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UPSC CDS 2021: Eligibility, Admit card (out), Application Form, Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Result & Cut Off

Updated On -

Jan 19, 2021

To complete the recruitment process for Commissioned Officers in Navy, Air Force and Indian Army, the Union Public Service Commission conducts the Combined Defence Services Examination. Once the selection process will be completed, the recruited aspirants will be undergone to a training process, which will be held at Indian Naval Academy (INA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA). The UPSC conducts the examination twice in a year that is in February and in September.

Get FREE CDS 2021 Mock Tests, Sectional Quiz, Previous Years Papers. Click Here

Latest Update

15 October 2020: CDS 2 2020 admit card of the written exam has been issued. Also, check CDS Exam Dates

CDS Highlights

Highlights of CDS 2020

Name of exam Combined Defence Services Examination
Conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 
Exam level National
Exam frequency Twice a year
Exam mode Online
Exam mode Two hours
Language of question paper English and Hindi
Exam Fees Rs 200
Exam purpose To select candidates as Commissioned Officers in Indian Army, Navy and Air Force
CDS 1 vacancies  CDS 1: 418
CDS 2: 344
No of test cities 41
Official website
CDS Exam Dates

CDS Exam Dates


CDS (I) 2021 Events CDS (I) 2021 Dates
Release of notification 28-Oct-2020 
Application process 28-Oct-2020 to 17-Nov-2020 
Exam date 07-Feb-2021


CDS (II) 2021 Events  CDS (II) 2021 Dates
Release of notification 04-Aug-2021 
Starting of the application process 04-Aug-2021 to 17-Nov-2020 
Exam date 14-Nov-2021
CDS Vacancy

CDS (2) Vacancy 2020

CDS Course Total Vacancies
Indian Military Academy, Dehradun 100
Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala 26
Indian Air Force Academy, Hyderabad 32
Officers Training Academy, Chennai (Men) 169
Officers Training Academy, Chennai (Women) 17
Total CDS Vacancy  344
CDS Eligibility

CDS (2) Eligibility Criteria

All the aspirants are required to check the eligibility criteria before they apply for the CDS examination. To know more, go through the following content:

Age Limit

Department Age
Indian Military Academy Should not be born before 2nd Jul 1997 and should not be born later 1st Jul 2002
Indian Naval Academy Should not be born before 2nd Jul 1997 and should not be born later 1st Jul 2002
Indian Air Force Academy Should not be born before 2nd Jul 1997 and should not be born later 1st Jul 2001
Officers' Training Academy Should not be born before 2nd Jul 1996 and should not be born later 1st Jul 2002
Officers' Training Academy—(SSC Women Non-Technical Course) Should not be born before 2nd Jul 1996 and should not be born later 1st Jul 2002


  • The aspirants should be Indian, OR,
  • The candidates should be subject to Nepal/ Bhutan, OR,
  • The Tibetan Refugee, who have migrated to India before 1st January 1962 and have the intention to settle in India permanently, OR,
  • If the Indian Origin candidates migrated from Sri Lanka, Uganda, Pakistan, Burma, Kenya, Vietnam, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire, Zambia, Tanzania and have the plan to settle to India permanently.

Gender Requirements for several Posts

Department Gender Status
Indian Military Academy Male Unmarried
Indian Naval Academy Male Unmarried
Indian Air Force Academy Male Unmarried
Officer Training Academy Male Married/Unmarried
Officer Training Academy Female Unmarried

Education Qualification: Education qualification for CDS (2) 2020 exam would be varied for several designations:

Post Educational Eligibility Criteria
IMA Graduate from Recognized University
INA Engineering Degree from Recognized University
AFA Engineering Degree (Physics & Maths at 10+2) or B. Tech from Recognized University
OTA Graduate from Recognized University
CDS Application Process

CDS (2) Online Application Form 2020

On 25th August 2020, the online application form for appearing the CDS (2) exam has been closed.

Steps to Apply for the CDS (2) 2020 Examination

  • Open the official website and then click the ‘Online Application for Various Examinations of UPSC’.
  • Once the page will be opened, the aspirants have to click the Part I option to click the Combined Defence Services Examination (2).
  • Before you click the ‘Yes’ button, the aspirants are requested to read the instructions from PART I.
  • Next, you will be able to see the application form displayed on the screen.
  • Now, the aspirants have to fill the contact details and personal information.
  • According to the age and notification, the candidates should choose their preferable academics.
  • In the next step, your Registration ID will be generated.
  • Once you complete your Part I form, you have to start to fill your Part-II Application form fill up process.
  • Next, you have to pay 200 INR for completing the Application Form Fill up Process.
  • If you have done your payment process, you can choose your desirable examination centre.
  • Now you have to upload the scanned copy of your signature and photograph according to the mentioned file size and dimensions.
  • In the next step, you have to select the ‘Submit’ option.
  • You are advised to print out of the application form for future reference.

