UPSC CDS exam 2021 notification, Exam Date, Pattern, Apply Online

This is a complete guide about the UPSC CDS 1 2021 exam. Job aspirants who are preparing for the CDS exam can find all information on this single page.

UPSC CDS 1 2021 recruitment process has started from today (28th October 2020) with the release of the UPSC CDS 1 2021 notification.

CDS 1 2021 exam was conducted on 7th February 2021.

Union Public Service Commission has officially launched the CDS 1 2021 online application process on 28th October 2020. Candidates can download the official notification given on this page and apply online on or before the official last date which is 17th November 2020.

Latest news:

Update (28th October 2020): As per the official exam calendar, Union Public Service Commission has released the UPSC CDS 1 2021 official notification on 28th October 2020. All candidates who want to apply for the CDS 1 2021 exam can submit the online applications until 17th November 2020.

Update (15th October 2020): Union Public Services has released the CDS-2 2020 Admit Card on the official website.

Update (1st September 2020): Union Public Services has released the CDS-2 2019 final result on the official website. Check more information in the linked article.

Candidates can download the CDS 1 2021 official notification PDF given at the end of this page.

UPSC CDS Exam 2021

Candidates can check all details about the UPSC CDS 2021 Exam on this page such as Exam Date, CDS Eligibility, Exam Pattern, what is CDS exam, CDS online form, The application process, salary structure, etc.

Main Topic in this post

What is CDS Exam? CDS Full Form?

The “Combined Defence Services” exam also known as the “CDS Exam” is a national level competitive exam conducted by UPSC twice a year for admission in Indian Military Academy (IMA), Air Force Academy (AFA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA).

CDS Full form in English: If we speak about the CDS exam in India, CDS is a shortened form of the “Combined Defence Services” exam.

CDS Full form in Hindi: संयुक्त रक्षा सेवाएं

Other full form of CDS:

CDS is also known as the “Chief of Defence Staff” in English and “चीफ ऑफ डिफेंस स्टाफ” in Hindi. CDS is responsible to provides strategic leadership to all three forces in India. CDS is the head of the Military advisory board and responsible to share special recommendations directly to the Defence Minister of India. General Bipin Rawat is the first Chief of Defence Staff in India.

UPSC has streamlined the CDS examination process and the major step was taken by the UPSC is to give candidates two chances in a year to apply for the CDS exam. UPSC has decided to schedule CDS paper in February and November every year. Notification for both is made available four months before the exam date.

Selection in the UPSC CDS exam is done based on the performance in the written exam, SSB Interview, and personality test. If candidates clear all three rounds then he gets a chance to get the world-class training opportunity in any one of the training academies in India.

Candidates can submit their preference of the training academy while submitting the online application form. Generally, the training period is 6 months. After the 6 months of training, candidates are deployed to the Indian Army or Navy or Air Force as an officer.

If you want to become an officer in the Indian defence forces then CDS Exam is the best choice for job seekers. CDS exam provides a good opportunity for the job seekers and offers a direct officers level post n Different Defence forces such as Army, Navy, or Air Force.

CDS Exam Overview:

Please have a look at the overview of the CDS 2021 exam.

Exam NameUPSC Combined Defence Services Examination (UPSC CDS)
Level of examNational level
Required Marital StatusUnmarried
Application ModeOnline
Conducting BodyUnion Public Service Commission
Exam TypePen and Paper-based
FrequencyTwo times in a year (CDS 1 in February & CDS 2 in November)
Selection ProcessWritten Test and SSB Interview
Phone number (facilitation counter)011-23098543/ 23385271/ 23381125/ 23098591

UPSC CDS Exam 2021 Salary:

Please find complete details about the salary of officers hired through the CDS exam. The pay scale is mentioned in the below table.

RankLevelPay Band
LieutenantLevel 1056,100 -1,77,500
CaptainLevel 10 B61,300- 1,93,900
MajorLevel 1169,400 – 2,07,200
Lieutenant ColonelLevel 12A1,21,200 – 2,12,400
ColonelLevel 131,30,600-2, 15,900
BrigadierLevel 13A1,39,600-2,17,600
Major GeneralLevel 141,44,200-2,18,200
Lieutenant General HAG ScaleLevel 151, 82, 200-2,24,100
HAG+ScaleLevel 162,05,400 – 2,24,400
VCOAS/Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG)Level 172,25,000/-(fixed)
COASLevel 182,50,000/-(fixed)

There is one more salary component that is Military service pay, and as per MSP officers will get Rs. 15,500/- extra salary every month.

