prepp logo
CDS 2020 Exam Dates, Registration, Eligibility, Pattern and Syllabus

Updated On -

Jun 13, 2019

Sahil Sachdeva's profile photo

Sahil Sachdeva

Research Assoiciate

Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission biannually and Officers Training Academy. The application for CDS I 2020 examination will open from October 30, 2019 and end on September 2019 while for CDS II 2020 examination application will open from August 5, 2020 and end on August 25 , 2020.The examination will be conducted on February 2, 2020 and November 8, 2020.

  • Application fee is INR 200 for everyone while female candidates are exempted from application fee.
  • The exam is conducted biannually in February and November.
  • The exam will be held in approximately 41 CDS Exam Centers across India.
  • Candidates scoring equal to or more than cut off marks are considered for further SSB rounds.
  • CDS SSB Interview 2020 will involve 2 stages and candidates will be selected on the basis of their overall performance.
  • Stage 1 will consist of Picture Perception, Officer Intelligence Rating, and Description Test.
  • Stage 2 will include Interview, Psychology Test, Group Testing Officer Task and Conference.

The pay bands of top CDS officers’ profile after sixth and seventh commission are:-

Rank Payband(INR)
COAS 90,000(fixed)
VCO/AS/Army Cdr/Lt Gen (NFSG) 80,000(fixed)
HAG Scale ( Admissible to a third of total strength of Lt. General) 75,500(annual increment @3%)- 80,000
Lt. Gen. HAG Scale 67,000(annual increment @3%)-79,000
Lt. Col. To Maj Gen. 37,400-67,000
Lt. to Major 15,600-39,100

Highlights of CDS 2020 Exam

Exam Name Combined Defence Services Exam
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission
Official Website
Exam Type National Level Recruitment Test
Exam Date February 2, 2020 and November 8 , 2020
Eligibility Criteria Bachelor’s degree in Engineering required for IMA, INA and AFA
Mode of Application Online
Exam Mode Offline
CDS Helpdesk 011-23098543 / 23385271 / 23381125 / 23098591

CDS 2020 Exam Dates

UPSC has announced the exam dates for CDS exam. Candidates can check them below:

Events February 2020 November 2020
Commencement of Online Application October 30, 2019 August 5, 2020
Closing date for receipt of application form November 19, 2019 August 25, 2020
Issue of CDS 2020 Admit card January 11, 2020 October 11, 2020
CDS Written Exam February 02, 2020 November 8, 2020
Declaration of result March 2020(tentative) December 2020(tentative)

CDS Eligibility Criteria

Minimum eligibility requirements must be fulfilled by the candidate at the time of application. Given below are educational qualifications, age criteria and marital status required for appearing in CDS Exam.

Educational Qualification

The eligibility criteria differ post to post. Candidates are advised to check the eligibility before applying for the post they are interested in. Candidates who are pursuing final year/ semester of their Degree course at present are also eligible to apply for CDS Exam 2020 on a provisional basis.

  • Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university is necessary for Indian Military Academy(IMA).
  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology from a recognized university or equivalent is necessary for Indian Naval Academy(INA).
  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology from a recognized university or degree from a recognized university with Physics & Mathematics as subjects for Air Force Academy(AFA).
  • Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university/equivalent for Officers Training Academy(OTA).
  • Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university for Officers Training Academy.

Age Limit

Candidate should be older than 19 years to apply for any academy. The age limit will be calculated as on January 01, 2020. For IMA – 19 years to 24 years For AFA – 19 years to 23 years For INA – 19 years to 22 years For OTA – 19 years to 25 years


  • Candidates must be citizens of India.
  • Subjects of Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Sri Lanka & various East African Countries are also eligible.
  • Candidates will have to produce a certificate issued by authorities of Government of India certifying the claim.

Marital Status

  • Candidate must be unmarried to apply for IMA, INA & AFA.
  • Exemption is given to male applicants at OTA.
  • Issueless widows, unmarried women, and divorcees can apply for OTA.

Physical Standards

  • Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Combined Defence Services Examination (I), 2020 as per guidelines of UPSC.

