CDS FAQs
What is CDS ?
 Indian Military Academy, Dehradun only males
 Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala only males
 Indian Air Force Academy, Hyderabad only males
 Officers Training Academy (Males), Chennai
 Officers Training Academy(Females), Chennai
What is the Selection Procedure ?
 STAGE I: WRITTEN TEST
 STAGE II: INTELLIGENCE & PERSONALITY TEST (SSB Interviews)
Who are eligible to appear for the exam ?
How many vacancies are there for recruitment through CDS ?
What are the details of Stage I (Written Test) ?
What are the details of Stage II (SSB Interviews) ?
What is the CutOff Marks for CDS ?
What are the key dates for CDS ?
What is the syllabus for CDS ?
 Algebra
 Trigonometry
Sine x, cosine x, Tangent x when 0
 Geometry Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on (i) Properties of angles at a point (ii) Parallel lines, (iii) Sides and angles of a triangle, (iv) Congruency of triangles, (v) Similar triangles, (vi) Concurrence of medians and altitudes, (vii) Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square (viii) Circles and its properties including tangents and normals, (ix) Loci.
 Mensuration Areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangle and circle. Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures, Surface area and volume of cuboids, lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, surface area and volume of spheres.
 Statistics Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts, etc. Measures of central tendency.
How is the Career Progression within Armed Forces ?
CDS or "Combined Defence Services"Examination provides a way for the graduates to get into the Indian Armed Forces. The exam is conducted twice a year by UPSC for recruitment into one of the following five courses of the Armed Forces:
Combined Defence Services Exam comprises two stages as a part of the selection procedure.
As per the earlier years' data, approximately 1.5 lakh candidates appear for STAGE I (for each of the two exams in a year), out of which approx 9000 candidates get shortlisted for STAGE II. Finally, close to 450 candidates get recommended for different courses.
Any graduate or those in the final year are eligible to write the exam. The age limit/educational qualifications are specified below.
Eligibility Criteria
SNo  Course  Age Limit  Gender/Marital Status  Educational Qualifications 

1  Indian Military Academy  1924 Years  Unmarried Male  Degree of a recognized University or equivalent 
2  Naval Academy  1922 Years  Unmarried Male  Degree in Engineering 
3  Air Force Academy  2024 Years  Unmarried Male  Degree of a recognized university (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engg 
4  OfficersTraining Academy (SSC Course for Men)  1925 Years  Married or Unmarried Male  Degree of a recognized University or equivalent 
5  OfficersTraining Academy (SSC Course for Females)  1925 years  Unmarried Female  Degree of a recognized University or equivalent 
Through CDS exam, approx 450 candidates are finally recruited into Armed Forces.
The tentative break up is specified below. It is to noted that the number of vacancies is NOT fixed. It is tentative in nature and is liable to be changed at any stage by Services H.Q.
Course  Vacancies 

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun  200 
Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala  45 
Air Force Academy, Pre Flying Training Academy, Hyderabad  32 
Officers' Training Academy, SSC Course for Men  175 
Officers' Training Academy, SSC Course for Women  11 
STAGE I
The entrance for Combined Defence Services comprises a Written Exam followed by Intelligence and Personality Test (SSB Interviews). The details of the Stage I are specified below:
Written Examination for Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy
Paper  Subject  Duration  Number of qs  Maximum Marks 

I  English  2 hours  120  100 
II  General Knowledge  2 hours  120  100 
III  Elementary Mathematics  2 hours  100  100 
Total 

300 
SSB Interview(Intelligence & Personality Test) comprises 300 marks.
Written Examination for Officers' Training Academy
Paper  Subject  Duration  Number of qs  Maximum Marks 

