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|
|AFA||74 weeks (Flying Branch)|
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
|Time||2 hrs||2 hrs||2 hrs|
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.
Every wrong answer attracts 1/3rd marks penalty
CDS Exam Syllabus
Candidates who appear for CDSE will give 3 papers.
- General Knowlede
These two papers are compulsory for those appearing for OTA. Candidates should qualify in both the papers
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.
|36||36||N.A||DOES NOT QUALIFY|
|70||9||N.A||DOES NOT QUALIFY|
|50||40||N.A||QUALIFIES FOR OTA|
|50||40||19||QUALIFIES FOR OTA|
|50||32||20||QUALIFIES FOR OTA & IMA|
|70||19||25||DOES NOT QUALIFY|
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
When is CDS Exam?
CDS exam is conducted twice in a year in the month of April and September.
Applications are out on UPSC. Union public service commission conducts exam & manages the result on behalf of Defence.
How to fill CDS Form Online?
What is the Eligibility for CDS Entry?
|Age||Your 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”
|Stream||Any 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
|Gender||Male & Female|
Note: Female only eligible for OTA (Indian Army)
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.
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