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CDS Exam, Notification, Exam Date, Eligibility, Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam, organized by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), is a national-level examination that determines the selection of candidates for entrance into prestigious institutions such as the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Officer Training Academy (OTA).

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What is CDS Exam?

The CDS (Combined Defence Services) Exam is a national-level examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India. It aims to select candidates for admission into various defense academies, including the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA).

The CDS exam is typically held twice a year and consists of written tests in subjects like English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics, followed by an interview process conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB). Successful candidates are commissioned as officers in the Indian Army, Navy, or Air Force, depending on the academy.

The UPSC CDS exam is held to recruit candidates into the following armed forces:

  1. Indian Army
  2. Indian Navy
  3. Indian Air Force
  4. Naval Academy
  5. Officers Training Academy

CDS Exam 2024

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is set to conduct the CDS 1 Exam 2024 on April 21. This national-level competitive examination, held twice annually, aims to recruit individuals aspiring to join the defense forces such as the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The official notification for CDS 1, scheduled to be released on April 20, will provide comprehensive details about the exam. The online application link was activated on December 20 on the UPSC’s official website. Candidates are urged to complete the application process within the specified timeframe, as submissions beyond the deadline will not be considered.

CDS Exam Overview

CDS Exam Overview
Name of Exam Combined Defence Services Examination
Conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Level National
Exam Frequency Twice a year
Exam Mode Online
Exam Duration Two hours
Language of Question Paper English and Hindi
Application Fee INR 200/-
Exam Purpose To select candidates as Commissioned Officers in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force
Vacancies To be announced along with notification
Number of Test Cities 41

CDS Notification 2024

The UPSC CDS notification for 2024 in PDF format is scheduled to be released on the official website on December 20, 2024. This notification encompasses various non-technical vacancies, including SSC women, providing an opportunity for candidates aspiring to join the defense forces. Aspiring candidates for CDS 2024 are advised to carefully review the notification for essential information regarding the exam.

The direct link for downloading the CDS 1 notification 2024 will be activated on December 20, offering comprehensive details about the recruitment drive, including syllabus, vacancies, exam date, and pattern. This exam is a crucial opportunity for those seeking a career in the defense sector, requiring candidates to be well-versed in all aspects for a successful outcome.

Direct Link to download CDS 1 notification 2024 (Inactive)

CDS Exam Dates 2024

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has announced the crucial dates for the CDS exam 2024. It is imperative for candidates to stay informed about these dates to ensure they don’t miss any important deadlines during their exam preparation. As soon as the UPSC releases the dates on their official website, this page will be updated with comprehensive information for both CDS 1 and 2, 2024.

CDS 1 Exam Dates 2024

Event Date
CDS 1 Notification 2024 20 December 2023
Online Application Activation 20 December 2023
Last Date to Apply 9 January 2024
Admit Card Release Last Week of April 2024
CDS 1 Exam Date 2024 21 April 2024
Declaration of Result 2nd Week of May

CDS 2 Exam Dates 2024

Event Date
CDS 2 Notification 2024 15 May 2024
Online Application Activation 15 May 2024
Last Date to Apply 04 June 2024
CDS 2 Exam Date 2024 01 September 2024
Declaration of Result 3rd Week of September

CDS Exam Pattern

Aspirants preparing for the CDS exam in 2024 need to understand the paper pattern for effective preparation. The CDS 2024 Exam Pattern varies for Officer Training Academy (OTA) and Indian Naval Academy/Indian Military Academy/Indian Air Force, with two main sections:

CDS Exam Pattern for Indian Naval Academy/Indian Military Academy/Indian Air Force

Subjects Marks Duration
English 100 2 hours
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
Elementary Mathematics 100 2 hours
Total 300

CDS Exam Pattern for Officer Training Academy (OTA)

Subjects Marks Duration
English 100 2 hours
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
Total 200

CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria for the CDS 2024 selection process, encompassing physical standards, nationality, education qualifications, and age limits as outlined by the UPSC. It is imperative for applicants to satisfy these conditions to progress in the selection process:

Physical and Medical Standards

For admission to the Combined Defence Services Examination (II), 2022, candidates must meet specific physical fitness criteria outlined in the official CDS notification. Armed Forces Medical Services Medical Officers conduct thorough medical examinations, and the Board of Medical Officers’ decision is final.

