About CDS 2020

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has released Combined Defence Services (CDS) has released the application and notification of CDS 2020 on October 30. The last date to fill the application form if November 19, 2019. CDS is conducted for candidates who wish to pursue their career as commissioned officers in Navy, Air Force and Army after graduation or candidates appearing in their final year. CDS exam is conducted twice a year in February and November. CDS 1 2020 written exam will be conducted on February 2, 2020. Candidates who are between 20 to 24 years to be eligible for CDS. There are two stages in CDS exam written exam followed by SSB interview. Candidates who qualify written exam are eligible for Services Selection Board (SSB) Interview which includes Personality cum Psychometric tests and Intelligence interview. The selected candidates will undergo training programmes as per their merit and preference for Army, Navy and Air Force jobs. The training of selected candidates are done at their respective centres like Indian Military Academy (IMA Dehradun), Indian Naval Academy (INA Ezhimala), Air Force Academy (Hyderabad), and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA Chennai). 

Frequency: 2 times a year
Languages English, Hindi
Conducting Body: Union Public Service Commission
Duration 6 Hours

Download all details about CDS 2020

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CDS 2020 Important Dates

CDS (Session Feb 2020)

Upcoming Dates and Events

30 Oct, 2019 - 19 Nov, 2019

Application | Mode: Online Ongoing

11 Jan, 2020 - 02 Feb, 2020 (Tentative)

Admit Card | Mode: Online

02 Feb, 2020

Exam | Mode: Offline

Past Dates and Events

30 Oct, 2019

Advertisement | Mode: Online

CDS (Session Sep 2019)

Upcoming Dates and Events

23 Nov, 2019 (Tentative)

Result | Mode: Online

CDS Eligibility

Candidates must check the eligibility criteria like age limit,  educational qualification, marital status to be eligible for CDS exam. 


Candidates applying for CDS must be 

  •  an Indian citizen, or
  •  a Tibetan refugee ( before January 1962), or
  •   a subject to Nepal or Bhutan, or
  •  Migrants from Pakistan, Burma, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, with the intention of permanently settling in India


Candidates must be 20 to 24 years.

Educational Qualification martial status as per courses 




Marital Status




Officers Training Academy (OTA - women, Non-Technical)


Unmarried and widow


Degree of a recognised university or equivalent


Officers Training Academy (OTA - men)


Unmarried and married


Degree of a recognised university or equivalent


Indian Naval Academy (NA)




Degree in Engineering from a recognised             university/institution


Indian Military Academy (IMA)




Degree of a recognised university or equivalent


Air Force Academy (AFA)




Degree of a recognised university (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering


Mode of Application : Online

Mode of Payment : Net Banking | Credit Card | Debit Card | Other

CDS Application Form 

UPSC has released the application form of UPSC CDS exam on October 30, 2019. Candidates can fill the application form in online mode till November 19 along with the payment of the prescribed application fees as per the category. The application fee for General and OBC candidate is Rs. 200 while SC/ST and females are exempted from fee payment. The online application form of CDS is filled in two parts.

Part 1 Registration

  • Candidates can fill the application form from the link available on the official page.
  • Before filling up the CDS application form candidates must read the important instructions.
  • Enter details like name, father’s name, mother’s name, community, address etc. and click on submit button.

Part 2 Registration

  •  Enter the registration ID, password and captcha code to login to part 2 registration.
  • Select payment method online or offline.
  • Upload the scanned signature and photograph.
  • Selection of exam centres.
  • Read and agree to 'Declaration' to submit the application form.

Documents required while filling CDS Application Form 

  • Active email – ID
  • Matriculation certificate
  • Scanned signature
  • Scanned photograph
  • One photo identity proof like Aadhar card/Voter card/PAN card/Passport/Driving license

Application Fees

Category Quota Mode Gender Amount
General, OBC Online, Offline Male ₹ 200

CDS 2020 Syllabus

General knowledge
History of India
Geography of nature
Elementary mathematics

CDS Preparation Tips

To score well in written exam of CDS, candidates must know the preparation tips and strategies. Candidates must know the importance of solving the previous years’ question papers, timely revision, time management etc. which are the key elements of preparation.

CDS Exam Pattern

UPSC has prescribed exam pattern of CDS 1, 2020. There are two stages in CDS exam- written and SSB Interview. The written exam of CDS is conducted in pen and paper mode. As per the exam pattern of CDS, candidates who apply for Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Indian Military Academy courses have to appear for three subjects - English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics while candidates have to appear for two subjects – English and General Knowledge who apply for Officers’ Training Academy course.

CDS Exam Pattern – Written Exam

Structure of exam pattern for admission to Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Indian Military Academy                                                                                                                                     




Maximum Marks




Elementary Mathematics




2 hours






2 hours


General Knowledge




2 hours


Structure of exam pattern for admission to Officers’ Training Academy




Maximum Marks




General Knowledge




2 hours






2 hours


CDS Admit card

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will release the admit card for written exam of Combined Defence Services (CDS) on January 11, 2020. Candidates could download the admit card till the date of examination. In order to download the admit card, candidates had to either login through roll number or registration number. The admit card of CDS exam is available for candidates who have successfully filled the application form. 

