CDS 2018 Exam Pattern

Updated On -

Jun 19, 2019

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Simran Nigam

Content Curator

CDS (Combined Defense Services) 2018 exam will be conducted in offline mode only. Candidates who want to appear for CDS 2018 should go through CDS 2018 Exam Pattern and Syllabus carefully. They should know about the important chapters and instructions to be followed while taking the test.

  • 340 MCQ type questions that would be asked from Mathematics, GK and English.
  • 240 MCQ type questions for candidates applying for OTA as Mathematics in not applicable for OTA.  
  • The exam will be conducted in offline mode only
  • The total time allotted for each paper is 2 hours
  • Negative marking is applicable in the CDS 2018 Exam
  • One-third mark will be deducted for each incorrect response

CDS 2018 Application Form filling will start on November 9, 2018 and will end on December 2, 2018. CDS 2018 is tentatively scheduled to be conducted on February 5, 2018. CDS 2018 written exam consists of 3 papers (2 papers in case of OTA).

CDS 2018 Highlights Table

Candidates can refer to the following table to check medium of CDS 2018 for each paper. Paper for Mathematics and GK will be available both in English and Hindi language, whereas paper for English will be available only in English only.

The following table gives information about the highlights of CDS 2018 Exam Pattern:

Mode of Exam Offline only (Pen and paper mode)
Number of Questions asked 340 MCQ Type
Number of questions in OTA 240 MCQ Type
Maximum Marks 300 and 200 (OTA)
Duration of Exam 2 hours (120 minutes) for each paper
Medium Hindi or English
Sections in Paper English: 8-9 GK and Mathematics: Questions are asked in mixed manner
Negative marking One third mark deducted for every incorrect response

CDS 2018 Marking Scheme

CDS 2018 consists of only Multiple Choice Questions. For getting into Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy, candidates are required to appear for all the 3 papers- English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. Each paper carries 100 marks.

Negative marking is applicable for every wrong marked answer. In CDS paper, each question carries 4 options and out of which only 1 option is correct. For each incorrect answer, 1/3 of the marks will be deducted. More than one option marked is treated as incorrect. However, if a question is left unanswered there will be no negative marking.

The following table explains the detailed marking scheme of the exam.

CDS 2018 Paper English GK Mathematics
Maximum Marks 100 100 100
Marks for Correct answer +0.8 marks for each correct option +0.8 marks for each correct option +1 marks for each correct option
Negative marking -0.33 marks for each wrong answer -0.33 marks for each wrong answer -0.33 marks for each wrong answer

The following table shows Marking scheme for 2018 OTA (Officers Training Academy):

CDS 2018 Paper English GK
Maximum Marks 100 100
Marks for Correct answer +0.8 marks for each correct option +0.8 marks for each correct option
Negative marking -0.33 marks for each wrong answer -0.33 marks for each wrong answer

Distribution of Questions

Equal weightage is given to GK and English as both the papers will contain 120 questions each in CDS 2018. However, paper of mathematics will consist of 100 questions.

Paper Number of questions
English 120
Mathematics 100
GK 120

The selection of the candidates is on the basis of marks scored in the interviews. Total marks for interview for Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy is 300 marks, whereas 200 marks are allotted for interview for OTA.

CDS 2018 Intelligence and Personality Test Pattern

SSB interview will be the 2nd part of the selection procedure. SSB Interview will contain two stages i.e. Stage 1 and Stage 2. Candidates qualify the stage 1 exam will be called for stage 2.

Stage 1: It is an OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating) Test which contains Picture Perception and Description Test (PP & DT). Candidates will be shortlisted as per their performance in QIR test and PP and DT.

Stage 2: Candidates passing stage 1 will be called for this stage. This part consists of Group Testing Officer Tasks, Interview, Conference and Psychology Test. These tests are organized in four days.

CDS 2018 Syllabus for English

English question paper will be designed to test the candidates' understanding of English language. As per previous year analysis, following are the important topics asked in English paper.