​*All selected cadets (The Gentlemen or Lady Cadets) will get a fixed stipend of Rs. 56,100/- throughout the complete training in all Service Academies such as IMA and OTA.

UPSC CDS 1 2021 notification

Union Public Service has notified on his official website through a notification on 28th October 2020 about the CDS exam online applications. All necessary information regarding the Combined defence services exam is also made available by UPSC through this notification.

There is a deadline to apply for CDS 1 2021 exam and candidates must complete their online application process on or before 17th November 2020.

Candidates waiting for UPSC CDS notification can check important details on this page.

UPSC recently notified about the updated UPSC Calendar 2021 on the UPSC website. The CDS 1 2021 exam date has been updated in the UPSC calendar which is now 7th February 2021.

UPSC CDS Name of the Course and Approximate No. of Vacancies:

UPSC has released the total number of vacancies along with the official notification. A total of 345 vacancies are available in CDS 1 2021 Exam. Candidates can check the number of vacancies to get an idea about it.

UPSC CDS 1 2021 Number of Vacancy:

Sr. No.Name of the AcademyCityNo. of Vacancy
1Indian Military AcademyDehradun100
2Indian Naval AcademyEzhimala26
3Air Force AcademyHyderabad32
4Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Men)Chennai170
5Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women)Chennai17

UPSC CDS 1 Number of vacancies for 2020 is mentioned below:

upsc cds 1 no of vacancy

The number of vacancies given above can be changed by the UPSC any time without any notice. Although UPSC will update if there is any change in the available vacancy for UPSC CDS exam.

Also, find UPSC CAPF 2020 exam all latest details at the linked article

UPSC CDS Exam Date 2021

UPSC CDS Exam date has been updated by the UPSC in the revised UPSC calendar which is now 7th February 2021.

The official UPSC notification for CDS 1 has released today (28th October) along with the UPSC CDS Exam Date.

UPSC CDS 1 exam 2021 dates are given below:

Notification Date28th October 202005/08/2020
Starting of Application Form28th October 202005/08/2020
Last date to submit the application form17th November 202025/08/2020
CDS Application Withdrawal window24th November to 30th November 202001/09/2020 to 07/09/2020
Availability of Admit cardJanuary 2021October 2020
UPSC CDS Exam Date7th February 202108/11/2020
Announcement of ResultsWill be updatedWill be updated

CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria: CDS Exam Age Limit, Qualification for CDS, CDS eligibility for female, etc

The combined defence services exam is conducted by Union Public Services Commission two times a year. A lot of candidates apply for CDS Exam to get a job in Indian Defence forces like the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force.

UPSC CDS Selection process is not very easy and a lot of preparation at all levels is required to crack the exam. CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria play an important role in the final selection.

If you are preparing for the UPSC CDS Exam 2021 then please check the complete UPSC CDS Exam eligibility criteria for Male or Females before applying.

Please have a look at the complete CDS exam eligibility criteria below.


A candidate must be unmarried male and must be :

  • (i) a citizen of India, or
  • (ii) a subject of Bhutan, or
  • (iii) a subject of Nepal, or
  • (iv) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  • (v) 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.

CDS Exam Age Limit (For CDS I 2021)

(i) CDS Exam Age Limit For IMA

Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd January 1998 and not later than 1st January 2003 only are eligible.

(ii) CDS Exam Age Limit For INA (Indian Naval Academy)

Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd January 1998 and not later than 1st January 2003 only are eligible.

(iii) CDS Exam Age Limit For Air Force Academy

20 to 24 years as on 1st January 2022 i.e. born not earlier than 2nd  January 1998 and not later than 1s January 2002 (Upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable up to 26 yrs. i.e. born not earlier than 2nd January 1995 and not later than 1st January 2001) only are eligible.

Note: Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried. Marriage is not permitted during training. Married candidates above 25 years of age are eligible to apply but during the training period they will neither be provided married accommodation nor can they live with family out of the premises.

