The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination is a gateway for young graduates to join the prestigious Indian Armed Forces as commissioned officers. Conducted twice a year (February & September) by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), it offers entry into:

  • Indian Military Academy (IMA) – Dehradun: Trains officers for the Indian Army.
  • Officers Training Academy (OTA) – Chennai: Trains officers for the Indian Army.
  • Indian Naval Academy (INA) – Ezhimala: Trains officers for the Indian Navy.
  • Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) – Dundigal: Trains officers for the Indian Air Force.


  • Open to unmarried graduates and those in their final year of graduation.
  • Age limit: 20-24 years for IMA, OTA, and INA; 20-22 years for IAFA.
  • Specific educational qualifications are required for each academy and service.

Exam Pattern:

The CDS Exam consists of three papers:

  • English: Tests comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills.
  • General Knowledge: Covers current affairs, history, geography, political science, economics, and science.
  • Elementary Mathematics: Covers topics from arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics.

Selection Process:

Shortlisted candidates based on the written exam scores go through:

  • Physical Test: Assesses physical fitness and stamina.
  • SSB Interview: Assesses personality, leadership qualities, communication skills, and general suitability for officer-like qualities.

Benefits of CDS:

  • Prestigious career in the Indian Armed Forces.
  • Job security and stable government service.
  • Competitive salary and benefits package.
  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth.
  • Adventure, travel, and service to the nation.

Preparation Tips:

  • Understand the syllabus and exam pattern thoroughly.
  • Choose good quality study materials and reference books.
  • Solve practice tests and previous year question papers.
  • Join a coaching institute if needed.
  • Maintain a good level of physical fitness.
  • Stay updated on current affairs and general knowledge.


  • UPSC website:
  • CDS website:
  • Coaching institutes: Numerous institutes offer CDS preparation courses.
  • Online resources: Websites and apps provide study materials, practice tests, and tips.

Start your preparation today and embark on your journey towards a rewarding career in the Indian Armed Forces. Remember, dedication, hard work, and strong determination are key to success in the CDS Exam!

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