How to prepare for CDS 2020
Piyush.Dixit, 05 Oct 2019, #CDS

How to prepare for CDS 2020 - UPSC conducts CDS examination biannual to recruit candidates for the post of Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA). Candidates who aspires to get themselves inducted into any of these defence services should know how to prepare for CDS exam. CDS exam comprises two stages - stage 1 is written test whereas stage 2 includes Services Selection Board (SSB) for Personality cum Psychometric tests and Intelligence Interview. Hence candidates must know how to prepare for CDS 2020 according to the prescribed syllabus in order to score well in the written exam. To secure the written exam cut off marks and be eligible for SSB Interview, candidates must know how to prepare for CDS 2020 which includes exam pattern, section-wise preparation tips, best books to prepare and section-wise weightage of topics.This year first CDS exam will be conducted in february while second CDS will be held in the month of September 2020.
Every year approx 2 to 3 lakh candidates apply for CDS exam. The written exam of CDS I 2020 is scheduled to be conducted on February 2, 2020. To know how to crack CDS 2020 exam with flying colors we are catering some tips and tricks which are imperative from the preparation point of view. Read complete article to know more about how to prepare for CDS 2020 and other important information.

Preparation methodology for CDS 2020

First thing which haunt the candidates while strategy making to qualify the exam is how to prepare for CDS 2020. Candidates who are preparing for the competitive exam i.e CDS first time must devote a year to understand the nuances of the exam and get selected in the exam.

Exam pattern of CDS 2020

CDS Recruitment process takes place in two steps. First stage of the exam is written while the second is an interview by Service Selection Board (SSB). The written exam of CDS consists of three sections - English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics for admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy whereas, for admission to Officers’ Training Academy, candidates need to answer the questions from English and General Knowledge only. 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.

How to prepare for CDS 2020 by tackling negative marking in CDS

Candidates who will appear in exam should note the point that negative marking in CDS exam is 1/3rd instead of 1/4th in other competitive exam. It means that for 3 wrong answers one correct answer will be deducted in CDS 2020 exam. Hence candidates should not attempt those questions in which they are not confident.

CDS 2020 exam pattern for Officers’ Training Academy


Time Duration

Maximum marks


2 Hours


General knowledge (GK)

2 Hours



4 Hours


CDS 2020 exam pattern for Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy


Time Duration

Maximum Marks

Elementary Maths

2 Hours



2 Hours


General knowledge (GK)

2 Hours



6 Hours


How to prepare for CDS 2020 by Knowing Syllabus

Candidates after knowing the exam pattern must know the syllabus in their strategy of how to prepare for CDS 2020. The syllabus of CDS exam is prescribed by the UPSC. Candidates can check the syllabus for CDS exam in below given table.




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






Tips to prepare for CDS exam

CDS Exam Study Plan

Candidates who want to know how to prepare for CDS, should first make their full proof strategic study plan which helps them to qualify the exam. After making the study plan candidates should abide by that to ensure their success in exam. Without study plan candidates often get diverted from their destined target. Study plan also helps in avoiding last minute hassle to revise the syllabus in one go.

Strengthen the Basic

To start off the CDS preparation, understanding the basics of each topic is crucial to score good marks in CDS exam. Key point of how to prepare for CDS 2020 exam is to know the trends of questions asked in previous year exam. Hence, if candidate has good command of fundamental concepts and complete clarity regarding the concepts, then rest of the things will fall in place. However, if the basics of candidates are not clear, then whatever the effort one puts in, then result will not be in their favour.

Practise from Previous year paper

By solving previous years question papers of CDS exam candidates will know the trends of questions asked in the exam. Sometimes even questions asked from static gk are repeated which will save the time of the candidates while solving in exam. Hence It is advisable to candidates to practise last 10 year question papers. Solving CDS previous year paper will help the candidates to figure out their weak areas so that they can work it and improve their. Solving CDS memory based questions will help the candidates in predicting the questions in upcoming exam and accordingly candidates can compose their strategic plan of how to crack CDS 2020.

Solve Mock Test and analyse your answers deeply

Solving mock test is equally important tips to prepare for CDS 2020 exam. Practising mock tests help the candidates to know the areas of their weaknesses and strengths and accordingly candidates can improve their weak areas by working on it and sharpen their strengthen areas. By analysing the answers deeply, candidates can improve their questing solving time & accuracy and eventually increase their confidence to qualify CDS online exam

Prepare in time bound manner

Exam like CDS requires not only preparation but accuracy and thorough knowledge. Many a times students solve the questions but they take more than required time to solve the question. Hence it is advisable for the candidates to solve online mock test of CDS exam by keeping in mind to attempt the questions within specified time limit. This will not only help them to handle the pressure as in real time exam but also to improve the speed and accuracy.

