It is an entry which select graduates for the three services ( the Army, the Navy and the Air-Force ). Candidates selected through this entry are trained at the respective academies opted.

Location

Cadets are trained for almost a year in

  • INDIAN MILITARY ACADEMY, if opted for ARMY
  • AIR FORCE ACADEMY, if opted for AIR-FORCE
  • INDIAN NAVAL ACADEMY, if opted for NAVY
  • OFFICERS TRAINING ACADEMY, if opted for ARMY (short service commission)
ACADEMY DURATION OF TRAINING
IMA 18 MONTHS
OTA 49 WEEKS
INA 44 WEEKS
AFA 74 WEEKS (FLYING BRANCH)

How to join respective academy

There are two steps. First one is Passing CDS Written exams & the second one is clearing a subsequent interview

How difficult is the written exam

CDS is an objective type paper (Multiple choice questions) . CDS written exam consists of 3 Papers. All the papers are on the same day with 1 hour break in between.

Time Paper Marks SECTIONAL CUT OFF
9:00-11:00 ENGLISH 100 (120 questions carrying 0.83 marks each) Varies from 20%-25%
12:00-2:00 GENERAL KNOWLEDGE 100 (120 questions carrying 0.83 marks each) Varies from 20%-25%
3:00-5:00 MATHEMATICS 100 (100 questions carrying 1 marks each ) Varies from 20%-25%

Usually scoring 20%-25% is not a big deal but before you start wondering anything, you must understand now that it is one of the difficult exam to clear. The difficulty arises with the negative marking , that is with every question wrongly answered by you 1/3rd of the marks allotted to that question will be deducted as penalty. This significantly affects your total score. Further, General Knowledge is extremely tough to crack.

Aspirants who appear for CDSE will give 3 papers.

  • PAPER – 1 is ENGLISH
  • PAPER – 2 is G.K (GENERAL KNOWLEDGE)
  • These two papers are compulsory. Aspirants should qualify in both the papers with minimum 20 marks each. Furthermore, candidate has to score minimum aggregate cut off as decided by UPSC. Only then he is shortlisted for OFFICERS TRAINING ACADEMY and called for interview ( often called as SSB interview)

  • PAPER – 3 is MATH

This paper is optional. It is mandatory only for those who are appearing for IMA/AFA/INA. One has to qualify in mathematics by obtaining 20 marks. In addition he needs score minimum cut off for IMA/AFA/INA respectively as decided by UPSC. Only then does he qualifies and gets a call for SSB interview (Service selection Board interview)

IF YOU WERE STILL NOT ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE HAVE A LOOK AT THESE SCENARIO

e.g. Lets assume cut off fixed by UPSC for OTA is 80 & IMA is 95, below are the different conditions of Manish's score.

STUDENT PAPER 1 PAPER 2 PAPER 3 FINAL RESULT
MANISH 36 36 N.A DOES NOT QUALIFY
MANISH 70 9 N.A DOES NOT QUALIFY
MANISH 50 40 N.A QUALIFIES FOR OTA
MANISH 50 40 15 QUALIFIES FOR OTA
MANISH 50 32 20 QUALIFIES FOR BOTH OTA & IMA
MANISH 70 19 25 DOES NOT QUALIFY

How often is the exam conducted

CDS exam is conducted twice in a year in the month of February and November. To appear in the exam one has to apply online 3-4 months prior to the exam date when the applications are out.

MONTH OF NOTIFICATION LIKELY MONTH OF EXAM RESULT
NOVEMBER- DECEMBER FEBRUARY APRIL-MAY
AUGUST-SEPTEMBER NOVEMBER DEC-JAN

Applications are out on www.upsc.gov.in

Union public service commission conducts exam & manages the result on behalf of Defence.

Following are the steps to fill the form.

  • Go to www.upsc.gov.in
  • Click on apply online and select the exam
  • Click on Part 1 and submit your personal and contact details.
  • Further, set your preference for the academies as per your qualification and age.
  • keep your registration ID safe and head to Part 2 of the application for payment.
  • Select the mode of depositing the exam fees.
  • After depositing the fees, select your centre of examination.
  • Then upload our photo and signature in mentioned file size and dimensions.
  • Lastly, submit the form.
  • You may keep a copy of the application form for future reference

What is the eligibility to appear

Age At the time of joining your age should be between:
  • 19-25 for OTA
  • 19-24 for IMA
  • 19-23 for AFA
  • 19-23 for INA
Stream Any graduate (B.E Btech, BA, Bsc, BBA, Bcom etc ) from a recognized 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. There is no minimum percentage criteria for 10+2 as in AFCAT.
Gender Only male unmarried candidates are allowed to appear for IMA/AFA/INA. Female candidates can only appear for OTA (Indian Army)
Nationality A citizen of India, or a subject of Bhutan, or a subject of Nepal, or a Tibetan refugee or a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India

What's next after clearing exam

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.

Ranking in merit list is identified by the total marks secured by the candidate in written exam and interview. Finally let’s assume there are 100 candidates who made into the merit list and your rank in merit list is 68 further the vacancies required are just 70, In that case everyone ranking from 1 to 70 will get a Call letter to join the academy (course) for training.

Rest of the candidates will be considered merit out and have to undergo the same procedure again from scratch including written examination.

About training

At OTA/IMA/INA/AFA, you will undergo the required training. All your expenses will be borne by government. You will be provided with all basic necessities and leisure wherever required. Further special care is taken at the MESS (dining hall) where the best class of delicacy are served every day.

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 80k keeping aside all other benefits and perks.

Finally, if you intentionally leave the academy in between, you are liable to reimburse the cost of training.

Frequently Asked Questions