Combined Defence Services Exam

cds exam
Civil Service

Combined Defence Services Exam

What is CDS Exam?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Combined Defence Services Examination, or CDS, to recruit Commissioned Officers in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. 
Selected candidates from across the country undergo training under The Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) are selected applicants (OTA). The test is usually held twice a year, in February and September. The national-level defence entry examination attracts lakhs of candidates every year. 

CDS Result 2021

The Union Public Service Commission is set to release the CDS (I) 2021 written exam results soon. The result will be available in PDF format on UPSC’s official website. The roll numbers and names of qualified candidates will be displayed in the result. Candidates will be shortlisted for the SSB Interview based on their CDS written exam results.

CDS 2021 Highlights

Name of exam Combined Defence Services Examination
Conducted  by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 
Exam level National
Exam frequency Twice a year
Exam mode Online
Exam duration Two hours
Language of question paper English and Hindi
Exam Fees Rs 200
Exam purpose To select candidates as Commissioned Officers in Indian Army, Navy and Air Force
CDS 1 vacancies  345
No of the cities where the test will be held 41
Official website


CDS Eligibility Criteria 2021

Candidates need to fulfil the following eligibility criteria to appear for the CDS exam. 

Age Limits, Sex and Marital Status

  • Unmarried candidates born between 2nd January 1998 and 1st January 2003 are eligible to apply to the Indian Military Academy (IMA).
  • Unmarried male candidates born between 2nd January 1998 and 1st January 2003 are eligible to apply to the Indian Naval Academy (INA).
  • Candidates applying for the Air Force Academy must be between the ages of 20 and 24 as of 2nd January 1998 and no later than 1st January 2002.
  • Unmarried male candidates born between 2nd January 1997 and 1st January 2003 are eligible for Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for men).
  • Candidates for the Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course) must be unmarried and born no earlier than 2nd January 1997 and not later than 1st January 2003.


Educational Qualification

  • Candidates applying for the IMA and Officers’ Training Academy must be graduates.
  • Candidates for the Indian Naval Academy must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a recognised university.
  • A bachelor’s degree or a degree in engineering is required for entry to the Air Force Academy. Candidates must have studied physics and mathematics in Class 12. 


Physical Fitness

For admission to the CDS exam, candidates must be physically qualified according to physical standards.

CDS 2021 Exam Dates

CDS 2021 exam dates have been released through UPSC Calendar 2021. 


CDS I 2021 Events  CDS I 2021 Dates
Release of notification 28-Oct-2020 
Application process 28-Oct-2020 to 17-Nov-2020 
Exam date 07-Feb-2021  
Admit Card 07-Jan-2021
Result March 2021



CDS II 2021 Events  CDS II 2021 Dates
Release of notification 04-Aug-2021 
Starting of the application process 04-Aug-2021 to 17-Nov-2020 
Exam date 14-Nov-2021


CDS 2021 Selection Process

The selection process of CDS Exam 2021 is as follows: 

  • Application form release

The application form is available online. The application form is divided into two sections: Part I is the registration process, and Part II is the completion of the detailed online form. Both online and offline payment modes are available for application fees. Male candidates in the General and OBC categories must pay Rs 200 as application fees, while female, SC, and ST candidates are exempted.

  • Get the admit card

The Union Public Service Commission released CDS 1 2021 on January 7. For all enrolled candidates, admit cards were made available on the official website. Candidates must log in with their registration number or roll number to access their admit cards.

  • Written examination

According to the CDS exam pattern, the written exam for the IMA, INA, and Air Force is divided into three sections: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. The exam has a total score of 300. The Officers’ Training Academy written exam is divided into two sections: English and General Knowledge. The exam has a cumulative score of 200. Candidates who pass the written exam are called for the SSB Interview, which includes an intelligence and personality test.

  • Result Declaration

CDS result is announced in two phases: written exam and final selection. The results for both phases are published in PDF format on the official website. The roll numbers of qualified candidates are displayed in the result. It is important to score qualifying marks in both the written exam and the SSB Interview.  The CDS cutoff is announced a few days after the results are announced.

  • SSB Interview

The SSB Interview have two stages: a psychological aptitude test and an intelligence test. Candidates who pass the first stage are called for the second stage.

  • Final Selection

Candidates are selected based on their performance in the written exam and the SSB interview. Selected candidates will be sent to the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, and the Officers’ Training Academy in Chennai for training.

CDS Exam Centres 2021

The CDS (1) written exam was conducted in 41 different cities. The CDS exam centre details were written on the admit card. Candidates had to choose their exam centres when filling out the application form. Candidates were assigned CDS exam centres on a first-come, first-served basis. Once an exam centre was fully booked, it was frozen. Candidates had to select one from the remaining options.

CDS Exam Analysis 2021

On 7th February, the CDS I 2021 exam analysis was released. General Knowledge, Mathematics, and English were also included in the exam analysis. The overall difficulty level of General Knowledge and English, according to the students, was moderate. In comparison to last year, the Mathematics paper was difficult. Candidates may use CDS exam review to learn about the total and section-by-section difficulty level, important topics, question distribution by topic, etc.

CDS Exam Day Guidelines 

  • Candidates must bring their admit cards as well as photo id proof to the exam centre. 
  • Candidates will not be allowed to take the exam without the admit card.
  • Candidates are allowed to bring a clipboard or hardboard and a black ball pen to the exam centre.
  • The invigilator will provide a sheet for doing rough work.
  • Books, notes, loose sheets, electronic or other types of calculators, mathematical and drawing instruments, log tables, stencils, slide rules, test booklets, and rough sheets are not allowed.
  • Mobile phones, Bluetooth devices, pagers, and other communication devices are not allowed inside the exam centre

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