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CDS Selection Process: Written Test and Interview Methods

Updated On -

Feb 16, 2021

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Sudeshna Bhar

Exams Prepmaster

CDS I 2021 exam is scheduled for February 7, 2021. All the candidates who will successfully qualify in the written exam are required to register themselves online on the Indian Army Recruiting website within two weeks of announcement of written result. After that, candidates will be allotted Selection Centres and SSB Interview Dates. Check  CDS Result

CDS Selection Process comprises of two stages i.e. Written test and SSB Interview round.

  • In the first stage (written exam), candidates have to attempt three papers for selection in IMA, INA, and AFA whereas OTA candidates have to attempt only 2 papers.
  • In the second stage of selection, they have to appear for an Interview which will test their intelligence, personality and psychological aptitude. In order to be eligible for CDS 2021, the candidate has to qualify both stage 1 and stage 2.
  • UPSC will release the final cut-offs for the CDS I 2021 examination soon after the conclusion of the whole process. 

CDS Selection Process 2021 - Highlights

Conducting body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Official Website
Mode of Exam Offline
Stages of Exam 1. Written Exam
2. SSB Interview
Vacancies 417

Also Check  CDS Eligibility Criteria

CDS Selection: Stage 1

CDS Selection Process: Stage 1

  • The first stage of the CDS 2021 selection process is the written test which includes three papers - English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics for admission in Indian Military, Naval, and Air Force Academy.
  • For admission in Officers’ Training Academy, candidates have to appear for two papers only – English and General Knowledge.
  • CDS written exam will be objective in nature, with time allotment of 2 hours for each paper.
  • A candidate who will qualify for the written test will become eligible for the second stage of CDS i.e. Interview.

Also, Check CDS Exam Pattern

CDS Selection: Stage 2

CDS Selection Process: Stage 2

  • The second stage of CDS Selection Process is SSB Interview.
  • CDS Interview 2021 is a 5-day process which involves intense scrutinization of candidates covering all the major aspects of the overall personality.
  • Candidates are judged physically, mentally and psychologically as well. However, before undergoing the stage 2, candidates must appear for stage 1 tests. 
  • The Officer Intelligence Rating & PPDT is a 1-day program. Candidates are scrutinized for their verbal and non-verbal abilities.

Officer Intelligence Rating

Officer Intelligence Rating-test is the first part of the Stage 2 selection via CDS Interview 2021. The test comprises two sections- Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning. In this test, candidates have to answer some 55-60 questions from both the sections combinedly.

Verbal Reasoning Section: The total number of questions asked in the Verbal Ability Reasoning section in the OIR test is 50. Candidates will be given 30 minutes to complete the test and then proceed to Non Verbal Reasoning Section.

Non- Verbal Reasoning Section: In this section of CDS Interview Stage 2, candidates are asked to attempt 50 questions in the time period of 25 to 30 minutes.

Once done with this test, the second set of the test is given to the applicants, i.e., Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT).

Picture Perception and Description Test

This section of Stage 1 CDS Interview is quite challenging since it examines candidate’s memory retention along with the abilities to comprehend situations. This screening test is interesting to attempt as candidates are given only 30 seconds to observe a hazy picture and expound on it within 3 minutes. Within this limited time frame, candidates have to focus upon seven basic parameters-

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Mood
  • Character
  • Past (what happened in the picture situation just before the click)
  • Present (what events currently take place)
  • Future (what will happen next in the picture)

CDS Interview Schedule

CDS 2021: Daywise Interview Schedule

Dates Events
Day 1 Reporting, Filling of forms, Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT)
Day 2 Psychological Test- This includes TAT (Thematic Appreciation Test), WAT (Word Association Test), SRT (Situation Reaction Test). SD (Self- Description)
Day 3 The most important leg of CDS Interview is Group Tasks wherein candidates have to prove their physical as well as mental prowess. Also, Officer Like Qualities are judged on the basis of these tasks. The tasks allotted to candidates include Group Discussion, Military Planning Exercise, Progressive Group Task, Group Obstacle Race, Half Group Task
Day 4 Individual Obstacle Task (IOT), Command Task, Final Group Task (FGT), Personal Interview and Individual Lecturette
Day 5 Conference and Document Verification
  • Requests for postponing the interview will only be considered only for very genuine circumstances. It will be considered if it is convenient for which Army headquarters /Air Headquarter /Naval HQ will be the sole deciding authority. Such kinds of requests should be sent to the Selection Centre/ from where the call for interview has been received.
  • Navy candidates can download their call up letters from the naval website or send email at officer-navy" 3 weeks after the declaration of CDS 2021 results.

