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UPSC CDS RECRUITMENT - Notification, eligibility, Important Dates, Admit Card and more 2021


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts CDS twice every year for aspirants seeking a career in the Indian Air Force, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy and Officer’s Training Academy. The examination is held in February and November every year. UPSC conducts the examination, which begins with a written exam followed by a Personal Interview and concludes with the medical examination.

However, UPSC hasn't yet released the official notification for the CDS II exam. Keep track of it on the official website. Click here to go to the official website.


Examination nameCDS Exam
CDS Full FormCombined Defence Services
Conducted byUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam levelNational
Exam frequencyTwice a year
Exam modeOnline
Exam modeTwo hours
Language of question paperEnglish & Hindi
Exam PurposeTo select candidates as Commissioned Officers in Indian Army, Navy & Air Force.
No of the test cities41
Official Website


Online application start date4th August 2021
Last date to apply online24th August 2021
Examination date14th November 2021


Eligibility of CDS examination lies upon Nationality, Gender & Marital Status and Educational Qualifications.


The candidate must be a native Indian or a subject of Bhutan, Nepal, to sit for the CDS examination.

Gender & Marital Status-

  • For IMA: Candidates between 19 to 24 years of age.
  • For Indian Naval Academy: Candidates between 19 to 22 years of age.
  • For Air Force Academy: Candidates between 19 to 23 years of age.
  • _For Officers' Training Academy (SSC Course for Men): C_andidates between 18=9 to 25 years of age, married/unmarried.
  • For Officers' Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course): Issueless widows who have not remarried, Unmarried women & issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried. Female candidates between 19 to 25 years of age.

Educational Qualifications-

  • I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy: Graduate degree from any recognized University or equivalent.
  • Indian Naval Academy: Graduate Degree in Engineering via recognized Institution/University.
  • Air Force Academy: Graduate Degree from any recognized University (having Mathematics and Physics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.

Physical & Medical Standards-

Candidates must be physically and mentally fit according to the guidelines of UPCS. Common defects found in candidates are – Deviated Nasal Septum, Hydrocele/Phimosis, Wax (Ears), Condition of Overweight/Underweight, Under Sized Chest, Piles, Tonsillitis, Gynecomastia and Varicocele.

Important- Permanent body tattoos on any other part of the body lead to the candidates being barred from further selection.


The candidates must submit the online application fee for the UPSC CDS 2021 part II examination via any available payment modes. The candidates/applicants can either pay the application fee through their nearest SBI branch or via the SBI net banking facility. The amount payable as the application fee is provided below:



  • Open the official website & then click the ‘Online Application for Various Examinations of UPSC’.
  • Once the page is opened, the aspirants have to click the Part I option to click the Combined Defence Services Examination (2).
  • Before you click the ‘Yes’ button, the aspirants are requested to read the instructions from PART I.
  • Then the application form is displayed on the screen.
  • Now, the aspirants have to fill in the contact details and personal information.
  • According to the age and notification, the candidates should choose their preferable academics.
  • In the next step, your Registration ID will be generated.
  • Once you complete your Part I form, you have to fill your Part-II Application form fill up process.
  • Next, you have to deposit the application fees for completing the Application Form Fill up Process.
  • If you have done your payment process, you can choose your desirable examination centre.
  • You have to upload the scanned copy of your signature and photograph according to the mentioned file size and dimensions.
  • In the next step, you have to select the ‘Submit’ option.
  • You are advised to print out the application form for future reference.

Documents required while filling the application form:

  • Class 10th certificate & mark sheet.
  • Class 12th certificate & mark sheet.
  • Graduation degree mark sheet of all semesters.
  • Mark sheet of all semesters (for final year students pursuing their degree).
  • Scanned signature & photograph (photo should not be older than three months).


The CDS admit card is already out on the official website. Candidates can download their admits cards from the official website, To log in to their account, the candidates need to provide their Roll No & Registration Number.


INDIAN MILITARY ACADEMY, DEHRADUN15st (DE)course commencing in July 202113100
INDIAN NAVAL ACADEMY, EZHIMALACourse commencing in July 2021 Executive (General Service)/ Hydro626
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, HYDERABAD(Pre-Flying) Training Course commencing in July 2021332
OFFICERS' TRAINING ACADEMY, CHENNAI114th SSC (Men) Course (NT) (UPSC) Course commencing in October 20210169
OFFICERS' TRAINING ACADEMY, CHENNAI28th SSC Women (Non-Technical) (UPSC) Course commencing in October 2021017


Candidates' selection process rests on these steps:

  • Written Test
  • Interview (Intelligence and Personality Test)

Written Test-

This is the very first step of the CDS selection procedure. The written exam consists of 3 papers of 2 hours each. Candidates need to attempt only General Knowledge and English. Candidates appearing for INA (Indian Naval Academy), IAA (Indian Air Force Academy) and IMA (Indian Maritime Academy) must clear all three papers - English, Elementary Mathematics and GK.


