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UPSC CDS 2024: Admit Card, Exam Date, Syllabus & Latest News

11 March,2024  |  By Brainwonders


CDS 2024: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is set to release the admit cards for the CDS 1 exam by the end of March 2024. Applicants can access their CDS 2024 admit cards through the official website's candidate login by providing their application number and date of birth. The scheduled date for the UPSC CDS 2024 exam is April 21, 2024, and the application window for CDS 1 2024 closed on January 9, 2024.

Applicants had the opportunity to modify their application forms and complete their One-Time Registration (OTR) profiles (for first-time registrants) from January 10 to 16, 2024. The initial release of the CDS notification and application form occurred on December 20, 2023. The CDS 1 2024 exam is slated for April 21, 2024.

CDS (Combined Defence Services) is a nationwide competitive examination designed for individuals aspiring to pursue careers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The full form of CDS is the Combined Defence Services Exam. Successful candidates from the CDS 2023 written exam will undergo training at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA). Upon completion of training, candidates are appointed as lieutenants, receiving a stipend of INR 56,100 during their training period. This article comprehensively covers various aspects of the CDS 2023 exam, including the syllabus, dates, eligibility, vacancies, exam pattern, selection process, and more.

What is CDS Exam 2024?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) administers the Combined Defence Services Examination, commonly called CDS, to enlist Commissioned Officers in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. This examination is conducted biannually, typically in February and September. A substantial number of candidates participate in this national-level defence entrance examination each year. Candidates are selected based on their performance in the written exam, followed by the SSB Interview assessing intelligence and personality. Successful candidates are assigned to academies according to their preferences and merit.

Academy State/City
Indian Military Academy  Dehradun
Indian Naval Academy Ezhimala
Air Force Academy Hyderabad
Officers' Training Academy (SSC Men) Chennai
Officers' Training Academy (SSC Women) Chennai

CDS 2024 Exam Highlights

Parameters Details
Name of exam Combined Defence Services Examination
Conducted  by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 
Exam Level National
Exam frequency Twice a year (April and September)
Exam mode Offline
Exam stages Written exam and SSB Interview
Exam fees

INR 200 for General and OBC male candidates

Female, SC, and ST candidates are exempted from fee payment

Exam timing The time allotted to each paper such as English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics is two hours
Language of question paper English and Hindi
No of questions

Elementary Maths: 100

General English: 120

General Knowledge: 120

No.of papers

Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Air Force Academy (AFA):

Three (English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics)

Officers’ Training Academy (OTA): Two (English and General Knowledge)

CDS Exam Pattern

Written Exam

IMA, INA and AFA: 300

OTA: 200

SSB Interview

IMA, INA and AFA: 300

OTA: 200

Marking scheme

One mark for the correct answer

One third mark is deducted for wrong answers

Exam purpose To select candidates as Commissioned Officers in Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force
Vacancies  Total 341 vacancies announced for CDS I exam
No of test cities More than 70
Official website

CDS 1 & 2 Exam

CDS 1 exam is organized for courses beginning at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, and the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, with sessions commencing in January. Additionally, the Officers Training Academy in Chennai conducts courses that commence in April.

CDS 2 exam is held for courses starting at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, and the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, scheduled for commencement in July. The Officers Training Academy in Chennai also conducts courses starting in October.

CDS Admit Card 2024

The CDS 2024 admit card will soon be available online on the official website of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at Candidates can access their admit cards by logging into the candidate portal using their registration or roll numbers and date of birth. The admit card will be accessible on the official website for all registered candidates. To download the admit card, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Visit the official website.
  2. Click on the CDS admit card link.
  3. You will be redirected to a new page.
  4. Click on the CDS Admit card link.
  5. Carefully read the provided instructions.
  6. Fill in the required details such as application number, date of birth, etc.
  7. Click on the submit button.
  8. The admit card will be displayed on the screen.
  9. Download the admit card and save it for future reference.

Discrepancies in UPSC CDS Admit Card

Applicants are urged to thoroughly review the information on their admit cards, including their name, father's name, category, date of birth, photograph, signature, and other details. Candidates are advised to promptly communicate with the examination authority if any discrepancies are identified. When reporting such issues, candidates should furnish the following information:

  1. Exam name and year
  2. Registration number
  3. Roll number
  4. Postal address (mentioning the application number is essential for reference).

What to Do If You Find Discrepancy in the CDS Admit Card?

As per the latest directives from the UPSC regarding the CDS 2 exam, candidates are instructed to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. If there is any discrepancy in the e-Admit Card, candidates should promptly communicate the issue to the Commission via email at [email protected]. This will facilitate the Commission in addressing the matter.
  2. In situations where the photograph is not visible or unavailable on the e-admit card, candidates are advised to bring three (03) identical photographs (one for each session) along with the printout of the e-admit card to the Examination Venue. Candidates should present these items, along with an undertaking, for participation in the examination. The Commission will not issue a paper admit card for the examination.