Note: In case a qualified candidates does not get the interview call letter before the date then candidates should write to-

Army HQ/Rtg. (CDSE Entry/ SSC Women Entry for Officers Training Academy)

175, West Block-III,

Ramakrishnapuram, New Delhi- 110066

OR contact on telephone No. 26176028

For similar query by the Navy/Air Force candidates, having first choice should write to Naval HQ or Air HQ (in case of non-receipt of call letter).

After CDS Interview

What after CDS Interview 2021?

After the interview process of CDS 2021 is completed, candidate’s verification takes place which includes the document verification. Candidates who qualify the interview will have to present their required set of original documents along with the 2 self-attested copies at SSC (Services Selection Center) after interview. Given below is the list of documents that are to be carried at the time of selection process.

Original certificates will be returned after the verification. Certified true copies or Photostat copies of the certificates will not be accepted in any case.

  • Qualification Certificates
  • Proof of Identity (Pan Card, Aadhar Card, Voter ID, etc.)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport Size Photographs
  • Category Certificate for the Reserved Category Candidates
  • Proof of Residence

Medical Examination is the last but very important step. This step is held to verify that the selected aspirant is physically fit for the officer cadre or not. This verification is must. For final recruitment, you have to clear all the verification formalities.

Change in Communication Address

Change in Communication Address

Selected candidates, who have changed their communication address as mentioned on the CDS 2021 Application Form are recommended to notify the changed address soon after the declaration of CDS 2021 result. Candidates have to notify at the following address along with the unstamped self-addressed envelope-

1. For IMA/SSC as the first choice

Army Headquarters,

A.G's Branch, Rtg. (CDSE Entry Section for males & SSC Women Entry Section for women candidates)

West Block-III, Ground Floor, Wing 1,

Ramakrishnapuram, New Delhi-110066

2. For Navy as the first choice

IHQ of MOD (Navy) DMPR (OI&R Section),

Room No. 204, 'C' Wing,

Sena Bhawan, New Delhi-110011

3. For Air Force as the first choice

PO 3 (A) Air HQS. 'J' Block,

Room No. 17, Opp. Vayu Bhawan,

Motilal Nehru Marg, New Delhi-110011

Failure to comply with this instruction will deprive the candidates of any claim to deliberation in the event of their not receiving the call letter for interview by the .

For all the queries regarding the allotment of centers, date of interview, merit list, Joining Instructions, and any other relevant information regarding the CDS 2021 selection process, candidates can visit website Candidates can contact to Recruiting Directorate on Telephone No- 011-26173215 and Fax No- 011-26196205 between 2PM to 5PM on all working days in case candidates having IMA or OTA as their 1st choice.

Disqualification Criteria

Disqualification Criteria

  1. Candidates who were admitted at the Air Force Academy, Indian Military Academy, National Defence Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai but were removed due to objectionable behavior, will not be considered for getting into the Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy, Indian Naval Academy or for Short Service Commission in the Army.
  2. Candidates who have been withdrawn from the Indian Military Academy for the lack of Officer-Like Qualities (OLQ) will not be admitted to the Indian Military Academy.
  3. Candidates who have previously selected as Special Entry Naval Cadets but have withdrawn from the National Defence Academy or from the Naval Training Establishments for lacking in Officer-like qualities, will not be eligible for admission to the Indian Navy Academy.
  4. Candidates who have withdrawn from the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Officers’ Training Academy (OTA), NCC, and Graduate course for lacking in Officer-like qualities will not be considered for grant of Short Service Commission in the Army.


