Brainwoders Facebook

The pathway to your dream career is what will shape your skills and knowledge

Are you aware which subjects and courses will bring you closer to your dream career?

Worry not, because the Brainwonders test and guidance will not only help you know it, but also follow it!


CDS Full Form - Notification, Exam Dates, Eligibility & Selection Process

23 January,2023  |  By Brainwonders

CDS Full Form

Overview Of CDS Exam

CDS Full Form is Combined Defense Services. The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination is a twice-yearly examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission to select eligible candidates for admission into Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy, and Officers Training Academy (men and women). Interested applicants must meet specified eligibility criteria for nationality, age limit, marital status, educational qualifications and physical standards as specified in the guidelines issued by the Commission. Successful completion of this examination ensures entry into some of India's most prestigious defence forces.

Candidates looking to pursue a career in the defence forces are required to undergo the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Selection Process. This process begins with an online written test and those who qualify will then proceed to take the SSB Interview. From this pool of candidates, those who score the highest marks and successfully pass medical tests are selected for admission to their respective academies. Reports suggest that over 10 lakh candidates apply and participate in this exam annually.

CDS Exam Highlights

Exam Name UPSC CDS – Combined Defence Services Examination
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission
Exam Level National

Twice a year

  • Officer in Indian Military Academy (IMA) 
  • Officer in Indian Naval Academy (INA)
  • Officer in Air Force Academy (AFA)
  • Officer in Officers Training Academy (OTA)
Selection Process
  • Written Exam
  • SSB Interview
  • Medical Examination

CDS 2023 Important Exam Dates

Events Important Dates
CDS 1 2023 Notification 21st December 2022
CDS 1 2023 Application Form 21st December 2022 to 10th January 2023
CDS 1 2023 Exam Dates 16th April 2023
CDS 2 2023 Notification 17th May 2023
CDS 2 2023 Application Form 17th May 2023 to 6th July 2023
CDS 2 2023 Exam Dates 3rd September 2023

Eligibility Criteria for CDS

Candidates must ensure that they meet the criteria for eligibility to apply for the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS), including nationality, age limit, marital status, educational qualifications, and physical standards as laid out by the Commission. Verification of these conditions based on original documents will only be conducted after a candidate has successfully passed the SSB Interview/Personality Test.

Nationality Criteria for CDS

Applicants for the Combined Defense Services (CDS) examination must be unmarried and meet one of the following requirements: 

  • Be a citizen of India; 
  • Be a subject of Nepal; 
  • Be a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Sri Lanka, Burma, Pakistan, or any of the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire, Malawi, Ethiopia, or Vietnam with an intention to permanently settle in India. 

In cases (ii) and (iii), applicants are required to present their Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Government of India. Exemptions from this requirement are granted for Gorkha subjects of Nepal.

What is the Age Limit to take the CDS exam?

The age limit and cut-off date for Centralised Admission System (CDS) are specified on the official notification. Please refer to the table below for school-specific age limits.

CDS Educational Qualification

Academy Educational Qualification
Indian Military Academy (IMA) Degree from a recognized university
Air Force Academy (AFA) Degree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering
Indian Naval Academy (INA)
  • Degree in Engineering from a recognized
  • University/Institution 
Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) (Men & Women) Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or equivalent

CDS Physical Standards

Candidates applying for the Combined Defence Services exam must be free from any disease/syndrome/disability to be deemed medically fit. Candidates should be able to showcase efficient performance during the military duties in any climate, terrain, season, routes including sea, air, remote areas, etc. Candidates should be free from use of any drugs or aid.

Below we have shared the minimum height and weight criteria for meeting CDS Physical Standards:


  • The Body Mass Index (BMI) of applicants must be below 25. 
  • Male candidates must have a minimum height of 157 cm. 
  • Female candidates must have a minimum height of 152 cm.


  • The Body Mass Index (BMI) of applicants must not exceed 25. 
  • Waist to Hip Ratio should not be more than 0.9. 
  • The minimum required height for applicants is 147 cm.

Air Force:

  • Flying Branch applicants must have a minimum height of 162.5 cm. 
  • Ground Duty branch applicants must have a minimum height of 157.5 cm. 
  • For induction in the Aircrew, applicants must adhere to the following measurements: minimum and maximum measurements for sitting height, leg length, and thigh length.
  • Body Mass Index of the applicants should be below 27.
  • Waist to Hip ratio of the applicants should be below 0.9 (Males) and 0.8 (Females).
  • Waist circumference of the applicants should be less than 94 cm (Males) and 89 cm (Females).

