Combined Defence Services Examination
Combined Defence Services Examination

CDS Exam 2024: Date, Notification, Vacancy, Eligibility, Salary, Pattern, Syllabus

UPSC CDS notification has been released at Eligible candidates can apply for the CDS 2 exam till June 4, 2024.
UPSC CDS Exam 2024

UPSC CDS Exam 2024

CDS 2 exam 2024: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will conduct the CDS 3 exam on September 1, 2024 in pen and paper format. The application forms have been released on the official website, Candidates who meet the required CDS eligibility criteria can apply for it till June 4, 2024. Recently, the results for the CDS 1 exam have been released by the Commission on the official website - 

 The Union Public Service Commission has released the CDS Notification 2024 outlining the detailed eligibility criteria, vacancy, salary, and exam pattern. Candidates preparing for the CDS exam 2024 must go through the official notification and read it comprehensively. 

The CDS exam is conducted in offline mode. The duration of the exam is 6 hours for admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Airforce Academy. For admission to Officers' Training Academy (OTA), candidates have to appear for two papers only - English & General Knowledge. The duration of the exam is 4 hours. 

CDS Exam 2024: Highlights



Name of the Exam

Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE)

Conducting Authority

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 

Frequency of the Exam

Twice a year

Mode of the Exam


Duration of the Exam

6 Hours (For IMA, INA & AFA) & 4 Hours (For OTA)

Medium of Language

English and Hindi

What is CDS Exam 2024?

The Combined Defence Services examination, also known as the CDS examination, is conducted by UPSC for students who are willing to join the Indian Military Academy, Indian Air Force Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Officers’ Training Academy. The exam is conducted for students who are either graduated or in the final year/semester of their graduation. The CDS exam is conducted twice a year in April and September.

CDS Syllabus PDF 2024 Download

Candidates preparing for the UPSC CDS exam 2024 can download the syllabus PDF for Mathematics & General Knowledge from the link given below:

Subject CDS Syllabus PDF
Mathematics CDS Math Syllabus PDF
General Knowledge CDS General Knowledge Syllabus PDF

CDS Notification 2024

The UPSC releases the CDS notification on its official website. The CDS 2 exam 2024 notification has been released on May 15, 2024. The CDS notification is important for candidates who are appearing for the examination as it contains all important details relevant to the exam. Candidates must download and read the CDS notification PDF to make sure they do not miss out on any important information or changes done by UPSC.

The notification contains information on the CDS eligibility criteria, exam pattern, and syllabus. Candidates should be aware that any modifications to any of the aforementioned will be indicated in the notification. The official notification also lists the physical and medical requirements that each applicant must fulfil in order to join the Indian Armed Forces.

CDS Exam Dates 2024

Students can check the exam dates for CDS 1 & CDS 2 in tables below:

CDS 1 Exam Dates 2024



Application Form Starts

December 20, 2023

Application Form Ends

January 9, 2024

Admit Card

April 2024

CDS 1 Exam Date

April 21, 2024

CDS 1 Result date

May 9, 2024

CDS 2 Exam Dates 2024



Application Form Starts

May 15, 2024

Application Form Ends

June 4, 2024

Admit Card

August 2024

Exam Date

September 01, 2024


October 2024

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2024

The CDS eligibility criteria include a list of requirements that applicants must meet in order to be considered for the CDS examination. Candidates must meet the criteria related to educational qualifications, age limit, and nationality in order to take the CDS exam.

CDS Eligibility Criteria: Nationality

A candidate must either be a:

(i) Citizen of India

(ii) a Subject of Nepal

(iii) a person of Indian origin who has moved to India from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia, or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India

CDS Eligibility Criteria: Educational Qualification

Candidates preparing for the CDS exam in 2023 must have graduated or at the very least be taking the final year exam. The following are the specific CDS educational eligibility requirements:


Educational Qualification

Indian Air Force Academy

Candidates must have a degree from a recognized University (with Physics and

Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering. 

Indian Military Academy & Officers’ Training Academy

Candidates must have a degree or equivalent from a recognized university

Indian Naval Academy

Candidates must have an engineering degree from a recognized university or institute.

CDS Eligibility Criteria: Age Limit

The age limit criteria must be strictly met by candidates who are seeking admission to any of the four academies of the Indian Armed Forces. The CDS age limit criteria as per the CDS 2 notification 2023 are as follows:

Indian Military Academy: Male candidates (unmarried) born not earlier than 2nd January, 2001 and not later than 1st January, 2006 only are eligible.

Indian Naval Academy: Only male candidates (unmarried) born not earlier than 2nd January, 2001 and not later than 1st January, 2006 are eligible.