CDS 2021 Selection Process FAQs

Ques. Does CDS 2021 interview a one-day process?

Ans. No the interview is not a single day process. It involves 2 stages - Stage 1 and Stage 2. Both the stages are 4 days process individually.

Ques. What happens in Officer Intelligence Rating Test?

Ans. This is the first step in stage 1. It involves verbal and non-verbal reasoning sections. Candidates have to answer 55-60 questions in both combined.

Ques. I have applied for the Air Force exam but the address mentioned in the application form has been changed. What can I do for that?

Ans. Notify the changed address at the below-mentioned address, along with an unstamped self-addressed envelope.

PO 3 (A) Air HQS. 'J' Block,

Room No. 17, Opp. Vayu Bhawan,

Motilal Nehru Marg, New Delhi-110011

Ques. What documents are required in the Interview process?

Ans. The list of documents required is: 

  • Qualification Certificates
  • Identity Proof
  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport Sized Photograph
  • Category Certificate
  • Residence Proof

Ques. I have to change my Interview date. Can this be done and whom I need to contact for the same?

Ans. The interview can be postponed only for very genuine cases. The request for postponed should be sent to the Selection Centre/ from where the call for interview has been received.

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


I was diagonosed with Bone TB when i was in standard 8th-9th and was finally decleared healthy by doctors in standard 10th. However, i have a parmanent 0.5 inch crater like scare on my left 11th rib. Will i be rejected because of my scare in medical clearance? Where can i find the medical criteria for OTA (women) selection? Thank you.
abdul nazir

Hi Aashi, For OTA women there are certian eligibility criterias including those related to marital status and academics that need to be followed. These are no technical posts recruitment for which only unmarroed female candidates are selected. The scare is permanent and hence might cause a problem during medical fitness test. To get more clarity visit UPSC CDS 2021 for details.

seemusuru venkataramana
Sir 2020 training dates plz upcoming

Dear Seemusuru Venkataramana

Greetings from Collegedunia. The UPSC CDS 2020 Examination result was announced on 23 March, 2020 and after the announcement of the result within two weeks, you have to register yourself on Indian Army official website for SSB Interview. The final merit list will be declared after the SSB interview result. For more details, kindly go through this link – UPSC CDS 2020 Results & Counselling 

pon monica a
i have cleared CDS I 2020 (OTA) . But i didn't get any call letter till now. why & what is the reason?
abdul nazir

Hi Monica, Call letter is usually dispatched 1 month prior to the interview schedule. So wait for that. In case, you didn’t recieved it, you can visit the UPSC site using registration id and date of birth to download the same. For more details click here.

arundas s
Hai Sir, I am an EEE student.I had applied for CDS 2 exam conducting on November.Since I have 4 backlogs when I apply for the exam I didnt got my degree certificate and marklists.I prepared better for the Exam and I am strongly desiring for this Job.Is there any problem if I write the exam? Am I get disqualified because of no getting the Degree certificate?
abdul nazir

Hi Arundas, if you have backlogs in final year, then you are no eligible. It is suggested that you first clear the backlogs and then apply for the exam again. Also, you must produce degree certificate before the exam to be eligible. For details of CDS eligibility click here.

bipul yadav
Sir, I were spectacles so am I eligible for the for the ssb interview process
common admission test

Hii Bipul. Yes, you are eligible but you should remember this that Myopia of not more than minus 3.5 D and Manifest hypermetropia of not more than plus 3.5 D including astigmatism will be accepted. For more details Click Here

aashi shukla
Can a female candidate apply for CDS OTA after her graduation 2nd year?
common admission test

Hii Aashi. Yes female candidates can apply for CDS OTA after completing her degree from university or equivalent degree from institutions that have been recognized by Central/State Government. For more details click here:- CDS ELIGIBILITY

rashi dasgupta
Can I join the Indian Army after ear surgery?
kavita rani

Hi Rashi. Indian army has set its own medical standards for the selection of candidates. Candidates can join Indian army after an operation only in case they meet the medical standards set. In your case it is advised to contact doctors at the army hospitals as they will let you know whether you meet those standards or not. You can refer to the medical requirement eligibility before appearing for an exam to join Indian army.

