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 411 out of 411 Questions

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!


I heard about temporary and permanent rejections in medical test examination. Can you explain about different checkups in brief and how to overcome them within alloted time if we are temporarily rejected?

Saisrinandan Ch 27th Mar, 2020


You are talking about types of rejections in Services Selection Board (SSB).

Temporary rejections are those which can be cured/treated. Example: Extra Weight.

Permanent rejections are faced due to problems that cannot be cured. Example: Extra Leg Length for Fighter Pilots.

There are several tests inside the medicals. Some basic temporary rejections include: Knocked Knee, Over Weight, Wax in Ears, Kidney Stones, Appendix.

Some of these require surgery or doctor consultation. While problems like over weight can be set right with healthy diet and exercise. Knocked Knee can be cured by putting a pillow between your knees and standing for 20-30 secs daily.

Hope this helps.



A person with disability can apply for CDS exams?

Mohit Sinha 24th Mar, 2020

Aspirants submit their CDS online application form before the last date. but before fill form you should need to check your eligibility for CDS Entrance exam. here we are talking about CDS physical standards and CDS medical fitness both. Check all information regarding “CDS Physical eligibility” below.


General physical and mental standards are very important points to consider before apply for UPSC CDS Exam. here you find physical requirements for CDS and what type of physical fitness required for CDS check below.

  • First of all participant must aware about this that you are physically & mentally fit and fine and free from any type of disease / disability.
  • Participant not have any type of mental breakdown record in past.
  • Aspirant must undergo a preliminary medical check-up for wax in ears, refractory error of eyes, fungal infection of skin before reporting for the SSB interview.
  • Candidate must be under a standard weight
  • Chest should be in fine condition . X Ray will taken for figure out any disease in chest.
  • The minimum range of expansion after full inspiration should be 5 cms.
  • You should be no disease of bones and joints of the body. these are some of the CDS Physical criteria for interested candidates. here is more things which are also consider as CDS Physical eligibility.


CDS Medical examination is also a important part of CDS exam eligibility. Here are many CDS physical conditions in medical examination. check it

  • A Participant selected by the Services Selection Board (SSB) will undergo a medical examination process by a Board of Service Medical Officers.
  • Female participants will undergo Medical Examination by a Medical Board comprising male / female doctors / specialists / Gynecologist. There will be a lady Medical Officer as member of Board.
  • Whole Generate reports by Medical board are confidential and not disclose to anyone.
  • The final decision of Candidate fitness will be intimated by the President of the Medical Board.
  • The candidate will also be intimated about the procedure for Appeal Medical Board.
  • Candidates declared unfit during Appeal Medical Board will be intimated about the provision of Review Medical Board.
  • Candidates must be Physically and Mentally fit according to the given standards. for more details such as vision standards , Height & weight criteria , eye sight criteria , Ear , Nose , throat , teeth condition etc.


Most of the students ask this question that What is eyesight criteria for CDS ? CDSphysical test also covers your eyesight conditions. and vision standard for naval and Air force different from this which also mention below. Eyesight for CDS Exam –
Vision standard for Male Candidates

  • Candidate must able to read 6/6 in a distant vision chart with each eye with or without glasses (For navy and Air Force without glasses only).
  • Myopia should not be more than 3.5D
  • Hypermetropia should not be more than 3.5D including Astigmatism.

Vision standard for Female Candidates

  • Aspirant must able to read 6/6 (better eye) and 6/8 (worse eye) in a distant vision chart with or without glasses
  • Myopia should not be more than minus 5.5 including Astogination.
  • Internal examination of the eye will be done by means of ophthalmoscope to rule out any disease of the eye.
  • A candidate must have good binocular vision.
  • The colour vision standard will be CP-III.
  • A candidate should be able to recognize red and green colours.

Vision standard for Naval

Uncorrected without glass 6/12

corrected with glass 6/6

Limits of Myopia -1.5

Limits of Hypermetropia +1.5

Binocular vision III

Limits of colour perception I

Vision standard for Air Force

Uncorrected without glass 6/12

corrected with glass 6/6

Limits of Myopia -0.75D

Limits of Hypermetropia +1.5D

Binocular vision III

Limits of colour perception I

Teeth , Ear, Nose and Throat Conditions – CDS Physical Qualification also covers your conditions of teeth , ear Nose , Throat etc. Check the standards given below.

  • The applicants ought to have adequate number of normal and sound teeth.
  • At least 14 dental focuses will be satisfactory.
  • A hopeful ought not be experiencing serious pyorrhea.
  • The listening must be ordinary.
  • A hopeful ought to have the capacity to hear a constrained whisper with every ear at a separation of 610 cms in a very room.
  • There ought to be no confirmation of present or past disease of the ear, nose and throat.
  • Sound metric test will be ruined AF. Sound metric misfortune ought not exceed+20 db in frequencies somewhere around 250Hz and 4000 Hz.

Height and weight standards
CDS Exam physical eligibility test also includes one major point is aspirant height. Here is a table for height required for CDS Exam for male and female candidates with weight parameters check it.

*45 for Navy @ 47 for Navy A ± 10% ( for Navy ) departure from the average weight given in the table above is to be considered within normal limit. However, in individuals with heavy bones and broad built as well as individuals with thin built but otherwise healthy this may be relaxed to some extent on merit.

The acceptable weight for Air Force candidates will be ± 10% of the average weight given above.

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