(iv) CDS Exam Age Limit For Officers’ Training Academy—(SSC Course for men)

Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd  January 1997 and not later than 1st January 2003 only are eligible.

(v) CDS Exam Age Limit For Officers’ Training Academy—(SSC Women Non-Technical Course)

Unmarried women, issueless widows who have not remarried, and issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible. Unmarried women are eligible. They should have been born not earlier than 2nd January 1997 and not later than 1st January 2003.

The age limit criteria for CDS 1 2021 is mentioned in the below table:

AcademyAge limitDate of Birth CriteriaGenderMarital Status
IMA (Indian Military Academy)21 years – 24 years as on 1st January 2021January 02, 1997, to January 01, 2002MaleUnmarried
INA (Indian Naval Academy)21 years – 24 years as on 1st January 2021January 02, 1997, to January 01, 2002MaleUnmarried
AFA (Air Force Academy)20 years – 24 years as on 1st January 2021January 02, 1997, to January 01, 2001MaleUnmarried if less than 25 years of Age
OTA (Officers Training Academy) for Men21 years – 25 years as on 1st January 2021January 02, 1996, to January 01, 2002MaleUnmarried
OTA (Officers Training Academy) for Women21 years – 25 years as on 1st January 2021January 02, 1996, to January 01, 2002FemaleUnmarried Women

NOTE: Male divorcee/widower candidates cannot be treated as unmarried males for the purpose of their admission in IMA/INA/AFA/OTA, Chennai courses, and accordingly they are not eligible for these courses.
The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation/Secondary School Examination Certificate or in a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University,

Educational Qualification for CDS Exam:

Please have a look at the qualification for CDS exam below according to the academy.

(i) For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai

Degree of a recognized University or equivalent.

(ii) For Indian Naval Academy

Degree in Engineering from a recognized University/Institution.

(iii) For Air Force Academy

Degree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.

Graduates with the first choice as Army/Navy/Air Force are to submit proof of Graduation/provisional certificates on the date of commencement of the SSB Interview at the SSB.

Candidates who are currently pursuing final year/semester Degree course can also apply provided candidates will have to submit proof of passing the degree examination at the time of commencement of the course to reach the IHQ of MoD (Army), Rtg ‘A’, CDSE Entry, West Block III, R. K. Puram, New Delhi-110066 in case of IMA/SSC first choice candidates and Naval HQ “DMPR” (OI & R Section), Room No. 204, ‘C’ Wing, Sena Bhawan, New Delhi-110011 in case of Navy first choice candidates and PO3(A)/Air Headquarters, ‘J’ Block, Room No. 17, Opp. Vayu Bhawan, Motilal Nehru Marg, New Delhi-110 106

in case of Air Force first choice candidates by the following dates failing which their candidature will stand canceled :

  • (i) For admission to IMA on or before 1st January 2021, Indian Naval Academy on or before 1st January 2021, and Air Force Academy on or before 13th November 2020.
  • (ii) For admission to Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai on or before 1st April 2021.

NOTE: Those candidates who have yet to qualify in the final year Degree Examination and are allowed to appear in the UPSC Examination should note that this is only a special concession given to them. They are required to submit proof of passing the Degree Examination by the prescribed date. At the time of the SSB interview, They also are required to submit a bonafide certificate issued by the University/College stating that they will be able to submit their proof of passing the graduation degree examination by the specified date, failing which their candidature will be canceled.

CDS Educational qualification summary is given in the below table.

For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy, ChennaiDegree of a recognized University or equivalent.
For Indian Naval AcademyDegree in Engineering from a recognized University/Institution.
For Air Force AcademyDegree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering

Physical Standards:

Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Combined Defence Services Examination (I), 2021 as per guidelines given

The candidate must be physically fit according to the prescribed physical standards which are summarized below:

  • The candidate must be in good physical and mental health and free from any disease/disability which is likely to interfere with the efficient performance of duties.
  • There should be no evidence of a weak constitution, bodily defects, or underweight. The candidate should not be overweight or obese.
  • The minimum acceptable height for male candidates is 157.5 cms. (157 cms for Navy and 162.5 cms for Air Force). Women candidate’s minimum acceptable height is 152 cms. For Gorkhas and individuals belonging to hills of the North-Eastern region of India, Garhwali and Kumaon, the Minimum acceptable height will be 5 cms less. In the case of candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum acceptable height can be reduced by 2 cm.
  • The chest should be well developed. The minimum range of expansion after full inspiration should be 5 cms. The measurement will be taken with tape so adjusted that its lower edge should touch the nipple in front and the upper part of the tape should touch the lower angle of the shoulder blades behind. X-ray of the chest is compulsory and will be taken to rule out any disease of the chest. Routine X-ray Spine is not carried out for Navy Candidates.
  • There should be no mal-development or impairment of the function of the bones or joints.
  • A candidate should have no past history of mental breakdown or fits.
  • The hearing should be normal. A candidate should be able to hear a forced whisper with each ear at a distance of 610 cms in a quiet room. There should be no evidence of present or past disease of the ear, nose, and throat. There is no impediment to speech.
  • There should be no signs of functional or organic disease of the heart and blood vessels, Blood pressure should be normal.
  • There should be no enlargement of the liver or spleen. Any evidence of disease of internal organs of the abdomen will be a cause for rejection.
  • Un-operated hernias will make a candidate unfit. In the case of Hernia which has been operated on, a minimum of six months must have passed prior to the final medical examination.
  • There should be no hydrocele, varicocele, or piles.
  • A urine examination will be done and any abnormality if detected will be a cause for rejection.
  • Any disease of the skin which is likely to cause disability or disfigurement will also be a cause for rejection.
  • USG abdomen examination will be carried out and any congenital structural anomaly or disease of the abdominal organs will be a cause for rejection.
  • The candidates should have a sufficient number of natural and sound teeth. A minimum of 14 dental points will be acceptable. When 32 teeth are present, the total dental points are 22. A candidate should not be suffering from severe pyorrhoea.
  • Vision Standards for Naval Candidates:-
Uncorrected without glasses6/12, 6/12
Corrected with glasses6/6, 6/6
Limits of Myopia-1.5D
Limits of Hypermetropia+1.5D
Binocular VisionIII
Limits of Colour PerceptionI

CDS Eligibility for Female

If we talk about CDS Eligibility for Female then Female candidates are eligible for Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) only for Non Technical posts.

As already mentioned above a graduate degree is required and any unmarried or divorced Women (having valid divorce documents) can apply for CDS Exam. They should have been born not earlier than 2nd January 1996 and not later than 1st January 2002.

UPSC CDS Exam Pattern and Selection Process

The UPSC CDS selection process will be completed in two stages.

  • 1-Written Examination
  • 2-SSB Interview

The standard of the papers in Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level. The standard of papers in other subjects will approximately be such as may be expected of a graduate of an Indian University.

The subjects of the written examination, the time allowed and the maximum marks allotted to each subject will be as follows:

(a) For Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy:—

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
English2 hours100
General Knowledge2 hours100
Elementary Mathematics2 hours100

(b) For Admission to Officers’ Training Academy:—

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
English2 hours100
General Knowledge2 hours100

Important points for written examination:

  • The maximum marks allotted to the written examination and to the interviews will be equal for each course i.e. the maximum marks allotted to the written examination and to the interviews will be 300, 300, 300, and 200 each for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Officers’ Training Academy respectively.
  • All questions in all subjects will be objective type questions.
  • All papers will be in both English and Hindi languages except for English papers.
  • All questions in all papers must be written by the candidate itself.
  • Qualifying marks in the written exam will be decided by the commission.
  • The candidates are not permitted to use a calculator for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not, therefore, bring the same inside the Examination Hall.


The SSB interview process consists of a two-stage Selection process – stage I and stage II.

  • Stage-1: OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating) and PP&DT (Picture Perception & Descriptive test)
  • Stage-2: Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and the Conference

Important Points for SSB Interview round:

  • SSB Interview round takes around 5 to 7 days.
  • Only those candidates who successfully clear the stage I SSB interview are permitted to appear for stage II.
  • Candidates’ personality is assessed based on the different parameters such as decision-making power, aptitude level, candidates’ perception based on different scenarios.
  • The Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO), and the Psychologist examine the candidates during the 5 to 7 days time while doing different tasks.

How to Apply online For UPSC CDS Exam?

