Comprehensive Guide to CDS Exam Details


The Combined Defense Services (CDS) examination is a prestigious competitive examination in India that opens doors to a career in the Indian Armed Forces. This article will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the CDS exam, covering all the essential details you need to know.

What is the CDS Exam?

The CDS exam, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), is designed to recruit candidates for various defense services in India, including the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Indian Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA). This examination is held twice a year, and it’s an excellent opportunity for those aspiring to serve their nation.

Full Exam NameCombined Defence Services Examination
Short Exam NameCDS 2
Frequency of ConductTwice a year
Exam Conducting BodyUnion Public Service Commission
LanguagesEnglish, Hindi
Mode of ApplicationOnline
Application FeeRs 200 for Offline and Online
Exam ModeOffline
Counselling ModeOffline
Duration of the Exam6 Hours

UPSC CDS 2 2024 Important Dates

The exam date of CDS 2 2024 and other crucial dates are announced by the Commission on May 10, 2023. Candidates can check UPSC Calendar 2024 to know all the important dates of CDS 2 2024. They can also check CDS 2 2024 exam dates along with other crucial dates given in the table below.

EventsCDS 2 2024 Dates
CDS 2 notification date 2024May 15, 2024
CDS 2 application form release dateMay 15, 2024
CDS 2 application form last date to applyJune 4, 2024
CDS 2 application form correction facilityTo be notified
CDS 2 application withdrawal date 2024To be notified
CDS 2 2024 admit card dateTo be notified
CDS 2 2024 exam dateSeptember 1, 2024
CDS 2 question papers 2024 release dateTo be notified
CDS 2 2024 result dateTo be notified
CDS 2 SSB Interview dateTo be notified
CDS 2 cut-off dateTo be notified

CDS Exam Eligibility

Union Public Service Commission will prescribe CDS 2 2024 eligibility criteria online in the official notification at There are three sections to check in the CDS 2 eligibility criteria 2024 that are age limit, nationality and educational qualification. A candidate must be an Indian citizen between 19 to 25 years of age to be eligible to apply for UPSC CDS 2 2024 recruitment.

As per CDS 2 educational qualification, candidates having a bachelor’s degree will be able to apply for CDS 2 2024 exam for IMA (Indian Military Academy), INA (Indian Naval Academy), AFA (Air Force Academy) and OTA (Officer Training Academy). To apply for CDS 2 2024 recruitment, candidates must be physically fit and their eyesight too as per the prescribed format.


To be eligible for the CDS exam, you must be:

  • A citizen of India
  • A subject of Nepal or Bhutan
  • A Tibetan refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India
  • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, and Vietnam, with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Educational Qualifications

The educational requirements for different academies under the CDS exam are as follows:

  • For IMA and OTA: A degree from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • For INA: A degree in Engineering from a recognized university or institution.
  • For AFA: A degree in Engineering or a Bachelor’s degree with Physics and Mathematics at the 10+2 level.

Age Limit

The age limit for candidates varies based on the academy they are applying for:

  • For IMA: 19 to 24 years
  • For INA: 19 to 22 years
  • For AFA: 19 to 23 years
  • For OTA: 19 to 25 years

CDS Exam Pattern

Understanding the exam pattern is crucial for successful preparation. The CDS exam consists of two stages:

  1. Written Examination
    • Paper 1: EnglishThis paper tests the candidate’s knowledge of English, including grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.
    • Paper 2: General KnowledgeThe General Knowledge paper assesses the candidate’s awareness of current events, history, geography, and other relevant topics.
    • Paper 3: Elementary MathematicsCandidates aspiring to join the IMA, INA, or AFA are required to appear for this paper. It covers topics like arithmetic, algebra, and trigonometry.
  2. Interview/Personality TestCandidates who qualify in the written examination are called for an interview and personality test conducted by the Service Selection Board (SSB). This stage evaluates the candidate’s suitability for a career in the armed forces.

CDS Exam Application Process

To apply for the CDS exam, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official UPSC website and navigate to the CDS examination section.
  2. Fill out the online application form, providing accurate details.
  3. Pay the application fee online or through a bank challan.
  4. Upload scanned copies of your photograph and signature.
  5. Submit the application form and keep a printout for future reference.

Admit Card and Exam Dates

Once you have successfully submitted your application, UPSC will release the admit card. Make sure to check the official website for updates on exam dates and admit card availability. It’s essential to keep track of these dates to avoid missing any crucial notifications.

CDS Exam Syllabus

The CDS exam is conducted by UPSC twice a year for recruitment in the Indian Defence Services such as the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Officers’ Training Academy. The CDS Syllabus is released by UPSC along with the CDS 2024 Notification PDF on its official website which will be released on 20th December 2023 for CDS 1 Exam 2024.

CDS Syllabus 2024 consists mainly of English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics for the admission to Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy and Air Force Academy while for admission to the Officers’ Training Academy, only English and General Knowledge subjects are included.

Understanding the syllabus is essential for focused preparation. Here’s a brief overview of the syllabus for each paper:

  • English: Vocabulary, comprehension, sentence formation, synonyms, antonyms, and grammar.
  • General Knowledge: Current affairs, history, geography, politics, economics, and basic science.
  • Elementary Mathematics: Arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and statistics.

CDS 2 2024 Syllabus 2024

MathematicsGeometry, Statistics, Intelligence and Personality Test, Mensuration, Trigonometry, Algebra, Elementary Number Theory, Number System, Algebra
EnglishSynonyms, Antonyms, English Passages, Sentence, Parts of Speech
General KnowledgeDefence Knowledge, Geography, Politics, History, Current Events, Economics

CDS Exam Preparation Tips

  1. Start early: Begin your preparation well in advance to cover the vast syllabus thoroughly.
  2. Follow a study schedule: Create a study plan that allocates sufficient time to each subject.
  3. Solve previous year’s papers: Practicing previous year’s question papers will help you understand the exam pattern and gain confidence.
  4. Take mock tests: Mock tests will help you assess your preparation and improve time management.
  5. Stay updated: Keep yourself informed about current events and general knowledge topics.


The CDS exam is a gateway to a prestigious career in the Indian Armed Forces. To succeed, you need to meet the eligibility criteria, understand the exam pattern, and prepare diligently. Remember that determination and dedication are key to cracking this competitive examination.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can I apply for the CDS exam?

To apply for the CDS exam, visit the official UPSC website, fill out the online application form, pay the application fee, and submit the required documents.

2. What is the age limit for the CDS exam?

The age limit varies depending on the academy you are applying for. For IMA, it’s 19 to 24 years, for INA, it’s 19 to 22 years, for AFA, it’s 19 to 23 years, and for OTA, it’s 19 to 25 years.

3. What are the best preparation strategies for the CDS exam?

Effective preparation strategies include starting early, following a study schedule, solving previous year’s papers, taking mock tests, and staying updated with current affairs and general knowledge topics.

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