CDS Exam Pattern 2019
Updated on Aug 21, 2019 - 5:31 p.m. IST by Shristi Kirti

CDS Exam Pattern 2019 – Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has prescribed the exam pattern of CDS for all aspiring candidates. As per CDS exam pattern, the test is conducted in two stages - written exam and SSB Interview. Candidate must go through the exam pattern before they appear for CDS exam. By going through CDS 2019 exam pattern, candidates come to know the different sections from where the questions can be asked in the exam. Not only this, candidates can know the mode of exam, number of questions that are asked from each section, marks allotment, etc. by going through the exam pattern of CDS. According to CDS exam pattern, candidates applying for Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy courses will have to write exams for three subjects - English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. In this article, candidates can get the CDS Exam Pattern 2019 for both written exam and SSB interview.
Latest Update - CDS Application Form 2020 has been released on October 30, 2019. Candidates will be able to apply for CDS-I 2020 till November 19, 2019.
The written exam of CDS II 2019 is slated to be held on September 8, 2019. All those candidates who will qualify in the written exam will further have to appear for the SSB Interview round. To know more about CDS exam pattern 2019, go through the article below.

CDS Exam Pattern 2019 Highlights

Stages of exam

Written exam and SSB Interview

Mode of exam

Pen and paper based


English, General Knowledge, Elementary Mathematics

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 2019 Exam Pattern - Stages

As per the exam pattern of CDS, the test is conducted in the following two stages :

  • CDS written exam

  • SSB Interview

CDS Exam Pattern 2019 - Written Exam

The table below contains CDS 2019 exam pattern for Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy.

CDS Exam Pattern 2019


No. of questions

Maximum Marks





2 Hours

General Knowledge



2 Hours

Elementary Mathematics



2 Hours




CDS Exam Pattern 2019 for Admission to Officers’ Training Academy


No. of questions


Maximum Marks



2 Hours


General Knowledge


2 Hours


CDS 2019 Exam Pattern - SSB Interview

All those candidates who qualify in the written exam will have to appear for the SSB Interview round. SSB Interview will contain Psychological Aptitude Test and Intelligence Test. as per the exam pattern of CDS, the SSB Interview will be held in two-stages. The details of each stage are explained below.

CDS Exam Pattern 2019 - SSB Interview (Stage I)

Stage I of SSB Interview comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception and Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on the combined performance of the candidate in the OIR Test and PP&DT.

CDS 2019 Exam Pattern - SSB Interview (Stage II)

The second stage of SSB Interview will comprise of Group Testing Officers Tasks, Psychology Tests and the conference. These tests are conducted for 4 days. The overall personality of the candidate is assessed by three different assessors - Interviewing Officers (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. The marks will be allotted by assessors after considering all the tests.

CDS Syllabus 2019

Before starting their preparation for the CDS exam, candidates must go through the syllabus, CDS syllabus contains all the topics and chapters from where the expected questions can be asked. The table below contains one of the topics from where the questions can be asked.

CDS 2019 Syllabus - Subject wise




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

Currents happenings, business, politics, sports, entertainment, Indian Economy, Books and Authors name, etc.

Elementary Mathematics

Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Menstruation, etc.

How to Prepare for CDS Exam

The biggest question that arises in the mind of the candidates appearing in the CDS exam is how to prepare for the CDS exam. For this, it is important for the candidate to prepare a strategy and to maintain it till the exam is conducted. Candidates must keep following some of the tips given below in order to prepare for the CDS exam:

  1. Know the syllabus and the exam pattern of CDS

  2. Pick the best book to study

  3. Prepare and maintain a timetable

  4. Give much time to the subjects at which you are weak

  5. Polish the subjects at which you are good

  6. Solve previous years question papers and take mock tests.

More like CDS

Questions related to CDS

Showing 358 out of 358 Questions

How should a pcm stream girl preparing for Afcat and cds?

Kalpana Sharma 25th Jan, 2020


Hope you are doing great.

In CDS exam ,girls can only go for OTA(officers training academy) and the exam pattern is slightly different as per other academies.

