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Combined Defence Service is referred to as CDS. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) holds the exam to select officers for the Indian Armed Forces. The English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics topics on the CDS exam are included. Candidates are excluded from taking the Elementary Mathematics paper if they select Officers Training Academy as their preferred institution.


Candidates must possess a graduate degree in any discipline from an accredited university or an equivalent degree to be considered for officer recruitment into the Indian Army through training at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun or the Officers Training Academy in Chennai/Gaya

  • CDS Highlights
  • CDS Notification
  • CDS Application Form
  • CDS Required Eligibility
  • CDS Selection Process
  • CDS Exam Pattern
  • CDS Syllabus
  • CDS Admit Card
  • CDS Results
  • CDS Cutoff
  • CDS Salary & Benefits

CDS Exam Highlights

CDS exam highlights for all aspirants are provided here. The CDS aspirants must check the highlights before applying for the exam below in the table:

Name of the ExamCombined Defence Services (CDS) Exam
AuthorityUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC)
JobDefence Officer
Mode of ExamOffline through OMR based question paper
Mode of ApplicationOnline
Duration2 hours per paper
LanguageEnglish and Hindi (except the English paper)
PurposeRecruitment of officers of the Armed Forces

CDS Notification

Every year, the UPSC’s official website,, releases a CDS notification twice, in the months of December and May. Visit the website to download the notification PDF if you want to register for the CDS exam.

CDS Application Form

The application for the CDS exam got accessible online. Only after the information has been input accurately must the application form be filled out online and submitted. The following are the processes for completing the CDS Recruitment 2023 application form:

Step 1: Go to, the UPSC’s official website.
Step 2: Search for “CDS 1 2023 apply online” link

Step 3: Correctly enter the information for the candidate in question.
Step 4: Upload your signature, photo, proof of identification, and other documents.
Step 5: Review the information before continuing to pay the application cost.
Step 6: Submit the application for the CDS exam.

CDS Required Eligibility

CDS exam 2023 eligibility criteria including age limit, educational qualification and nationality is given below in details:

CDS Age Required Limit

CDS exam eligibility criteria including Age Limit for the CDS exam is tabulated below

AcademyAge Limit
Indian Military Academy19-24 years
Indian Air Force Academy19-24 years
Indian Naval Academy19-24 years
Officers Training Academy19-25 years

CDS Educational Required Qualification

CDS educational qualification requirements for the CDS exam are tabulated below:

AcademyEducational Qualifications
Indian Military Academy and Officers Training AcademyGraduate in any discipline
Indian Air Force AcademyGraduate in any discipline (with Physics and Mathematics at 10 + 2 level or equivalent) or Bachelor of Engineering
Indian Naval AcademyGraduate in Engineering

CDS Overall Required Eligibility

The important aspects of the eligibility criteria for CDS exam is tabulated below:

  • Citizen of India
  • The subject of Nepal or Bhutan
  • Tibetian Refugees who came to India before 1962 with the intention to settle permanently
  • A person migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, malawi, Zaire, Zambia, Vietnam and Ethiopia to settle in India permanently
Physical Standards
  • Should be physically and mentally robust
  • Should not have permanent tattoos on the body
  • Should not have a hernia
  • Should not be impaired in terms of ability to hear
  • Should not have excessive wax in ears
  • Nasal septum should not deviate
  • Should maintain a proper Body Mass Index (BMI) as prescribed
  • Should not have piles
  • Should not have gynecomastia
  • Should not have hydrocele/phimosis/varicocele
Number of AttemptsNo limit
Important Points
  • The eligibility criteria in terms of educational qualifications and age limit are different for Indian Military Academy, Indian Air Force Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Officers Training Academy
  • There is no limit to appear for the exam as long as the eligibility criteria are fulfilled

CDS Selection Process

A written exam, a 5-day Service Selection Board (SSB), and a medical examination are all parts of the CDS exam selection procedure. Those who want to become officers in the flying branches of the Armed Forces must pass the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT), which is only given once.