Candidates need to be in good physical and mental health, free of any condition that could hinder military duties in various environments and conditions. They should not require frequent medical visits, aids, or drugs.

Medical examinations focus on intelligence, hearing, vision, speech, glandular swelling, cardiovascular and respiratory health, limb development, joint functionality, absence of hernia, well-formed feet, and absence of congenital malformations. Candidates should show no signs of past acute or chronic illnesses indicating impaired constitution.

CDS Eligibility: Height & Weight Standards

  • Male candidates must be at least 157 cm tall, with exceptions for Gorkhas and candidates from specific regions.
  • Female candidates must be at least 152 cm tall, with exceptions for Gorkhas and candidates from specific regions.

Visual Standards

Candidates must not have any eye defects. Refractive surgery (PRK/LASIK/SMILE) is allowed for all branches except special forces personnel like submarines, divers, and MARCO. Radial Keratotomy disqualifies candidates for recruitment.

In summary, candidates must be physically and mentally fit, meeting specified height, weight, and visual standards, with exceptions for certain regions and special forces personnel.


To qualify for the CDS exam 2024, candidates must be either:

  • Citizens of India
  • Subjects of Nepal/Bhutan
  • Tibetan refugees who migrated to India before January 01, 1962, with the intention of permanent settlement.

CDS Educational Qualification

Educational criteria for different job posts are as follows:

Academies Educational Qualification
Indian Air Force Academy Candidates must have a degree from a recognized University (with Physics and

Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.

Indian Military Academy & Officers’ Training Academy Candidates must have a degree or equivalent from a recognized university
Indian Naval Academy Candidates must have an engineering degree from a recognized university or institute.

CDS Age Limit

The commission has established a fixed age limit for all posts. Aspirants must fall within the specified criteria, failing which their candidature can be cancelled at any stage of the selection process. The CDS age limit for all posts is 20 to 24 years, implying:

  • For IMA, INA, AFA: Candidates must be born between 2nd Jan 2001 and 1st Jan 2006.
  • For Officers’ Training Academy (Men and Women): Candidates must be born between 2nd Jan 2000 and 1st Jan 2006.

CDS Exam Syllabus

Section Subjects Topics Covered
CDS English Syllabus
  • Comprehension passages
  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Error spotting
  • Sentence improvement
  • Jumbled sentences
  • Idioms and phrases
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar and usage
  • Parts of speech
  • Direct and indirect speech
  • Active and passive voice
  • Rearrangement of sentences
  • Cloze test
  • Consistent reading of newspapers, books, and magazines
  • Solve practice sets
  • Note difficult words for vocabulary improvement
  • Focus on grammar rules for error detection and sentence completion
CDS Maths Syllabus
  • Number System
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Statistics
  • Cover fundamental mathematical concepts
  • Practice problem-solving
  • Focus on topics such as algebra, trigonometry, and geometry
CDS General Knowledge Syllabus
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Geography
  • Indian Polity and Governance
  • Economic and Social Development
  • Science and Technology
  • Environmental Ecology and Biodiversity
  • Defence and Security Issues
  • Stay updated on national and international events
  • Study Indian history, geography, and political system
  • Focus on economic and social development topics
  • Stay informed about advancements in science and technology
  • Be aware of environmental issues and defense-related matters
CDS OTA Syllabus
  • English
  • General Ability Test
  • English: Sentence arrangement, Spotting Error, Idioms and Phrases
  • General Ability Test: Current Affairs, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, Politics, Sociology, Economics, Defence Related Awards, Sports and Culture, Environmental Science

CDS 2024 Salary

During the training period, officers at the equivalent levels in the Army, Navy, and Air Force will receive a fixed stipend, currently set at ₹56,100 per month.