Candidates can apply for the CDS exam through the official UPSC website in online mode only. Any other mode of application will not be accepted.

CDS notification has already been released by the UPSC on 28th October 2020 and the last date to submit the applications is 17th November 2020.

Also, candidates can withdraw online application form from 24th November to 30th November 2020.

UPSC CDS Application Fee:

The application fee for CDS exam is RS 200.

An application fee of 200 Rs is required to pay by candidates (except ST/SC candidates who are exempted from fee) by using Debit Card, Credit Card, SBI Net Banking facility, or by depositing cash at any SBI Bank branch.  


Before applying online, candidates should have below mentioned documents/Information.

  • (i) A recent passport size color photograph and scanned signature image having file size between 20 kb to 300 kb and 10kb to 20kb. Signature in CAPITAL LETTERS will NOT be accepted.
  • (ii) Candidate must have his matriculation certificate ready to fill in basic details like name, father’s name, date of birth.
  • (iii) Candidate must have a valid id proof like Adhar Card, Voter Id Card, PAN Card, etc.
  • (v) Keep the necessary details/documents ready to make Online Payment of the requisite application fee/ intimation charges.
  • (vii) Have a valid personal email ID and mobile number which should be kept active till the completion of this recruitment process. Bank may send intimation to download call letters for the Examination etc. through the registered e-mail ID. The Board does not send any communication by any other mode than E-mail/SMS. No change in E-mail ID will be entertained during the entire process of recruitment.

Please find below the complete step by step process.

Please have a look at the below steps about how to apply for the CDS EXAM.

  • Go to the UPSC CDS official website and click on the apply link
  • CDS online application
  • The first part is the Candidates Registration. Provide all asked details about yourself in the candidate’s registration part.
  • Now comes the second part of the online application process. Now some important details about candidates will be asked by UPSC like contact information, personal details, basic details, etc.
  • Now images and photographs scanned by candidates should be uploaded on the UPSC portal. All scanned images must be in JPG format. The maximum size of the photograph is 300kb and for signature itis 20kb.
  • Now the final step is submitting the application fee online and complete the application process.
    • The application fee can be paid by using an online method like debit card, net banking, credit card or candidates can pay fees offline also by depositing cash at any nearest SBI bank branch.
    • If candidates want to pay the fee by cash, Candidates can take the print out of the SBI bank challan after the last step of the online application process and take this to the nearest SBI Bank after 24 hours of generating the challan.


CDS I 2020 result for the written test has already been declared by UNION Public Service Commission on 23rd March 2020. Successfully qualified candidates who scored minimum qualifying marks in the written exam will be called for the SSB interview round.

Please follow the complete step by step process to check the CDS result:

  • Go to the official UPSC website.
  • Click on the “written result” link on the right sidebar of the website or visit here.
  • Now click on the “Examination Written Result” link.
  • OR Go to the examination tab of the main website and click on “Active Examination” and navigate to the CDS I 2020 Result link.
  • Click on it, a pdf will appear with the names of qualifying candidates.

Candidates who have qualified for the CDS 2021 written exam will be called by the Service Selection Board for psychological aptitude tests, intelligence tests, and interviews.

  • Candidates have to secure the minimum qualifying marks separately in CDS 2021 written examination and CDS 2021 SSB test.
  • The examination authority will prepare a merit list of all the qualified candidates based on the total marks secured by them and accordingly, they will be selected for the CDS 2021 courses.

UPSC CDS 1 Admit Card 2021 released: Download Hall Ticket Now

Union Public Service Commission has released the UPSC CDS 1 Admit Card 2021. All candidates who have applied for the CDS 1 2021 exam can download their Admit Card from the official website.

UPSC has released guidelines also to appear for the CDS examination.

UPSC CDS 1 2020 examination is scheduled to be conducting on 7th February 2021 all over India.

UPSC CDS 1 Admit Card 2021 Important Date: Check below mentioned date related to the CDS Admit Card 2021.

EventsImportant Date
Release of the CDS 1 2021 notification28th October 2020
Release of the CDS 1 2021 Admit Card7th January 2021
Last date to download the CDS Admit Card7th February 2021
Exam Date7th February 2021
UPSC CDS resultWill be updated

Candidates can follow the below steps to download their UPSC CDS Admit Card.

