Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination twice a year by the name of CDS I and CDS II. The exam is conducted for recruitment into the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. The notification for CDS I is generally released in the month of October- November and the exam is conducted in the month of February, whereas, for CDS II, the notification is released in the month of June and the exam is conducted in the month of November. Only unmarried graduate candidates are eligible to sit for the exam. Interview for Intelligence and Personality Test (SSB) is conducted after the written exam to shortlist candidates.
The CDS entrance examination comprises a written examination, interview for intelligence and personality test. The written test is conducted by the UPSC, whereas, the interview and personality test conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB).
UPSC CDS Exam Dates are given below.
|UPSC CDS Exam||Dates|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS) 2020|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS 1 ) Exam||02 Feb 2020|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS 2) Exam||08 Nov 2020|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS) 2019|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS 1) Exam||03 Feb 2019|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS 2) Exam||08 Sep 2019|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS) 2018|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS 1) Exam||04 Feb 2018|
|UPSC Combined Defense Services (CDS 2) Exam||18 Nov 2018|
UPSC CDS Eligibility Criteria
It is important that the candidates should first check the eligibility criteria for CDS exam. The basic eligibility criteria to apply for the CDS exam is that the candidates should be unmarried and should hold a degree. Candidates can check the age limit required, educational qualification to apply for recruitment for the various posts from the table below.
|Post||Age Limit||Educational Qualification|
|Indian Military Academy||19 –24 years||Should hold a Degree from a recognised University or equivalent|
|Air Force Academy||19–24 years||Should possess a Degree from a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or should have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering|
|Naval Academy||19–24 years||Should have a degree in Engineering from a recognised University/Institution|
|Officers’ Training Academy||19–25 years||Should hold a Degree from a recognised University or equivalent|
UPSC CDS Selection Process
The candidates are admitted into the respective Academies as per the selection criteria decided by UPSC. There are two (02) stages to CDS recruitment, which are:
Stage 1 – Written examination
- After submitting the application form and issuance of Admit Card, the candidates need to sit for the written test.
- The papers in all the subjects consist of objective type questions only.
- Candidates have to write the papers in their own handwriting. Under no circumstances will they be allowed the help of a scribe to write answers for them.
- The standard of the papers in Elementary Mathematics is that of Matriculation level, whereas, for other subjects, the standard of questions are expected to be of a graduate of an Indian University.
Stage 2 – Interview for intelligence and personality test at one of the Services Selection Centres
- The SSB procedure consists of a two-stage Selection process.
- Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests which are Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates are shortlisted based on the combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.
- Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference. These tests are conducted over 4 days
UPSC CDS Exam Pattern
The scheme for the examination is given below in the table.
For Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy
|Elementary Mathematics||100||2 Hours|
|General Knowledge||100||2 Hours|
For Admission to Officers’ Training Academy
|General Knowledge||100||2 Hours|
The papers in all the subject will be of MCQ type (objective questions). Candidates are not allowed to use the calculators during the examination.
UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus
Following is the syllabus of the examination. The questions will be given based on the syllabus. Candidates have to prepare for this examination from this syllabus only.
The questions will be made to test the candidate’s understanding of English.
The questions will be based on current events to test how much the candidate knows about whats happening around in the world. The paper will also include questions like Indian History and Geography.
Questions will be based on Number System—Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions. Unitary method, time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to simple and compound interest, profit and loss, ratio and proportion, variation.
Elementary Number Theory—Division algorithm. Prime and composite numbers. Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11, Factorisation Theorem. H.C.F. and L.C.M. Euclidean algorithm.
Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M., Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, the relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered). Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—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 & their solutions. Set language and set notation, Rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices.
Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90° Values of sin ×, cos × and tan ×, for × = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° Simple trigonometric identities. Use of trigonometric tables. Simple cases of heights and distances.
Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on (i) Properties of angles at a point, (ii) Parallel lines, (iii) Sides and angles of a triangle, (iv) Congruency of triangles, (v) Similar triangles, (vi) Concurrence of medians and altitudes, (vii) Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square, (viii) Circles and its properties including tangents and normals, (ix) Loci.
Areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangle, and circle. Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book), Surface area and volume of cuboids, lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, surface area and volume of spheres.
Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts etc. Measures of central tendency.
UPSC CDS Vacancies
Candidates can check the number of vacancies for the various academics under Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination from the table below.
|Name of the Course||Number of vacancies|
|Indian Military Academy, Dehradun||100|
|Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala||45|
|Air Force Academy, Hyderabad—(Pre-Flying) Training Course||32|
|Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras)— 112th SSC (Men) Course (NT)||225|
|Officers Training Academy, Chennai—26th SSC Women (Non-Technical) Course||15|
UPSC CDS Pay Scale
Candidates can check the pay scale for the services from below:
Pay scale of Army Officers and equivalent ranks in Air Force and Navy
|Rank||Level||(Pay in Rs.)|
|Lieutenant||Level 10||56,100 -1,77,500|
|Captain||Level 10 B||61,300- 1,93,900|
|Major||Level 11||69,400 – 2,07,200|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Level 12A||1,21,200 – 2,12,400|
|Colonel||Level 13||1,30,600-2, 15,900|
|Major General||Level 14||1,44,200-2,18,200|
|Lieutenant General HAG Scale||Level 15||1, 82, 200-2,24,100|
|HAG+Scale||Level 16||2,05,400 – 2,24,400|
|VCOAS/Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG)||Level 17||2,25,000/-(fixed)|
MSP to the officer is as follows: Military Service Pay (MSP) to the officers from the rank of Lieutenant to Brigadier Rs 15.500 p.m. fixed
Fixed Stipend for cadet Training: Stipend to Gentlemen or Lady Cadets during the entire duration of training in Service academies i.e. during training period at IMA and OTA is Rs 56,100/-p.m. (Starting pay in Level 10)
Candidates joining the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
Note the following points if joining Indian Military Academy:
- The candidates will have to sign a certificate to the effect that he fully understands that he or his legal heirs shall not be entitled to claim any compensation or other relief from the Government in respect of any injury which he may sustain.
- parent or guardian will be required to sign a bond to the effect that if for any reason considered within his control, the candidate wishes to withdraw before the completion of the course or fails to accept a commission if offered. Furthermore, the candidate will be liable to refund the whole or such portion of the cost of tuition, food, clothing and pay & allowances, received as may be decided upon by Govt.
- Finally selected candidates have to undergo a course of training for about 18 months.
- They are enrolled under the Army Act as Gentlemen cadets.
- The minimum expenses at the Indian Military Academy generally do not exceed Rs. 200.00 per month. However, if a cadet’s parent or guardian is unable to meet the minimum expense, they will be provided with the financial assistance.
- Those who are finally selected for training at the Indian Military Academy will be required to deposit the following amount with the Commandant on arrival :
Pocket allowance for five months @ Rs. 200.00 per month. Rs. 1,000.00/- For item of clothing and equipment Rs. 2,750.00/- Total Rs. 3,750.00/-
- On successful completion of training, the Gentlemen Cadets are granted Permanent Commission in the rank of Lt. subject to being medically fit, in shape.
- Remember that Army officers are liable to serve anywhere in India and abroad.
Candidates can check the service limits for the grant of the substantive promotion to higher ranks below:
|Lieutenant||On completion of training|
|Captain||2 years of reckonable commissioned service|
|Major||6 years of reckonable commissioned service|
|Lieutenant Colonel||13 years of reckonable commissioned service|
|Colonel (TS)||26 years of reckonable commissioned service|
|Colonel||15 years of reckonable commissioned service|
|Brigadier||23 years of reckonable commissioned service|
|Major General||25 years of reckonable commissioned service|
|Lieutenant General||28 years of reckonable commissioned service|
Candidates Joining the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala, Kerala
- Those who are selected for the training at the Indian Naval Academy will be appointed as Cadets under the Graduate Cadet Special Entry Scheme (GSES) Course.