I  English  2 hours  120  100 
II  General Knowledge  2 hours  120  100 
Total 

200 
STAGE II: INTELLIGENCE & PERSONALITY TEST (SSB INTERVIEWS)
The Link gives a detailed overview of SSB Interviews in the form of 30 mins movie. This stage comprises two substages.
STAGE – A
Stage one selection system includes the following:
(a) Intelligence Test (verbal and non verbal).
(b) Picture Perception and Description Test: Picture is flashed for 30 seconds. The candidates have to broadly note down seven basic parameters viz number of characters, age, gender, mood, action relating to past, present and future for each character in one minute. Time for story writing is four minutes.
(c) Discussion of the picture – 30 Minutes In this phase batch is divided into different groups. Strength of group is around 15 candidates. Each candidate narrates his individual written story verbatim. Subsequently, in PartII all the candidates have to discuss amongst themselves and achieve a common consensus about the characters and theme of the story.
After all candidates have undergone stage one. The results for stage one testing are declared. Recommended candidates are retained for stageII testing and those not recommended are dispatched back.
STAGE  B
It comprises psychological tests, group tests, and group tasks. These three tests are conducted on three consecutive days.
A) PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS
Thematic Apperception Test: 12 Pictures including one blank are shown. Candidates are asked to write a story around what led to the situation? what is going on and what would be the outcome ?. Each Picture is shown for 30 seconds and candidates are asked to write it in 4 minutes. In the blank slide, they have to think a picture of their own choice and write a story around that.
Word Association Test: In this test, a series of 60 words are shown to the candidates one after another for 15 seconds each. The candidate is required to write down the first thought or idea that comes to his mind.
Situation Reaction Test: This test consists of 60 routine life situations regarding day to day activities. The situations are printed in a booklet and the candidate is asked to write his reactions by completing the sentences, as to how they would feel, think and act in these situations.
Self Description Test: Candidate is asked to write five separate paragraphs on each context about the opinion of his parents/guardian, friends, teachers/superiors.
B) GROUP TESTS
GTO – Day 1 This includes the following:
Group Discussion: Two topics of common interest (social issues and current events) are discussed. It is an informal discussion and not a debate. Each topic is allotted 20 minutes each. No definite conclusion is required to be deduced.
Group planning exercise: It comprises of five stages viz., explanation of the model, reading of the narrative by GTO, five minutes for self reading by candidates, 10 minutes for individual written solutions and 20 minutes for group discussion. Narration of the group solution and definite conclusion is required.
Progressive group task: It is the first outdoor task. A set of four obstacles with progressively increasing level of difficulties are to be completed in 40 to 50 minutes. Structures, helping material and load are provided to the group.
Group obstacle race: In this task the group is pitched against each other over a set of six obstacles with a snake like load to carry.
Half group task: It has one obstacle similar to progressive group task with helping material and load to be carried. Group is divided into two Sub Groups and assigned the same obstacle in turn in such a way that when one group is working, the other is not allowed to watch it. Time allotted to each sub group is 15 minutes.
Lecturette: It is an individual task and the candidate is required to give a short talk to the group. Three minutes are allowed to prepare any chosen topic from the four given in the Lecturette Cards for the talk.
C) GROUP TASKS
Individual Obstacles: A set of 10 obstacles is set to be tackled individually. Obstacles are numbered from one to ten, denoting the points each one carries. Each individual is given three minutes.
Command Task: Each individual is nominated as commander for one task consisting of one obstacle similar to the Progressive Group Task Time given is 15 minutes.
Final Group Task: Task consisting of one obstacle similar to the Progressive Group Task . Time given to complete this task is 15  20 minutes
There is NO fixed cutoff marks for any year. It varies from year to year depending on the level of difficulty of the paper. The data below gives the cutoff marks for the earlier years.
CDS(I) 2014  CDS(II) 2013  


Written (out of 300)  Final (out of 600) *  Written  Final 

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun  99  222  111  231 

Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala  99  222  111  231 

Air Force Academy, Pre Flying Training Academy, Hyderabad  129  250  135  266 

Officers' Training Academy, SSC Course for Men  78  159  76  158 

Officers' Training Academy, SSC Course for Women  78  160  76  160 

(*) Subject to min of 40% marks in SSB Interviews (Stage II)
EVENT  Date * 

CDS(II) Date of Notification  25^{th} July 2015 
CDS (II) Last date of application  14^{th} Aug 2015 
CDS(II) Written Exam Date  1^{st} Nov 2015 
CDS(II) Written Exam Results announcement date  Feb 2016 
CDS(II) Interview Date  April 2016 
CDS(II) FINAL results date  June 2016 
CDS(II) Course Commencement date IMA (Dehradun), INA(Ezhimala), AFA (Hyderabad)  July 2016 
CDS(II) Course Commencement date OTA (Males & females), Chennai  Oct 2016 
* It is to be noted that some of these dates are tentative and are liable to change.
CDS SYLLABUS
I) English Syllabus
The question paper is designed to test the understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.
Questions in English are from Synonyms, Antonyms, Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Error Spotting, Jumbled Sentences, Sentence Correction and Fill in the Blanks.
II) General Knowledge Syllabus
General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. The paper also includes questions on History of India and Geography of a nature.
III) Elementary Mathematics Syllabus
i.Arithmetic
Number System  Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions.
Unitary method  time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to simple and compound interest, profit and loss, ratio and proportion, variation.
Elementary Number Theory  Division algorithm. Prime and composite numbers. Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11. Multiples and factors. Factorisation Theorem. H.C.F. and L.C.M. Euclidean algorithm, Logarithms to base 10, laws of logarithms, use of logarithmic tables.
Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M. Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered). Simultaneous linear equations in two unknownsanalytical and graphical solutions. Simultaneous linear equations in two variables and their solutions. Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or inequations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions. Set language and set notation, Rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices.
A career with Armed Forces is truly enriching. The career progression is specified below.
Time Frame  Indian Army  Indian Air Force  Indian Navy 

Highest Recognition  Field Marshal  Marshal of AirForce  Admiral of Fleet 
By Selection  General  Air Chief Marshal  Admiral 
After 28 years by selection  Lt. General  Air Marshal  Vice Admiral 
After 25 years by selection  Major General  Air Vice Marshal  Rear Admiral 
After 23 years by selection  Brigadier  Air Commodore  Commodore 
After 26 years (OR 15 years by selection)  Colonel  Group Captain  Captain 
After 13 years  Lt. Colonel  Wing Commander  Commander 
After 6 years  Major  Squadron Leader  Lt. Commander 
After 2 years  Captain  Flight Lieutenant  Lieutenant 
After 18 months of training  Lieutenant  Flying Officer  Sub Lieutenant 