CDS Exam Pattern

CDS exam pattern for Indian Military Academy, Indian Air Force Academy and Indian Naval Academy is tabulated below:

SubjectDurationNumber of Questions
English2 hours120
General Knowledge2 hours120
Elementary Mathematics2 hours100

CDS exam pattern for Officers Training Academy is tabulated below:

SubjectDurationNumber of Questions
English2 hours120
General Knowledge2 hours120

CDS Syllabus

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India administers the Combined Defence Services (CDS) test. To choose applicants for admission to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA), a national-level competitive test is held twice a year. Depending on the academies for which students are applying, the CDS exam’s syllabus differs. Here is a general summary of the CDS curriculum:

CDS exam 2023 syllabus for English are provided below:

  • Spotting Errors
  • Arrangement of Sentences
  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Word Selection
  • Ordering of Sentences
  • Comprehension

CDS exam syllabus for General Knowledge are provided below:

  • Current Affairs
  • Defence Related Awards
  • Sports
  • History
  • Geography
  • Politics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Cultural Knowledge

CDS exam 2023 syllabus for General Knowledge are provided below:

  • Current Affairs
  • Defence Related Awards
  • Sports
  • History
  • Geography
  • Politics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Cultural Knowledge

CDS Admit Card

For the CDS exam each applicant will receive an admission card. The CDS admission card will include all pertinent information, like the exam date, timings, candidate information, and others. The UPSC official website will host the admission card. By inputting their login information, applicants can download the admit card from the website.

The steps mentioned below are purported to facilitate the downloading of the Admit Card for CDS Recruitment

  • Step 1: Visit the official Website of UPSC
  • Step 2: Click on the link ‘CDS 1 2023 ‘Admit Card’
  • Step 3: Enter the registration details once directed to the login page
  • Step 4: Check the necessary details on the Admit Card properly before downloading
  • Step 5: Download and subsequently print the Admit Card

CDS Result

After the exam has started, the results of the CDS will be made public. The CDS 1 and CDS 2 answer keys are made available by the UPSC in PDF format. After taking into account the candidates’ objections to the preliminary answer key, the final answer key is made public.

CDS Cutoff

The UPSC posts PDF files of the CDS 2023 cutoff for each category on its website. The following table contains the anticipated cutoff marks for applicants to review:

AcademyWritten Exam Cut Off (Expected)Final Cut Off (Expected)
Indian Military Academy122-130245-254
Indian Air Force Academy106-122232-252
Indian Naval Academy146-150266-272
Officers Training Academy (Men)75-84164-170
Officers Training Academy (Women)75-86162-172

CDS Salary and Benefits

For all positions filled through CDS recruiting, the following table lists the CDS salary and other allowances:

ArmyAir ForceNavyAmount (INR)/month
LieutenantFlight LieutenantSub Lieutenant56,100 – 1,77,500
CaptainFlying OfficerLieutenant61,300 – 1,93,900
MajorSquadron LeaderLieutenant Commander69,400 – 2,07,200
Lieutenant ColonelWing CommanderCommander1,21,200 – 2,12,400
ColonelGroup CaptainCaptain1,30,600 – 2,15,900
BrigadierAir CommodoreCommodore1,39,600 – 2,17,600
Major GeneralAir Vice MarshalRear Admiral1,44,200 – 2,18,200
Lieutenant GeneralAir MarshalVice Admiral1,82,200 – 2,25,000
General [Held by the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) or the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)]Air Chief Marshal [Held by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) or the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)]Admiral [Held by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) or the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)]2,50,000

Armed Forces officers receive a CDS salary as well as a number of other benefits, including housing, a travel allowance, a dearness allowance, free medical care at military hospitals and affiliated organisations, and discounted purchases at CSD (Canteen Stores Department) stores. According to their rank and as determined from time to time by the Government of India, certain benefits and allowances are given to officers. Armed Forces officers have a pension right as well after retirement. Depending on the officer’s last holding rank, this pension is paid each month. Depending on the severity of the injuries received while doing active service, the concerned officer may potentially be eligible to receive a disability pension.



FAQ's about CDS

Q. How many times can a person attempt the CDS exam?

A. There is no limit for a person to appear for the CDS exam. However, the eligibility criteria in terms of educational qualification and age as stipulated need to be fulfilled accordingly.

Q: Can doctors appear for the CDS exam?

A. No. Doctors are not eligible to appear for the CDS exam. However, the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) Pune facilitates them to be commissioned as Medical Officers on completion of their MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degrees.

Q. What is the difference between the Officers Training Academy and the Indian Military Academy in terms of CDS recruitment?

A. For CDS recruitment through Officers Training Academy, officers are granted Short Service Commission (SSC) in the Indian Army. It is further extendable, depending on various factors. For CDS recruitment through the Indian Military Academy, officers are granted Permanent Commission (PC) in the Indian Army.

Q. What are the highest ranks which can be attained by the Officers of the Armed forces of India recruited through the CDS exam?

A. For the Indian Army, the highest attainable rank is Field Marshal. For the Indian Air Force, the highest attainable rank is Marshal of the Indian Air Force. For the Indian Navy, the highest attainable rank is Admiral of the Fleet.

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