What is the salary of a CDS officer?

In the official notification, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) provides information regarding the CDS salary. Candidates who joined the Combined Defence Services (CDS) as a Lieutenant are paid between Rs. 56,100 and Rs. 1, 77,500 per month, according to the CDS 2023 salary plan.

Which is better CDS or NDA?

The CDS written exam can be given by graduate students while NDA written exam can be given by the 12th pass out.

Are there 60% criteria for CDS?

No there are no such criteria for the CDS exam.

Who is eligible for IMA exam?

For Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers' Training Academy (OTA), candidates must have passed a bachelor's degree from a recognised university. For Indian Naval Academy (INA), candidates must have passed Bachelor in Engineering from a recognised University.

What is CDS age limit?

As of January 1, 2024, the age limit for the CDS exam is 20–24 years old. This means that candidates must not have been born before January 2, 2001, and after January 1, 2005.

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!


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