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Exam Pattern

The Combined Civil Services exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. The selection process has two stages: Written Exam followed by an Interview. The CDS Exam Pattern is such that it helps the UPSC select the best candidates for Indian Army, Navy and Air force. Through this detailed article on CDS Exam Pattern you will get the details of various sections, their weightage, the marking scheme of the exam, etc.

The following tables show the details of CDS Exam Pattern, kindly note that the exam for IMA, NA and AFA is for 300 marks and the exam for OTA is of 200 marks. The time allotted for both of the exams is 2 hours.

CDS Exam Pattern: IMA, NA, AFA

Written Examination for Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy

PaperSubjectDurationMaximum Marks
IEnglish2 hours100
IIGeneral Knowledge2 hours100
IIIElementary Mathematics2 hours100
Total300

CDS Exam Pattern: OTA

Written Examination for Officers’ Training Academy

PaperSubjectDurationMaximum Marks
IEnglish2 hours100
IIGeneral Knowledge2 hours100
Total200

 CDS Exam Pattern: Highlights

  • The papers in all the subjects will consist of objective MCQ Type questions only.
  • The CDS Exam is an offline exam.
  • Total number of Questions: 120
  • There is a negative marking of 0.33 Marks
  • All measures in the paper will be in SI units and candidates should use only International form of numerals (i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc.) while answering the question papers.
  • The qualifying marks for the examination will be fixed at the discretion of the UPSC commission.
  • Use of calculators is prohibited while writing the exam.

CDS Exam Pattern: Interview Round

Interview post qualifying the exam

  • The Union Public Service Commission will declare a qualified list of candidates (based on the cutoffs of the written exam).
  • The selected candidates will appear before a Services Selection Board for the Intelligence and Personality Test.
  • The total maximum marks for the interview will be 200 for OTA and 300 for the IMA, Naval and Air Force.
  • Candidates for the Air Force wing and Naval Aviation will also have to undergo a Pilot Aptitude Test.

Two Stage Selection Procedure

  • The two stage selection procedure will be based on the Psychological Aptitude Test and Intelligence Test.
  • All the candidates will be put to test on the first day of reporting at Selection Centers.
  • Only those candidates who qualify the first stage will be admitted to the second stage.
  • Those candidates who qualify stage 2 will be required to submit the original certificates along with one photocopy each of :
  • Original Matriculation passing certificate or the equivalent as proof of date of birth.
  • Bachelors’ Degree along with mark sheets in support of educational qualification.
  • For the final qualification, candidates should secure the minimum qualifying marks for both the (i) Written examination and (ii) SSB test as fixed by the Commission at their discretion.
  • Qualified candidates will then be placed on the merit list on the basis of total marks secured by them in the written examination and the Services Selection Board Tests.
  • The final selections for admission will be made in the order of merit depending on the number of vacancies in each wing.
  • The selection will be subject to medical fitness and suitability in all other respects.

For more detailed exam instructions and further details of the CDS Exam Pattern for Conventional and Objective type papers go through the Exam Instructions given in the UPSC website.

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