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UPSC CDS Exam 2023 - Complete Details

Last updated on 17-May-2023

UPSC CDS Exam 2023

The Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment of Commissioned Officers in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. Selected candidates undergo training at Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers' Training Academy (OTA). The exam is held twice a year, usually in February and September.

UPSC CDS Exam Notification 2023

The UPSC conducts the CDS Exam twice a year, allowing candidates to pursue careers in the Indian Air Force, Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Officer's Training Academy. The exam consists of a written test, interview round, and medical examination for final selection.

The article provides comprehensive information about the CDS Exam 2023, including important dates, eligibility criteria, vacancies, exam pattern, syllabus, and selection process. The important dates for UPSC CDS 2023 (Combined Defence Service Examination II) have been announced on the official website upsc.gov.in, as per the UPSC Calendar 2023.Read below for more details.

Download CDSE Exam 2/2023 Notification

CDS 2 2023 Notification – Overview

OrganizationUnion Public Service Commission
Exam NameCombined Defence Service Examination (II) 2023
CDS 2 Vacancy349
Mode of ApplicationOnline
Online Registration17th May to 06th June 2023
Selection ProcessWritten Test- Interview- Medical Examination
Language of Written ExamBilingual
Mode of ExaminationOffline
Type of QuestionsMultiple-choice questions
EligibilityUnmarried Males & Females
CDS Exam Duration2 hours (each paper)
Marking Scheme1/3 for each incorrect answer
Job LocationAll Over India
Official Websiteupsc.gov.in

UPSC CDS Exam 2023 - Important Events and Dates

EventsCDS 2 Dates
CDS 2 2023 Notification Release Date17th May 2023
Online Registration Start Date17th May 2023
Online Registration End Date06th June 2023 (06:00 pm)
Last Date to Pay Fee06th June 2023 (06:00 pm)
CDS 2 Admit Card Release DateAugust 2023
CDS 2 Exam Date 202303rd September 2023
CDS 2 Answer Key 2023 (Unofficial)03rd September 2023
CDS 2 Result 2023September 2023
Interview DatesTo be notified
Final ResultTo be notified

UPSC CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria:


A candidate must be unmarried and must either be: 

  • Citizen of India
  • Subject of Nepal, or
  • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and 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.

Age limit, sex and merital status:

Course/AcademyAge limitSexMarital Status
IMABorn not earlier than 2nd July 1999 and not later than 1st July 2004 only are eligible. MaleUnmarried
Indian Naval AcademyBorn not earlier than 2nd July 1999 and not later than 1st July 2004MaleUnmarried
Air force AcademyCandidates should be between 20 and 24 years as of July 1, 2023. Candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable up to 26 yrs.Male and female bothUnmarried
OTA (SSC Course for men)Born not earlier than July 2, 1998, and not later than July 1, 2004MaleUnmarried
OTA (SSC Women Non-Technical Course)Born not earlier than July 2, 1998, and not later than July 1, 2004.FemaleUnmarried (issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless divorcees who have not remarried are eligible)

Educational Qualification for UPSC CDS Exam

  1. IMA and Officers' Training Academy- Candidates must be a graduate
  2. Indian Naval Academy- Candidates must have a degree in Engineering from a recognised university.
  3. Air Force Academy- Bachelor of Engineering is necessary. Students must have studied Physics and Mathematics in Class 12.


Candidates who are in their final year/semester of graduation can also apply provided they do not have any backlog up to the last year/semester for which results have been declared at the time of submitting the application form. They are required to submit proof of passing graduation at the time of the commencement of the course.

Physical Fitness

Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to the CDS exam.

Read Fitness Eligibility here

UPSC CDS Written Exam Pattern 2023

Mode of examOffline
Number of sectionsIndian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Air Force Academy (AFA)-ThreeOfficers' Training Academy (OTA)-Two
Total marks of the testIMA, INA and AFA-300OTA-200
Nature of questionsObjective type
Language of question paperHindi and English
Duration of the testTwo hours for each section of the test

Structure of Question Paper

The structure of the CDS question paper for IMA, INA, AFA, and OTA is as follows: 


SubjectDuration (In hours)Maximum marks
General Knowledge100
Elementary Mathematics100


SubjectDuration (In hours)Maximum marks
General Knowledge100

CDS Marking Scheme

  • For the incorrect answer, 1/3 marks are deducted
  • Candidates marking more than one option is treated as incorrect
  • If a question is left unanswered there will be no negative marking