Preparing short notes

Making short notes must be a regular practice to prepare CDS 2020 exam. These short notes play a vital role during the revision process. Making notes on all the important topics will enable the candidates to understand them better. Candidates can write shortcut and formula to use them during revision time, hence they do not have to go through the entire syllabus again. This exercise will cover all the topics and not even a single topic has to be compromised. Candidates have to ensure that short notes should be crisp and in bulleted format.

Make Revision an Integral Part

After completion each topic as per CDS syllabus, candidates are advised to keep at least the last month for revision only. Aspirants should not spend too much time on it as it might hamper the strategy of preparing for CDS 2020 exam. Revision at last stage should be quick as it is advisable for the candidates they should not ignore this crucial part of the preparation strategy plan as this will lessen their chances of scoring well on the exam.

Best books to prepare for CDS 2020

Book are important in strategy making of how to prepare for CDS 2020 exam. Hence to prepare for CDS exam candidates can refer to the books given below





Objective General

S. P. Bakshi

From Plinth to Paramount

Neetu Singh

Grammar basics

Wren and Martin

Elementary Mathematics

Quantitative Aptitude

R. S. Aggarwal

Magical Book On Quicker Maths

M. Tyra

General Knowledge

Geography & History

NCERT (Std 6th-12th)


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


NCERT (Std-11th and 12th)


The Hindu or Indian Express


Any popular current event related magazine

CDS Answer Key 2020

Leading coaching institute releases unofficial answer key 2020 after the conclusion of the exam. Though final and official CDS 2020 answer key will be released by the authority after the declaration of result. With the help of CDS answer key 2020 candidates can calculate their marks and predict their chances of qualifying written exam and accordingly start preparation for the next stage of selection process.

CDS Cut off 2020

Marks scored by the candidates to move onto the next stage of selection process is termed as cut off marks. UPSC releases the official CDS cut off after the declaration of the final result. It is to be noted that after the conclusion of the exam many institutes predict the unofficial CDS 2020 cut off like the answer key as per the marks scored by the candidates.

More like CDS

Questions related to CDS

Showing 336 out of 336 Questions

I want to apply for Air force Academy but they have mentioned that the candidate applying should not be late than 1st January 2000 and my DOB is 8th January 2000 . What should I do ?

Parvathi Ramachandran 10th Dec, 2019

Greetings !!

You may apply for this post !! Kindly note that Air force Academy mentioned that the candidate Date of birth should not be prior to 1.1.2000. Since you have born on 08.01.2000, after the specified date, you may proceed for application. If any age issue is there, you won't be able to submit application. If your able to submit the application successfully, you can assure that you are with the age limt. Star preparing for exams. If any doubts, pls feel free to ask.

Wish You Good Luck !!

Thank You !!


can i join cds after lasik laser eye treatment ?

Saishree Shirodkar 10th Dec, 2019


If you have undergone a L.A.S.I.K treatment 1 year before medical examination before the age of 20. You can get a post in a technical field like Aeronautical engineer, Basic air staff, ground duty officers, an officer in medical IAF and also in IAF- pilot flying aircraft and helicopters. Your eye axial length must be less than 25.5 mm and your residual corneal thickness should be more than 450 microns.

All the best

I hope this will help you

Thank you


I had got 53 %in 12 class .can I give paper of CDS

KUNAL LANJEWAR 6th Dec, 2019


The minimum eligibility criteria for appearing the paper of CDS exam 2020 as per the rules of UPSC are that-

1. The person should have age ranging from 19 to 24 years

2. The person must be a citizen of India

3. The person must have completed his graduation.

So, the percentage of 12th doesn't matters. The only thing is that you should satisfy the above minimum requirements.

For more details about CDS exam, you may visit the link given below:

Best wishes for your future.


can diploma holder apply for this !?

Sourandhi Saha Student Expert 6th Dec, 2019
You can't appear for CDS Examination until you have a graduate degree from a recognized university. Being a diploma holder, you are unable to apply for CDS. You must be a graduate first. However, final year graduation students can apply. Beside this, there are other criteria also like applicants age should be within 20-24 years.
Check the CDS eligibility criteria here-

Is civil engineering graduation eligibe for I. N. A of CDS

Avishek Dutta 4th Dec, 2019
Indian Military Academy (IMA)

Age:19 to 24 years

Qualifications:Degree of a recognized University or equivalent

Indian Naval Academy (NA)

Age:19 to 24 years

Qualifications:Degree in Engineering from a recognized University/Institution

Air Force Academy (AFA)

Age:20 to 24 years

Qualifications:Degree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering

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