Combined Defence Services Exam & application guidelines

Combined Defence Services Exam is the entrance examination or CDS is also a part of the UPSC examination, aimed at recruiting Commissioned Officers in Defence services namely, the Army (Indian Military Academy), the Navy (Indian Naval Academy) and the Air Force (Indian Air Force Academy). The exam is held twice a year in February and September and the notifications for the examination is generally issued in December and May. The exam conducted in February is named CDS (1) and the September exam is named CDS (2). The entire exam process is divided into 3 parts or 3 different subjects namely, English, General Knowledge and Mathematics as a part of the written exam which is followed by an interview conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB).

Combined Defence Services Exam

Examination Stages

The written examination is divided into 3 parts or sections:-

  1. English Language:- This test is of 100 marks and consists of 120 questions. The test is aimed at evaluating the candidate’s proficiency in the language and questions are asked regarding phrase and sentence rearrangements apart from synonyms and antonyms.
  2. General Knowledge:- This section is comparatively easier where the general awareness of the candidates is evaluated and questions are asked on varied subjects ranging from History, Geography to Polity.
  3. Mathematics:- This test aims to evaluate a candidate’s numerical aptitude where questions are asked from geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics, etc.

Registration process for the Combined Defence Services Exam (CDS)

The registration process for CDS can be done online by following the below mentioned steps: -

  1. To register for the exam, the candidates are requested to check their eligibility first as per the norms laid by the UPSC commission.
  2. Once the candidate fulfills the eligibility criteria, they can visit the UPSC website (
  3. The details from any photo identity card issued by Government (AADHAR/PAN/Driving License) needs to be entered while registering online and a scanned copy of the same document needs to be uploaded as well.
  4. Payment for the application fees are to be done online after entering the relevant details.

Step-by-step details for the application process can also be found on this link.

Eligibility Criteria

For appearing in the Combined Defence Services Exam, the candidates have to meet the following criteria: -

  1. Physical Requirements: - Candidates are expected to be physically and mentally fit as per the norms laid down by the UPSC for CDS.
  2. Candidates must be unmarried and must be an Indian Citizen or A subject of Nepal or PIO from a few specific countries.
  3. For IMA, the candidate must be a Graduate from a recognized University. For Navy, a Degree in Engineering from a recognized University/Institute is required. For Air Force, the candidate can be either a Graduate in Engineering or General Stream, with Physics and Mathematics compulsory in 10+2.

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