CDS Exam

Your Path to Commissioned Officership in the Armed Forces


The Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam, conducted biannually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India, serves as a gateway for aspirants looking to embark on a distinguished career in the defense forces, including the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. The CDS 2024 exam, scheduled for April 21, presents a significant opportunity for graduates aspiring to contribute to the nation's defense. The comprehensive examination process involves a meticulous selection procedure, encompassing a written examination, SSB interviews, document verification, and medical examination. The candidates, aged between 20 to 24 years, need to meet stringent physical standards, educational qualifications, and nationality criteria. The vacancies across various academies, such as the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and Officers Training Academy, offer a total of 457 positions for both male and female candidates. The CDS exam, with its multifaceted selection process and holistic evaluation, seeks individuals with a strong sense of commitment, leadership potential, and a desire to serve the nation with honour and integrity.

Exam Highlights

Exam Name

Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination

Exam Conducting Body

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)


Commissioned Officers in Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force

Gender & Marital Status

Both unmarried male and female candidates are eligible

CDS Age Limit

Varies for different academies -

  • For IMA, INA: 19 to 24 years
  • For AFA: 19 to 23 years
  • For OTA: 19 to 25 years

CDS Qualification

  • For IMA and OTA: Graduation from a recognized university
  • For INA: Engineering degree from a recognized university
  • For AFA: Engineering degree or B.Tech with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level

CDS Physical Test

Height, Weight, Vision, Anthropometric, etc. 

Selection Process

  • Written Exam
  • SSB Interview/Personality Test
  • Document Verification
  • Medical Examination

Exam Frequency

Twice a year (CDS I and CDS II)

CDS Exam Pattern

  • For IMA, INA, and AFA: English, General Knowledge, Elementary Mathematics
  • For OTA: English and General Knowledge
  • Duration: 2 hours for each paper

Exam Duration

4 hours for OTA; 6 hours for IMA, INA, and AFA

Number of Vacancies 

  • CDS I 2024: 457 (Approximately)
  • CDS II 2024: 400 (Approximately)


The UPSC establishes specific terms and eligibility criteria to assess and select aspirants for participation in the examination. This includes:

Nationality: Candidates must be citizens of India, subjects of Nepal/Bhutan, or Tibetan refugees who came to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanent settlement.

Age Limit: For IMA and INA: 19 to 24 years

For AFA: 19 to 23 years

For OTA: 19 to 25 years

Educational Qualification:

For IMA and OTA: Graduation from a recognized university or equivalent.

For INA: Engineering degree from a recognized university.

For AFA: Engineering degree or B.Tech with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level.

Physical Fitness: Candidates must be physically fit according to prescribed standards.

A medical examination by a Board of Service Medical Officers is mandatory.

Permanent body tattoos are only permitted on the inner face of the forearm and the reverse side of the palm/back. Tattoos on other parts of the body are not acceptable.

Height and Weight Standards (Males): The minimum acceptable height for male candidates is 157.5 cm. Weight standards vary with age.

Height and Weight Standards (Females): The minimum acceptable height for female candidates is 152 cm. Weight standards vary with age.

Visual Standards: Specific visual acuity requirements are mentioned for both males and females. Color vision standards are specified for Army candidates. Specific criteria are provided for candidates who have undergone PRK/LASIK surgery.

Other Medical Standards: Various medical conditions related to ears, bones, joints, mental health, heart, blood vessels, abdomen, and more are assessed. Conditions such as hernia, hydrocele, varicocele, piles, and skin diseases are considered. Dental points and conditions related to the spine are evaluated.

Physical Conditioning: Prospective candidates are advised to maintain good physical condition through running, skipping, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and rope climbing.

Prospective candidates are advised to maintain good physical condition by following a recommended routine of running, skipping, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and rope climbing. Also, the candidates are advised to carefully read the official CDS notification for any specific conditions or requirements related to eligibility

Important Dates

CDS I Important Dates (Tentative)



CDS 1 2024 Notification Release Date

December 20, 2023

Online Registration Start Date

December 20, 2023

Online Registration End Date

January 9, 2024 (06:00 pm)

Last Date to Pay Fee

January 9, 2024 (06:00 pm)

CDS 1 Admit Card Release Date

3 Weeks before the Exam

CDS 1 Exam Date 2024

April 21, 2024

CDS 1 Answer Key 2024

yet to be released

CDS 1 Result 2024

yet to be released

Interview Dates

To be notified

Final Result

To be notified

CDS II Important Dates (Tentative)

CDS 2 Official Notification Release Date

May 15, 2024

CDS 2 Online Registration Start Date

May 15, 2024

CDS 2 Online Registration Last Date

June 04, 2024

CDS 2 Number of Vacancies

To be updated

CDS 2 Admit Card Release Date

3 weeks before the exam

CDS 2 2024 Exam Date

1st September 2024 (Sunday)

CDS 2 Result Release Date

To be updated

Official Website 

Official Notification

The official notification for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) I Exam 2024 was released by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on December 20, 2023. The selection process for the CDS Exam 2024 is a two-step evaluation. Firstly, candidates undergo a rigorous written examination to assess their knowledge and skills in various subjects. Following this, successful candidates progress to the next stage, which is the Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview. During the SSB Interview, candidates' personality traits, leadership qualities, and communication abilities are thoroughly examined. The final merit list is determined by considering the cumulative performance in both the written exam and the SSB Interview. 

