CDS Exam 2020: Eligibility, Qualification, Syllabus and Interview

In this article, we will know more about the CDS exam, which most of the Indians think up for taking to serve their nation!

Most of us dream of serving our nation and always like to think about joining the army for the sake of our motherland. And in such a case, the NDA Exam is the most popular exam given by many people to get into the Army, but what if you couldn’t provide the NDA Exam? For this, as a backup, one can give the CDS Exam, commonly known as the Combined Defence Service Exam, which works similarly like the NDA exam.

From the smallest topic like eligibility criteria to the in-depth details like selection procedure, we will discuss it all through this article. Hence, get your mind working on as we present you with all the information regarding the CDS exam.

About the CDS exam

The body of UPSC conducts CDS or the Civil Defence Exam. The CDS exam works similarly to the NDA exam but is available only by graduates, unlike the NDA exam provided on the 10+2 criteria. CDS exams offer people various branches like the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and the Indian Air Force Academy. The process involves two rounds for the final selection of candidates.

More than 3 million people from all over India prepare for this exam as they provide immense benefits and perks of getting into the Indian Army. People get into a job of strict Discipline and have to work hard throughout the training process to get into the Indian Army’s best positions.


Pay Scale and the Perks of CDS

There is a high amount of benefits that any person can receive if they have cleared the CDS program. Higher Defence Officers pay scale to vary from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 90,000, while the lower Defence officer’s pay scale ranges from Rs. 5400 to Rs. 10,000.

Apart from the salary, people get to avail of different perks of getting into the training through the CDS exam. Some of the benefits are listed down below, which people can avail of.

  • Dearness Allowance
  • Maintenance Allowances
  • Uniform and Transport Allowances
  • Children Education Allowances
  • Free Rations

Apart from the working allowances, retired officers have different Retirement Plans and pensions, which can be availed after their retirement.


CDS exam: Eligibility and Qualifications

Although to avail all these appealing offers by the Indian Government, one has to clear through the CDS exam and have to satisfy all their needs to get to sit into the CDS exam. Hence, different criteria regarding the review have been mentioned below.

The eligibility criteria are always changed according to the year, and one should always go to the official portal regarding this information.

The education Qualification is listed below, which should be mandatorily followed by people to get to sit into the CDS exam.

  • Indian Military Academy (1)

People should have a degree in any subject from a recognized college to get into the Indian Military Academy.

  • Naval Academy (2)

Subjects of Maths and Physics are mandatory to be studied by the candidate during the graduation only than they will be considered perfectly eligible to get into the Naval Academy.

  • Air Force Academy (3)

A degree from any recognized university is mandatory to get into this Academy. People should have a background in Physics and Maths to be eligible for the Air Force Academy.


The Written CDS exam 

For the written examination of the CDS exam, one has to have a keen knowledge of English, General Knowledge, and the Elementary Mathematics. All these subjects have 120 questions and 100 marks per subject. In other terms, a total of 340 questions for 300 marks are asked during the written examination. The timing per subject is given 2 hours. Hence, people can complete their CDS exam without any hassle.


The CDS exam Syllabus

As mentioned above, the subject of English, General Knowledge, and mathematics are asked in the written examination, and for the same, the in-depth syllabus is given below.

  • General Knowledge

Topics related to India should be thoroughly memorized in this section. Various subtopics like the Current Affairs, Geography, Indian History are always asked in the CDS exam. People should be completely up-to-date with daily news related to India.

  • English

English grammar is the key to success in this topic. Different topics like vocabulary, comprehension, etc. are tested in the section. Any person who has always been in touch with the English vocabulary should be able to clear this part of the CDS exam quickly.

  • Elementary Mathematics

Here, people’s ability to solve mathematics from the elementary level from Class 10th to 12th is judged. People who have been able to solve mathematic quickly won’t face any issues regarding this part of the CDS exam.


CDS Interview

Once people have cleared the written examination, they have to go through the two rounds of Interviews, which finally decide whether they are eligible to go further or not.

Round 1

This is the first stage of interview after the CDS exam and generally is known as Officer Intelligence Rating. Here, in this round, several pictures might be shown to you, and people have to determine the situation and the task you might be facing during that particular picture. People are asked to come up for Round 2 of the Interview only If they complete the Round 1 Interview.


Round 2 

This task judges the candidate’s personality through various procedures like Group Testing, Officer Task, Psychology Test, and conference. If a candidate clears all these then they are considered to be selected, and people can be invited for the training in the Academy.


Vacancy Table for the CDS officers

With each year, different vacancies are created for the officers of CDS, and one should always remain in touch with the official portal to have proper knowledge regarding this. Yet, some of the vacancies are mentioned down below.

  • India Military Academy- 160+ vacancies
  • Indian Naval Academy- 50+ vacancies
  • Air Force Academy- 38+ vacancies
  • Officers Training Academy- 206+ vacancies

There are many opportunities for people who want to give the CDS exam. In total, almost more than 500 seats are empty for the people to fill in every year.


Benefits of Applying for CDS exam

With the perks and the Allowances, the CDS exam has been providing people with immense opportunities. People can look up to the benefits mentioned below to know more benefits from the CDS exam.

  • One’s Children will be provided with quality education with allowances and fee coverage.
  • Retirement Plans provide people a comfortable life after work
  • Respect from society as one has served the motherland



CDS exam can provide people with some excellent opportunities for people to lead a good life ahead and serve their motherland proudly. People can have a bright future with respect if determined enough; then, the CDS exam is undoubtedly easy enough to be cleared!

Saumya Uniyal
Saumya Uniyal
Saumya describes herself as a writer with words running down her veins as phrases follow her down every path she walks on. The Journalism student is on a constant never-ending quest for finding her next best vacation. You can also spot her sipping coffee while solving puzzles at endearing cafes and bars.

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