The CDS Exam (I) consists of a written test and a personality cum intelligence test. The successful candidates are recommended for the selection. The syllabus of mathematics is of secondary level while that of GK and English will be of Graduation level. The exam has the provision of negative marking also.


CDS Exam (I) : Eligibility Criteria

The CDS Exam (I) is for all those aspirants who wish to join the Defence Services of India. CDS allows the entry to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy. The candidate must have the suitable educational qualification to appear in these exams. Below we are giving the required educational qualification for these posts:

Name of the Posts Educational Qualification Age Limit Marital Status
Indian Military Academy/ Graduation or equivalent 19 to 23 Unmarried
Indian Naval Academy Bachelor of Engineering 19 to 23 Unmarried
Air Force Academy Graduation with PCM in 10+2 OR Bachelor of Engineering 20 to 24 Unmarried
Officers’ Training Academy Graduation or equivalent 19 to 24 Unmarried, Married, Widow, Divorcee


Candidates who are in the final year and are yet to pass the degree examination can also apply but they will be required to submit proof of passing before SSB interview.


CDS Exam (I): Standard for Physical Fitness


It is necessary for the candidates to get medically examined because if the candidates were found unfit, they wouldn’t be eligible for the CDS Exam (I). The body of the candidates need to be free from disease and disability. Below we are giving the details of the standard for the physical fitness:

  • If the candidate has any tattoo on the body then he will be barred from selection process. Tribe tattoo or marks of the candidate will be permitted on case-to-case basis. Permanent body tattoos are allowed only on the inner face of forearm.
  • The candidates should undergo a pre medical check up for wax in ears, defects of eyes, infection of skin etc. before the SSB interview.
  • The eyesight of candidate should be 6/6 and the retina should be a healthy one.
  • The chest of the candidates should be well developed. X-Ray of the chest is done on a compulsory basis to rule out any disease of the chest.
  • The body of the candidates should be free from disease of bones and joints.
  • The candidate should not be suffering from a mental breakdown or fits in the past.
  • The candidate should not be a victim of AIDS or any other STDs.
  • The hearing of the candidates should be normal. A candidate should be able to hear a sound with each ear at a distance of 610 cm. There should be no record of disease of the ear, nose and throat (ENT).
  • Blood pressure of the candidate should be normal.
  • The candidate will be rejected if there is any enlargement of liver or spleen. There should be no evidence of disease of internal organs.
  • Hernias will make a candidate unfit for the selection. The operation of hernia should have been done at least six months prior to the SSB interview and there must be a complete healing.
  • Urine examination will be done and any abnormality will make the candidate unfit for the selection.
  • If female candidate is found pregnant at any stage after selection at SSB or during training then she will be debarred from the grant of commission and cost will be recovered from the date of joining OTA till the date of debar.
  • Internal and extensive examination of the eye will be done by ophthalmoscope to rule out any disease of the eye. The candidate must have a good binocular vision. The candidate should be able to recognise red and green colours.

CDS Exam (I) Pattern

The examination comprises a written examination that consists of English, GK and Elementary Mathematics. Each paper is of 2 hours. Candidates who qualify the written examination are called for the Interview by Service Selection Board (SSB). The Interview of the candidates includes the Intelligence and Personality Test. Negative marking is applicable in the CDS exam. For every wrong answer, one-third mark will be deducted. The stages of the CDS Exam Pattern are as follows:



CDS Exam (I): The Written Exam Pattern

For Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy

Subject Duration No. Of Questions Marks
English 2 Hours 120 100 Marks
General Knowledge 2 Hours 120 100 Marks
2 Hours 100 100 Marks


Subject Duration No. of Questions Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 120 100 Marks
General Knowledge 2 Hours 120 100 Marks

CDS Exam (I):

Intelligence and Personality Test   Intelligence Test Assessment Candidates who qualify the written exam of CDS by securing the minimum qualifying marks as decided by the UPSC will be called for Intelligence and Personality Test. The Intelligence and Personality test is conducted at any one of the Service Selection Centres.


The Intelligence and Personality test comprises two stages:

Stage 1: As per the CDS Exam Pattern, stage 1 of SSB Tests comprises:

  • Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests, and
  • Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT).

