UPSC Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission twice in a yearfor recruitment into the Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA).

About the Exam Conducting Body

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination twice in a year. It is a constitutional body and a recruitment agency which conducts a various examination to recruit candidates to various posts or services in the Government of India.

Click here to read more about the Union Public Service Commission and the other exams conducted by the UPSC.

Here are a few important details that every aspirant should know about the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examinationbefore starting their preparation.

  • UPSC Notification: CDS Exam Important Dates
  • CDS Eligibility Criteria
  • CDS e-Admit Card
  • Exam Fee
  • CDS Exam Pattern
  • Courses under Combined Defence Services (CDS)& Vacancy
  • Service Preference
  • NCC ‘C’ Certificate Reserved Candidiates

UPSC Notification for Combined Defence Services Exam

The UPSC Notification for the CDS Exam is generally released in the mid of the year (June and August) and towards the end of the year (between October and December).

UPSC CDS Exam Important Dates

1. Issue of Notification& application Form Part I – November
Part II – August of the following Year
2. Date of closure of the application form Part I – December

Part II – September

3. Date of the CDS (I) Exam February of the following year
4. Date of the CDS (II) Exam October
5. Announcement of Result December
6. Personality Test/ Interview January of the following year

Below given is the CDS Examination (II) 2018 Important Dates.

SL. No. Name of Examination Date of Notification Last Date for filing Applications Date of commencement of Exam Duration of Exam
1. CDS Exam (II) 2018 08.08.2018 08.08.2018 18.11.2018 (SUNDAY) 1 DAY

After the interview conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB) successful candidates are admitted into the respective.

NOTE:The Commissionat their discretion can change the date of holding the examination if the circumstance warrant.

Candidates should know the RRB ALP Exam Eligibility Criteria.

Candidates applying for this examshould ensure they fulfill all the eligibility criteriafor admission to the examination. Candidates’ admissionat all the stagesof the examination isconditional which on the basis of fulfilling thementioned eligibility criteria.

  • Nationality
  • Age Limits, Sex, and Marital Status
  • Educational Qualification

CDS e-Admit Card

Candidates who is considered eligible based on the details finished by them while filling the form will be issued the e-Admit card 3 weeks’ prior the exam. The e-admit card will

The eligible candidates shall be issued an e-Admit Card three weeks before the commencement of the examination. The e-Admit Card will be made available for downloading on the UPSC official website (

No Admit Card will be sent by post.

CDS Exam Fee

Candidates are required to pay of fee of 200INR (Rupees Two Hundred only).

Female/SC/ST/PH candidates are exempted from payment of the fee.

Mode of Payment:

  1. Depositing cash in any Branch of SBI by cash, or
  2. Net banking facility of SBI, State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur/State Bank of Hyderabad/State Bank of Mysore/State Bank of Patiala/State Bank of Travancore or
  3. Visa/Master Credit/Debit Card

UPSC CDS Exam Pattern

The Combined Defence ServicesExamination comprises of two stages

STAGE I:  Written examination

STAGE II: Interview for intelligence and personality test at one of the Services Selection Centres.

Courses under Combined Defence Services (CDS)& Vacancy– 2018-19

The name of the Course and the approximate number of vacancies to be filled in CDS 2018 is given below.

SL. NO. Name of the Course Tentative number of Vacancy
1. Indian Military Academy, Dehradun—146th (DE) Course start in January 2019 100
[including 13 vacancies reserved for NCC `C’ Certificate (Army Wing) holders]
2. Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala—Coursestart in January 2019 Executive (General Service) 45
[including 6 vacancies reserved for NCC ‘C’ Certificate holders (Naval Wing)].
3. Air Force Academy, Hyderabad—(Pre-Flying)Training Course start in February 2019i.e. No. 205 F(P) Course 32
4. Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras)— 109th SSC (Men) Course (NT) commencing in April 2019. 225
(including 50 vacancies for NCC ‘C’ certificate holders for NCC Spl. Entry)
5. Officers Training Academy, Chennai—23rd SSC Women (Non-Technical) Course start in April 2019. 12

Selection of candidates to the above courses will be made on the results of the written examination to be conducted by the Commission followed by intelligence and personality test held by the Services Selection Board for those candidates who have qualified in the written examination.

Service Preference

Candidatesare required to specifytheir service preference in the order clearly in corresponding column while filling the Online Application.

Male Candidates Female Candidates
Male candidate can indicate as many preferences as they wish.

Based on their rank in the order of merit, due consideration will be given to the candidates’ choice of preference duringthe appointment.

Candidate competing for Short Service Commission (Army) onlyshould indicate OTA as the one and only choice.

Candidate choosing both the Short Service Commission Course (SSC) at OTA and Permanent Commission course at Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy should indicate OTA as his last preference if notmentioned OTA will be deemed to be their last choice.

Candidates who desire to join Air Force Academy must indicate AFA as their first choice, as they will undergo Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/or Pilot Aptitude Battery Test at one of the AFSBs and AF Medicals at Central Establishment/Institute of Aviation Medicines. Choice preference given for AFA as second/third etc. will be consideredunacceptable.

Women candidates are considered only for Short Service Commission (SSC) at OTA. Hence, they should indicate OTA as their only choice.

The Commission will not entertain any changes in the preferences indicated by the candidates after submitting the online application.

NCC ‘C’ Certificate Reserved Candidates

Candidates who come underNCC ‘C’ Certificate(Army Wing/Senior Division Air Wing/Naval Wing)reserved categorycan also apply for the vacancies in the Short Service Commission (SSC) Course but there is no reservation of vacancies for them in this course and they will betreated as general candidates for the purpose of filling up vacancies in Short Service Commission (SSC) Course.

Candidates who are waiting for their NCC ‘C’ Certificate (Army Wing/Senior Division Air Wing/Naval Wing) examination result can also apply but anyhow they have to submit the proof of passing the NCC ‘C’ Certificate (Army Wing/Senior Division Air Wing/Naval Wing) examination to the respective IHQ is given below.

IMA/SSC IHQ of MoD (Army) or Dte Gen of Rtg (Rtg A) CDSE Entry

West Block III, R. K. Puram, New Delhi-110066

INA IHQ of MOD (Navy) DMPR, (OI&R Section), Room No. 204, ‘C’ Wing, Sena Bhawan, New Delhi-110 011
Air Force PO 3 (A)/Air Headquarters ‘J’ Block, Room No. 17, Opp. Vayu Bhawan, Motilal Nehru Marg, New Delhi-110 106

NCC ‘C’ Reserved Candidates Eligibility

Candidates should have served at least 2 academic years in the Senior Division Army Wing and 3 academic years in the Senior Division Air Wing/Naval Wing of National Cadet Corps and should not have been discharged from the NCC for more than 24 months for IMA/Indian Naval Academy/Air Force Academy courses on the last date of receipt of Application in the Commission’s Office.