CDS Exam Pattern Details

CDS Exam Pattern Details
16-August 2018 2.00

Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam Pattern Details

CDS Exam Pattern 2018

The exam pattern of CDS has been prescribed by UPSC. CDS is conducted in two stages – written exam and SSB Interview. As per CDS exam pattern, the exam will be conducted in pen and paper mode. Candidates applying for Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy courses have to write three subjects - English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. Those applying for Officers’ Training Academy course have to appear for two subjects – English and General Knowledge. Each paper as per CDS exam pattern will be conducted for 2 hours. Each subject carries marks. CDS exam pattern for both written stage and SSB Interview is explained in this post. Candidates can check CDS exam pattern to get an idea regarding the overall structure of exam like marking scheme, time duration, number of questions etc.

Overview of CDS Exam Pattern

Stages of CDS Exam Written exam and SSB Interview
Mode of exam Pen and paper based
Subjects English, General Knowledge, Elementary Mathematics
Exam duration 2 hours for each paper
Number of Questions

340 MCQs for – IMA, INA and AFA

240 MCQs for – OTA

Total Marks Each Subject Carries 100 marks
Negative Marks 1/3
Types of questions Objective type multiple choice questions
Language of paper English & Hindi (Both language except Hindi)

CDS Written Exam Pattern

Candidates for admission to Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy courses have to appear for three subjects.

  • •    For admission to Officers’ Training Academy courses, candidates have to appear for two subject
  • •    There are three subjects – English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics
  • •    Total marks allotted for each subject is 100
  • •    Candidates have to attempt each paper within 2 hours

Structure of CDS Written Exam Pattern

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

Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 Hours 100
Total   300

For Admission to Officers’ Training Academy:


Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge 2 Hours 100

CDS Written Exam Pattern – Question Distribution

Candidates can check below subject-wise distribution of questions

Subject Number of questions
English 120
General Knowledge 120
Elementary Mathematics 100

CDS Marking Scheme

  • •    For each incorrect response one-third (1/3) marks will be deducted
  • •    More than one response will be treated as the wrong answer and 1/3rd mark will be deducted
  • •    If a question left blank there will be no marks and penalty will be given to candidates

CDS SSB Interview Pattern

CDS SSB Exam Pattern 2018 - SSB Interview Candidates who qualify the written exam are called for Psychological Aptitude Test and Intelligence Test conducted at Service Selection Boards (SSBs). SSB Interview is a two-stage process. The details of each stage are given below.
Stage 1 -  All candidates will be put to stage 1 on first day of reporting at Selection Centres. Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception* DescriptionTest (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on a combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.
Stage 2 - The stage 2 of SSB Interview comprises Interview, Group Testing Officers Tasks, Psychology Tests and the conference. These tests are conducted over 4 days. The overall personality of the candidate is assessed by three different assessors - Interviewing Officers (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. The marks will be allotted by assessors after considering all the tests.

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