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What is the Pattern of CDS Exam and Interview Procedure for CDS SSB ?

Posted on by supperbrilliantpoint

CDS 2019 Latest Exam Pattern, Syllabus  and Marking Scheme

CDS Exam Pattern 2019: Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) organizes national level competitive exam known as CDS or Combined Defence Services twice a year as CDS (I) and (II).  The CDS examination is conducted to select potential male and female candidates for admission into Indian Naval Academy (INA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), Air Force Academy and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA). UPSC CDS II notification has been released on June 12, 2019, inviting the applications for around 417 vacancies. CDS is considered as one of the most competitive exams in India. Interested candidates must have a clear idea of the CDS exam pattern in order to outshine the competition in CDS II written examination. Knowledge of CDS written exam pattern will help you familiarize with the main exam and can improve your overall test-taking skills.

CDS Exam Pattern: The competitive exam comprises of two stages viz:

  • Written Exam
  • Interview for intelligence and personality test.
  • The subjects of CDS written exam, the time allowed and the maximum marks allotted to each subject is tabulated below: 

For Indian Military, Indian Naval and Air Force Academy



Max. Marks

English 2 hours 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 hours 100

For Officers’ Training Academy



Max. Marks

English 2 hours 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100

Highlights of CDS Exam Pattern

Mode of Exam Offline only (Pen and paper mode)
Number of Questions asked 300 MCQ Type
Number of questions in OTA 200 MCQ Type
Maximum Marks 300 and 200 (OTA)
Duration of Exam 2 hours (120 minutes) for each paper
Medium Hindi or English
Negative marking One third mark deducted for every incorrect response

CDS Exam Pattern 

Mode of Exam: Offline i.e. candidates will be allocated an OMR sheet wherein they must color the appropriate response. 

Type of Questions: Objective Type i.e. each question will have four options. A candidate must choose the most appropriate response.

Medium of Exam: Bilingual in Hindi as well as English

Standard of Questions: Given below is the expected standard of each section in CDS Exam:

  • 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: The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.
  • General Knowledge: 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 Geography of a nature which candidate should be able to answer without special study.

Other Facts:

  • 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 them.
  • The Commission has the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects of the examination.
  • The candidates are not permitted to use a calculator for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not, therefore, bring the same inside the Examination Hall.
  • Those who qualify in the written test are called for the second stage i.e., Intelligence and Personality Test. 
  • 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.

CDS Marking Scheme

Negative marking is applicable for every wrong marked answer. In CDS paper, each question carries 4 options and out of which only 1 option is correct. For each incorrect answer, 1/3 of the marks will be deducted. More than one option marked is treated as incorrect. However, if a question is left unanswered there will be no negative marking.

The following table explains the detailed marking scheme of the exam.

CDS Paper English GK Mathematics
Maximum Marks 100 100 100
Marks for Correct answer +1 marks for each correct option +1 marks for each correct option +1 marks for each correct option
Negative marking -0.33 marks for each wrong answer -0.33 marks for each wrong answer -0.33 marks for each wrong answer

The following table shows Marking scheme for 2019 OTA (Officers Training Academy):

CDS Paper English GK
Maximum Marks 100 100
Marks for Correct answer +1 marks for each correct option +1 marks for each correct option
Negative marking -0.33 marks for each wrong answer -0.33 marks for each wrong answer

Distribution of Questions

Equal weightages is given to all the sections- GK, Mathematics and English.

Paper Number of questions
English 100
Mathematics 100
GK 100

The selection of the candidates is on the basis of marks scored in the interviews. Total marks for interview for Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy is 300 marks, whereas 200 marks are allotted for interview for OTA.

CDS Intelligence and Personality Test Pattern

SSB interview will be the 2nd part of the selection procedure. SSB Interview will contain two stages i.e. Stage 1 and Stage 2. Candidates qualify the stage 1 exam will be called for stage 2.

Stage 1: It is an OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating) Test which contains Picture Perception and Description Test (PP & DT). Candidates will be shortlisted as per their performance in OIR test and PP and DT.

Stage 2: Candidates passing stage 1 will be called for this stageThis part consists of Group Testing Officer Tasks, Interview, Conference and Psychology Test. These tests are organized in four days.

CDS Syllabus for English

English question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English language. As per previous year analysis, following are the important topics asked in English paper.

Topic Number of Questions Level of Difficulty
Sentence Improvement 20 Easy
Reading Comprehension 23 (5 passages) Easy to Moderate
Synonyms 8 Moderate
Antonyms 7 Easy
One Word Substitution 5 Moderate
Para-Jumble 10 Easy to Moderate
Sentence-Jumble 7 Moderate
Spot the Error 20 Easy
Cloze Test 20 Easy

CDS Syllabus for General Knowledge

For GK paper, candidates can cover the following topics:

  • Latest Current Affairs
  • Indian Constitution
  • Indian History
  • Indian Economy
  • Indian Geography
  • Indian Politics
  • Indian Navy & Military
  • Religions
  • Books & Authors
  • Sports, Awards, etc

As per previous year analysis following are the important topics for GK paper:


Number of Questions

Level of Difficulty

History 19 Difficult
Science 27 Easy (Concept based questions)
Geography 22 Moderate (Analytical based questions)
Ecology 06 Moderate (Fact based questions)
Polity 20 Easy to Moderate
Economy/Trade 11 Moderate (Fact based questions)
Miscellaneous /Armed Forces 15 Moderate (Fact based questions)

CDS Syllabus for Elementary Mathematics

Mathematics paper covers topics from diverse topics. Following are the topic covered in CDS 2019 Mathematics paper.