CDS 2020 Application Form

The registration for CDS 2020 (I) will start from October 31, 2020 and will end on September 19, 2020 while registration for CDS 2020(II) will start from August 5, 2020 and end on August 25, 2020. Interested Candidates may visit UPSC’s website in order to access the application form. The form will be available in two parts. i.e. registration part I and registration part II. CDS 2020 Application Form will be accepted only in online mode.

CDS Application Fee:

  • General & OBC category: INR 200
  • SC/ ST and Females: Exempted

Part 1 Registration

  • Log on to the official site of UPSC @
  • Click on Examination tab.
  • Select the option of ‘Combined Defense Services Examination (I)’.
  • Part I of Registration page will open.
  • Fill details such as Name, Date of birth, E-mail ID, Category, etc.
  • Choose preference from IMA, INA, AFA and OTA. Preference for the various fields should be indicated using numbers 0/1/2/3/4 with 1 being the highest preference and 4 being the lowest.
  • Mention if you have obtained or are likely to obtain a NCC ‘C’ certificate (Sr. Division).
  • Also specify whether you are already serving the armed forces.
  • Verify the information mentioned in the Application form and modify it in case of any error.
  • No changes or modifications will be entertained after this stage.
  • After Part 1of Registration obtain the unique Registration ID and other details for future reference.

Part 2 Registration

  • Select the option ‘Part II Registration’ after completing the first part.
  • Put in the Registration ID and Date of Birth.
  • Pay the application fee through online or offline mode by Cash, Card or by Net banking to pay the fees.
  • Upload scanned images of Photograph and Signature.
  • From the drop down menu, select the exam centers for CDS II 2020 Examination. All the exam centers will be allotted on first come first serve basis.
  • After completing all the steps, a confirmation page will be generated.
  • Candidates must take a print out of the particular page for future correspondence.

CDS 2020 Admit Card

Candidates must check all the entries in the admit card. In case of any discrepancy, inform the authority must be immediately informed. The commission will issue separate admit card for personality test.

Steps to download CDS 2020 Admit Card are:

  • Visit the official website of UPSC-
  • Click on ‘Combined Defence Services Examination (I), 2020.
  • Enter the particulars required in the empty fields.
  • Click on submit after filling all the details,.
  • The e- admit card for CDS 2020 will appear on the screen, verify all details and the download it.

CDS 2020 exam will be nationwide. Exam centers will be chosen on the basis of total number of appearing candidates. Candidates must apply early so that they could get an examination center of their choice.

CDS Exam Pattern

CDS 2020 will be conducted in pen and paper based mode. The exam will be conducted in two sessions ( morning and forenoon).

  • CDS 2020 question booklet will consist of multiple choice questions as per the prescribed syllabus.
  • Written test will be of 300 marks.
  • The written test for admission to OTA will be out of 200 marks.
  • CDS 2020 will be for duration of 2 hours.
  • Marks will be deducted for every wrong answer.
  • The exam will comprise questions from English, Elementary Mathematics, and General Knowledge.
  • The difficulty level of the papers in Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level while the difficulty of papers in other subjects will be of a graduate of an Indian University.
Subjects No. of questions Max. Marks Duration
General Knowledge 120 100 120 minutes
English Language 120 100 120 minutes
Elementary Mathematics 100 100 120 minutes

CDS exam pattern for admission to OTA

Subjects No. of questions Max. Marks Duration
English Language 120 100 120 minutes
General Knowledge 120 100 120 minutes

CDS 2020 Syllabus

The syllabus of CDS 2020 will be prepared by UPSC. The syllabus helps the candidates while their preparation for exam by concentrating on the particular topics Candidates must try to cover the whole syllabus. Here, we are discussing the important topics from which questions have been asked in the previous examinations.

English Syllabus – Antonyms, Synonyms, Para Jumbles, Reading Comprehension, Error Spotting, Sentence Correction, Jumbled Sentences, & Fill in the Blanks.

