How To Ace The CDS Exam?

The CDS or Combined Defense Services exam is an exam that is conducted across the country. The UPSC or Union Public Service Commission, which is the body that is responsible for recruitment to top-level Government jobs, conducts this exam each year, throughout the country. The CDS 2022, is being conducted for the purpose of recruiting eligible graduates into the armed forces.

Candidates who are looking for a career in the armed forces can apply for this exam. All the important details regarding the CDS exam are released in the months of December and May, while the exam takes place in April and September, respectively.


While it is necessary to know the CDS syllabus thoroughly, a candidate must first understand the eligibility criteria which must be fulfilled in order to appear for the CDS exam. The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  1. Any person appearing for the exam should be unmarried.
  2. Age limit :

The age restriction for each force is different and is mentioned below-

Indian naval academy – 19 to 23

Indian military academy – 19 to 24

Officer training academy—19 to 25

  1. Educational qualification:

The Indian Military Academy requires a candidate to have a minimum Bachelor’s Degree from any recognised university.

The Indian Naval Academy requires a candidate to hold a Bachelor’s in engineering from any recognised university.

An applicant to the Air Force Academy must hold a Bachelor’s in engineering or graduate from any recognised university.

  1. The Physical and Medical requirements for CDS:

Candidates must be in perfect physical and mental state and should be declared fit as per the guidelines published by the UPSC. The minimum acceptable height for a male candidate should be 157.5 cm and for females, it should be 152 cm.

Exam pattern and syllabus :

The exam is conducted offline. The written exam consists of objective-type questions and comprises three sections: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. The duration of the exam is 2 hours per section (6 hours) and the minimum mark required to pass each section is 100. 2.5 marks are awarded for every correct answer and each incorrect answer will lead to a deduction of 1/3 of 2.5 or 0.83 marks. The CDS releases the cutoff for written and final selection, separately. The cutoff for the written exam is calculated out of 900 and the final cutoff is calculated out of 1800 (900 from the written and 900 from the SSB interview).

The SSB interview:

Candidates who manage to clear the written exam are eligible to appear for the SSB or Service Selection Board’s interview. The maximum mark for the SSB interview is 300. A candidate’s performance is evaluated by officers who are experts in their field. These usually include an Interviewing Officer, A Group Testing Officer, and a Psychologist). The SSB interview consists of two rounds:

1st  Round- OIR or Officer Intelligence Rating, Picture Perception, and Discussion Test). Candidates who are able to clear the first round to appear in the second and final rounds.

2nd Round- This round consists of an Interview, a task assigned by the Group Testing Officer, a Psychological Test, and a conference.

How To Prepare For The Exam?

After gathering enough information about the CDS exam, a candidate is ready to commit to it. One must know how to prepare for such a demanding exam, therefore, we put together a few tips to help all the aspirants, who are aspiring to clear this exam:

  1. A candidate should be committed and hardworking toward the goal. Remember consistency is the key in all competitive exams.
  2. Candidates should focus on strengthening their areas of strength so that the margin of error in that subject is very low while working on the weak area as well.
  3. Candidates should get a feel of the territory before jumping right into preparation. Mock tests and previous year’s exam papers are a good way to do that and to know where they stand. BYJU’s exam prep is a great resource for preparation material, courses, and mentors.
  4. Candidates should study a minimum of 4 to 5 hr a day and should be consistent with their schedule.
  5. A candidate must know the syllabus thoroughly.
  6. A candidate must understand the principles and fundamentals of each topic of study. A thorough understanding of the subject is necessary when preparing for the CDS exam.
  7. Students must keep their general knowledge up to date. Read newspapers, watch prime time news and partake in knowledgeable discussions with peers of greater intellect.
  8. Revision is an essential part of any preparation. Go back to topics from time to time and refresh yourself it.

The CDS exam is definitely a difficult exam, but not one that cannot be cleared with hard work, dedication, and discipline. Discipline is one of the founding principles of the forces and it is what is needed to clear the exam as well.

Also Read: CFA level 1 online courses

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