How to prepare for CDS 2019
Supriya Kumari, 11 Dec 2018, #CDS

How to prepare for CDS 2019 - Candidates appearing for CDS 1 exam must know how to prepare for CDS ( 1) 2019. CDS has two stages - stage 1 is written test whereas stage 2 comprises of Services Selection Board (SSB) for Personality cum Psychometric tests and Intelligence Interview. Candidates must know how to prepare for CDS according to the prescribed syllabus in order to score well in the written exam. To qualify the cutoff of written exam and be eligible for SSB Interview, candidates must know the pattern of the exam, section-wise preparation tips and tricks, important topics for the exam, best books to prepare, section-wise weightage of topics, the importance of solving question papers etc.

Candidates appearing for the admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy must start preparing for CDS exam topic wise for English, General Knowledge and Elementary mathematics whereas candidates who appear for admission to Officers’ Training Academy must prepare the topic and sub-topics of English and General Knowledge. Over 2 to 3 lakh candidates apply for CDS exam every year CDS (1) 2019 written exam is scheduled to be conducted on February 3. In order to crack the exam, Careers360 brings some tips and tricks which are imperative from the preparation point of view.

CDS Written exam:

The written exam of CDS consists of three section - English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics for admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy whereas, for the admission to Officers’ Training Academy, candidates need to answer the questions from English and General Knowledge. Candidates get two hours to answer each section where the maximum marks allotted to each section are 100. The written exam has negative marking wherein 0.33 marks will be deducted for each wrong answer.

CDS Final selection

The final selection process includes 2 stages - Stage 1 which comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and picture perception and Stage 2 which is about Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and Conference (conducted for four days). Only those candidates who qualify stage 1 will be eligible to appear in stage 2. The final selection marks are the marks of last recommended candidate according to the post. After adding the marks of written as well as final selection marks, the all India merit list is prepared for admission to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (IFA) and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA).

How to prepare for CDS English section?

This section comprises of English Comprehension, finding errors & omissions, fill in the blanks, jumbled sentences, sentence correction, etc. For scoring well in this section, candidates must have command over English grammar so that they can answer questions related to tenses, active passive voices and other important grammar topics etc. In order to excel in English, they must read newspaper/s regularly and practice the important section of grammar daily.

How to prepare for CDS General Knowledge?

General Knowledge section is vast and most important for any competitive exam. Candidates appearing for CDS 2019 must have the overall idea of the topics and sub-topics of General Knowledge. The questions are generally asked from history of India and geography, economics, books and their authors etc. To prepare well for this section, candidates must read newspapers, magazines, and books related to general knowledge and general awareness more often.

How to prepare for CDS Elementary Mathematics?

To prepare for Elementary Mathematics, candidates must start their preparation from solving the basics of mathematics which include percentage, profit & loss, ratio & proportion, speed distance & time. The questions in this section are generally asked from the high school mathematics topics. The question from Geometry, Trigonometry, Algebra and Mensuration are also asked. Candidates must keep practicing each section regularly by planning and allotting time according to their difficulty level.

How to prepare for CDS 2019 – General Tips

  • Solve Previous Years CDS Question Papers - Candidates preparing for CDS exam must solve previous years’ question papers to get the idea about the questions asked in different sections, marking scheme, etc. Solving question papers also help the candidates to know the type of questions, important topics, etc.

  • Learn time management and accuracy - By solving the previous years’ question papers, candidates develop problem-solving skills which enhance their speed

  • Make a proper study plan - Candidates must make a proper study plan and work accordingly to excel in the exam

  • Make Short Notes during Preparation - It is compulsory for the candidates to make short notes while preparing for exam which can help them a lot in the last few days exam. They can revise the topics from the short notes easily

  • Revision is Crucial - For the candidates preparing for any exam, revision plays an important role. Revising things, again and again, help candidates to retain things in mind and help them solve the questions asked in the exam. 

CDS Exam Pattern 2019

To start preparing for CDS exam, candidates must know the CDS exam pattern 2019. The exam is conducted in two stages which comprise of written as well as Selective Selection Board (SSB) for Personality cum Psychometric tests and Intelligence Interview. 

Exam Pattern for Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy



Maximum Marks


2 Hours


General Knowledge

2 Hours


Elementary Mathematics

2 Hours


Exam Pattern for Admission to Officers’ Training Academy



Maximum Marks


2 Hours


General Knowledge

2 Hours


Best books to prepare for CDS 2019

To prepare for CDS exam candidates can refer to the books given below.





Objective General

S. P. Bakshi

Word Power Made Easy

Norman Lewis

Grammar basics

Wren and Martin’s

Elementary Mathematics

Quantitative Aptitude 

R. S. Aggarwal’s

General Knowledge

Geography & History

NCERT (Std 6th-12th)


NCERT (Std 6th-12th) and M Laxmikant


NCERT (Std-11th and 12th)

International relations/events/diplomacy and General Awareness

Manohar Pandey


Any leading newspaper

Pratiyogita Darpan

CDS Syllabus 2019 

The syllabus of CDS has been prescribed by the exam conducting authority, UPSC. Candidates can check the syllabus for CDS exam below.




English Comprehension

Finding errors & Omissions

Fill in the blanks

Jumbled Sentence

Sentence Correction, etc.

General Knowledge

Current affairs or events like politics, sports, Indian economy, daily news, etc.

History of India and Geography

Books and their Authors

Elementary Mathematics


Elementary Number Theory






CDS Important Topics 2019

The Lists of CDS important topics that candidates must prepare for the exam are given below.

  • English Comprehension

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Sentence Correction

  • One word substitution

  • Narration

  • Spotting Error

  • Fill in the blanks

General Knowledge

  • Politics

  • History

  • Geography

  • Economics

  • Current Affairs

Elementary Mathematics 

  • Percentage

  • Profit & loss

  • Ratio & proportion

  • Speed distance & time

  • Geometry

  • Trigonometry

  • Algebra

  • Mensuration

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