CDS Officer Salary at Different Ranks

Rank Level CDS In Hand Salary
Lieutenant 10 ₹56,100 – ₹1,77,500
Captain 10B ₹61,300 – ₹1,93,900
Major 11 ₹69,400 – ₹2,07,200
Lieutenant Colonel 12A ₹1,21,200 – ₹2,12,400
Colonel 13 ₹1,30,600 – ₹2,15,900
Brigadier 13A ₹1,39,600 – ₹2,17,600
Major General 14 ₹1,44,200 – ₹2,18,200
Lieutenant General HAG Scale 15 ₹1,82,200 – ₹2,24,100
HAG+Scale 16 ₹2,05,400 – ₹2,24,400
VCOAS/Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG) 17 ₹2,25,000/- (fixed)
COAS 18 ₹2,50,000/- (fixed)

CDS Career Growth and Promotion

The career growth and promotions for CDS officers during their tenure are as follows:

  • Lieutenant: Promotion after completion of training.
  • Captain: Two years of commissioned service.
  • Major: Six years of commissioned service.
  • Lieutenant Colonel: Thirteen years of commissioned service.
  • Colonel: Fifteen years of commissioned service.
  • Colonel (TS): Twenty-six years of commissioned service.
  • Major General: Twenty-five years of commissioned service.
  • Brigadier: Twenty-three years of commissioned service.
  • Lieutenant General: Twenty-eight years of commissioned service.
  • General: No restrictions.

CDS Exam Important Instructions

  • Write only in black ballpoint pen.
  • In the appropriate space on the answer sheet, provide your Centre and subject, followed by the CDS 2024 test booklet series (in brackets), subject code, and the exam roll number.
  • Encode your CDS 2024 booklet series (A, B, C, or D), subject code, and roll number in the circles provided on the answer sheet.
  • If the CDS booklet series is not printed on the test booklet or the answer sheet is unnumbered, report immediately to the invigilator for replacement.
  • Any omission/mistakes/discrepancy in encoding/filling details, especially Roll Number and Test Booklet Series Code, may lead to rejection of the answer sheet.
  • Before starting the CDS 2024, check the test booklet for any unprinted, torn, or missing pages/items. If found, replace it with a complete test booklet of the same series and subject.
  • Do not write your name or anything other than the specific items of information on the CDS answer sheet/test booklet/sheet for rough work.
  • Do not fold, damage, or put extraneous markings on the CDS Answer Sheet. Avoid writing on the reverse side of the answer sheet.

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What is the CDS Exam?

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam is a national-level examination conducted by UPSC to select candidates for admission into defense academies like IMA, INA, AFA, and OTA.

How often is the CDS Exam conducted?

The CDS Exam is conducted twice a year.

What armed forces does the CDS Exam recruit candidates into?

The CDS Exam recruits candidates into the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, Naval Academy, and Officers Training Academy.

When is the CDS 1 Exam 2024 scheduled?

The CDS 1 Exam 2024 is scheduled for April 21, 2024.

What is the application fee for the CDS Exam?

The application fee for the CDS Exam is INR 200.

What is the age limit for CDS Exam 2024?

The age limit for IMA, INA, AFA is 20 to 24 years, and for OTA, it is between 20 to 24 years.

What are the educational qualifications for CDS Exam posts?

Educational qualifications vary: IMA & OTA: Graduate from a recognized university. INA: Engineering degree. AFA: Engineering degree or B.Tech.

What is the salary during the CDS training period?

The stipend during the training period is ₹56,100 per month.

How is the CDS Exam pattern for OTA different from other academies?

OTA has a two-paper pattern—English and General Knowledge—while other academies have an additional Elementary Mathematics paper.

What are the physical standards for CDS eligibility?

Candidates must meet specific height, weight, and visual standards. Exceptions apply for certain regions and special forces personnel.

When will the CDS 1 Exam 2024 notification be released?

The CDS 1 Exam 2024 notification is expected on December 20, 2023.

What is the exam duration for each paper in the CDS Exam?

Each paper is of 2 hours duration in the CDS Exam.

How is the CDS Exam syllabus structured?

The CDS Exam syllabus covers English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics, with specific topics listed for each section.

What is the CDS Officer promotion process?

Promotion is based on years of commissioned service, ranging from Captain to General, with no restrictions at the General level.

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