Indian Air Force Academy: Candidates must be 20 to 24 years as on 1st January 2025 i.e. born not earlier than 2nd January 2001 and not later than January 1, 2005.

Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for Men): Candidates must not be born earlier than 2nd January, 2000 and not later than 1st January, 2006. 

Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course): Candidates should have been born not earlier than January 2, 2000 and not later than January 1, 2006.

CDS Exam Pattern 2024

Candidates must have knowledge of the CDS exam pattern if they are seeking admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Air Force Academy, and Officers’ Training Academy. The exam pattern for the CDS exam is tabulated below:



Exam Name

Central Defence Services (CDS)

Exam Duration

IMA, INA and AFA - 6 hours

OTA - 4 Hours

Exam Mode


Type of Questions


Maximum Marks

IMA, INA and AFA - 300

OTA - 200


Both Hindi & English 

CDS Marking Scheme

Check out the table below to learn about the CDS marking scheme.



English Language 

For every correct answer, 0.83 marks will be awarded. 

For every incorrect answer, 0.27 marks will be deducted.

General Knowledge

For every correct answer, 0.83 marks will be awarded. 

For every incorrect answer, 0.27 marks will be deducted.

Elementary Mathematics

For every correct answer, 1 mark will be awarded.

For every incorrect answer, 0.33 marks will be deducted.

SSB Interview Marks

For IMA, INA, and AFA, the CDS SSB interview carries 300 marks, and for OTA, 200 marks.

CDS Syllabus 2024

The detailed CDS syllabus 2024 is outlined in the official notification of the exam released by UPSC. Candidates must download the CDS syllabus PDF to make sure they have in their mind what topics must be covered for the exam. Aspirants can check the syllabus for the CDS exam in the table below:




Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration, Statistics

English Language

Reading Comprehension, Sentence Improvement, Jumbled Sentence, Vocabulary (Synonym/Antonym), Fill in the blanks, Spot the Error

General Knowledge

Indian Polity, Indian History, Economics, General Science, Current Affairs

CDS Application Form 2024

With the official notification comes the release of the CDS application form. The CDS 1 application form was made available on December 20, 2023, and the deadline to submit an application was January 9, 2024

How to Fill the CDS Application Form 2024?

The steps to fill out the CDS application form are stated below:

  • Visit the official website of UPSC
  • Go to Part I of the CDS registration form
  • Fill out the personal information, contact details, and preference of academies.
  • Submit it and the registration ID will be generated
  • Login to the Part II of the CDS online registration with registration credentials.
  • Upload scanned images of the photograph and signature
  • Select the exam centre and pay the application fee
  • Submit the application form

CDS Admit Card 2024

The CDS 1 exam 2024 is scheduled to be conducted on April 21, 2024. The admit card for the same will be released tentatively in March 2024. The CDS 1 admit card will contain the following details:

  • Name of the Candidate
  • Date of Birth
  • Roll Number 
  • Category
  • Exam Center
  • Exam Date
  • Exam Timings
  • Signature & Photograph

How to Download CDS 1 Admit Card 2024?

To download the CDS 1 admit card, check out the steps below:

  • Visit the official UPSC website.
  • Candidates will find a link to the CDS E-Admit Card on the home page.
  • Candidates must read and accept the instructions page that appears after clicking the link.
  • Candidates can then use their Registration ID or Roll Number to download their admit cards.
  • Select one of them, then fill out the information as required.
  • When you submit your information, the UPSC CDS  admit card will show up on the screen.
  • For future use, download and print the admit card.

Read More: CDS Admit Card 2024

CDS Exam Centre 2024

The CDS examination is conducted across multiple exam centres in India. Candidates will be able to check the list of CDS exam centres on the official notification. Candidates will have the opportunity to indicate their preferred exam centre on the application form.

CDS Exam Day Guidelines

Candidates who will receive their CDS admit card will be allowed to take the examination. However, aspirants must follow certain exam day guidelines otherwise they will be barred from taking the exam. It is important candidates must have beforehand knowledge of the guidelines/instructions. The following are exam day guidelines:

  • Candidates must mandatorily bring their CDS admit card to the exam centre.
  • To make sure there are no mistakes, carefully check your admit card.
  • Bring identification documents like an Aadhar card, a driver's license, or a voter ID card along with the admit card.
  • No books, papers, calculators, or other items should be brought into the exam room.
  • Candidates should refrain from bringing their own rough sheets because the exam centre will provide them.