The candidates will be shortlisted for the stage 2 of the Intelligence and Personality Test based on the combination of performances in OIR Test and PPDT.


Stage 2:

Only those candidates who clear the Stage I of Intelligence and Personality Test are permitted to appear for Stage II. As per the Exam Pattern of the CDS, stage 2 of will consist:

  • Interview,
  • Group Testing Officer Tasks,
  • Psychology Tests, and
  • Conference.

These tests are conducted over 4 days. Personality Test Assessment The Personality Test Assessment is done by three officers as mentioned below:



There are no separate marks allotted for the personality test. The marks are allotted by considering the performance of the candidate in all the personality tests. Marks for the conference are allotted based on the initial performance of the candidate in the three techniques and decision of the Assessors. Accordingly, the candidates are recommended.


CDS Exam (I): Some Important Points to Remember

  • The exam of CDS will be offline in the pen and paper mode. OMR will be used.
  • All the tests of the CDS exam will consist of objective type questions only.
  • The question paper of Mathematics and General Knowledge will be in Hindi as well as English.
  • Question Paper of English will be in English only.
  • The Papers of English and General Knowledge will comprise 120 questions each, while the Elementary Mathematics Paper will contain 100 questions.
  • There is a penalty for wrong answer. 1/3rd marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer given by the candidate.
  • Scribe will not be permitted to write the answers in the CDS exam under any circumstance.

CDS Exam (I): Detailed Syllabus

The Syllabus of the CDS Exam (I) is important to know. The students will start the preparation once they are aware of the Syllabus. The UPSC has not changed the syllabus of the CDS exam. The syllabus for CDS-I and CDS-II is same and there is no change at all. The candidates are not to worry about the syllabus for the two different exams. The standard of the Papers of the CDS exam in the Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level while the standard of the Papers in other subjects will be of a graduate level of an Indian University.

  • Fillers
  • RC Passages
  • Synonyms/ Antonyms/ Phrases
  • Sentence Rearrangement (Jumbled sentences)
  • Spotting Error
  • Sentence Improvement

CDS Exam (I): General Knowledge Syllabus

This section will check the candidates’ knowledge of the current events. Under the GK section, students need to study the following topics:

  • Current Affairs
  • News of important international and national events, awards, sports news, books & authors
  • Indian constitution, fundamental rights and directive principles, powers of the president and prime minister, constitutional bodies, Indian judiciary etc.
  • History of Ancient, Medieval and Modern India
  • Important facts of Indian as well as world geography
  • Economy of India
  • In Physics, topics like optics, motion, force, units, heat, electricity, temperature etc.
  • In Chemistry, topics of organic, inorganic, physical and general chemistry
  • In Biology, topics like important diseases and human & plant biology
  • Questions from defence like Army Day, Navy Day, recent developments etc.
  • International Organisations like IMF, WHO, World Bank, UN, BRICS, and SAARC etc.

CDS Exam (I): Elementary Mathematics Syllabus



  • Number System—Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers
  • Fundamental operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions
  • Unitary method, time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to simple and compound interest, profit and loss, ratio and proportion, variation
  • Elementary Number Theory—Division algorithm
  • Prime and composite numbers
  • Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11
  • Multiples and factors
  • Factorisation Theorem
  • H.C.F. and L.C.M.
  • Euclidean algorithm
  • Logarithms to base 10, laws of logarithms, use of logarithmic tables


  • Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M.
  • Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered)
  • Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—analytical and graphical solutions Simultaneous linear in equations in two variables and their solutions
  • Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or in equations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable their solutions
  • Set language and set notation, rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices


  • Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90° Values of sin ×, cos × and tan ×, for × = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°
  • Simple trigonometric identities
  • Use of trigonometric tables
  • Simple cases of heights and distances


  • Lines and angles
  • Plane and plane figures,
  • Theorems on (i) Properties of angles at a point, (ii) Parallel lines, (iii) Sides and angles of a triangle, (iv) Congruency of triangles, (v) Similar triangles, (vi) Concurrence of medians and altitudes, (vii) Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square, (viii) Circles and its properties including tangents and normal, (ix) Loci


  • Areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangle and circle
  • Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book)
  • Surface area and volume of cuboids, lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, surface area and volume of spheres


  • Collection and tabulation of statistical data
  • Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts etc.
  • Measures of central tendency
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