CDS Syllabus 2021 - Combined Defence Services Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). UPSC is also responsible for prescribing the official CDS syllabus for the CDS written exam. The official UPSC CDS syllabus 2021 is released by the Commission along with the official CDS 2021 notification. The CDS notification contains the detailed syllabus for all the subjects asked in the CDS exam . The prescribed syllabus for CDS 2021 helps candidates in better understanding the type of questions asked in the examination and the CDS 2021 exam pattern . To know more about the CDS syllabus 2021 read the article below.
Latest: CDS 2 result 2019 has been released on November 2 at the official website.
CDS 2021 application form and CDS notification 2021 has been released on October 28.
CDS 02/2020 admit card has been released on October 15, by UPSC on its official website.

CDS Syllabus 2021 - For Written Exam

The Combined Defence Services exam has two written papers for OTA course and three written papers for other courses. The subjects from which the questions are framed in the CDS exam are mathematics, english and general knowledge. English and general knowledge questions asked in both the CDS OTA and CDS IMA/ INA/ AFA courses. CDS IMA/ INA/ AFA course has one extra subject that is mathematics. The questions asked in the CDS exam are of 10th and 12th standard. For more details on the CDS written exam syllabus candidates can check the table below:

CDS syllabus for written exam




  • Mensuration

  • Algebra

  • Mean, Median & Mode

  • Time, speed & Distance

  • Number System

  • Simple interest

  • Compound interest

  • Percentage

  • Profit & Loss

  • Mixture

  • Time & Work

  • Trigonometry

  • Set Theory

  • Clock

  • Geometry, etc.


  • Spotting Errors

  • Sentence Arrangement

  • Synonyms

  • Antonyms

  • Selecting Words

  • Ordering of Sentence

  • Comprehension

  • Ordering of words in a sentence

  • Fill in the blanks

  • Idioms & Phrases, etc.

General Knowledge

  • Indian & world economics

  • Physics

  • Current Affairs - national & international

  • Indian Polity

  • Chemistry

  • Sociology

  • Indian History

  • Defence related Award

  • Geography

  • Environment

  • Sport

  • Biology

  • Cultural

  • Books, etc.

CDS Exam Pattern 2021 - For Prelims & Mains Exam

The CDS exam pattern 2021 is also prescribed by the Union Public Service Commission. As per the official CDS notification the CDS written exam is objective type in nature i.e MCQ. CDS OTA exam has two papers whereas CDS IMA/ INA/ AFA has three papers. There is negative marking for every wrong answer. For more details on the CDS exam pattern 2021 check the tables below.

CDS OTA exam pattern





Paper 1

General Knowledge


2 hrs

Paper 2



2 hrs

CDS IMA/ INA/ AFA exam pattern





Paper 1

General Knowledge


2 hrs

Paper 2



2 hrs

Paper 3



2 hrs

More Relevant Links

CDS Question Paper 2021

CDS Exam Analysis 2021

CDS Preparation Tips 2021

CDS Answer Key 2021

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - CDS Syllabus 2021 - Subject Wise CDS Syllabus & Exam Pattern

Question: Is the CDS written exam conducted online or offline?


CDS written for both the courses i.e. OTA and IMA, INA & AFA are conducted in offline mode.

Question: When is the CDS 2021 application form going to be released?


CDS 1 application form 2021 is going to be released on October 28, 2020 on the UPSC official website - www.upsc.gov.in.

Question: How many papers does the CDS exam have?


CDS OTA exam has two papers whereas CDS IMA, INA & AFA has three papers.

Question: What is the minimum education qualification required for the CDS exam?


Minimum education qualification required to be eligible for the CDS exam is graduation.

Latest Articles

CDS Answer Key 2021 - Download CDS Official & Unofficial Answer Key

CDS answer key 2021 - Applicants can check the CDS 2021 answer key, important dates, score calcul...

CDS Cut off 2021 - Expected & Previous Year UPSC CDS Cut off

CDS Cut off 2021 - CDS 2 2019 final cut off released on November 05. Union Public Service Commiss...

CDS 2021 (I & II) - Check Exam Dates, Registration (Open), Admit Ca...

CDS exam 2021 - Candidates can check the various details about the CDS exam such as registration,...

CDS Notification 2021 - Check Registration (Open), Dates, Registrat...

CDS Notification 2021 - UPSC will release the notification of Common Defence Services. Know here ...

UPSC CDS Admit Card 2021 - Download CDS Hall Ticket Direct Link Here

CDS Admit Card 2021 - UPSC has released CDS 2 admit card on October 15, 2020. UPSC will release t...

Questions related to CDS

Showing 569 out of 569 Questions

hi everyone...my dob is 15-02-1997 can i give cds 2 2021 as i will be turning 24 in feb 2021 m i eligible fr cds 2 niv attempt ?

U. Janani 28th Nov, 2020

Hey Ankita!

The Age Eligibility Criteria for CDS Exam such as Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy and Naval Academy is from 19 to 24 years. For Officer's Training Academy, it is 19 to 25 years. So, on the whole, you can apply for CDS Exam because you satisfy their Age Eligibility Criteria.

All the best!


what is the difference beteween NDA and CDS exam?

chinchujoseph1993 26th Nov, 2020


Hope you are doing good.

The National Defence Academy (NDA) and the Combined Defence Services (CDS), both are exams conducted by the UPSC to join The Triservice in India.

Below I have mentioned some differences between both the exams:





16.5-19.5 Years

19-25 Years



Male and Female

Educational Qualification



Duration of Training

4-4.5 Years

18 months for IMA Cadets

37-40 months for Navy Officers

74 months for Air Force Officers

Hope this helps

Good Luck


My date of birth is 23 April 1997. am i eligible for CDS exam phase II 2021 ?

aswathypadinjakkara 26th Nov, 2020

Hello nitin

Combined Defence Services is conducted twice a year by UPSC.Age limit is as follows

Indian Military Academy 19-24yrs

Indian Naval Academy 19-22yrs

Air Force Academy 19-23 yrs

Officers Training Academy -19-25 yrs

You are eligible for officers training academy. For officers training academy the candidate born not earlier than 2nd july 1995 and born not later than 1st july 2001 is preferred.

Go through the details regrading the eligibility criteria before application.


I am born on 8 february 2001 am I eligible for cds exam in 2023

Karam Vir 25th Nov, 2020


The minimum age for joining to any of the forces coming under CDS is 19 years and the maximum age is 25 years for OTA and 24 Years for IMA, AFA, INA. So, in 2023, you will complete your 22 years So, you are very much eligible to write the CDS examination in 2023. Read more here: https://competition.careers360.com/articles/cds-eligibility-criteria


i am diploma mechanical engg.and will complete my Btech ...after that for which exam i should prepare or which will be easy it will be AFCAT,CDS,or UPSC&MPSC,ISRO exam...which will be easy and in less time cracking ?

Anirudh Singh 24th Nov, 2020


Each and every exam for job prospectus or graduation is difficult. Depending on your interest and the career you wish to pursue. If you wish to go in Civil Services then UPSC, if you wish to be in research and sciences then ISRO Exam is the way to go, AFCAT is for  Commissioned Officers in Flying, Ground Duty (Technical) and Ground Duty (Non-Technical) branches.

These all are somewhat mutually exclusive, that means if you prepare for one you might not have enough time or interest for the other. Incase you have a specific query about one of these exams. Please feel free to comment.

Best of Luck

Result Predictor
Applications Open

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

150M+ Students
23,000+ Colleges
500+ Exams
1500+ E-books