UPSC CDS 2021 Exam Pattern & Syllabus

UPSC CDS 2021 Exam

The Combined Defence Services Examination (abbreviated as CDS Exam) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment of Commissioned Officers in the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy. The candidates are selected on the basis of their performance in written test, interviews and medical examination. 

In this article, we have highlighted all the aspects of UPSC CDS 2021 Exam Pattern & Syllabus.

UPSC CDS 2021 Exam Selection Procedure

The recruitment of AFA, IMA, INA & Officers Training Academy posts will be conducted on the basis of:

  1. Written Exam
  2. SSB Interview/Personality Test
  3. Document Verification
  4. Medical Examination

UPSC CDS 2021 Exam Pattern

The candidates have to clear CDS Written Examination to get selected for the interview round. Check the exam pattern for each position below.

• There will be 100 Multiple-Choice Questions in each paper

• The question paper for General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics will be set in Hindi as well as English

• There will be a penalty of 1/3 marks for a wrong answer

• Duration of each exam is separate i.e. 2 hours.

For Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy
Sl. No.SubjectMaximum MarksDuration
1English1002 hours
2General Knowledge1002 hours
3Elementary Mathematics1002 hours
For Officers’ Training Academy
Sl. No.SubjectMaximum MarksDuration
1English1002 hours
2General Knowledge1002 hours

Note: The maximum marks allotted to the written examination and to the interviews will be equal for each course i.e. the maximum marks allotted to the written examination and to the interviews will be 300, 300, 300, and 200 each for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Officers’ Training Academy respectively.

UPSC CDS 2021 Syllabus 

UPSC CDS syllabus is mentioned on the official website of UPSC in detail. Candidates can check the UPSC CDS Syllabus in the table given below.

CDS Syllabus has three main sections which are :

  • English
  • General Knowledge
  • Elementary Mathematics

Let’s have a look at the detailed syllabus section-wise:

  1. CDS English Syllabus
CDS Syllabus – English
Sentence improvement
Word substitution
Ordering of sentences
Spotting Errors
Selecting Words
Ordering of words in a sentence

2. CDS Elementary Mathematics Syllabus

CDS Syllabus – Elementary Mathematics
AlgebraBasic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, HCF/LCM, Theory of polynomials, Quadratic equations, Relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered), Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—analytical and graphical solutions, Simultaneous linear inequations in two variables and their solutions, Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or inequations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions, Set language and set notation, Rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices
ArithmeticNumber System: Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers.Fundamental operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractionsUnitary method, Time and Distance, Time and Work, Percentages, Simple and compound interest, Profit and loss, ratio and proportion, Variation, Elementary Number Theory: Division algorithm, Prime and composite numbers, Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11, Multiples and factors. Factorisation Theorem H.C.F. and L.C.M., Euclidean algorithm, Logarithms to base 10, Laws of logarithms and use of logarithmic tables
GeometryLines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on Properties of angles at a point, Parallel lines, Sides and angles of a triangle, Congruence of triangles, Similar triangles, Concurrence of medians and altitudes, Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a Parallelogram, Rectangle and square, Circles and its properties including tangents and normals and Loci
TrigonometrySine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90°Values of sin ×, cos ×, and tan ×, for ×= 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°Simple trigonometric identitiesUse of trigonometric tables simple cases of heights and distances
StatisticsCollection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, Histograms, Bar charts, Pie charts, etc., Measures of central tendency
MensurationAreas of squares, Rectangles, Parallelograms, triangles, and circles. Areas of figures can be split up into these figures (Field Book), Surface area and volume of cuboids, lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, Surface area and volume of spheres

3. CDS General Knowledge Syllabus

CDS Syllabus – General Knowledge
Current Awareness
Award and honours
books and authors
Sport and Culture.

Static GK Preparation Articles:

UPSC CDS 2021 SSB Interview

All the candidates who will successfully qualify in the written exam are required to register themselves online on the Indian Army Recruiting website within two weeks of announcement of the written test result. After that, candidates will be allotted Selection Centres and SSB Interview Dates.

CDS Selection Process comprises of two stages i.e. Written test and SSB Interview round.

  • In the first stage (written exam), candidates have to attempt three papers for selection in IMA, INA, and AFA whereas OTA candidates have to attempt only 2 papers. 
  • For better preparation, candidates should start previous years’ papers of the CDS Exam along with solutions.  
  • In the second stage of selection, they have to appear for an Interview which will test their intelligence, personality and psychological aptitude. In order to be eligible for CDS 2021, the candidate has to qualify for both stage 1 and stage 2.
  • UPSC will release the final cut-offs for the CDS 2021 examination soon after the conclusion of the whole process. 


In the above article, we have discussed the complete NDA 2021 Exam Pattern and Syllabus in detail. Every candidate is suggested to go through the syllabus before starting their preparation. It is hoped that the contents of the above article end up being helpful to all the aspirants eyeing this test. 

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