CDS Answer Key 2024

The UPSC releases the NDA answer key following the conclusion of the recruiting process. However, a number of coaching institutions publish unofficial answer keys following the written examination. Candidates can estimate their likely score using the CDS unofficial answer key.

CDS Result 2024

The CDS result for the written exam is released after the exam is successfully concluded. The CDS result PDF is released by UPSC on its official website. The PDF contains the roll number and names of the candidates who passed the CDS written exam.

SSB Interview Result 2024

On the final day of the interview process, the results of the SSB Interview are released. Candidates are recommended for the academy of their choice if they successfully passed the SSB interview round, which includes a medical examination. It should be noted that the commission might not recommend as many candidates to fill all the positions that were initially advertised.

Read More: CDS Result 2024

CDS Cutoff 2024

After the exam and SSB interview process are successfully completed, the Union Public Service Commission announces the CDS cutoff. The written exam and SSB interview results are taken into consideration when determining the CDS final cutoff. To be placed on the merit list or the list of recommended candidates, candidates must meet the final cutoff. 

The CDS cutoff 2022 has not been released yet. Meanwhile, candidates can check the CDS 1 & CDS 2 cutoff for 2021 below:

CDS 1 Cutoff 2021


Written Exam

Final Exam


Aggregate marks of  last qualified candidate

Marks  of  last recommended candidate










OTA (Men)






Note: To qualify for the written exam, candidates must score at least 20% in each paper.

CDS 2 Cutoff 2021


Written Result

Final Result

Minimum aggregate marks of the last qualified candidate

Marks of last recommended candidate










OTA (Men)



OTA (Women)



Read More: CDS Cutoff 2024

CDS Vacancy 2024

CDS Vacancy 2024 has been released by UPSC along with the official notification. Interested candidates can check the table below detailing the number of vacancies released for the CDS 1 exam 2024.


CDS 1 Vacancy

Indian Military Academy (IMA)


Indian Naval Academy (INA)


Air Force Academy (AFA)


Officer Training Academy - Men (OTA)


Officer Training Academy - Women (OTA)




CDS Salary 2024

The CDS salary includes a number of benefits and allowances, including perks, reimbursements, and other benefits. Depending on the rank and location, a serviceman may receive different benefits and allowances.

Students receive an INR 56,100 stipend during their training period. Once they are commissioned into various wings, trainees are compensated with government-specified salaries.

Candidates can refer to the following table for more details on CDS pay:


Salary (Per Month)


INR 56,100/- to INR 1,77, 500/- 


INR 61,300/- to 01,93,900/- 


INR 69,400/- to 02,07,200/-

Lieutenant Colonel

INR 01,21,200/- to 02,12,400/-


INR 01,30,600/- to 02,15,900/- 


INR 01,39,600/- to 02,17,600/-

Major General

INR 01,44,200/- to 02,18,200/- 

Lt. General HAG Scale

INR 01,82,200/- to 02,24,100/- 

HAG+ Scale

INR 02,05,400/- To  02,24,400/-

VCOAS/ Army Cdr/ Lt Gen (NFSG)

INR 02,25,000/- Fixed


INR 02,50,000/- Fixed

Read More: CDS Salary 2024

CDS Previous Years’ Question Papers

CDS previous years’ question papers allow them to know the level of questions asked in the exam in the last few years. Aspirants who are preparing for the CDS exam must practice the previous year's question papers as a part of their CDS preparation. The previous year's exam questions also aid candidates in understanding the relevance of question types that are frequently asked in exams.

CDS Mock Test Papers

By solving CDS mock test papers, candidates can learn about their strengths and weaknesses. Practising mock test papers will allow candidates to formulate their CDS preparation strategy based on their performance.


For graduates who want to join the Indian Armed Forces, the CDS defence examination is the most highly coveted. The aforementioned article provides comprehensive details on the CDS exam format, syllabus, and other crucial exam components. To ace the CDS exam, candidates must possess a thorough understanding of every component.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who conducts the Combined Defence Service (CDS) exam?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is responsible for conducting the CDS examination to select candidates for admission to Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA).

What is the mode of conducting the CDS examination 2024?

The CDS exam 2024 will be conducted in pen and paper mode.

When will the CDS 1 exam 2024 be conducted?

The CDS 1 exam 2024 concluded on April 21, 2024.

When will UPSC release the CDS 1 admit card 2024?

The CDS 1 admit card 2024 has been released by UPSC at the official website.

How many vacancies are released for CDS 1 exam 2024?

A total of 457 vacancies have been released by the commission for CDS 1 exam 2024.

When will UPSC conduct CDS 2 exam?

As per the official notification, the CDS 2 exam will be conducted on September 1, 2024.