The section-wise marking scheme of the CDS exam is given below: 

Specifications English GK Mathematics 
Maximum marks100100100
Marks for the correct answer+1 mark for each correct option+1 mark for each correct option+1 mark for each correct option
Negative marking-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer

UPSC CDS Syllabus 2023

The CDS (Combined Defense Services) examination syllabus encompasses various subjects crucial for a career in the defense sector. It includes English language proficiency, testing candidates' grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

General Knowledge covers a broad range of topics such as history, geography, current affairs, and defense-related issues. Mathematics evaluates candidates' proficiency in areas like arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, and geometry.

Additionally, the syllabus includes sections on physics, chemistry, and biology to assess candidates' knowledge in these subjects.

The aim of the CDS syllabus is to evaluate candidates' aptitude, reasoning ability, problem-solving skills, and their understanding of diverse subjects relevant to defense services, ensuring a comprehensive assessment.

CDS Syllabus 2023 for English

This section will test the English language and vocabulary skills of the aspirants. It will comprise 120 MCQs covering the following topics:

  • Spotting Errors Questions
  • Substitution of Words
  • Basic Grammar
  • Reading Comprehension Questions
  • Vocabulary (Synonyms, Antonyms, and Phrases)
  • Sentence Rearrangement Questions
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Ordering of Words in a Sentence
  • Fill in the Blanks
  • Idioms and Phrases
  • Para Jumbles

CDS Syllabus 2023 for General Knowledge

This section will check the current affairs' knowledge of the aspirants. It will also test the understanding of the aspirants in general topics like science, politics, foreign affairs, etc. It will also comprise 120 MCQs and cover topics, such as

  • Economics (Five-year plan, Budget, foreign trade, etc.)
  • Defence-related News (Army Day, Navy Day, Awards, recent developments, etc.)
  • Current Affairs (National and International, Environment, Sport, Cultural, Books, Statements, etc.)
  • Politics (Important facts related to Indian Constitution, Indian Judiciary, etc.)
  • Physics (optics, force, temperature, units, motion, heat, electricity, etc.)
  • Chemistry (physical, organic, inorganic, and general chemistry)
  • Biology (zoology, botany, and human biology)
  • Geography (important facts of Indian and world geography)
  • History (Ancient, Medieval and Modern India)
  • Sociology

CDS Syllabus 2023 for Elementary Mathematics

The mathematics section will have arithmetic, Trigonometry, Algebra, Mensuration, Geometry, and Statistics questions. The following table includes the section-wise topics that need to be practised for acing this exam.

ArithmeticFundamental operations (subtraction, addition, division, multiplication), Number System (natural, rational, integers, and real numbers), Unitary method, Time & Work, Percentages, Simple & Compound Interest, Time & Distance, Profit & Loss, Ratio & proportion, Elementary number theory, Composite & prime numbers, Theorem of factorization, Divisibility tests, Factors & Multiples, Euclidean algorithm, laws of algorithm & algorithmic tables, H.C.F. and L.C.M.
TrigonometrySine a, Cos a, Tan a when 0° < a < 90°, also values of Sin, Cos and Tan of 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90°Heights and distance, Simple trigonometric identities, Trigonometric tables
AlgebraBasic operations, Remainder theorem, Polynomial theories, Linear equations in 2 variables, Quadratic equations (relation between roots & its coefficients), Set language and set notation, Conditional identities, Laws of indices, Rational Expressions
MensurationAreas of Circles, Rectangles, Triangles, Squares, Parallelograms, The surface area of cuboids, Cylinders, Cones, Spheres, Volume
GeometryLines and angles, Plane & plane figures, Important theorems (like angle property based), Parallel lines, Medians & Altitudes, Congruency of triangles, Similar triangles, Circles, Parallelogram, Square, Rectangle
StatisticsTabulation of statistical data, Bar graphs, Graphical representation of frequency polygons, Pie charts, Histograms, Measures of central tendency.

How To Apply for UPSC CDS

The candidates who want to apply for the UPSC CDS need to know the process to apply online for the examination. The candidates have to apply for the UPSC CDS on the official website of UPSC. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will be conducting the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS). Here is the process of filling UPSC CDS online.

Step 1: Visit the UPSC CDS official website –https://www.upsc.gov.in/

Step 2: Register Yourself for UPSC CDS by filling in the required details.