Application Fees

  • The fees of CDS (2) application form for the General category students is INR 200
  • However, the reserved categories candidates such as the SC/ST/ Females do not need to pay the application fees.
  • To pay the application fees, the aspirants can choose both the online and offline mode of transaction.
  • In the case of the online payment process, the aspirants can complete the process by using the Mastercard/ Debit Card or via Net Banking.
  • For offline payment process, the aspirants have to deposit the cash to any branch of SBI Bank.
CDS Exam Centre

CDS (2) Examination Centre

State Examination Centre
Tripura Agartala
Gujarat Ahmedabad
Mizoram Aizawl
Uttar Pradesh Allahabad
Karnataka Bengaluru
Uttar Pradesh Bareilly
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal
Punjab Chandigarh
Tamil Nadu Chennai
Tamil Nadu Cuttack
Uttarakhand Dehradun
Delhi Delhi
Karnataka Dharwad
Assam Dispur
Sikkim Gangtok
Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad
Manipur Imphal
Arunachal Pradesh Itanagar
Rajasthan Jaipur
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu
Assam Jorhat
Kerala Kochi
Nagaland Kohima
West Bengal Kolkata
Uttar Pradesh Lucknow
Tamil Nadu Madurai
Maharashtra Mumbai
Maharashtra Nagpur
Goa Panaji
Bihar Patna
Andaman and Nicobar Port Blair
Chhattisgarh Raipur
Jharkhand Ranchi
Odisha Sambalpur
Meghalaya Shillong
Himachal Pradesh Shimla
Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar
Kerala Thiruvananthapuram
Arunachal Pradesh Tirupati
Rajasthan Udaipur
Arunachal Pradesh Visakhapatnam

Check CDS Exam Centres

CDS Exam Pattern

CDS Exam Pattern

The CDS Exam Pattern is categorised into two sections and these are:

  • Written test
  • Intelligence and Personality Interview

The exam pattern is not similar for both the Officer Training Academy and also for the Indian Military/ Indian Air Force/Indian Naval Academy.

CDS Exam Pattern for INA, IMA & IAF

The Exam of Indian Air Force, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Military Academy consists of three papers and total score of the papers is 300 marks.

Subjects Marks Duration
English 100 2 hours
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
Elementary Mathematics 100 2 hours

CDS Exam Pattern for Officers Training Academy (OTA)

Officer Training Academy will consist of two subjects and the total marks of the exam will be 200. The total duration of the examination will be 4 hours.

Subjects Marks Duration
English 100 2 hours
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
CDS Syllabus

CDS Syllabus

To get a good score in the CDS Exam, the aspirants should know the syllabus thoroughly:

General Knowledge
  • Current affairs of the last 4-5 months from the examination date.
  • History
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Political Science
  • Basic Grammar
  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Comprehension Solving
  • Error Spotting
  • Para Jumbles
Elementary Math
  • Natural numbers
  • Integers
  • Percentages
  • Rational and Real numbers
  • Time & work
  • Time & distance
  • Profit & loss
  • Ratio & proportion
  • Prime and composite numbers
  • Simple and compound interest
  • HCF and LCM
  • Euclidean algorithm
  • Geometry
  • Logarithms
  • Trigonometry
  • Statistics
  • Mensuration
CDS Admit Card

CDS (2) Admit Card 2020

The CDS (2) admit card is already out to the official website. To download the admit card, the aspirants are requested to open site. To login their account, the candidates have to provide their Roll No and Registration Number.

Before you download the admit card, you are asked to check that the provided information mentioned in the admit card, is right. If the aspirants would find any discrepancy, you would not get permission to appear in the exam. Do not forget to bring the admit card to the exam centre, otherwise, you would not be allowed to sit for the exam.

CDS Selection Process

  • Written Test: MCQ
  • SSC Interview / Personality Test: Oral
  • Document Verification
  • Medical Examination

The merit list will be made based on the higher marks in written test and SSB Interview.

For more information, check the CDS Selection process.

CDS Result

CDS Result and Cut Off

The CDS Result will be announced to the official website. If the aspirants will qualify all the stages of the CDS test, will be allowed to be recruited in one of the Indian Defence Services.

On the other hand, the Cut off is the minimum qualifying score which is required to get for appearing to the next level exam. The CDS Cut off score is published separately with the CDS Result.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


thota sri sindhu
I born after 2002 there any possibility to write exam

Hi Thota

The minimum age required to apply for this exam is 19 years. Visit on our official website of UPSC CDS Eligibility to know the whole citeria of the exam.

I have filled the preference in my CDS(2) 2020 as AFA- 1 IMA - 2 INA - 3 OTA - 4 I have qualified for INA and OTA, do I need to register at joinindianarmy for my ssb?

Dear YSR

Greetings from Collegedunia. There is no need to register for UPSC CDS 2 Examination 2020 if you have already qualified for the Indian Naval Academy and Officer Training Academy, If you are interested in other positions, then you can register for other vacancies. For more details, kindly go through this link – UPSC CDS 2020 Examination

I have qualified only the cutoff in the CDS(2) 2020 written for INA and OTA, so do I need to register on the joinindianarmy website for my ssb or I will directly get the mail regarding my ssb dates?