riyaz sen
Why is the entry through CDS considered better than the TGC Entry in the Indian Army?
kavita rani

Hi Riyaz. All entries are considered equal as individuals giving these exams look for a promising and rewarding career ahead. Entry through CDS is considered a better option as the number of vacancies through CDS is much more as compared to TGC. Almost 250(permanent commission) and close to 200 (SSC) vacancies are announced every six months. So people prefer CDS as it has higher probability of selection in case you clear the written exam.

ranu kanwar
Does qualifying in the CDS exam mean a permanent commission in the Indian Army?
kavita rani

Hi Ranu. Getting Permanent Commission means having a career in the Indian Army till the age you get retired. Presently there are four different training academy including NDA, IMA, OTA Chennai and OTA Gaya. To get a permanent commission, candidates need to join the National Defence Academy or the Indian Military Academy. Candidates joining OTA Gaya through TES entry are entitled to get permanent commission. An Army officer need to join the National Defence Academy, Indian Military Academy, or Officers Training Academy to get for permanent commission.

rachita mitra
There is leukoderma (white spots) on my right side knee. Am I eligible for the SSB (Indian Army)?
kavita rani

Hi Rachita. You are eligible to write SSB exam but you might be declared medically unfit based on the medical condition, which can be diagnosed by doctor. It is advisable to get in touch with some doctors in military hospital who can solve your query. \Skin disease normally result in temporary rejection but they must be treated before second medical examination. Any permanent skin disease results in rejection in the Indian army.

mansi bhatnagar
What are the different exams that I can write to join the Indian Army? I am currently a +2 student.
kavita rani

Hi Mansi, 

Post qualifying the CDS written exam, shortlisted candidates will be asked to appear for SSB Interview which is mostly conducted for 5 days. The qualified candidates need to appear for Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference conducted on different 4 days. CDS (OTA) day-wise events • 1st day - Picture Perception and Description exam • Day 2 - Psychology Tests • Day 3 - Group Testing Officer’s Task • Day 4 – Interview • Day 5 – Conference The final selected candidates will get admission to three forces and OTA.

ajay singj
Currently I m 2nd year student of mlt then can I fill CDS form or not?
arvind kumar

Hi Ajay, you can fill the CDS form after you complete your graduation. For more details visit: CDS eligibility.

aniruddha rajendra lakholkar
I have got my name in cds 1 2020 selected candidates list for ota , when will be my ssb,??
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Aniruddha, SSB center in CDS exam is allotted by the organization only. You would soon receive a mail with SSB admit card attached to it.
gajendra singh
I am getting 123 marks in cds 2020 for IMA , Any chance for SSB or not?
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Gajendra, cut off marks and the list of the selected students for SSB will be released by the organization itself. However, considering your marks, you have moderate chances of making it to SSB.
akshat chandrashekhar tiwari
How to select dates for ssb interview in kolkata ?
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Shekhar, in CDS exam, exam centers are not selected by the candidate, they are allotted by the organization. Thus, you cannot make choice for a specific exam center.
priyansh malik
how and when to apply for CDS 2 2019 entry for Air force academy?
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Priyansh, application process for all the three forces is common in CDS exam. It will depend on your eligibility criteria that whether you are eligible for Air Force Academy or not. You can check the Eligibility Criteria for this exam in detail from here.

mandala janapriya
when will be the interview for the qualifying candidates of 2019 CDS-II and how come we know the dates of interiew and is there any process of submitting our certificates if any how?
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Mandala, SSB dates will be intimated to you by the official website on your registered mail-id. Certificates and other documents will be required only at the time of SSB and not before that. Thus, you will have to take the documents with you while appearing for SSB and they do not need be sent.
jannat varshney
to register for ssb on indian army website after cds, shall we register for officers or for JCO/OR
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Jannat, SSB is conducted only for officer's entry. Thus, you will register for officers only.