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CDS Exam preparation: The making of a defence officer



It’s all about glory, chivalry and courage. Being part of the country’s defence forces is not really a job, but a way of life. This is why thousands of aspirants with an adventurous streak and reverence for their motherland aspire to join the forces.


To join the defence forces a candidate has to go through highly scientific and well-evolved techniques of testing that aims at assessing their personality in the context of the traits needed for the defence forces. The basic and main route to enter the defence forces is through Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam , which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) twice in a year for the entry in Army, Navy and Air Force followed by the interview with the  Service Selection Board (SSB). While appearing for the CDS exam, candidates can opt for regular or short service entry courses. The test is based on to the entry in Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun, the Indian Naval Academy (INA) Kannur, the Air Force Academy (AFA) Dundigal and the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai. A permanent commission is allotted to candidates if they join the first three institutes while cadets passing out of the OTA get short service commission. For girls who want to join defence through CDS they will be only eligible to write for OTA.

Those applying for CDS, the CDS exam preparation are very necessary. The question paper will be objective type.

Here below is the CDS exam guide and question paper pattern for Indian military academy (IMA), Indian Naval academy and Indian Air force.

English100Objective Type2 Hours
General Knowledge100Objective Type2 Hours
Elementary Mathematics100Objective Type2 Hours


For OTA the question paper pattern will be

English100Objective Type2 Hours
General Knowledge100Objective Type2 Hours


Preparation tips for CDS examination

  • English

For the CDS exam tips of English paper candidate should have the basic understanding of the language grammar, spotting the correct sentences, antonyms, synonyms. This paper will be for all the defence criteria i.e the Army, Navy and Air Force and OTA. The English question paper will consist of 100 marks and will be objective type questions.


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  • CDS exam guide General Knowledge

General Knowledge paper consists of 100 marks and will be objective type questions and this test will be done to test the candidate about the knowledge of current affairs, history, geography, scientific relation to day-to-day experiences.

  • Elementary Mathematics: As per the CDS exam preparations, elementary Mathematics is only included for the students who have applied for Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force. Mathematics is not included for those who have applied for Officers Training Academy (OTA). The elementary mathematics exam will be consist of 100 marks and the test is conducted to check the candidates ability of basic mathematics, the paper will cover topics like Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, measurement and Basic statistics.
  • Time Management: Here is one of the CDS exam tips that tell you how to solve and answer all the questions in the examination hall. It is something that you have to plan and prepare well. Most of the candidates lack behind because of the wrong time management they take with themselves, having a strategy in mind will help the candidate to solve the question paper on time. Time Management differs from person to person, but if a candidate will have a great time management they will be able to answer the questions on time.

Preparation tips for CDS examination

  • Firstly, identify the topics you are strong at and tackle those questions first.
  • Don’t take too much time for the questions you don’t know, leave those questions and try to solve it in last few minutes when you will solve almost those questions which you know.
  • Candidate should mentally have a certain amount of time fixed for answering the questions and stick to it. 

Armed forces offer very exciting career to young men and women in several fields. Career in the forces, in addition as a career, is also an adventure in itself.

Click here to get a complete CDS Exam Study package

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