CDS Exam Dates 2024

The UPSC announced the tentative CDS 1 & 2 Exams 2024 dates through their official calendar. The notification for CDS 1 2024 was disclosed on December 20, 2023, with the online application link active until January 9, 2024. The written exam for CDS 1 2024 is scheduled for April 21, 2024, while the CDS 2 2024 exam is set for September 1, 2024. UPSC will release the notification for CDS 2 on May 15, 2024, and the application window will be open from May 15 to June 4, 2024. The UPSC exam calendar provided details about the CDS dates for the 2023-24 period.

CDS Application Fee

  • Application fees can be paid through both online and offline modes.
  • The application fees amount to INR 200 for General and OBC male candidates.
  • SC and ST candidates are exempted from the payment of fees.

CDS Qualification

Candidates must fulfil the following educational qualifications to be eligible for the CDS exam:

  • For IMA and Officers’ Training Academy, a Graduation degree in any discipline from a recognized university is required.
  • Candidates applying for the Indian Naval Academy must possess a degree in Engineering from a recognized university.
  • Those aspiring for the Air Force Academy must hold a degree in Engineering from a recognized university and should have studied Physics and Mathematics in Class 12.

Note: Applicants currently in the final year/semester of Graduation can also apply, provided they have no backlogs up to the last year/semester for which results have been declared at the time of submitting the application form. Proof of passing Graduation must be submitted at the commencement of the course.

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2024:


  • Candidates eligible for the CDS exam must have permanent residency in India.

CDS 1 Age Limit 2024:

  • Indian Military Academy (IMA): Unmarried males aged between 19 to 24 years.
  • Indian Naval Academy (INA): Unmarried male candidates aged between 19 to 24 years.
  • Air Force Academy: Candidates aged between 20 to 24 years.
  • Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for men): Unmarried males aged between 19 to 26 years.
  • Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course): Candidates aged between 19 to 26 years.

CDS 2 Age Limit 2024:

  • IMA: Unmarried candidates within the specified age limit.
  • INA: Unmarried male candidates eligible.
  • AFA: Candidates aged between 20 to 24 years, with relaxation up to 26 years for those holding a valid Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India).
  • OTA (SSC Course for men): Unmarried candidates within the age limit.
  • OTA (SSC Women Non-Technical Course): Unmarried women, issueless widows, and issueless divorcees are eligible.

CDS Qualification:

  • IMA and Officers’ Training Academy: Graduation from a recognized university in any discipline.
  • Indian Naval Academy: Degree in Engineering from a recognized university.
  • Air Force Academy: Degree in Engineering from a recognized university with Physics and Mathematics at Class 12 level.
  • Candidates in the final year/semester of Graduation can apply provisionally.

12th Pass Eligibility:

  • No, candidates must have a graduation degree or be in the final year of their graduation.

Females in CDS Exam:

  • Yes, female candidates can apply for Officers' Training Academy courses.

Physical Fitness:

  • Candidates must meet the physical and mental fitness standards set by UPSC.

Height and Weight Standards:

  • Minimum height for males: 157.5 cm (157 cm for Navy, 162.5 cm for Air Force).
  • Minimum height for females: 152 cm.
  • Special height requirements for Gorkhas, individuals from the North-Eastern region, Garhwali, Kumaon, and Lakshadweep.
  • BMI should be below 25, and specific waist and hip ratio standards apply.

CDS Exam Pattern 2024

The CDS exam pattern for 2024 encompasses both a written exam and an SSB Interview. The written exam for IMA, INA, and AFA consists of three sections: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. Meanwhile, the OTA admission test includes two sections: English and General Knowledge. Each section is conducted for a duration of two hours. The total marks for the IMA, INA, and AFA written test are 300 and 200 for OTA. The SSB Interview carries 300 marks for IMA, INA, and AFA and 200 marks for OTA. The SSB Interview comprises two stages: I and II. Stage I includes Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests, Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT), and Interviews. Stage II involves Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and Conferences.

CDS Preparation Tips 2024

Given the high competition, with lakhs of candidates participating in the CDS exam annually, effective preparation is crucial. Here are some tips on how candidates can prepare for the exam:

  • Understand the exam pattern and syllabus.
  • Solve previous years' question papers to familiarize yourself with question types and difficulty levels.
  • Focus on important topics.
  • Create a well-structured timetable and adhere to it consistently.
  • Clear fundamental concepts in Mathematics from high school books.

CDS Exam Day Guidelines

When appearing for the CDS exam, candidates should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Carry the admit card along with one original and photocopy of a photo identity proof to the exam centre.
  • Candidates are permitted to bring a clipboard or hardboard and a black ball pen.
  • An invigilator provides a sheet for rough work.
  • Prohibited items include books, notes, loose sheets, electronic or any other calculators, mathematical and drawing instruments, log tables, stencils, slide rules, test booklets, and rough sheets.
  • Mobile phones, Bluetooth devices, pagers, or any other communication tools are not allowed inside the exam centre premises.

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