- A sum of Rs. 35,000/- should be brought by them and deposited in the bank account, which they would be opening at the State Bank of India, Ezhimala branch, on arrival. Candidates can check the expenditures from the deposit money from the table below:
Pocket/Personal expenses Rs. 5,000/- (@ Rs. 1,000/- per month ) Expenses on Laundry, Civilian- bearer,
Cinema, hair cutting and other sundry services per month
Rs. 4,250/- (@ Rs. 850/- ) Expenses on stitching/purchase of Academy Blazer,
Academy tie, Academy Mufti, Academy Sportswear,
Jogging shoes, Jungle boots, Swimming Trunk/suits and Satchels
Rs.20,000/- Travelling expenses for proceeding to next duty station/
home station on leave on completion of Naval Orientation Course on return
Journey at the end of the term
Candidates who are appointed as cadets at the Indian Naval Academy shall remain under probation till completion of initial training which is as follows:-
|Naval Orientation Course at INA, Ezhimala||44 weeks|
|Officers Sea Training at Training Ship||06 months|
|Sub-Lieutenant Afloat training||06 months|
|Sub-Lieutenant (Technical course) Afloat attachment for award of||32 weeks|
|Full Naval watch-keeping Certificate||06-09 months|
Candidates Joining the Air Force Academy
Now, there are three (03) modes of entry in F(P) Course viz. CDSE/NCC Special Entry/AFCAT. Those who apply for Air Force through more than one source are tested/ interviewed at Air Force Selection Boards as per type of entry. Common candidate who fail in Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) will not be tested for flying branch in IAF.
- The approximate duration of training for Flying Branch (Pilots) at the Air Force Academy will be 74 weeks.
- Cadets are authorised fixed stipend amounting to Rs. 21,000/- per month (Rs. 15,600/- pay in the pay band and Rs. 5,400/-as grade pay) during training
- On successful completion of training the stipend admitted will be converted as pay for all purposes.
Candidates who are finally selected for training at the Air Force Academy will be required to deposit the following amount (under revision) with the Commandant on arrival:
|Pocket allowance for six months @ Rs. 140/- per month||Rs.840/-|
|For item of clothing and equipment||Rs.1,500/-|
Carrer Aspects for the Candidates After Completion of Training at Air Force Academy
After the successful completion of training, the candidates pass out in the rank of Flying Officer and will be entitled to the pay and allowances of the rank. The time scale promotions to the rank is as follows:
|Flight Lieutenant||2 years of successful service|
|Squadron Leader||6 years of successful service|
|Wing Commander||13 years of successful service|
|Group Captain||26 years of successful service|
Note that the promising officers have a fair chance of getting higher promotions to air ranks—Air Commodore, Air Vice Marshal and Air Marshal.
What are the Other Privildges?
The other priviliges include that the officers and their families are entitled to free medical aid, accommodation on concessional rent, group insurance scheme, group housing scheme, family assistance scheme, canteen facilities etc.
Candidates Joining the Officers Training Academy, Chennai
- Candidates finally selected have to undergo a course of training at the Officers’ Training Academy, for an approximate period of 49 weeks.
- They will be enrolled as Gentlemen/Lady Cadets. Gentlemen/Lady Cadet initially.
- The minimum expenses during the pre-commission training do not exceed Rs. 200/- per month
Those who are finally selected for training, at the Officers’ Training Academy, will be required to deposit the following amount with the Commandant on arrival:
|Pocket/Personal expenses||Rs. 3,000/- @ Rs. 1,000 per month|
|For items of clothing and equipment||Rs. 5,000/-|
|Group Insurance Coverage for 02 months (AGIF)||Rs. 2,000/-|
Official Website of UPSC: www.upsc.gov.in