UPSC Combined Defence Services Exam Pattern

The UPSC Combined Services Exam is held twice in year and the and exam is conducted in two stages as mentioned below. Candidates to clear the exam and get into their preferred services in defence should understand the UPSC exam pattern for Combined Defence Services (CDS) and the CDS Syllabus which will help them to plan a right preparation strategy and crack the CDS Exam at the very first attempt.

The Combined Defence Services Examination is held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for admission to the under mentioned courses.

SL. NO. Name of the Course
1 Indian Military Academy, Dehradun— 100 146th (DE) Course
2 Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala—Course
3 Air Force Academy, Hyderabad—(Pre-Flying) 32 Training Course
4 Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai(Madras)— 109th SSC (Men) Course (NT)
5 Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras)— 109th SSC (Men) Course (NT)

NOTE

After admission to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) or the Indian Naval Academy (INA) or the India Air Force Academy, candidates will not be considered for any other commission. They will also not be allowed to appear for any interview or examination after they have been finally selected for training in the Indian Military Academy or the Indian Naval Academy or the Air Force Academy.

Here’s the detailed UPSC Exam Pattern or Plan of Examination for Combined Defence Services (CDS).

The CDS Exam consists of two stages as given below.

  1. STAGE I: Written Examination
  2. STAGE II:Interview for intelligence and personality test

STAGE I: Written Examination

The Written Examination of Stage I has three papers for Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy and two papers for Officers’ Training Academy.

The subjects of the written examination for IMA/INA/IAFA and OTA, the examination duration and the maximum marks allotted to each subject is as given below.

STAGE I Written Examination for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA).

SL. NO. Subject Duration Maximum Marks
1 English 2 Hours 100
2 General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
3 Elementary Mathematics 2 Hours 100
TOTAL 300

STAGE I Written Examination for Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)

SL. NO. Subject Duration Maximum Marks
1 English 2 Hours 100
2 General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
TOTAL 200

  • The questions papers on all the subjects is objective type or multiple choice.
  • The Test Booklets i.e. the question papers on General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics will be set both in Hindi and English Medium.
  • In the question papers, wherever required, questions related to the metric system of Weights and Measures only will be set.
  • Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. In no circumstances candidates are allowed to take the help of a scribe to write answers for them.
  • The Commission at their discretion has the rights to fix the qualifying marks for any or all the subjects of the CDS Examination.
  • The candidates are not allowed to use calculator in the written examination. Hence, candidates should not bring the calculator inside the Examination Hall.

PENALTY FOR WRONG ANSWERS

There will be a penalty (negative marking) for every wrong answer marked by a candidate in the Stage I written examination of CDS which has objective type question papers.

  1. To every question there are four alternatives as answers among which the candidates should choose the right answer. For each wrong answer given to a question by the candidate one-third or 0.33 of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
  2. If a candidate chooses more than one answer to a question, then answers to such questions will be treated as wrong even though one of the given answers may happen to be correct and 0.33 marks will be deducted as penalty for such questions.
  3. Questions for which candidates has not made any attempts and left blank, then there will be no penalty for such questions.

STAGE II:Interview for intelligence and personality test

The maximum marks allotted for Stage II i.e. the Interview for intelligence and personality testwill be the same as or equal as the maximum marks allotted for the written examination of the Stage I for admission to each course, which is as given below.

STAGE II Interview for Intelligence and Personality Test for IMA/INA/IAFA

SL. NO. CDA Course Maximum Marks
1 Indian Military Academy (IMA) 300
2 Indian Navy Academy (INA) 300
3 Indian Air Force Academy (IFA) 300

STAGE II Interview for Personal Intelligence for OTA

SL. NO. CDA Course Maximum Marks
1 Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) 300

The maximum marks allotted 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.

The candidates who qualified the Stage I written examination will be called for the Services Selection Board (SSB) Interview which will be conducted in one of the Services Selection Centre.

The SSB Interview consists of two stage Selection Process Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Stage 1 has two tests which is as given below.

  1. Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) Tests
    • A simple logic/analytical aptitude test.
    • Intelligence rating awarded to candidates range from I to V
  2. Picture Perception and Description Test (PP&DT)
    • In this test, candidates will be shown a picture on the screen which they have to observe properly and later they should write down what they have observed (like number of characters, age, their disposition etc.) from the picture shown to them and write a story related to the pictures

The candidates will be shortlisted based on combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.

Candidates who clear stage 1 of the SSB interview will be allowed to appear in the stage 2 of the SSB Interview selection process.

Stage 2 has three tests and is conducted for four days. The 3 tests are as follows.

  1. The Interview
    • It is a face to face discussion and a test of candidates’ heart (emotion, temperament, mind sentiment etc.).
    • to distinguish the qualities of the candidates during the interactions whether they have the required qualities to be an army officer.
  2. Group Testing Officer Tasks (GTO)
    • The GTO is actually an interaction with the candidates throughout the tests.
    • Candidates’ physical and mental qualities get highlighted in these tests.
  3. Psychology Tests
    • he Psychological Test is a test for candidates’ mind.
    • Candidate should attempt to complete all the SRTs, 60 TATs, and the 60 WATs.
    • Candidates’ positive thoughts and their method of application is assessed.

