UPSC CDS Exam Pattern Syllabus

UPSC defined the syllabus and pattern for each examination. Aspirants can’t prepare without a defined exam pattern and syllabus for any exam like UPSC CDS. This article will cover the complete exam pattern and syllabus for the UPSC CDS Exam.

UPSC Combined Defence Service Examination CDS Exam Pattern and Syllabus.

The scheme, standard and syllabus of the examination


  1. The Competitive examination comprises:
  • Written examination as shown in para 2
  • Interview for intelligence and personality test (vide Part ‘B’ of this Appendix) of such candidates as may be called for interview at one of the Services Selection
  1. The subjects of the written examination, the time allowed and the maximum marks allotted to each subject will be as follows:

(a) For Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy:—

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
1. English2 Hours100
2. General Knowledge2 Hours100
3. Elementary Mathematics2 Hours100

(b) For Admission to Officers’ Training Academy :—

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
1. English2 Hours100
2. General Knowledge2 Hours100

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.

  1. The papers in all the subjects will consist of objective type questions only. The question papers (Test Booklets) of General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics will be set bilingually in Hindi as well as
  2. In the question papers, wherever necessary, questions involving the metric system of Weights and Measures only will be
  3. Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. In no circumstances will they be allowed the help of a scribe to write answers for
  4. The Commission have discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects of the
  5. The candidates are not permitted to use calculator for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not therefore, bring the same inside the Examination


The standard of the papers in Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level. The standard of papers in other subjects will approximately be such as may be expected of a graduate of an Indian University.


ENGLISH (Code No. 01)

The English Question paper for UPSC CDS Exam will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.


General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. The paper will also include questions on History of India and the Geography of nature which the candidate should be able to answer without special study.


Number System—Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions. Unitary method, time and distance, time and work, percentages, simple and compound interest applications, 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, use of logarithmic tables.


Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M., Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, the 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, 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.


  • Sine θ, cosine θ, Tangent θ when 0° < θ < 90° Values of sin θ, cos θ and tan θ, for θ = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°
  • Simple trigonometric identities. Use of trigonometric tables.
  • Simple cases of heights and distances.


Syllabus for Geometry for UPSC CDS Examination. Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on

  1. Properties of angles at a point,
  2. Parallel lines,
  3. Sides and angles of a triangle,
  4. Congruency of triangles,
  5. Similar triangles,
  6. The concurrence of medians and altitudes,
  7. Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square,
  8. Circles and its properties, including tangents and normals,
  9. Loci.


Areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangles and circles. Areas of figures that 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.


Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts etc. Measures of central tendency.


The SSB procedure consists of two stage Selection processes – stage I and stage II. Only those candidates who clear stage I are permitted to appear for stage II. The details are:-

  • Stage I comprises Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests: Picture Perception* Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on the combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.
  • Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the These tests are conducted over 4 days. The details of these tests are given on the website

The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz. The Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. There is no separate weightage for each test. Assessors allot the marks only after considering the candidate’s performance holistically in all the test. Also, marks for Conference are allotted based on the initial performance of the Candidate in the three techniques and the decision of the Board. All these have equal weightage.

The various IO, GTO and Psych tests are designed to bring out the presence/absence of Officer Like Qualities and their trainability in a candidate. Accordingly, candidates are Recommended or Not Recommended at the SSB.

This was the complete syllabus for the UPSC CDS Examination. In case of any doubt or query, feel free to ask in the comment section provided below.

Exam Syllabus pdf

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