Details on CDS Admit Card

  • Candidate’s name
  • Scanned signature and colour photograph
  • Registration number
  • Candidate’s category
  • Examination date
  • Reporting time
  • Address of examination centre
  • Examination timing

CDS 2020 Exam Centers

State City
Tripura Agartala
Gujarat Ahmedabad
Mizoram Aizawl
Uttar Pradesh Allahabad
Karnataka Bengaluru
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal
Punjab Chandigarh
Tamil Nadu Chennai
Odisha Cuttack
Uttarakhand Dehradun
Delhi Delhi
Sikkim Gangtok
Telangana Hyderabad
Manipur Imphal
Rajasthan Jaipur
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu
Assam Jorhat
Kerala Kochi
Nagaland Kohima
West Bengal Kolkata
Maharashtra Mumbai
Goa Panaji
Bihar Patna
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Port Blair
Chhattisgarh Raipur
Jharkhand Ranchi
Meghalaya Shillong
Himachal Pradesh Shimla
Andhra Pradesh Tirupati
Arunachal Pradesh Itanagar

Documents Required at Exam

  • Admit card
  • Aadhar card
  • Voter card
  • PAN card
  • Passport
  • Driving license
  • Any other photo ID card issued by the state/central government

CDS Answer Key 

UPSC will release the official answer key of CDS written exam. CDS answer key will be available subject wise for all test booklets. Candidates can check the number of correct and incorrect answers marked by them with the help of answer key. There are some coaching institutes who release the answer key after the completion of exam on the same day. 

CDS Result 

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) releases the result of Combined Defence Services (CDS) for written and final separately. The result of written exam of CDS will be declared in March 2020. Candidates have to secure qualifying marks as prescribed by UPSC to qualify the written exam. Candidates who qualify written exam will be eligible to appear for SSB interview. Final result of CDS is calculated adding the marks secured by candidates in written as well as SSB Interview.  The final result of CDS I 2020 is likely to be declared in December 2020 (tentatively).

CDS Cutoff 

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) releases the cut off of CDS exam separately for written exam and final. Candidates who score equal or more than cutoff released by UPSC for written exam are eligible SSB Interview. The CDS cut off marks of written test for is calculated out of the total score of 300 for INA, IFA  and IMA, and 200 for OTA (Men & Women). The final cut off will be released in December 2020 by UPSC. 

CDS Selection Process

The Selection Process of CDS exam is of two stages - written exam and SSB interview. In the first stage - CDS exam written exam, candidates are required to appear in three papers for admission in Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and two papers for admission in Officers’ Training Academy.

Documents Required at Counselling

  • Call letter
  • Matriculation/secondary school examination certificate or equivalent
  • Degree/provisional degree certificate/marks sheet

General Information

Questions related to CDS

Showing 320 out of 320 Questions
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Sir, I am a final year degree student and i have back papers to complete. Can i still write the CDS exam?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 16th Nov, 2019

Shilpa, Final year Graduation Candidates who are between 20-24 years can appear for CDS entrance examination. You should just complete all your back logs and your course at the time of counselling and admission. For more information on Physical, Visual standards for the exam, please visit our page at: https://competition.careers360.com/articles/cds-eligibility-criteria


Does IIT Delhi is better option for aerospace engineering than other IITs ,if wanted to join IAF through CDS ?

Shivam bhardwaj Student Expert 10th Nov, 2019
Hello Rohit,
IIT D is one of the best Institute of India and among IITs. So there study and faculties are very good. You may have a great career there. You should take admission and start your journey to go into Airforce.
Good luck

which books are best for cds and afcat?

Apoorva Student Expert 10th Nov, 2019

Hello dear student,

I would suggest you to buy a general knowledge book which is that will help you with the GK questions. And then you should buy a book of reasoning and aptitude pictures that will help you to improve your aptitude questions. Why you asking for a book then I would like to recommend you pathfinder CDS it is one of the best books you can and have for the preparation. While for afcat you can buy Aarihant's afcat book for preparation. I hope this was helpful to you.

Best wishes


sir , i am b.com semesters student ,can i apply for cds

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 7th Nov, 2019


yes you may apply in cds if you become eligible in education and age criteria.

age limit is 24 or 25 years old according to post wise. you may apply in Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (NA), Air Force Academy (AFA), Officers' Training Academy (OTA - Men), Officers Training Academy (OTA - Women, Non-Technical).

follow the below link to know in details:



Dear sir I was born in 1995. Can I apply for CDS exam?

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 7th Nov, 2019


cds exam happens twice a year. the following age criteria is applicable to appear in cds exam:

For Indian Military Academy (IMA), unmarried candidates born not  before than January 2, 1997 and not later than January 1, 2002 can only apply.

For Indian Naval Academy (IMA), unmarried male candidates born not earlier than January 2, 1997 and not later than January 1, 2002 are eligible.

for Air Force Academy candidate should be between 20 to 24 years as on January 1, 2021 (born not earlier than January 2, 1997 and not later than January 1, 2001).

For Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for men), unmarried male candidates born not before than January 2, 1996 and not later than January 1, 2002 are eligible for the exam.

For Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course), candidates should be unmarried and born not earlier than January 2, 1996 and not later than January 1, 2002.

so you are not eligible for any of the post as per age criteria.

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