The candidate's personality is assessed by the interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. The Services selection board (SSB) procedure consists of two-stage selection Process-Stage I and Stage II. Only those who clear the first stage are allowed to appear for Stage II.

Stage 1- Officers Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception Description Test (P&DT). The candidates will be selected based on performance in the QIR Test and PP and DT.

Stage 2- Interview, Group Testing Officers Tasks, Psychology Tests and the conference. These tests will be organized for over 4 days.

Document Verification-

List of documents to be submitted after verification (only after the candidate has qualified for Interview/Personality Test)are: Birth Certificate, Certificate of Eligibility for certain candidates, Identity proof, Category or caste certificate (ST, SC, OBC, PH etc.), Academic Degrees (HSC, SSC, Graduation etc.), Passport size photograph, Residence proof etc.

Medical Examination-

This mandatory test is done to check if the candidate is medically fit or not. Only those candidates who are declared fit by the medical board will be admitted to the Academy.


UPSC CDS 2021 part II paper will consist of two stages, i.e. personality test & interview for intelligence and written examination.

Written examination-

CDS II maximum marks for AFA, INA and IMA300
CDS II maximum marks for OTA200
Type of examinationMCQ (except for English)
LanguageEnglish/ Hindi
Time allotted to each paper120 minutes
Allowance of calculatorProhibited
No. of marks allotted to each question1 mark
Negative marks for wrong entry1/3rd of the marks

SSB Interview-

Candidates who finally qualify for the written entrance exam will be called up to participate in the SSB interview round.

Stage 1 of SSB interview- Description and Picture Perception Test: The candidates will be shown a picture first for 30 seconds, then need to write about the same in 4 minutes. After that, a few 15 member groups will be set up in which all the members of the group will be asked to discuss the picture and come to a conclusion. Finally, the interviewers will conclude themselves regarding the intellectuality of the candidates. The marks will decide who will be eligible for the second stage of the SSB interview round.

Stage 2 of SSB interview- The second level of the interview round will last up to 4 days. In this stage, the candidates will be evaluated based on Conference, Psychology Tests and Group Testing Officers Task etc. Stage 2 will be further divided into-

  • Psychological test- Thematic Appreciation Test, Word Association Test, Self Description Test and Situation Reaction Test.
  • Group Activities- Group Planning Exercise, Group Discussion, Half Group Task, Progressive Group Task, Lecturrette, Group Obstacle Race, Command Task, Individual Obstacles and Final Group Task.

After the completion of both the phases, the medical round will be conducted, followed by the preparation of a merit list for admission into courses offered at IMA Dehradun, INA Ezhimala, AFA Hyderabad and OTA Chennai. After completing the courses, the candidates will be inducted into the Indian Defense Services as officers.

Mode of Examination-

UPSC CDS II is conducted offline, which means the candidates must fill the provided OMR sheet using a black ball pen.

Type of Questions-

The questions are objective, which means each question will come with choices, and candidates need to select the right one.



Question paper will be based on the understanding of English and the use of words.

General Knowledge-

Current events, matters of everyday observation, experience in their scientific regard as may be expected of an educated person and questions based on History of India and Geography of nature.


Arithmetic, Elementary Number Theory, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration, Statistics.


CDS 2 Written Exam14 Nov 2021
CDS 2 Result 2021 DeclarationDec 2021

Preparation of merit list-

  • UPSC prepares candidates obtaining the minimum qualifying marks in the written exam
  • An intelligence & personality test is taken for those who have qualified in the written test.
  • Separate qualifying marks in the written exam & SSB Interview are needed to be obtained by the candidates.
  • Total marks secured in the written exam & SSB Interview determines the final merit list.


The UPSC has released the UPSC CDS I 2021 cut-off on its official website.

Here's the previous year's cut off marks and subject-wise CDS cutoff for IMA, INA, IAFA, and OTA for 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.

Name of AcademyExpected Cut-off (Written Exam)
IMA115 - 125
INA105 - 115
AIFA125 - 135
OTA (Men & Women)85 - 95


Let us check out the Job Profile and the promotions for a CDS Officer.