Step 3: Click on the Apply Online link.

Step 4: First fill part-I with the application form.

Step 5: After tilling the first part, you will receive the ID and login details in your mail and registered mobile number. Fill in these details and then complete part II of the application.

Step 6: Upload the scanned passport size image, signature, and thumb impression.

Step 7: Fill in any other relevant detail if required.

Step 8:Now pay the application fee.

Step 9: Press submit to successfully complete the application form 2023.

Documents Required Before Filling Up The Application Process: 

Before starting to fill up the online application form, candidates must keep the following information/documents handy as the candidates would be required to upload the requisite documents, as applicable, in the online Application Form:

  • Any government ID proofs (Passport, Voter I-Card, Driving License, PAN Card)
  • Scanned images of photograph and signature and thumb impression.
  • Scanned copy of category certificate (if any)
  • Payment mode details (Credit, debit, net banking)
  • Valid email address, and mobile phone number.

Application Fees

Candidates (except Female/SC/ST candidates who are exempted from payment of fee) are required to pay a fee of Rs. 200.

UPSC CDS 2/2023 Admit Card

UPSC CDS admit card for 2023 will be available for download from August first week onwards on the official website. UPSC CDS Admit Card will have details such as exam center, date, and timing of the exam, instructions for candidates, as well as the candidate's registration details.

UPSC CDS Exam Centers

The Exam is expected to be conducted in 75+ cities across India. At the time of filling the application, the candidate can select their city of choice for the exam. Once allotted, the center of the exam cannot be changed.

UPSC CDS Exam Result

The result of CDS is announced in two stages: written exam and SSB Interview/Final. First, CDS result 2023 for the written exam is announced after nearly one and a half months of the exam. After this, the selected candidates need to go through the five-day-long SSB process to clear both rounds of the exam.

Round-2-SSB Interview

SSB Interview consists of a two-stage selection process-stage I and II. Candidates who clear stage I i.e. Screening processes are permitted to appear for stage II. The details of each stage of the selection process are given below:

  • Stage I- comprises Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests, Picture Perception Description Test (PPDT) and GD. Candidates are shortlisted based on their performance in OIR Test, PPDT and GD.
  • Stage II- comprises Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and Conference. These tests are conducted over four days.

Final Selection of the candidates:

The final selection of candidates is done on the basis of their performance in the written exam and SSB Interview. Selected candidates are required to undergo training at Indian Military Academy

(Dehradun), Indian Naval Academy (Ezhimala), Air Force Academy (Hyderabad), Officers' Training Academy (Chennai).

CDS Cut off

The cut-off of CDS is the minimum qualifying marks that candidates need to secure to qualify for the exam and become eligible for the next round of the selection process. Candidates need to secure separate CDS cut-off marks in the written exam and SSB Interview for final selection.

UPSC CDS Exam Preparation Tips:

  1. Know the syllabus- You Have to clearly understand what topics are asked and what not. This can be done by going through the syllabus carefully.
  2. Prepare precise notes- lengthy notes are of no use when you have a lot of things to revise at the last moment, so make precise notes.
  3. Mock Tests- Join a mock test series for better understanding of the actual exam level, test series can immensely help you in acing this exam.
  4. Newspaper and current events: For the general knowledge section, you can refer to some standard newspapers, it will help you immensely to ace the current affairs in GK section.
  5. Short-tricks: Learn short tricks to solve quant problems, it will save your time.
  6. Previous Year Question Papers- Go through the previous year question papers, It will help you to get a better idea of the level of exam and the kind of questions asked.Apart from GK, reading newspapers will help you to understand the Reading comprehension more easily.

Exam Date

3th September 2023

Total Vacancies



What is the application fee for the CDS exam?

Candidates (except Female/SC/ST candidates who are exempted from payment of fee) are required to pay a fee of Rs. 200.

How many times CDS is conducted in a year? +

CDS is conducted two times a year.

How many attempts are permitted in the CDS exam? +

There is no such limit of attempts, if you fulfill the eligibility criteria, you can apply for the exam.

Can I give the CDS exam after Class 12? +

No, you cannot appear for CDS after the 12th. The minimum qualification required for applying to the CDS exam is a bachelor’s degree.

Can I clear CDS on the first attempt? +

Yes, anyone can clear CDS in their first attempt. You need to clear all the syllabus and make your concept clear, with this, you can surely clear it in the first attempt.

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