UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus PDF : CDS Exam 2020 is the biggest opportunity for candidates to enter into Indian Defence Service.  Date for the exam has been announced so the next thing is How to Score well in the exam.Scroll Down to get all details on CDS exam syllabus common exam pattern and download CDS syllabus pdf.

Combined Defence Service Exam CDS is an essential exam for candidates who are preparing to get into Indian Military Services as an officer. CDS exam is conducted twice a year for admission in prestigious Military Training Academies in India, as Indian Military Academy (IMA), Officers Training Academy (OTA), Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air force Academy. If you are interested to know about Air Force Exam get this guide here.

The exam is conducted based on the latest UPSC CDS syllabus and CDS exam pattern. For CDS exam notification reach CDS exam registration.

Presently be consistent with the written exam pattern. We are providing you with the complete syllabus and topics covered in each section in the written test.

The CDS exam is conducted in two phases as:

  1. Written Exam
  2. SSB Interview

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CDS Exam Pattern for Written Test

The written test paper is distributed into two distinct categories. The first one is for IMA, INA and IFA, and the next category comprises for entry in OTA. We have included CDS exam syllabus pdf.

For IMA, INA and IFA the question paper is of three sections consisting of English Gk and Maths. Each paper is of  2 hours and carries100 marks for each section. While for entrance in OTA candidates have to appear in only two exam papers as English and GK This section also brings question papers of 2 yours each and takes 100 marks exam for each paper.

The written test paper consists of only objective type questions. The standard on the topic covers throughly from CDS syllabus NDA exam pattern. The mathematics paper is of class 10th level and it covers fundamental elementary mathematics

UPSC CDS Written Exam Marking Scheme

  •  Each question in the CDS exam written test comprises of four options out of which only one option is correct.
  • Candidates have to mark only one correct alternative. Marking more than one option will be considered as incorrect.
  • For each incorrect option, candidates will be awarded -⅓ marks.
  • There is no negative marking scheme for unanswered questions

UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus 2020 PDF (Download)

Download the UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus

As discussed earlier there are two entries in the CDS exam, but the overall subjects are English, GK and  Mathematics. There is no mathematics paper for OTA entry. 

CDS English Syllabus

English paper in CDS exam tests the basic understanding of usable English of candidates by emphasizing words and their uses, basic grammar and vocabulary. As discussed in the CDS exam pdf  topics covered in English paper of CDS exam syllabus are as follows:

CDS Exam Syllabus:

  • Spotting Errors
  • Sentence Rearrangement
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Passage and Comprehension
  • Word Oredering
  • Idioms and Pharases
  • Synonyms & Antonyms
  • Ordering of words in a sentence (Jumbled Words)

CDS Syllabus For GK PDF Above

The general knowledge section in CDS exam syllabus is made to tests the knowledge about various happenings around the world and current events in candidates. The topic in this section is included mostly from general science, GK social studies and current awareness.

Topics that include Combined Defence Service Exam (CDS exam) preparing students should cover are mentioned below:

  1. History of India
  2. Current Affairs and Defence Matters
  3. Geography
  4. Political Science
  5. Economics
  6. Sociology
  7. Physics, Chemistry, Biology (General Science)
  8. Sports
  9. Awards
  10. Books & Authors
  11. Culture and Traditions

UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus for Maths

Mathematics and not too difficult and are scoring for candidates in the CDS exam syllabus. To get good marks in mathematics, the candidate should know the syllabus of mathematics thoroughly.

Mostly topics covered in CDS exam syllabus are from basics and 10th level maths. This section covers algebra and it’s operations, Airthematics, Geometry Trigonometry, Mensuration and data handling. 

The detailed syllabus is given in the below table



  • Number System (Types of Numbers)
  • Basic operations on numbers (subtraction, addition, division, multiplication)
  • Unitary method
  • Percentages
  • Time & Work
  • Time & distance
  • Simple & Compound Interest
  • Ratio & proportion
  • Divisibility tests of Numbers
  • Fundamental number theory
  • Profit & loss
  • Composite & prime numbers
  • Basic Factorization
  • Euclidean algorithm Principles
  • Factors & Multiples
  • Laws of algorithm & algorithmic tables
  • Elementary operations
  • Remainder theorem
  • L.C.M. & H.C.F.
  • Polynomials
  • Quadratic equations
  • Linear equations in 2 variables
  • Set Theory
  • Roots and Powers
  • Identities Equations
  • Rational Expressions
  • Trigonometric ratios, identities, and equations
  • Trigonometric angles
  • Heights and distance
  • 2d and 3d plains
  • Lines, and angles
  • Important theorems (like angle property based)
  • Parallel Lines
  • Medians & Altitudes of Triangles
  • Congruence and similarity of triangles
  • Similar triangles
  • Circles
  • Parallelogram
  • Rectangle
  • Square
  • Areas of circles
  • Triangles
  • Parallelograms
  • Volume
  • Rectangles
  • Surface area of cuboids
  • Operations on Tabular Statistics
  • Graphical representation of frequency
  • Polygons
  • Pie charts
  • Bar graphs
  • Histograms
  • Measurement of central tendency

CDS Exam Pattern and Syllabus – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difficulty level of the UPSC CDS exam?

    The CDS exam pattern is normal and it covers topics from GK English and/or mathematics. The difficulty level is determined by the question paper set every year by UPSC CDS. CDS(1) 2020 was conducted on February 2 by UPSC in two shifts. So the difficulty level for the CDS question paper for English and GK was from moderate to easy. While the elementary mathematics paper was relatively difficult.

  2. How many times the UPSC CDS exam is conducted in a year?

    CDS exam is conducted twice a year recognized as UPSC CDS (1) and CDS (2). The written exam for CDS (1) is mainly conducted in February and CDS 2 is conducted in November.

  3. Is UPSC CDS exam conducted online?

    Every year the CDS exam is conducted in offline mode where students are given OMR sheet and they have to write their answers. Observing the COVID situation cases may be different this year.

  4. When will UPSC conduct CDS (2) written exam for 2020?

    The UPSC CDS II exam is scheduled to be held on 8th November 2020.

  5. How can I apply for UPSC CDS exam 2020?

    Visit the first step there is the registration of candidates. Pay the application fee next candidates have to fill all the CDS exam application form details. Finally, upload photo and signature with photo ID proof of the candidate. 

  6. Is the CDS exam tough to crack?

    The difficulty level is different for different years as said earlier this year CDS 1 exam had difficulty level from moderate to difficult.
    So it is determined every year by the pattern of the question set by the UPSC Board.

  7. Can I appear in the CDS exam after class 12th?

    The minimum education qualification to appear in CDS exam is graduation. So a candidate who has not completed his/her graduation can not apply for this exam. Even if you want to crack CDS exam, preparation from class 12th is considered reasonable to get satisfactory marks and having CDS syllabus is recomended. 

  8. Is maths compulsory for CDS syllabus 2020?

    If you fill choice as OTA is your first preference then math will not be compulsory for you. So it depends on the choice of how you want to apply for the exam in the same way you have CDS syllabus. And if you set it as your first preference then you have to appear in the only syllabus that covers English and general ability papers and it adds to your cutoff. For other entries like INA, Indian Military Academy yes, it is compulsory.

  9. Which is better CDS or NDA?

    Both CDS and NDA are conducted as an entrance exam for entry in Indian armed forces as officers. NDA is at intermediate level while CDS is at Graduation level. Bot these exam covers written test as well as SSB interview.

Final Thoughts

This was the information on CDS exam and it’s syllabus. Let me know if you have any question in the comment below.

The Yuvas is providing you all necessary information related to the Government exam and other exam strategies.

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