How to download the UPSC CDS 1 Admit Card 2021

Candidates can download the UPSC CDS Admit Card from the official website. A simple step-by-step process is given below. Please have a look.

  • Visit the official exam conducting authority website here.
  • Now click on the latest notification e-Admit Card for Combined Defence Services 1 2021 examination on the right side of the website.
  • On the next page click on the “click here” link. A new window will open.
  • On this new page check the details such as Admit Card issue date and last date to download the Admit Card. Now click on the Click here link.
  • On the next page, you will find some important instructions. Read all the given instructions and click on the YES button to proceed.
  • On the next screen, you will get two options for downloading your UPSC CDS Admit Card.
    • By Registration Id.
    • By Roll Number
    • upsc cds admit card
  • Choose any one option and log in with the login credentials you got at the time of the CDS online registration.
  • Finally, download your Admit Card and take a print-out for future reference.

Important Instructions

Please check below instructions carefully related to the UPSC CDS Admit Card.

  • Check details written on the Admit Card such as
    • Name
    • Date of Birth
    • Category
    • Fathers Name
    • Mother’s Name
    • Id Proof Number
  • Ensure that all given details on the Admit Card are correct. If there is any incorrect information please inform the examination authority immediately.
  • Note down the exam center and shift timing details written on the CDS Admit Card.
  • Carry this Admit Card while going to the examination venue along with the same identity proof which is mentioned in the Admit Card.
  • Make sure that you are going to the same examination venue which is written on your Admit Card.
  • Follow all guidelines shared by the UPSC while appearing for the exam.
  • Please follow the latest covid-19 related guidelines such as wearing a face mask and hand sanitization and social distancing. You will not be allowed to enter the examination hall without following covid-19 guidelines.

UPSC CDS Admit Card sample: Check below a sample CDS Admit Card.

upsc cds admit card sample

UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020 | Download CDS OTA, IMA, INA, AFA syllabus pdf

UPSC CDS Exam is conducted twice a year. The recruitment process of the UPSC CDS Exam is not that easy and proper and dedicated preparation is required to crack UPSC CDS Exam 2020.

Candidates should have a proper idea about UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020 exam to start the preparation in the right direction.

All candidates can check the UPSC CDS Exam syllabus 2020 on this page and make their preparation strategy according to UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020.

UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020 for IMA, AFA, and INA

Syllabus for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Air Force Academy (AFA) and Indian Naval Academy is same. It will consist of three parts i.e. English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics.

CDS OTA Syllabus

CDS OTA Syllabus is different from IMA, AFA, and INA. CDS OTS Syllabus will consist of only English and General Knowledge. The Elementary Mathematics part is not there in CDS OTA Syllabus

Please have a look all parts syllabus below:

There will be three parts in the UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020.

  • English
  • General Knowledge
  • Elementary Mathematics

Syllabus of Elementary Mathematics will be similar to the matriculation level Mathematics exam. Syllabus for all other subjects will be similar to any Indian University Graduation level exam.

Please find below UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020:

UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020 ENGLISH Subject

The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.


General questions on the History and Geography subjects which do not require any special kind of preparation. Questions based on current events and general awareness of the candidates. General knowledge questions are just to check the candidate’s observation power and common understanding and how he develops his technical knowledge based on the current news and events.



Number System

Natural numbersIntegersRational and Real numbers
Fundamental operations, addition, subtractionmultiplication, divisionSquare roots, Decimal fractions
Unitary methodtime and distancetime and work, percentages
Applications to simple and compound interest,Profit and lossratio and proportion, variation

Elementary Number Theory

Division algorithmFactorization TheoremEuclidean algorithm
Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 11H.C.F. and L.C.MPrime and composite numbers
Logarithms to base 10, laws of logarithmsuse of logarithmic tablesMultiples and factors


  • Basic Operations
  • Solutions of quadratic equations
  • Simple factors
  • Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—analytical and graphical solutions.
  • Remainder Theorem
  • Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or in-equations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions.
  • H.C.F., L.C.M.
  • Theory of polynomials
  • The relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered).
  • Simultaneous linear in-equations in two variables and their solutions.
  • Set language and set notation, Rational expressions, and conditional identities, Laws of indices.