CDS Selection Process

Candidates aspiring to serve in the Indian Armed Forces must complete the CDS Selection Process, which consists of an online Written Test followed by an SSB Interview. Applicants who perform successfully in both of these rounds will be taken into consideration for the final merit list.

CDS Written Exam

For Admission to Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Air Force Academy (AFA)

Subjects Maximum Marks Duration
General Knowledge 100 2 Hours
English Language 100 2 Hours
Elementary Mathematics 100 2 Hours
Total 300 6 hours

For Admission to Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)

Subjects Maximum Marks Duration
General Knowledge 100 2 Hours
English Language 100 2 Hours
Total 200 4 Hours

CDS SSB Interview

Candidates qualifying for the CDS Written Exam will be called to appear in the SSB Interview Round. The process is divided into two stages with successful completion of the first stage being mandatory for moving on to the second stage. 

  • Comprises of Tests of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) and Picture Perception* Description Test (PP&DT), with both tests being considered for shortlisting. 
  • Involves further evaluation through an Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and a Conference, with these processes taking place over a period of four days.

CDS Salary Structure

Candidates who have successfully qualified for the examination are eligible to receive a salary according to the rules of the 7th Pay Commission. The initial pay scale for these candidates will be Level 10, with a salary range of Rs 56k -177k.

Rank Level Salary (In INR)
Lieutenant Level 10 56k -177k
Captain Level 10 B 61k- 193k
Major Level 11 69k-207k
Lieutenant Colonel Level 12A 121k-212k
Colonel Level 13 130k-216k
Brigadier Level 13A 140k-218k
Major General Level 14 144k-218k
Lieutenant General HAG Scale Level 15 182k-224k
HAG+Scale Level 16 205k– 224k
VCOAS/Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG) Level 17 225k (fixed)
COAS Level 18 250k (fixed)

How to prepare for the CDS exam?

  1. Stick to the official UPSC CDS exam pattern for the best preparation for your desired post. 
  2. Brush up on your foundational knowledge with the help of approved UPSC CDS books and create a study plan that compliments your preparation. 
  3. Regular physical exercise is essential in order to be physically fit for the Indian Air Force, Army and Navy offer profiles. 
  4. Preparation should also include attempting regular mock tests to test your performance and sharpen your skills. 
  5. Consistent practice will ensure success in the definitive UPSC CDS examination.

FAQs about CDS exam

Q.1 What is the full form of CDS?

Ans: CDS Stands For Combined Defence Services.

Q.2 What is the Age Limit for CDS?

Ans: The age limit for admission to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Air Force Academy (AFA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) is as follows: 

  1. IMA – 19-24 years
  2. AFA – 20-24 years 
  3. INA – 19-24 years
  4. OTA (Men & Women) – 19-25 years.

Q.3 What is the CDS Eligibility Criteria?

Ans: Citizenship, Age, Marital Status, Education and Physical Standards as established by the UPSC are all criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for the Civil Services Examination. Those wishing to apply must provide their citizenship documentation, demonstrate they are within the required age range, indicate their marital status, submit proof of educational qualifications and meet physical standards as set forth.

Q.4 What is the CDS Selection Process?

Ans: The selection process for the CDS includes an online written examination followed by the Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview. Those who successfully qualify in both rounds will then be included in the merit list. Candidates are highly encouraged to prepare diligently and strive to perform their best in both tests to have the best chances of being selected.

Q.5 What is IMA full form?

Ans: The full form of IMA is Indian Military Academy.

Q.6 What is OTA full form?

Ans: The full form of OTA is officer training academy.

Q.7 What is officers training academy salary?

Ans: The first rank which is provide in officer training academy is lieutenant and the salary of the lieutenant is between ₹56,100 - ₹1,77,500.

Q.8 What is ssb full form in navy?

Ans: The full form of SSB in Navy service selection board in Navy.

Are you aware which subjects and courses will bring you closer to your dream career?

Worry not, because the Brainwonders test and guidance will not only help you know it, but also follow it!



Best Government Medical Colleges
Top Colleges In India
Best Government Medical Colleges In India
09 January,2023 4 min read
List of Top B.Tech Colleges in India
Top Colleges In India
List of Top B.Tech Colleges in India 2023
09 January,2023 4 min read
Top 10 Law Colleges In India
Top Colleges In India
Top 10 Law Colleges In India 2024- Let's Find Out
09 January,2024 4 min read

Contact Us


  [email protected]

Brainwonders 804 , 8th floor, Paras Business Center, Kasturba Cross, Road No. 1, behind kasturba Police station, Asara Colony, Borivali East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400066