Dear YSR

Greetings from Collegedunia. You have to register yourself online on the Indian Army Recruitment website for the SSB Interview process and Selection Centres. The result was released on March 23, 2020 and those who have successfully qualified have to register within 2 weeks for the SSB Interview Process and the allotment of Selection Centers. Those who have registered already need not register there at the official website. For more details, kindly go through this link – CDS SSB Selection Process 2020

sumit dhakray
Can I apply for Ima and it's both
arvind kumar

Hi Sumit, Greetings from Collegedunia. UPSC CDS exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) . You can apply provided you fulfill the eligiblity criteria. For more details visit: UPSC CDS EXAM

sagar jha
Hi, I'm average Student , I have 11 months to prepare for cds exam, how can i crack the exam and ssb in this 11 months, I want proper guidanc ,to crack this exam, and study material
arvind kumar

Hi Sagar, you can crack the exam by focusing on the syllabus and time management. For more details visit: CDS EXAM

sinchan dasgupta
Hi what kind or what is the level of the English & General Knowledge papers. I mean how much tough it is.


The difficulty level of English and General Knowledge is easy-moderate. The English knowledge is of the level which is expected from an Undergraduate from Indian University. History in General knowledge is a bit difficult, rest all the other topics are easy to moderate level based on the concept and analytical skills. Kindly refer to – UPSC CDS Syllabus for topic-wise difficulty level.

anumula pradeep

Hello Anumula,

Unfortunately, you can not give the examination since you are overage to give the exam and UPSC CDS provides no relaxation even for the reserved category candidates.

renjith kr
What are the minimum requirement marks in graduation for the CDS exam..?
common admission test

Hii Renjith. There is no percentage of marks required in Graduation to apply for CDS. Minimum eligibility is that you must have completed your Graduation or at least is appearing for the final exam of the degree. For more details Click Here

b mohan reddy
What is the best book to study for CDS exam
common admission test

Hii Mohan. Honestly, there is no single best book that can be considered the best for CDS exam. You must refer to different sources while preparing for different subjects. You can also refer to the NCERT books and other reference books while studying for CDS exam. For more details Click Here

kavita singh
Can anyone suggest mee that how is the exam of GS nd level in OTA?
common admission test

Hii Kavita. The General Knowledge of CDS Exam includes Questions from current events related to national and international level. Some scientific Questions are also asked. It also include questions on History of India and Geography. For more details click here:- CDS SYLLABUS.

prachee panchal
Only two subject are there for ota ??
arvind kumar

Hi Prachee, Yes, there are 2 subjects for OTA: english and general knowledge.

nafisa khatoon
Can I appear in the CDS exam after my Master’s degree?
kavita rani

Hi Nafisa. In case you meet the minimum age eligibility criteria, you can give the CDS exam.

karan rathod
What are the important topics of biology for the CDS exam?
kavita rani

Hi Karan. Some of the important topics of biology include Reproduction, Microorganisms, Cell Structure and Functions, Fundamental Unit Of life, Tissues, Life Processes, etc. You can refer here to know more about other important topics.

Is there a sectional cutoff (maths, GK, English) in the CDS exam?
kavita rani

Hi Rashmi. Yes, there is a sectional cut off for each paper in CDS exam and the candidates are supposed to clear all question papers individually as well to clear the CDS written exam. Refer here to know more. 

sadim ansari
Can a chartered accountant write the CDS Exam?
kavita rani

Hi Sadim. You, you can give the Combined Defense Services Exam (CDSE) exam which is taken by UPSC for opportunities in defense. You can check other eligibility criteria here.

shiya devi
Are the qualifying marks in the CDS exam constant every year?
kavita rani

Hi Shiya. The qualifying exam in the CDS exam remains constant each year.

kashish tomar
What are the strategy to grow vocabulary faster for CDS exam?
kavita rani

Hi Kashish. To improve your vocabulary for the CDS exam, you must start reading more books, newspaper, etc. as all of them will help in getting a good score. Some useful tips are mentioned here.

karan rathod
Can a trainee at OTA appear for the CDS exam?
kavita rani

Hi Karan. In case you have completed your training at OTA, you can get a short service commission.

laxmi mishra
What are the books for the preparation of the banking and the CDS exams?
kavita rani

Hi Laxmi. Some of the books that can be referred include High School English Grammar and Composition Key by Wren and Martin, Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis, among others. Check other most recommended books here.

divakar sharma
In the CDS exam for OTA, is it general knowledge or general science?
kavita rani

Hi Divakar. In the CDS exam OTA, candidates need to prepare for the general knowledge section. To know more about the same, refer here.

mohammed najamuddin
How can I prepare for the CDS exam being an electronics and communication engineering student?
kavita rani

Hi Mohammed. The candidates planning to give the CDS exam must check out the latest exam pattern first and then start preparing as per the syllabus. Check out other preparation tips here.