CDS Exam (Combined Defence Services Examination)- -Overview, Eligibility, Steps for Application, Results

Combined Defence Services Examination commonly known as CDS is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment of Commissioned Officers in India Army, Navy and Air Force. The exam is held twice a year usually in February and September. Lakhs of candidates appear for the national level defence entrance examination.  

Latest updates:

  • CDS 1 2020 notification will be released on Oct 30. Last date to apply is November 19.
  • CDS 2 2019 result for written exam is likely to be announced in November

CDS 2020 Highlights

Name of examCombined Defence Services Examination
Conducted  byUnion Public Service Commission
Exam levelNational
Exam frequencyTwice a year
Exam modeOnline
Exam mode2 hours
Language of question paperEnglish and Hindi
Exam FeesRs 200
Exam purposeTo select candidates as Commissioned Officers in Indian Army, Navy and Air Force
No of test cities41

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2020

To be eligible for CDS 2020 exam, candidates need to fulfill the following eligibility criteria.

Age Limits, Sex and Marital Status

For Indian Military Academy (IMA), unmarried candidates born not earlier than January 2, 1996 and not later than January 1, 2001 can only apply.  

For Indian Naval Academy (IMA), unmarried male candidates born not earlier than January 2, 1996 and not later than January 1, 2001 are eligible.  

Candidates applying for Air Force Academy should be between 20 to 24 years (born not earlier than January 2, 1996 and not later than January 1, 2000).    

For Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for men), unmarried male candidates born not earlier than January 2, 1995 and not later than January 1, 2001 are eligible for the exam.

For Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course), candidates should be unmarried and born not earlier than January 2, 1995 and not later than January 1, 2001.

Educational Qualification

For IMA and Officers’ Training Academy, candidates must be a graduate.  

For Indian Naval Academy, candidates must have a degree in Engineering from a recognised university.

For Air Force Academy, a degree with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering is necessary.

Physical Fitness

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

CDS 2020 Dates

UPSC has announced CDS 2020 exam dates. As per UPSC 2020 calendar, CDS 1 exam will be conducted on February 2, 2020 while CDS 2 will be held on November 8, 2020. The table below provides CDS exam dates.

EventsCDS 1CDS 2
Exam dateFebruary 2, 2020November 8, 2020
CDS notification 2020October 30, 2019August 5, 2020
Release of CDS application formOctober 30, 2019August 5, 2020
Last date to applyNovember 19, 2019August 25, 2020

CDS 2020 Selection Process

The selection process of CDS recruitment includes two stages –

Written Exam – This is the first stage of CDS selection process. Candidates who registers successfully for the exam are required to appear in the written exam. According to the CDS exam pattern,the written exam for IMA, INA and Air Force comprises three sections –  English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. Total mark of the test is 300. The written exam for Officers’ Training Academy consists of two sections – English and General Knowledge. Total mark of the test is 200. Candidates qualifying the written exam will be called for SSB Interview for intelligence and personality test.

SSB Interview – There are two stages in SSB Interview – Psychological Aptitude Test and intelligence Test. Candidates qualifying the stage one will be called for the second stage.

Final selection of candidates is done based on their performance in written exam and SSB Interview. Selected candidates will have to undergo training at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala, Air Force Academy, Hyderabad, Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai.

CDS Exam Centres 2020

The exam centres of CDS provide details of the cities where the written exam is conducted. Candidates are required to select the exam centres while filling the application form. CDS exam centres are allotted to candidates on first-apply-first allot basis. Once a particular exam centre is filled, the same will be frozen. Candidates are required to choose from the remaining ones.


CDS Exam Day Guidelines 2020

  • Candidates should carry CDS admit card 2020 along with photo identity proof to the exam centre.
  • No candidate will  be allowed to appear for the exam with the admit card.
  • Candidates are allowed to carry clip board or hard board, black ball pen to the exam centre.
  • Sheet for doing rough work will be provided by the invigilator.
  • Candidates should not bring books, notes, loose sheets, electronic or any other type of calculators, mathematical and drawing instruments, log tables, stencils, slide rules, test booklets and rough sheets.
  • Mobiles, phones, Bluetooth, pagers or any other communication devices are not allowed inside the premises of exam centre.

CDS 2020 important dates such as registration date, application date, admit card date, exam date, result date and counselling date. Sign up so that you don’t miss a single exam date or an update on CDS 2020 exam.

30 Oct ’19 -19 Nov ’19CDS 1 registrationONGOING
30 Oct ’19CDS 1 notification 2020ONGOING
2 Feb ’20CDS 1 exam 2020
5 Aug ’20CDS 2 registration 2020
5 Aug ’20CDS 2 notification 2020
8 Nov ’20CDS 2 exam 2020

CDS 2020 Important Dates

CDS 2020 dates have been announced by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). According to UPSC calendar 2020, CDS 1 exam will be conducted on February 2, 2020. CDS 2 exam will be held on November 8, 2020. CDS 1 notification 2020 will be released on October 30. The notification for CDS 2 will be released on August 5, 2020. Candidates can read below regarding all the important events of CDS exam.  

Important events related to CDS exam

CDS application form 2020

The application form of CDS will be available online on the official website. CDS application form 2020 comprises two parts. In the first part, candidates need to register, choose their preferred branches, verify the details and generate their registration ID. In the second part, candidates need to pay the application fees, select the exam centres, upload the scanned images of photograph and signature.

CDS 2020 Entrance Exam

All candidates submitting their application form successfully are required to appear for the entrance exam. The exam comprises two stages – written and SSB Interview. The written exam for Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy comprises three sections- English, General knowledge and Elementary Maths. The written exam for Officers’ Training Academy comprises two sections – English and General Knowledge.

CDS 2020 Answer Key

The answer key of CDS is released by UPSC after completion of the recruitment exam. CDS 2020 answer key will be available on the official website for different codes of test booklets.

CDS 2020 Result

The result will be released in two stages – written exam and final selection. The commission first announces CDS result for written  exam followed by the declaration of final result. The result will display the roll numbers of shortlisted candidates in PDF format.