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CDS Exam Preparation Guide - Part 2

CDS Exam

Selection Procedure

There are 3 more selection procedures after the written exam: 1. Personality Test/ Personal Interview This round is conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB). In this round a board of officials judge all the shortlisted candidates on their verbal and non verbal intelligence. Apart from a one-on-one interaction, they might either organize a group discussion or some other group activity etc. The board of officials simply do a thorough assessment of the candidate s personality and his/her knowledge, perspective and opinion about the current national affairs. 2. Documental Verification The candidates shortlisted in the SSB interview and then called for documental verification. Here is the list of documents that are supposed to be submitted for verification:
  • Birth Certificate
  • Academic Degrees (HSC, SSC, Graduation etc)
  • Certificate of Eligibility for certain candidates
  • Passport size photograph
  • Identity proof
  • Residence proof etc.
  • Category or cast certificate (SC, ST, OBC, PH etc)
3. Medical Examination of the selected candidates After being shortlisted in the first 3 rounds, the candidate undergoes a medical examination by the Board of Service Medical Officers. This is the last step in the CDS selection procedure. The purpose behind this examination is to ensure that the shortlisted candidate confirms to the physical standards of UPSC, e.g. a candidate shortlisted for the Indian Air Force must have an excellent eye sight. CDS Exam

Examination Pattern

The exam pattern for those who aspire to join one amongst the Army, Navy or Air Force or the Officer s Training Academy, the exam pattern is as follows: General Knowledge The first paper is on General Knowledge that comprises of 120 questions on History, Geography, National Politics, Current Affairs and General Science etc. Questions on current national/international events and matters of everyday life are generally asked in this section. Some general questions on History and Geography of India are also included in this test paper. English The second test paper is of English. This paper tests your English proficiency, especially the grammar knowledge. There are overall 120 questions, which are generally on general grammar, word usage, reading comprehension, synonyms, antonyms and parajumbles. Elementary Mathematics This test paper is included only for Army, Navy and Air Force aspirants (not for OTA). This paper tests the candidate s basic mathematical ability, intelligence-quotient (IQ) level and speed. There an overall 100 questions, which are generally on 9th and 10th level mathematical concepts like Algebra, Geometry, Number Systems, Interest, Probability etc. Note: All the three test papers have duration of 2 hours and carry 100 marks each. Important Instructions
  • There is a negative marking for wrong answers. 1/3rd mark is deducted for every wrong answer, which means for every correct answer a candidate is rewarded approx. 0.8 marks where as for every wrong answer, 0.33 marks are deducted.
  • Each of the above mentioned test papers are followed by a break of 1 hour before next paper.
  • All the 3 papers are Objective in nature (consisting of only multiple choice type questions).
  • Commission has the disposition to fix the cut-off marks for each section.
  • Use of calculators is not permitted inside the exam hall.


CDS Exam Result is declared in the two parts:
  • Result for the written exam with the name of the candidates that have been shortlisted for the personality test or personal interview.
  • The second result with the name of candidates that have qualified the personal interview round.
The qualified candidates then have to undergo the medical Examination and document verification procedure after the declaration of the final merit.


The syllabus for CDS exam is mentioned in the exam notice. You can see the CDS 2014 exam notice here

Useful Tips

General Knowledge
  • Make small notes on general knowledge questions.
  • Read newspapers, magazines and watch news channels to stay updated with the current national and international affairs.
  • Read exclusive magazines which cover various topics: ranging from national economy to national trade policies to the recent honours in the fields of arts, literature, sports etc.
  • Read 10th level NCERT science, history and geography textbooks.
  • Brush up your grammar proficiency by referring to beginner level grammar books.
  • Work on your vocabulary by learning and writing down 5 new English words every day.
  • Read English newspapers regularly. This will improve your Reading Comprehension skills.
  • While learning new words also look for their antonyms and synonyms and note them down too.
  • Practice parajumbles by using online resources.
  • Practice matters the most. Daily practicing will improve both your speed and knowledge.
  • While praticing, try to solve questions within fixed time limits.
  • Keep a track of your speed and keep working on improving it.
  • Make summarized notes of all the important formulas and tricks so that you could revise thoroughly
  • Work on the topics you re weak at.
  • Important Algebra topics are: Trigonometry, Probability, Heights and Distances. Permutation and Combinations.
  • Refer to 9th and10th Level NCERT mathematics textbooks.
Note: Refer and practice sample/mock test paper and previous year question papers for all the 3 tests papers.


  • CDS Exam Book CDSE Pathfinder by Arihant
  • CDS Exam Guide: Combined Defence Services Exam (Paperback) by Author: Datason
  • CDS Combined Defence Services Examination Practice Papers (Paperback) by Author: Sachchida Nand Jha
  • Solved Papers of CDS Exam by Arihant

CDS Exam

If serving the nation instills a true enthusiasm in you and if you have the courage and commitment towards your aim, then Combined Defence Services are waiting for you. If you want to join a coaching class for CDS Exam Preparation, you can post your requirement here. Post Your Enquiry for Related Courses Here >>

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Share your thoughts with the community or ask a question

mahendra acharya 21/08/2014

thanx for guide

CDS Exam Preparation Guide – Part 1 | 15/01/2014

[…] ← How to Start Home Tuitions CDS Exam Preparation Guide – Part 2 → […]

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