General Knowledge Syllabus – General Knowledge including knowledge of current events in various fields like science and technology, politics etc. The paper also includes questions from static GK based on History of India and Geography of a nature.

Mathematics Syllabus – Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, Trigonometry, Mensuration & Statistics.

CDS 2020 Result

The result of CDS 2020 will be declared only for those candidates who will score more than the minimum qualifying marks in the written examination as fixed by the Commission in their discretion. The written exam result of CDS 2020 will be declared in the month in a pdf file format. To check their results, candidates must perform the following steps:

  • Go to the official website of UPSC-
  • Click on CDS 2020 Result OR
  • Go to the examination tab
  • Click “Active Examination” and navigate to CDS 2020 Result link.
  • Click on it and a pdf will appear which will have the names of qualifying candidates.

Service Selection Board will call the Candidates who will qualify the CDS 2020 written for psychological intelligence test, aptitude test, and interview.

  • The minimum qualifying marks must be separately secured by the candidates in CDS 2020 written examination and CDS 2020 SSB test.
  • Merit list of all the qualified candidates will be made by the examination authority based on the total marks secured by them and accordingly, they will be selected for the CDS 2020 courses.

CDS 2020 Cutoff

Candidates have to secure more than the cut off score for their category to qualify the entrance exam. The exam conducting body UPSC will release CDS 2020 Cut off score after the completion of CDS 2020 recruitment process. The result will be declared for only those candidates who will score more than cutoff subject wise as well as overall cutoff score. Here is the previous year cutoff for applicants to have an idea of the expected cutoff for this year. Candidates can check last year CDS cut off score from the given table:

Academy Written Exam Final Marks
IMA 102 225
INA 109 225
AFA 129 264
OTA (Male) 86 168
OTA (Female) 86 172

CDS SSB Interview 2020

Candidates will have to qualify all the earlier stages of the selection, get their documents verified and then the final merit list will be prepared on the basis of the aggregate marks secured in the written examination and in the SSB Interview

  • Candidate who are qualified the written test will be called for Service Selection Board which includes intelligence test, psychological aptitude test, and interview.
  • Note that those who qualified in the written test will have to register themselves for SSB Interview at
  • SSB board evaluates personality, intelligence, compatibility and potential of prospective candidates for recruitment in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • SSB interview is a five days process
  • It includes two stages of testing- Stage 1 being Psychological Aptitude Test and Stage 2 is Intelligence test.
  • Stage 1 of SSB Interview is conducted on the first day of the SSB interview process.
  • Candidates clearing aptitude test will proceed to the second stage, else, they will be sent back home.
  • Candidates who aspire to join Air Force and Naval Aviation will have to appear for Pilot Aptitude Test too.

Stage 1: SSB Interview

  • The stage 1 of SSB Interview is Description Test, Officer’s Intelligence Rating and Picture Perception.
  • Candidates will be tested on the basis of 2 sections Non-Verbal Reasoning and - Verbal Reasoning.
  • The test is conducted in the time period of 1 hour.
  • Verbal section is to be completed within 30 minutes with 50 compulsory questions.
  • 50 questions must be answered in non-verbal reasoning section in 25 to 30 minutes.
  • The description test and picture perception test is to examine candidate’s memory retention abilities.
  • In this test, a hazy picture is shown to candidates for 30 seconds and based on it the further exercise is carried out.

Stage 2: SSB Interview

Stage 2 of SSB Interview is again a 5-day process involving Personal Interview, Psychological test, Group Task, and Conference.

  • Psychological Test- This tests aspirant’s emotional and behavioral reactions through thematic Appreciation ,Word Association ,Situation Reaction and Self- Description.
  • Group Task- candidates are judged for their officer like qualities in group tasks along with their mental and physical prowess.
  • Personal Interview- On the third day of the SSB Interview process, personal Interview session is conducted in front of the senior officials. Candidate’s behavior, personal abilities, and thought exercises are put to test.
  • Conference- This is the conclusive stage of the CDS SSB Interview, where the candidates appear in front of the Board Committeewhich consists of members from President of the board, Group Testing Officers, Deputy President, Psychologists.

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