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 tablesSimple cases of heights and distances


Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on

Properties of angles at a pointCongruency of trianglesThe concurrence of medians and altitudes,
Similar trianglesCircles and its properties including tangents and normals, (ix) LociProperties of angles, sides, and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle, and square
Parallel linesSides and angles of a triangle


surface area and volume of spheresAreas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book)
Surface area and volume of cuboidstriangle and circle
lateral surface, and volume of right circular cones and cylindersAreas of squares


Graphical representation frequency polygonsBar charts
Measures of central tendency.Collection and tabulation of statistical data
Pie charts, etc.Histograms

Also, check UPSC NDA 2020 complete details in the linked article.

UPSC CDS Cut Off 2021: Check previous cut off

UPSC CDS exam is scheduled to be conducted on 7th February 2021. All candidates who are going to attend the exam can check the previous years cut off to get an idea about how many marks they needed to qualify in the CDS 2021 exam.

Cut-Off marks are the minimum marks required to qualify for a particular section. Getting an idea about the cut off marks is very important and helps the job seekers to change their exam preparation strategy according to the current competition level.

UPSC CDS 2021 Cut off will be available after the CDS 2021 exam. Meanwhile, candidates can check the CDS Previous years cut off given on this page.

How to check the CDS Exam Cut off?

UPSC release the CDS Exam cut off on the official website. Please have a look on below steps to download CDS Cut Off

  • Visit the official website
  • Go to the ‘Examination’ tab and click on the “Cut-Off Marks” section.
  • Click the relevant year wise link
  • The course-wise CDS cut off marks are displayed on the screen in PDF format
  • Download the same and save the file

CDS Exam Cut-off Marks

Union Public Service Commission has released the CDS 2 2019 cut off marks along with the marks obtained by the recommended candidates. Candidates can check their marks and CDS 2 2019 cut off on the official website.

UPSC CDS 2 2019 Cut Off marks:

AcademyWritten ExamFinal Exam
Aggregate marks of last
qualified candidate*
Marks of last recommended
OTA (Men)95176
OTA (Women)95179

UPSC CDS 1 2019 Cut Off marks:

AcademyWritten examFinal exam
 Aggregate  marks  of  last qualified candidate*Marks of last recommended candidate
OTA (Men)78160

UPSC CDS 2 2018 Cut Off:

AcademyWritten examWritten examFinal result
Minimum qualifying
marks in each Subject
Minimum aggregate
marks of last qualified candidates
Marks of last recommended candidates
IMA20 marks (i.e. 20%)116 marks (i.e. 38.67%)242
INA20 marks (i.e. 20%)102 marks (i.e. 34%)228
AFA20 marks (i.e. 20%)131 marks (i.e. 43.67%)253
OTA (Men)20 marks (i.e. 20%)80 marks (i.e. 40%)162
OTA (Women)20 marks (i.e. 20%)80 marks (i.e. 40%)163

UPSC CDS 1 2018 Cut Off marks:

AcademyWritten examFinal Exam
AcademyAggregate marks of last qualified candidateMarks of last recommended candidate
OTA  (Men)69154

Previous years cut-off marks pdf of the CDS Exam is given below:

please use “12345” password to open the pdf.

CDS Answer Keys

CDS Answer Keys for the CDS 1 2021 exam will be released after the CDS exam. CDS 2021 1 Answer Keys is not officially released by the UPSC. We will update this page by including the Answer Keys for all subjects as soon as the official Answer Keys are available on the UPSC website.

CDS 2 2019 Answer Keys:

Please download the CDS 2 2019 Answer Keys from the below-given links.

CDS 1 2019 Answer Keys:

Please download the CDS 1 2019 Answer Keys from the below-given links.

CDS 2 2018 Answer Keys:

Please download the CDS 2 2018 Answer Keys from the below-given links.

CDS 1 2018 Answer Keys:

Please download the CDS 1 2018 Answer Keys from the below-given links.

CDS Previous Year Question Paper

Candidates applying for the UPSC CDS Exam should attempt CDS previous year question papers at least once. It will help in analyzing competition level and candidates can check how much they are prepared for the written exam.

Please find below UPSC CDS previous year question papers according to year.

