Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) – Details of the test

In the previous article on the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination, we had discussed the exam in brief. In this article, let us understand the scheme and structure of the examination in detail.

As we already know, the CDS examination comprises two parts: 

Written Examination

Interview for intelligence and personality test

For admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy, candidates need to appear for the following papers in the written examination:  

Subject                                Duration                          Maximum Marks

1. English                                  2 hours                               100

2. General Knowledge            2 hours                               100

3. Elementary Mathematics    2 hours                               100

For admission to Officers’ Training Academy, candidates need to appear for the following papers in the written examination:

Subject                                 Duration                       Maximum Marks

1. English                               2 hours                               100

2. General Knowledge         2 hours                               100

Marks for SSB Interview: 

For Indian Military Academy,                                300 Marks

Indian Naval Academy and 

Air Force Academy

For Officer’s Training Academy                         200 Marks

The standard and syllabi of the Exam:

All of the papers in the written examination, would be of objective type only. While the paper on Elementary Mathematics would be of matriculation level, the other papers would be of graduation level. The question papers of General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics would be set in English as well as in Hindi.

English: This question paper is designed to test the candidate’s understanding and knowledge of the English Language. The question types that appear in this paper include spotting the errors, sentence improvement, synonyms, antonyms, comprehension, arranging sentences in meaningful order, etc.

General Knowledge: This paper includes questions based on current affairs – including events of national as well as international significance, scientific and technological developments or achievements (especially in the defence sector). Further, questions from areas like Indian Polity, Constitution of India, History of India, Geography, etc. also appear in this paper.

Elementary Mathematics: This paper includes questions from Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration and Statistics. Some topics that appear regularly in this paper include Number System-Natural Numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers, Fundamentals of mathematical operations, square roots, decimal fractions, time, distance, work, unitary method, simple factors, H.C.F and L.C.M, Theory of Polynomials, lines and angles, plane and plane figures, theorems, areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, collection and tabulation of statistical data, graphical representation, frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts, etc.

The SSB Interview is a two stage selection process. Those candidates who qualify the written examination would be called for this Intelligence and Personality Test.

The Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) and a picture perception and description test (PP & DT). The candidate will be short-listed on the basis of a combination of his/her performance in the OIR Test and in the PP & DT.

The Stage II comprises an Interview, Group testing officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and a conference.

For further details about the CDS Exams, refer to the CDS (I) 2015 notification:

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