Candidates interested in the CDS Exam can check the detailed notification on the official UPSC website for essential information, including exam dates, eligibility criteria, application procedures, selection process and more.

Check the Official CDS I Exam Notification 2024

Application Procedure

Applying for the CDS 1 Exam 2024 is a straightforward process. Follow these quick steps to complete your CDS application:

Step 1: Visit the official UPSC website and go to the CDS 1 2024 exam section.

Step 2: Click on the application form link and proceed to register.

Step 3: Provide essential details such as name, date of birth, email address, and contact number.

Step 4: Create a unique username and password for future logins.

Step 5: Log in to your account using the provided credentials.

Step 6: Fill in personal details, including name, gender, nationality, and address.

Step 7: Enter educational qualifications, including degrees earned, subjects studied, and institutions attended.

Step 8: Select your preferred academy and branch.

Step 9: Carefully review the entered information to ensure accuracy.

Step 10: Upload scanned copies of your recent passport-sized photograph and signature as per the specified format and size.

Step 11: Attach any other required documents, such as educational certificates and identity proof if specified.

Step 12: Pay the application fee using available online payment options (credit card, debit card, net banking).

Step 13: The fee amount may vary based on your category (general, OBC, SC/ST, or female candidates).

Step 14: Review all entered details and uploaded documents to ensure correctness and completeness.

Step 15: Click on the “Submit” button to finalize the submission of your application form.

Step 16: After successful submission, take a printout of the completed application form.

Candidates must keep a copy for their reference and future correspondence. Also, they are required to ensure that they meet all eligibility criteria and follow the specified guidelines during the application process to avoid any complications

Documents Required to Apply for CDS Exam 2024

  1. Class 10th and 12th roll numbers
  2. Academic certificates for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees
  3. Aadhaar Card
  4. Caste Certificate
  5. Scanned copy of signature (within 20 KB to 300 KB)
  6. Scanned copy of the photograph (within 20 KB to 300 KB)
  7. Scanned copy of ID proof (within 20 KB to 300 KB)


To excel in the CDS 1 2024 examination and pursue a career in the Indian Armed Forces, candidates must comprehend the CDS Syllabus thoroughly. This exam serves as a direct gateway for individuals aspiring to join the defense forces. Below is an overview of the CDS Exam Syllabus, providing detailed information for candidates preparing for the exam.

CDS Syllabus for English

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Spotting the Error
  • Fill in the blank
  • Synonyms & Antonyms
  • Idioms and Phrases
  • Sentence Arrangement
  • Ordering of words in Sentence
  • Sentence Improvement or Sentence Correction

CDS Syllabus for Mathematics


  • Number System
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers.
  • Fundamental operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions.
  • Unitary method, time and work, time and distance, percentages.
  • Applications of profit and loss, simple and compound interest, ratio and proportion, and variation.
  • Division algorithm.
  • Prime and composite numbers.
  • Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11.
  • Multiples and factors.
  • Factorisation Theorem.
  • H.C.F. and L.C.M.
  • Euclidean algorithm.
  • Logarithms to base 10, use of logarithmic tables, laws of logarithms.


  • Basic operations and Simple factors, Remainder Theorem.
  • H.C.F. and L.C.M.
  • Theory of polynomials, relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered), solutions of quadratic equations.
  • Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns — analytical & graphical solutions.
  • Simultaneous linear inequalities in two variables & their solutions.
  • Practical issues with solutions that result in two simultaneous linear equations, inequalities in two variables, or quadratic equations in one variable.
  • Set notation and set language.

CDS Syllabus for General Knowledge

  • Indian History
  • Political Science
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Environment
  • General Science – Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • Current Affairs– National & International Awards, Summits, Sports

Admit Card

  1. Visit UPSC's official website,
  2. On the homepage, find the 'Admit Card' tab and click it.
  3. Look for the link 'E-Admit Cards for various Examinations of UPSC' and click.
  4. Find the download link specific to the CDS Admit Card 2024 and click on it.
  5. Click on the 'Click here' link to proceed.
  6. Read the important instructions and take a printout, if required.
  7. Choose the registration or roll number option for the further process.
  8. Enter your registration or roll number, date of birth, and the verification text.
  9. After downloading the CDS 1 2024 Admit Card, carefully review all details.
  10. Save a copy and take a printout of the admit card to carry on the exam day.