RankPromotion criteria
LieutenantOn completion of training
Captain2 years of commissioned service
Major6 years of commissioned service
Lieutenant General13 years of commissioned service
Colonel (TS)26 years of commissioned service
Colonel15 years of commissioned service
Brigadier23 years of commissioned service
Major General25 years of commissioned service
Lieutenant General28 years of commissioned service
GeneralNo restrictions


This exam mainly recruits suitable candidates for the Air Force, Indian Army, Navy, and OTA. Every year various eligible candidates are recruited in different posts such as Captain, Major, Lieutenant, etc., through the CDS or Combined Defence Service Exams. There are different pay-scale slabs for employees at various posts. CDS Salaries 2021 defines all of them according to the CDS Work Profile. The detailed CDS salary structure according to the rankings in all the respective sectors is described below.

Every employee will get the CDS Salary Slip indicating the CDS Basic Pay and other divisions of the salary structure. The following table shows the detailed CDS Salary Structure; according to the levels, the different pay scale is decided as per the 7th Commission.

CDS Rank-wise salaries 2021-

RankLevelGrade Pay
LieutenantLevel 10INR 56,100 - INR 1,77,500
CaptainLevel 10 BINR 61,300 - INR 1,93,900
MajorLevel 11INR 69,400 - INR 2,07,200
Lieutenant ColonelLevel 12AINR 1,21,200 - INR 2,12,400
ColonelLevel 13INR 1,30,600 - INR 2,15,900
BrigadierLevel 13AINR 1,39,600 - INR 2,17,600
Major GeneralLevel 14INR 1,44,200 - INR2,18,200
Lieutenant General HAG ScaleLevel 15INR 1, 82,200 - INR 2,24,100
HAG+ScaleLevel 16INR 2,05,400 - INR 2,24,400
VCOAS/Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG)Level 17INR 2,25,000/-(fixed)
COASLevel 18INR 2,50,000/-(fixed)


The most important tip to crack UPSC Examinations, precisely the C.D.S. exam or any examination, is to master the definite details of the exam like eligibility criteria, syllabus, paper pattern, cut-off, etc. The aspirant should be well aware of these exam details to efficiently prepare for the C.D.S. exam and crack it on the 1st attempt.


CDS I 2021-

Click here to view, Mathematics question paper.

Click here to view, English question paper.

Click here to view, General Knowledge question paper.

CDS II 2020-

Click here to view, Mathematics question paper.

Click here to view, English question paper.

Click here to view, General Knowledge question paper.

CDS I 2019-

Click here to view, Mathematics question paper.

Click here to view, English question paper.

Click here to view, General Knowledge question paper.

CDS II 2019-

Click here to view, Mathematics question paper.

Click here to view, English question paper.

Click here to view, General Knowledge question paper.

To further check question papers till 2017, click here.



BookAuthor/ Publisher
Wren & Martin’s High School English Grammar & CompositionWren and Martin
Word Power Made EasyNorman Lewis (Goyal Publishers)
Objective General EnglishS. P. Bakshi (Arihant Publication)

General Knowledge-

BookAuthor/ Publisher
General Knowledge (Latest Edition)Manohar Pandey (Arihant Publication)
Manorama YearbookMalayala Manorama publishers
Newspapers like The Hindu, Indian Express, etc.-


BookAuthor/ Publisher
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive ExaminationsDr R. S. Aggarwal (S. Chand Publication)
Mathematics for CDS ExaminationDr R. S. Aggarwal (S. Chand Publication)


  1. Solve previous year papers- first and foremost, pick one or more unsolved previous years' question papers, each of General Awareness, Elementary Mathematics and English. Try solving them by having yourself the time limit which you are getting in the examination. The main objective of doing this is that aspirants will identify their weak & strong areas. Besides, this will also help you get used to the CDS II exam paper pattern.
  2. Quality Study- It is suggested to not cramp yourself with a massive bulk of study material from multiple sources. This causes you to end up studying nothing instead. Please remember, in competitive exams like UPSC CDS, quality of study is favoured over the quantity of study.
  3. Test yourselves- consider engaging in mock tests and current affairs. They help you to excuse extensive study for General Awareness. Mock tests will help you evaluate your preparation standard. The literal key to success lies in solving more and more questions from the previous year and mock tests.
  4. Time Management- Managing time in a well-structured manner is a significant job, both before and after you crack any competitive exam. You will be solving 100-120 questions in just 120 minutes. Besides, marking bubbles in the given answer sheet and signing your attendance in the exam will roughly take a minimum of 10-15 minutes. So, technically, you have your precious 100 minutes, and let us suppose, reading a question, comprehending and solving at least takes 50 seconds. Practice time management accordingly.

We hope we were able to provide the best of every information regarding the UPSC CDS II Examination. Do not let anything distract you know, be determined and smart!