CDS 1, 2020 question papers

CDS 2, 2019 question papers

CDS 1, 2019 question papers

CDS 2, 2018 question papers

CDS 1, 2018 question papers

CDS 2, 2017 question papers

CDS 1, 2017 question papers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the salary of a CDS officer?

The salary of Officers recruited through the CDS exam is different according to posts. Please check the complete salary structure here.

What is the difference between CDS 1 and CDS 2?

There is no difference between CDS 1 and the CDS 2 exams. UPSC conducts the CDS exam twice a year. The exam conducted in February is called CDS 1 and the exam conducted in November is called CDS 2. The pattern of both CDS 1 and CDS 2 is the same.

How can I apply for the CDS exam in 2021?

You can apply for the CDS exam by visiting the official website and follow these steps for the online application.

Are CDS tough?

Yes, the CDS exam is conducted for officers post and lacs of candidates apply each year for few posts generally below 1 thousand. So the competition level is very high. Also, the hiring process for the CDS exam is very tough. Except for academic knowledge, a good personality with good physical fitness is required to crack the CDS exam.

Which stream is required for CDS?

Any graduate can apply for the CDS exam except for AIR Force Academy and Naval Academy. For Air Force candidates should have studied physics and mathematics at 10+2 level and for Navy, an engineering degree is required.

What is the percentage required for CDS exam?

There are no percentage criteria to apply for CDS Exam. You should have a graduate degree to become eligible.

Is Math compulsory for CDS Exam?

Math is compulsory if you want to join the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy. For Officers Training Academy (OTA) Math is not required.

Can I clear CDS without coaching?

Definitely You can clear CDS Exam without any coaching as there are a lot of candidates selected in CDS who never took any help from any coaching class. It just required an overall well-planned strategy. There are a lot of things which need to take care of apart from the written exam. You must be enough confident and smart having a good overall personality.

Which is better NDA or CDS?

Both are better options. If you are a graduate you must apply for CDS Exam otherwise NDA is also a good option. Definitely joining through CDS will have some advantages like hire rankings and better

How much height is required for CDS?

According to the criteria by UPSC minimum height for Male candidates is 157.5 cm and minimum height for females is 152 cm. 5 cm relaxation is also given to candidates belongs to Gorkhas and North Eastern hills regions of India.

What is the CDS Exam eligibility criteria?

CDS Eligibility criteria consist of Educational qualification, Age, Physical Criteria, and nationality. Check complete CDS Eligibility criteria.

Can a Girl give CDS Exam?

Yes, Any graduate unmarried or divorced Females (Having valid divorce documents) can also apply for the CDS Exam but Female candidates are only eligible for Officers Training Academy (OTA). Please check the complete eligibility criteria before applying.

Is physical fitness required for the CDS exam?

Yes, Physical fitness is an essential criterion for appearing for the CDS exam. Candidates are advised to check complete criteria before applying that include educational qualification, Age, Physical Fitness.

Can 12th pass apply for CDS?

NO, the Minimum eligibility criteria for the CDS (Combined Defence Services) exam is graduation. If you have completed graduation or appearing in the final year of graduation then only you are eligible to apply for the CDS exam.

Official Notification:

Please find some other Sarkari Exams information at the linked article.


  1. Examination Notice No.2/2021.CDS-I, Union Public Service Commission, Oct. 28, 2020. Accessed on: Oct. 28, 2020. [Online]. Available:
  2. Combined Defence Services Examination (II), 2020 – e – Admit Card, Union Public Service Commission, Oct. 15, 2020. Accessed on: Oct. 15, 2020. [Online]. Available:
  3. Combined Defence Services Examination (II), 2019 – Declaration of Final Result, Union Public Service Commission, Sep 1, 2020. Accessed on: Sep 6, 2020. [Online]. Available:
  4. Calendar, Union Public Service Commission, Aug 18, 2020. Accessed on: Aug 20, 2020. [Online]. Available:
  5. Cut-off Marks Combined Defence Services Examination (II), 2019, Union Public Service Commission, Nov. 08, 2020. Accessed on: Nov. 11, 2020. [Online]. Available:
  6. Combined Defence Services (II) Examination,2019 Finally Recommended Candidates, Union Public Service Commission, Nov. 11, 2020. Accessed on: Nov. 11, 2020. [Online]. Available:

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