  • Arithmetic
  • Number System
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration

In the following table, previous year paper analysis of mathematics paper is mentioned.

Instructions to Fill CDS Answer Sheet

Candidates are advised to follow the instructions to fill OMR sheet very carefully as the answer sheets are to be evaluated on the machine and any violation of these instructions may result in the reduction of scores. Before marking responses on the Answer Sheet, aspirants have to fill in various particulars in it.

After receiving CDS 2019 Answer Sheet, candidates have to check that it is numbered at the bottom. If it is un-numbered, it has to be replaced by a numbered one. 

The following points should be kept in mind while filling CDS answer sheet:

  • Write with black ball pen only.
  • The test Booklet Series will be indicated by Alphabets A, B, C or D at the top right-hand corner of the Booklet.
  • Find out the appropriate subject code from the test booklet. Thereafter, encode the test booklet series, subject code and the roll number by using black pen.
  • Write and encode test booklet series after receiving the Test Booklet. For example, for English paper of ‘A’ Test Booklet Series you have to encode the subject code,
  • In the next step, you have to encode the Roll No.
  • Candidates have to make sure that they have carefully encoded their subject Test Booklet series and Roll Number.

Interview Procedure for CDS SSB 

Candidates who have cleared the CDS written exam conducted by UPSC will need to go through an interview.  
The candidate is required to get the prescribed set of documents for the CDS exam interview conducted by Service Selection Board (SSB) which needs to be presented at the time of the interview for document verification and other formalities.

What after UPSC CDS written examination? 

The Union Public Service Commission will declare a qualified list of candidates (based on the written exam). 
The selected candidates will appear before a Services Selection Board (SSB) for Intelligence and Personality Test. 
The total maximum marks for the interview will be 200 for OTA and 300 for IMA, Naval and Air Force. 
Candidates for the Air Force wing and Naval Aviation will also undergo a Pilot Aptitude Test.

The 5 Days SSB selection process   

DAY 1  

Candidates are required to appear for a Picture Perception & Description Test on along with a round of group discussion. At the end of day one few candidates are screened out and the remaining will continue their testing 

DAY 2 

On day two of the SSB interview, the candidates will be divided into groups of 8-10 and will be given different chest numbers followed by Psychological tests 

DAY 3 

The candidates are required to appear for the personal interviews on day three and four in front of the interviewing officer. Group testing is usually done on day three by the group testing officer. All the candidates will be briefed about the outdoor tests before hand. There are nine tests which have to be cleared. 

DAY 4 

The tests on day four of the SSB interview begins with Individual obstacle race. An individual is expected to clear a set of 10 obstacles and the total time given for all the tasks is three minutes.  


On day five, the candidates are required to appear for a conference which will be conducted by the SSB Board. Candidates will be given a closing address on Day 5 by the deputy president of the board. Candidates will also be able to clarify their doubts and queries. 

What after CDS SSB Interview 2019

After the interview process of CDS SSB 2019 is completed, candidate’s verification takes place which includes the document verification. Candidates who qualify the SSB interview will have to present their required set of original documents along with the 2 self-attested copies at SSC (Services Selection Center) after SSB interview. Given below is the list of documents that are to be carried at the time of selection process.

Original certificates will be returned after the verification. Certified true copies or Photostat copies of the certificates will not be accepted in any case.

  • Qualification Certificates
  • Proof of Identity (Pan Card, Aadhar Card, Voter ID etc.)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport Size Photographs
  • Category Certificate for the Reserved Category Candidates
  • Proof of Residence

Medical Examination is the last but very important step. This step is held to verify that the selected aspirant is physically fit for the officer cadre or not. This verification is must. For final recruitment, you have to clear all the verification formalities.


CDS Exam Pattern 2019: Get Detailed UPSC CDS II Marking Scheme, CDS Exam 2019 Eligibility, Exam Pattern and Detailed Syllabus, CDS 2019 Exam Pattern, Marking scheme for IMA, INA & OTA, CDS SSB Interview Process (OTA, INA, IAF & IMA): Dates, Call Letter, CDS Syllabus 2019, UPSC CDS Exam syllabus and Exam Pattern, CDS Eligibility Criteria 2019 (II), UPSC CDS Exam Eligibility 2019, CDS 2 2019 Notification, Eligibility, Age limit, Exam Pattern…

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