Topic Number of Questions Level of Difficulty
Sentence Improvement 20 Easy
Reading Comprehension 23 (5 passages) Easy to Moderate
Synonyms 8 Moderate
Antonyms 7 Easy
One Word Substitution 5 Moderate
Para-Jumble 10 Easy to Moderate
Sentence-Jumble 7 Moderate
Spot the Error 20 Easy
Cloze Test 20 Easy

Recommended Books 

CDS 2018 Exam Preparation English books are mentioned below:

Name of the Book Author ISBN
Objective English S.P. Bakshi 978-9351768449
Quick Learning objective English R.S. Aggarwal 978-8121922111

CDS 2018 Syllabus for General Knowledge

For GK paper, candidates can cover the following topics:

  • Latest Current Affairs
  • Indian Constitution
  • Indian History
  • Indian Economy
  • Indian Geography
  • Indian Politics
  • Indian Navy & Military
  • Religions
  • Books & Authors
  • Sports, Awards, etc

As per previous year analysis following are the important topics for GK paper:

Topic Number of Questions Level of Difficulty
History 19 Difficult
Science 27 Easy (Concept based questions)
Geography 22 Moderate (Analytical based questions)
Ecology 06 Moderate (Fact based questions)
Polity 20 Easy to Moderate
Economy/Trade 11 Moderate (Fact based questions)
Miscellaneous /Armed Forces 15 Moderate (Fact based questions)

Preparation Books 

CDS does not have a well-structured syllabus for General Knowledge so a thorough study is needed for GK paper.The following books can be followed to study for GK paper.

Name of the Book ISBN
Manorama Yearbook 2017 (English) 50th Edition ASIN: B00O1N77HG
Lucent’s General Knowledge ISBN-10: 8192933563

CDS 2018 Syllabus for Elementary Mathematics

Mathematics paper covers topics from diverse topics. Following are the topic covered in CDS 2018 Mathematics paper.

  • Arithmetic
  • Number System
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration

In the following table, previous year paper analysis of mathematics paper is mentioned.

Topic Number of Questions Level of Difficulty
Mensuration 14 Easy
Algebra 7 Easy to Moderate
Mean-Median-Mode (Frequency Distribution Table) 4 Easy
Time speed and Distance 6 Easy
Number System 20 Easy to Moderate
Simple interest/Compound interest 5 Easy
Percentage 2 Easy
Profit/Loss 1 Easy
Mixture 1 Easy
Time and Work 3 Easy
Trigonometry 14 Moderate to Difficult
Set Theory 1 Easy
Clock 2 Easy
Geometry 20 Easy to Moderate

Recommended Books 

Candidates can follow the NCERT books to clear the basics but for competitive exam level mathematics, you need a book on quantitative aptitude to learn and practice advanced concepts.

List of Mathematics books is as follows:

Name of the Book Author ISBN
Quantitative Aptitude Dr. R.S. Aggarwal B01MCU1JSH (ASIN)
Quicker Mathematics M. Tyra 978-8190458924
Quantitative Aptitude Numerical Ability: Fully Solved 7000 + Objective Questions Kiran Parkashan B00U241N14 (ASIN)

Instructions to Fill CDS 2018 Answer Sheet

Candidates are advised to follow the instructions to fill OMR sheet very carefully as the answer sheets are to be evaluated on machine and any violation of these instructions may result in reduction of scores. Before marking responses on the Answer Sheet, aspirants have to fill in various particulars in it.

After receiving CDS 2018 Answer Sheet, candidates have to check that it is numbered at the bottom. If it is un-numbered, it has to be replaced by a numbered one. The top of the answer sheet will have the particulars shown in the figure below.


The following points should be kept in mind while filling CDS 2018 answer sheet:

  • You have to write with black ball pen the name of the center and subject in English or Hindi.
  • The test Booklet Series will be indicated by Alphabets A, B, C or D at the top right hand corner of the Booklet.
  • Write your roll Number as per admit card with black ball pen in the boxes provided for this purpose. You are not supposed to omit any zero which may be there.
  • The next step is to find out the appropriate subject code from the test booklet. Thereafter, encode the test booklet series, subject code and the roll number by using black pen.
  • Writing and encoding of test booklet series has to be done after receiving the Test Booklet and checking the booklet series from the same. For example, for English paper of ‘A’ Test Booklet Series you have to encode the subject code, which is 01 as shown below:

  • In the next step, you have to encode the Roll No. An example to encode the Roll Number is shown below.
  • Candidates have to make sure that they have carefully encoded their subject Test Booklet series and Roll Number.

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