These three tests are conducted for 4 days. Candidates can avail the complete details of these tests in our CDS Syllabus section.

The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz.

  • The Interviewing Officer (IO)
  • Group Testing Officer (GTO)
  • The Psychologist

All these have equal weightage and there is no separate weightage for each test. The marks are allotted by assessors purely based on the candidates’ performance in all the test. Additionally, candidates are also awarded marksin the Conference (the final stage) based on their initial performance in the three tests.

The various tests of IO, GTO and Psych are designed to bring out the presence/absence of Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) and their trainability in a candidate based on which the candidates are recommended are non-recommended at the Services Selection Board (SSB).

NOTE

Candidates should secure the minimum qualifying marks separately in each stage of the exam i.e. the written examination held by the UPSC and the interview for intelligence and personality test conducted by the Service Selection Board and the minimum qualifying marks will be fixed by the Commission and the SSB at the discretion of the.

The candidates merit ranking is determined based on basis total marks secured by them in the written examination and in the SSB tests.

Success in the examination doesn’t mean the candidate has been selected to the Indian Military Academy Course, or Indian Naval Academy Course, or Indian Air Force Academy Course, or the Officers’ Training Academy Course. The final selection is decided on the order of merit along with satisfying the required medical fitness standards, fittingness in all other requisite aspects and the number of vacancies available.

NOTE: Every candidate for the Air Force and Naval Aviation is given Pilot Aptitude Test only once. The Grade secured by a candidatein the first test of Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/or Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) will consequently hold good for every following interview at the Air Force Selection Board. Candidates who have failed in the Indian Navy Selection Board/Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/or Pilot Aptitude Battery Test earlier and those who routinely wear eyeglasses are not eligible for Air Force.

TEST/INTERVIEW AT AIR FORCE SELECTION BOARDS FOR THOSE CANDIDATES WHO APPLY FOR AIR FORCE THROUGH OTHER MODES.

There are three modes of entry in Pre Flying – F (P) course and they are as follows.

  1. CDSE
  2. NCC
  3. Airmen

Candidates who apply for the Air Force through any other modes will be tested or interviewed at the Air Force Selection Boards only once for Air Force.

Common candidates who failed in the Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/ or Pilot Aptitude Battery tests as an NCC or Airmen candidate and who have applied through CDS Exam will be called again for OLQ (Officers’ Like Qualities) testing for Army/Navy/OTS.

Candidates who qualify in the written examination for Indian Military Academy (D.E.) Course and/or Indian Navy Academy (S.E.) Course and/or Indian Air Force Academy Course regardless of whether they have qualified for SSC – OTA Course or not will be detailed for the SSB Tests in August-September of that particular year and candidates who qualify for SSC Course alone will be detailed for SSB Tests in October to December of that particular year.

+ STAGE I WRITTEN EXAMINATIONPATTERN OF CDS

STAGE I: Written Examination

The Written Examination of Stage I has three papers for Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy and two papers for Officers’ Training Academy.

The subjects of the written examination for IMA/INA/IAFA and OTA, the examination duration and the maximum marks allotted to each subject is as given below.

STAGE I Written Examination for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA).

SL. NO. Subject Duration Maximum Marks
1 English 2 Hours 100
2 General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
3 Elementary Mathematics 2 Hours 100
TOTAL 300

STAGE I Written Examination for Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)

SL. NO. Subject Duration Maximum Marks
1 English 2 Hours 100
2 General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
TOTAL 200

  • The questions papers on all the subjects is objective type or multiple choice.
  • The Test Booklets i.e. the question papers on General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics will be set both in Hindi and English Medium.
  • In the question papers, wherever required, questions related to the metric system of Weights and Measures only will be set.
  • Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. In no circumstances candidates are allowed to take the help of a scribe to write answers for them.
  • The Commission at their discretion has the rights to fix the qualifying marks for any or all the subjects of the CDS Examination.
  • The candidates are not allowed to use calculator in the written examination. Hence, candidates should not bring the calculator inside the Examination Hall.

PENALTY FOR WRONG ANSWERS

There will be a penalty (negative marking) for every wrong answer marked by a candidate in the Stage I written examination of CDS which has objective type question papers.

  1. To every question there are four alternatives as answers among which the candidates should choose the right answer. For each wrong answer given to a question by the candidate one-third or 0.33 of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
  2. If a candidate chooses more than one answer to a question, then answers to such questions will be treated as wrong even though one of the given answers may happen to be correct and 0.33 marks will be deducted as penalty for such questions.
  3. Questions for which candidates has not made any attempts and left blank, then there will be no penalty for such questions.

