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CDS Entry – How to Become Officer | Full Details

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CDS exam (combined defence services examination) is an entry which select graduates for the three services (Army, Navy, Airforce). Candidates selected through this entry join the officer training at the respective military academies.

In other words, selected cadets trains for almost a year in

  • Indian Military Academy, for Army
  • Air Force Academy, if opted for Air Force
  • Indian Naval Academy, for Indian Navy
  • Officers Training Academy, if opted for Army (short service commission)

Cadets who are trained at NDA also undergo one year training at these respective academies

Training duration through CDS Entry

Academy Duration of Training
IMA18 Months
OTA49 Weeks
INA44 Weeks
AFA74 weeks (Flying Branch)
Training duration at IMA, OTA, AFA, INA

There are two steps of joining these academies. First one is Passing CDS Written exams & the second one is clearing a subsequent interview also known famously as SSB Interview (Service selection Board interview)

CDS Exam Pattern

PaperEnglishGKMaths
Time2 hrs2 hrs2 hrs
Total Marks100100100
Questions120120100
Cut off20-25%20-25%20-25%
Combined Defence Services Exam Paper Structure

CDS is an objective type paper (Multiple choice questions) . CDS written exam consists of 2 Papers. Both the papers are on the same day with 1 ½ hour break in between.

Every year around 1 million (10 lacs) students apply for CDS exam and only 6000 to 8000 manage to clear the exam. it is one of the difficult exam to clear. The difficulty arises with the negative marking.

cds entry exam
IMA Dehradun

Every wrong answer attracts 1/3rd marks penalty

CDS Exam Syllabus

Candidates who appear for CDSE will give 3 papers.

  1. English
  2. General Knowlede

These two papers are compulsory for those appearing for OTA. Candidates should qualify in both the papers

3. Mathematics

Maths is optional and only those male candidates giving preference for IMA, INA, AFA have to attempt this paper.

CDS Exam Academy Preference

Preference is better understood with the scenario below. e.g. Lets assume cut off fixed by UPSC for OTA is 80 & IMA is 95, below are the different conditions of candidate’s score.

EnglishGKMathsFinal Result
3636N.ADOES NOT QUALIFY
709N.ADOES NOT QUALIFY
5040N.AQUALIFIES FOR OTA
504019QUALIFIES FOR OTA
503220QUALIFIES FOR OTA & IMA
701925DOES NOT QUALIFY
CDS Exam Application Preference

After the exam, a cut off marks will be decided. If your total score after adding your marks in all the paper exceeds or is equal to the cut off, then you will be considered as Passed and your roll number will appear in the list released by UPSC.

You will not get to know the details of your paper after the result is declared. Once you have cleared your written exam, you will get a call for SSB INTERVIEW

CDS exam IMA Dehradun
IMA Adjutant

When is CDS Exam?

CDS exam is conducted twice in a year in the month of April and September. 

ExamAprilSeptember
NotificationDecember-JanuaryMay-June
ResultJuneNovember
CDS Exam Cycle

Applications are out on UPSC. Union public service commission conducts exam & manages the result on behalf of Defence.

How to fill CDS Form Online?

Watch video to fill form step by step

What is the Eligibility for CDS Entry?

AgeYour age should be between
19-25 for OTA
19-24 for IMA
19-23 for AFA
19-23 for INA
Note: Age limit is at the time of “joining academy”
StreamAny graduate from a UGC recognised university is eligible to apply for OTA & IMA.
For INA, you need to be B.E/B.tech Graduate.
For AFA, you need to have physics and mathematics in your 10+2
Note: No minimum percentage is required
GenderMale & Female
Note: Female only eligible for OTA (Indian Army)
StatusUnmarried
Eligibility Criteria for CDS Exam

CDS Exam Interview

After clearing your exam, you will receive a call letter for SSB interview. Once you are recommended by the SSB Board, you will undergo a total medical examination. At this stage if you are declared medically unfit you will be sent back. As soon as you are declared medically fit, your name will be accommodated in the Merit List.

As per the vacancy, those topping merit list are called for joining the Course. Rest of the candidates will be considered merit out and have to undergo the same procedure again from scratch including written examination.

Click Here to Watch 5 Day SSB Interview Process

Training at IMA, INA, OTA, AFA

All your expenses will be borne by the government. You will be provided with all basic necessities and leisure wherever required.

Over these benefits you are also liable to receive stipend per month at your respective service academies. The stipend keeps accumulating till your Passing out parade (POP) and total sum can be encashed at the end.

Once you are commissioned as an officer, your starting salary will range anywhere around 100k keeping aside all other benefits and perks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZZfAdsEjII

Books to crack CDS Exam

UncategorizedCDS Entry - How to Become Officer | Full Details
UncategorizedCDS Entry - How to Become Officer | Full Details

6 COMMENTS

  1. THAT’S HELPFUL,
    I HAVE A QUERY REGARDING THE AGE LIMIT FOR OTA, I WILL TURN 24 YEARS OLD COMING DECEMBER WILL I BE ABLE TO APPEAR FOR CDS 1 2023 BECAUSE WHEN I ASKED MY FELLOW ASPIRANTS THEY TOLD ME THAT THIS YEAR WILL BE LAST ATTEMPT.

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DDE editor
DDE editor
DDE Editorial Team comprises of researchers & content writers. The source of write ups are individual researches, references, informants and documentations. If you wish to submit a write up or information please write to contactus@defencedirecteducation.com

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