CDS Exam Pattern 2020 - UPSC has mentioned the CDS 2020 exam pattern in the official notification. UPSC CDS exam pattern 2020 includes the total marks, number of questions, mode of the exam, duration etc. According to exam pattern of CDS 2020, there are 3 sections that are English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. Candidates have to solve 340 MCQs in 2 hours. Along with the CDS exam pattern 2020, candidates should also be aware of the UPSC CDS syllabus. Read the below-given details for complete information on CDS 2020 examination pattern. CDS 1 2020 exam conducted on February 2 and CDS 2 is scheduled to be held on November 8. CDS 2 application form 2020 will be released on August 5.
Latest - CDS Question Papers 2020 for CDS 1 is released by coaching institutes. Check expected CDS Cut off 2020

CDS Exam Pattern 2020 -  Marking Scheme, Exam Mode

CDS Exam Pattern 2020 - Highlights

Stages of exam

Written Exam and SSB Interview

Mode of exam

Offline, MCQ type

Papers in written exam

For IMA, INA and AFA - English, General Knowledge, Elementary Mathematics

For OTA - English, General Knowledge

Exam duration

2 hours for each paper

Number of questions

340 MCQs for – IMA, INA and AFA

240 MCQs for – OTA

Total marks

Each subject carries 100 marks

Negative marks


Types of questions

Objective type multiple choice questions

Language of paper

English & Hindi (Both language except Hindi)

CDS Exam Pattern 2020 for Written Exam

Candidates must note that the exam pattern of CDS 2020 written exam is different for admissions in IMA, INA and AFA than that for OTA. As per CDS 2020 exam pattern, the papers will have MCQs and candidates will have to enter their responses in an OMR sheet. Each paper in CDS exam pattern 2020 is conducted for a duration of 2 hours. Candidates can check the CDS exam pattern for both the groups below.

CDS 2020 Exam Pattern for INA, IMA & IFA


No. of questions

Maximum Marks





2 Hours

General Knowledge



2 Hours

Elementary Mathematics



2 Hours




CDS Exam Pattern 2020 for OTA


No. of questions

Maximum Marks





2 Hours

General Knowledge



2 Hours




CDS Marking Scheme 2020

As per CDS exam pattern 2020, Negative marking will be applicable for incorrect responses. One-third (0.33) of the marks allotted to the question will be deducted if answered incorrectly. If candidates mark two options for one answer, it would be considered as a wrong answer. If candidates do not attempt a question, no marks will be awarded or deducted.

CDS Marking Scheme 2020

Negative marking for incorrect answers

1/3rd of the marks

Marks deducted for marking two or more options

1/3rd of the marks

Marks for no attempts


SSB Interview

Candidates who qualify in CDS 2020 written exam will be called to appear for SSB interview. There are two stages of the SSB interview which are explained in the table below.

Exam Pattern for SSB Interview




Screening Test

Verbal and non-verbal tests.

PPDT (Picture Perception & Description Test)


Psychological Test

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

Word Association Test (WAT)

Situation Reaction Test (SRT)

Self Description Test (SD)

Group Testing Officers Test

GD (Group Discussion)

GPE (Group Planning Exercise)

PGT (Progressive Group Task)

HGT (Half Group Task)


Command Task

Snake race/Group Obstacle Race

Individual lecture

FGT (Full Group Task)

Personal Interview


CDS Syllabus 2020

The exam authorities prescribe the syllabus for three subjects - English, General Knowledge, and Mathematics. Candidates can check the subject-wise topics of CDS syllabus in the table below.

UPSC CDS Syllabus




Fill in the blanks, sentence correction, jumbled sentence, reading comprehension & finding errors and omissions, the right use of English words, tenses, verbs, etc.

General Knowledge

Current affairs, economics, history, geography, chemistry, physics, biology, books and authors, Indian politics

Elementary Mathematics

Arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, statistics, mensuration, etc.

Other Related Articles

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - CDS Exam Pattern 2020 - Marking Scheme, Exam Mode

Question: What is the exam pattern of CDS for admission in OTA?


Candidates taking the exam for admission in Officers Training Academy have to take two papers in CDS exam - English and General Studies.

Question: What is the next stage of CDS after the written exam?


 The next stage after CDS written exam is the SSB interview. It’s a 4 to 5 day rigorous test during which candidates will have to perform different tasks that test their personality and physical abilities.

Question: How many questions are asked in CDS mathematics paper?


Candidates are asked 100 questions in the mathematics paper of CDS while English and General Knowledge papers have 120 questions each.

Question: Is there a negative marking in CDS exam?


Yes, one-third marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer in CDS written exam.

Question: When will the admit card of CDS-I 2020?


CDS admit card 2020 has been released on January 9. Candidates can download the admit card till the day of the exam which is February 2, 2020.

CDS Updates and Articles

Questions related to CDS

Showing 413 out of 413 Questions

Will I be able to clear medical of CDS if i got my hand burnt by cracker and is ok now.

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 31st Mar, 2020

In medical test, they usually check the Height, weight. They also check for amy visual, auditory deformities. They will take a Chest X ray to rule out any Chest infections. Hand burn is a scar and it us not a deformity or an illness. So if the rest of the parameters are good, then there should be no reason why you would not clear the Medical fitness test. All that matters is that you should be in good Physical and Mental health and be free from any deformity or disease that might interfere with performing your duties efficiently.


My date of birth is 10th july,1999.Can I apply for cds in 2023?

Soham sengupta 31st Mar, 2020

Hello aspirant,

Yes you can apply for CDS in 2023. According to CDS eligibility criteria candidate's minimum age should be 20 & maximum age should be 24 years. Candidate also have to pass their graduation or appearing for the final year to give the examination. To know more about CDS eligibility criteria click here


Is spectacles allow a candidates can select with spectacles

Rehan Alam Student Expert 26th Mar, 2020

Dear aspirant,

yes you can apply for CDS exam even if you have spectacles however you will not be able to get into the air force and flying department because of your spectacles.

you could however go for logistics and administration even if you have your spectacles.

Hope this helps. Thank you.


if I have 50% in mathematics and physics in 10+2 class, can I appear for OTA and AFA?

Shiksha 25th Mar, 2020


Yes, you are eligible for appearing for cds ota & afa.

  • The eligibility criteria for CDS OTA says: the person should be between 19-25 years age & should have a bachelor's degree from a recognised University/institue (men & women both). The men can be married or unmarried & women can be married or unmarried or widow.
  • The eligibility criteria for AFA says that: the person should be between 20-24 years unmarried. Should have a degree  (with physics and mathematics at 10+2 level) from a recognised University/institue or bachelor's in engineering.

I hope this clears you doubt.


i have completed my ba.llb degree and my dob is 04/03/1995 .can i apply for CDS .if not then is there any other option for me in defence.

Hrisheekesh Singh 24th Mar, 2020

Hi Dawood,

As per the latest eligibility criteria of CDS 2020, the candidates between 20 to 24 years are eligible to give this exam.

You are 26 now which means you are above 24 years of age now, so you are not eligible for the respective exam in each and every course ranging from IMA to OTA.

You can go for Indian Army recruitments now.

Feel free to ask doubts in the Comment Section.

You may refer to this article for more information about CDS 2020 Eligibility criteria.

I hope this information helps you.

Good Luck!

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