+ STAGE II INTELLIGENCE AND PERSONALITY TEST PATTERNS OF CDS

STAGE II:Interview for intelligence and personality test

The maximum marks allotted for Stage II i.e. the Interview for intelligence and personality testwill be the same as or equal as the maximum marks allotted for the written examination of the Stage I for admission to each course, which is as given below.

STAGE II Interview for Intelligence and Personality Test for IMA/INA/IAFA

SL. NO. CDA Course Maximum Marks
1 Indian Military Academy (IMA) 300
2 Indian Navy Academy (INA) 300
3 Indian Air Force Academy (IFA) 300

STAGE II Interview for Personal Intelligence for OTA

SL. NO. CDA Course Maximum Marks
1 Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) 300

The maximum marks allotted 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.

The candidates who qualified the Stage I written examination will be called for the Services Selection Board (SSB) Interview which will be conducted in one of the Services Selection Centre.

The SSB Interview consists of two stage Selection Process Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Stage 1 has two tests which is as given below.

  1. Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) Tests
    • A simple logic/analytical aptitude test.
    • Intelligence rating awarded to candidates range from I to V
  2. Picture Perception and Description Test (PP&DT)
    • In this test, candidates will be shown a picture on the screen which they have to observe properly and later they should write down what they have observed (like number of characters, age, their disposition etc.) from the picture shown to them and write a story related to the pictures

The candidates will be shortlisted based on combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.

Candidates who clear stage 1 of the SSB interview will be allowed to appear in the stage 2 of the SSB Interview selection process.

Stage 2 has three tests and is conducted for four days. The 3 tests are as follows.

  1. The Interview
    • It is a face to face discussion and a test of candidates’ heart (emotion, temperament, mind sentiment etc.).
    • to distinguish the qualities of the candidates during the interactions whether they have the required qualities to be an army officer.
  2. Group Testing Officer Tasks (GTO)
    • The GTO is actually an interaction with the candidates throughout the tests.
    • Candidates’ physical and mental qualities get highlighted in these tests.
  3. Psychology Tests
    • he Psychological Test is a test for candidates’ mind.
    • Candidate should attempt to complete all the SRTs, 60 TATs, and the 60 WATs.
    • Candidates’ positive thoughts and their method of application is assessed.

These three tests are conducted for 4 days. Candidates can avail the complete details of these tests in our CDS Syllabus section.

The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz.

  • The Interviewing Officer (IO)
  • Group Testing Officer (GTO)
  • The Psychologist

All these have equal weightage and there is no separate weightage for each test. The marks are allotted by assessors purely based on the candidates’ performance in all the test. Additionally, candidates are also awarded marksin the Conference (the final stage) based on their initial performance in the three tests.

The various tests of IO, GTO and Psych are designed to bring out the presence/absence of Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) and their trainability in a candidate based on which the candidates are recommended are non-recommended at the Services Selection Board (SSB).

NOTE

Candidates should secure the minimum qualifying marks separately in each stage of the exam i.e. the written examination held by the UPSC and the interview for intelligence and personality test conducted by the Service Selection Board and the minimum qualifying marks will be fixed by the Commission and the SSB at the discretion of the.

The candidates merit ranking is determined based on basis total marks secured by them in the written examination and in the SSB tests.

Success in the examination doesn’t mean the candidate has been selected to the Indian Military Academy Course, or Indian Naval Academy Course, or Indian Air Force Academy Course, or the Officers’ Training Academy Course. The final selection is decided on the order of merit along with satisfying the required medical fitness standards, fittingness in all other requisite aspects and the number of vacancies available.

NOTE: Every candidate for the Air Force and Naval Aviation is given Pilot Aptitude Test only once. The Grade secured by a candidatein the first test of Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/or Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) will consequently hold good for every following interview at the Air Force Selection Board. Candidates who have failed in the Indian Navy Selection Board/Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/or Pilot Aptitude Battery Test earlier and those who routinely wear eyeglasses are not eligible for Air Force.

TEST/INTERVIEW AT AIR FORCE SELECTION BOARDS FOR THOSE CANDIDATES WHO APPLY FOR AIR FORCE THROUGH OTHER MODES.

There are three modes of entry in Pre Flying – F (P) course and they are as follows.

  1. CDSE
  2. NCC
  3. Airmen

Candidates who apply for the Air Force through any other modes will be tested or interviewed at the Air Force Selection Boards only once for Air Force.

Common candidates who failed in the Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/ or Pilot Aptitude Battery tests as an NCC or Airmen candidate and who have applied through CDS Exam will be called again for OLQ (Officers’ Like Qualities) testing for Army/Navy/OTS.

Candidates who qualify in the written examination for Indian Military Academy (D.E.) Course and/or Indian Navy Academy (S.E.) Course and/or Indian Air Force Academy Course regardless of whether they have qualified for SSC – OTA Course or not will be detailed for the SSB Tests in August-September of that particular year and candidates who qualify for SSC Course alone will be detailed for SSB Tests in October to December of that particular year.