It has only two papers that of general knowledge and general English.

For general knowledge you should be well prepared about current affairs and read 6-12 class ncert books thoroughly for history , geography , science etc. You can also go for internet for general knowledge along with also focus on basic GK like first in the world , famous books and authors etc.

For English, practice is the key to success. Have a good book of objective English like Arihant and read newspaper daily and improve you vocabulary.

Solve previous years questions as well.


It includes the same GK and English followed by numerical ability and reasoning questions as well.

You should again go for basics in mathematics upto class 12 and try to learn more tricks and shortcuts and for reasoning , follow a good book of reasoning ability and be more focused and concentrated while solving these questions.

Hope it helps.

Thank you


I m a +1 student, Girl. My dream is to join in air force. How can I Acheive my goal?

Shareef 22nd Jan, 2020


Girl candidates who want to join IAF have 2 possible ways. AFCAT and non AFCAT entry. AFCAT is an entrance exam conducted twice a year. If you clear this exam, then you will be called for SSB Interview and then you can choose your own branches.

There are various kinds branch in IAF(Indian air force) like technical, flying and ground. each  branch has its own Eligibility and qualification criteria... As you haven't mentioned any kind of branch, let me tell you about these core branches

Flying branch: age should be in between 19 to 23.You should be a graduate in any stream with aggregate of 60% marks and you should have studied Maths and Physics in your 12th and have passed with 60% marks. Or BE or B.Tech with 60% marks is also accepted.

Technical branch: There are 2 types of technical services under technical branch. Both of them need the same criteria of 18-28yeats.First one is Aeronautical Engineer which is mechanical service. Second one is Aeronautical Engineer which is electrical service.

Ground duty branch: There are 3 types of services in Ground duty branches.

Administration and Logistics: Age should be between 20-23 years for Graduates. You should be a Graduate or a Post Graduate in any discipline with atleast 60% marks.

Education: Age should be  20-25 years for Post Graduates and you should be a Post Graduate in any stream with 50% marks.

Accounts:  20-27 for M.Ed, Ph. D, CA, ICWA. Bachelors degree or Masters degree in Commerce. If you have Bachelor's degree then you should have 60% marks and if you have PG degree, then you should have 60% marks.

Through Non AFCAT entry, there are CDSE and FTS. For meteorology branch, age should be between 20-25 years and for Phd students, age should be 27 years. Students should have post graduate degree in any science stream.

There is also NCC Special Entry Indian Air Force. Age should be 20-24 years. You should be a graduate in any stream with aggregate of 60% marks and you should have studied Maths and Physics in your 12th and have passed with 60% marks. Or BE or B.Tech with 60% marks is also accepted


Hello Sir , i had been completed my graduation with open degree which is comes to under kakatiya university .Can i eligible to apply for CDS Exam ... Please inform me sir..

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 19th Jan, 2020


see open university student who have completed their graduation in any discipline may appear in cds exam.

you have not mention your graduation course or stream. if you dont belongs to bachelor in electrical engineering or bachelor courses in physics or mathematics you may apply for below mention post,

Indian Military Academy

Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)

Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course)


I am currently doing my graduation in Economics and also I am a girl. Will there be constraints for me to pass the CDS exam?

thomas joy 19th Jan, 2020

Hi there,

Here are the eligibility criteria for CDS exam

  • Women candidates can only apply for Officers Training Staff or OTA
  • Final year graduate or gradutes can apply for the exam
  • Minimum age is 19 years and for OTA maximu age is 25
  • Candidate should have good mental and physical health
  • 200 mcq questions in OTA section
  • English and General Knowledge is asked.

Hope this will help you.

All the best, Thank you


Sir, can I give CDS exam?. I am a student of BE(fire engineering) .

Akram Khan 1st Jan, 2020


The educational qualification for eligibility to Central defense service exam that is CDS exam is

The candidate should be graduate or appearing in the final year of the  same is eligible to apply for CDS exam.

So if you are in final year of your graduation you can apply to this exam.

The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

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