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CDS Exam Pattern and CDS Syllabus: UPSC Exam Pattern & Syllabus

CDS aspirants welcome back! You all must be preparing hard to score well in the upcoming exams. As exams are near, one should be aware of CDS syllabus for strategic preparation. There might be some doubt and confusion regarding the syllabus as CDS is a national-level exam with subjects like English, Elementary Mathematics, and General Awareness.


CDS Exam Pattern and CDS Syllabus: UPSC Exam  Pattern & Syllabus

CDS - Examination Pattern: UPSC Exam

To clear your doubts and give you a clear image of the CDS syllabus, we will guide you through the subject0wise syllabus for the CDS exam. Candidates can download the pdf or refer to this article, and for any query, contact us.


CDS Exam Previous Question Papers: CDS Paper Pattern | CDS Sample Papers

CDS Subject-Wise Syllabus

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the CDS examination twice a year to recruit candidates for the Indian Armed Forces including the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Officers Training Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. As per the UPSC schedule, CDS 1 Notification for various vacancies was released on UPSC Official website. All successful candidates in the written examination will be selected for the next round which is an Interview—conducted by the Service Selection Board (SSB).

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CDS Syllabus and Exam Pattern for OTA, IMA, INA, AFA

To qualify for the CDS exam, candidates first need to know about the CDS exam pattern, syllabus and previous year exam papers. This will make it easier to understand the exam and make appropriate future strategies.


CDS Exam Question Papers 2009 - 2023: CDS Previous Year Question Papers Free

UPSC CDS Syllabus and Exam Pattern Overview

Candidates interested in joining the Defence Forces through the CDS exam would like to know about the exam pattern, marking scheme, number of questions and other relevant details. Although there have been minor changes in the CDS syllabus, it is important to be familiar with the exam pattern and syllabus. This article presents detailed information on CDS Exam Pattern and a detailed CDS syllabus to assist the candidates in their preparation.


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Conducting Body

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Exam Name

Combined Defence Services (CDS)

Exam Conducted in A Year

Twice a Year

Mode of Exam


Type of Questions

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

Medium of Exam

Hindi or English

No. of Questions


OTA – 200

Time Duration

2 Hours for Each Paper

Negative Marking

1/3rd deducted for every wrong answer

Selection Process

Written Exam

SSB Interview

Official Website




Previous Question Papers of All Government Exams: Old Question Papers of Competitive Exams


UPSC CDS Syllabus

To score good marks in the CDS 1 & II exam, candidates are required to have a thorough understanding of the CDS syllabus. The CDS exam serves as a direct gateway for individuals wishing to join the Indian Armed Forces. Candidates can check the CDS Exam Syllabus Overview, which provides detailed information for the candidates preparing for the exam.


CDS Syllabus, Subject Wise Exam Pattern for IMA, INA and AFA





Spotting Errors Questions

Sentence Arrangement Questions

Synonyms & Antonyms

Selecting Words

Ordering of Sentence

Comprehension Questions

Ordering of words in a sentence

Fill in the blanks questions

Idioms and Phrases

General Knowledge



Current Affairs





Defence-related Award












Basic Operations

Simple factors

Remainder Theorem

H.C.F. & L.C.M.

Theory of polynomials

Solutions of quadratic equations

Relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered)

Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—Analytical and Graphical Solutions

Simultaneous linear in equations in two variables and their solutions

Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or in equations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions

Set language and set notation

Rational Expressions and Conditional Identities

Laws of indices




Number System: Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers.

Fundamental Operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions

Unitary method

Time and Distance

Time and work


Applications to simple and compound interest

Profit and Loss

Ratio and Proportion



Elementary Number Theory: Division algorithm

Prime and Composite Numbers

Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11

Multiples and factors. Factorization Theorem

H.C.F. and L.C.M.

Euclidean Algorithm

Logarithms to base 10

Laws of logarithms

Use of logarithmic tables



Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90°

Values of sin ×, cos × and tan ×, for ×= 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°

Simple Trigonometric identities

Use of Trigonometric Tables

Simple cases of Heights and Distances



Lines and angles

Plane and plane figures

Theorems on Properties of angles at a point

Parallel lines

Sides and angles of a triangle

Congruency of triangles

Similar triangles

Concurrence of Medians and Altitudes

Properties of Angles

Sides and Diagonals of a Parallelogram

Rectangle and Square

Circles and its properties including tangents and normal



Areas of squares



Triangle and circle

Areas of figures that can be split up into these figures (Field Book)

Surface area and volume of cuboids

Lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders

Surface area and volume of spheres



Collection and tabulation of statistical data

Graphical representation frequency polygons, Histograms

Bar charts, Pie charts etc

Measures of central tendency



CDS Syllabus for OTA

For the OTA exam, the CDS syllabus specifically includes two subjects: General Knowledge and English. These subjects’ topics and sub-topics are similar to those covered in the syllabus of INA, IMA and AFA. The only difference is that mathematics is not included in the curriculum of OTA.




Sentence arrangement Spotting Error Selecting words

Synonyms and Antonyms


Ordering of Sentence

Ordering of words

Idioms and Phrases

Fill in the blanks

General Ability Test

Current Affairs









Defence Related Awards

Sports and Culture

Environmental Science

UPSC CDS Exam Pattern

UPSC CDS (Combined Defence Services) exam pattern is the admission route into military institutions like the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Officer Training Academy. Divided into two courses, the selection process is conducted through pen-and-paper offline format. Candidates face assessments in subjects such as English, General Knowledge and Mathematics, each lasting two hours and carrying 100 marks, which complement the various academy entries. This pattern tests the candidates on core subjects and serves as an important step towards shaping the future officers for the Indian Armed Forces.



Time Duration

Maximum Marks


2 Hours


General Knowledge

2 Hours



2 Hours


SSB Test/Interview

5 Days




UPSC CDS Exam Pattern


B) For the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) –


Time Duration

Maximum Marks


2 Hours


General Knowledge

2 Hours


SSB Test/Interview

5 Days


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi – 110069, Combined Defence Services Examination