CDS Exam Syllabus And Pattern You Might Want to Check Out

CDS Exam Syllabus And Pattern:

The Combined Defence Services examination also called the CDSE is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Each year thousands of candidates appear for the CDS exam. The CDS exam syllabus and pattern are necessary for the meticulous preparation of the exam.

CDS Exam Syllabus And Pattern
CDS Exam Syllabus And Pattern

Date of activation of registration link: 5th August 2020

Date of start of registration of application: 8th August 2020

Last date to submit completed application: 25th August 2020

Date of CDS exam: 8th November 2020

The CDSE is a national level entrance exam conducted twice a year in November and February. The CDSE is conducted for the officer cadre in the following arms of the armed forces of the country:

  • Indian Military Academy
  • Air Force Academy
  • Indian Naval Academy
  • Officers Training Academy (male & female)

Application fee:

  • For all candidates: 200/-
  • SC/ ST/ Female candidates: Nil fee
  • The candidate can pay the fee online through credit or debit card or any other net banking options.
  • The candidate can also pay the application fee offline by depositing cash at any SBI branch.

The CDS exam comprises of 2 phases, these include the following:

  • Written exam
  • SSB interview

 CDS exam pattern:

Written exam:

  • The exam pattern for IMA/ AFA/ INA varies from the exam for OTA.


Topics Maximum Marks Time Duration
Elementary Maths 100 2 Hours
English 100 2 Hours
General knowledge (GK) 100 2 Hours
Total 300 6 Hours
  • The exam is a pen and paper based offline exam.
  • The exam consists of 3 papers which includes English, Maths and GK.
  • The total duration of the exam is 6 hours.
  • The total weightage of the exam is 300 marks.
  • The marking scheme is as follows:
  • Correct answer: +1 marks
  • Incorrect answer: -1/3rd marks will be deducted


Topics Maximum marks Time Duration
English 100 2 Hours
General knowledge (GK) 100 2 Hours
Total 200 4 Hours
  • The exam is a pen and paper based offline examination.
  • The exam consists of multiple choice objective questions. 
  • The total duration of the exam is 4 hours.
  • The exam comprises of 2 papers which includes English and GK.
  • The total weightage of the exam is 200 marks.
  • The marking scheme is as follows:
  • Correct answer: +1 marks
  • Incorrect answer: -1/3rd marks will be deducted.

CDS Exam syllabus:


  • Spotting Errors
  • Sentence Arrangement
  • Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Selecting Words
  • Ordering of Sentences
  • Comprehension
  • Ordering of Words in a Sentence
  • Fill in the blanks


Arithmetic Arithmetic section basically tests your knowledge of Number System, Elementary Number Theory and other basic concepts as tabulated below:
Natural numbers
Rational and Real numbers
Fundamental operations
Square Roots
Decimal Fractions
Unitary Method
Time and Distance
Time and Work
Applications to Simple and Compound Interest
Profit and Loss
Ratio and Proportion
Division Algorithm
Prime and Composite Numbers
Tests of Divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11
Multiples and Factors
Highest Common Factor (HCF)
Lowest Common Multiple (LCM)
Euclidean Algorithm
Logarithms to Base 10
Laws of Logarithms
Use of Logarithmic Tables
Algebra Basic Operations
Simple Factors
Remainder Theorem
Highest Common Factor
Lowest Common Multiple
Theory of Polynomials
Solutions of Quadratic Equations
The relation between Quadratic Equation Roots and Coefficients
Simultaneous Linear Equations- Analytical and Graphical Solutions
Simultaneous Linear Inequations 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 and their solutions
Set Language and Set Notation
Rational Expressions
Conditional Identities
Laws of Indices
Geometry Lines and Angles, Plane and Plane Figures, Theorems on Properties of Angles at a Point
Parallel Lines
Sides and Angles of a Triangle
Congruency of Triangles
Similar Triangles
The concurrence of Medians and Altitudes
Properties of Angles, Sides, and Diagonals of a Parallelogram, Rectangle, and Square
Circles and its Properties Including Tangents and Normals
Statistics Collection and Tabulation of Statistical Data
Graphical Representation
Frequency Polygons
Bar Charts
Pie Charts
Measures of Central Tendency
Trigonometry Sin x
Cosine x
Tangent x when 0 degree < x< 90 degree values of sin x
cos x and tan x
for x= degree 0, 30, 45, 60 and 90
Simple Trigonometric Identities
Use of Trigonometric Tables
Simple Cases of Heights and Distance
Mensuration Area of Square
Area of Figures which can be Split up into Figures (field book)
Surface Area and Volume of Cuboids
Lateral Surface
Volume of Right Circular Cones and Cylinders
Surface Area and Volume of Spheres

General Knowledge:

Topic Description
Current Affairs  News of important international and national summits/ conferences, awards, sports-related news, books, and authors
Political Science Indian constitution, fundamental rights, and directive principles, powers of the president and prime minister, constitutional bodies, Indian judiciary and others
Indian History Ancient, Medieval and Modern India.
Indian geography Indian as well as world geography.
Economics Budget, Five-year plan, foreign trade etc.
General Science Physics: Optics, motion, force, units, heat, electricity, temperature etc. Chemistry: Organic, inorganic, physical and general chemistry. Biology: Diseases, botany, zoology as well as human biology.
Defence Related News Defence related topics like Army Day, Navy Day, recent developments etc.

For any further details regarding CDS exam syllabus and pattern check the website at .

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