All you need to Know about CDS Exam 2024: Eligibility, Qualification, Exam Pattern & more

What is CDS Exam?

The Union Public Service Commission administers the Combined Defence Services Examination, also known as the CDS Exam, to select Commissioned Officers for the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy. The exam notification is typically published in December and May, and the exam itself takes place in April and September, respectively. Only graduates who are single are permitted to take the exam. The examination is conducted twice a year. After an interview with the Services Selection Board (SSB), successful candidates are admitted into the respective Academies. Through CDS exam, eligible candidates are selected for the following armed forces:

  • Indian Army
  • Indian Navy
  • Indian Airforce
  • Naval Academy
  • Officers Training Academy

This is a remarkable opportunity for graduates who wish to serve the country by joining the Indian Army, Navy, Airforce, Naval Academy, and Officers Training Academy.  The first exam of CDS 2024 was conducted in April and CDS-II exam will be held in September. In this blog, we will discuss the eligibility and the exam pattern, so it becomes easier for the candidates to prepare themselves fully and perform their best in the exam.

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Through this exam, there are numerous opportunities for both men and women. Women’s can apply only for Officers Training Academy (OTA) through this exam. It offers a great career path and is well-regarded. Candidates with a passion for the military should take the CDS 2 2024 exam and begin their careers with any of the esteemed Indian Defense Forces institutions.

CDS Exam Eligibility

There are four factors included in the eligibility criteria, which are nationality, education qualification, UPSC CDS age limit and physical standards mentioned as follow:


To be eligible for the CDS exam 2024, a candidate must fit be a citizen of India, a subject of Nepal/Bhutan, or a Tibetan refugee who had migrated to India before January 01, 1962, with the intention of Permanent Settle.


For the CDS exam, following education qualification is required for different job posts as mentioned below:

IMA: Graduate from Recognized University

INA: Engineering Degree from Recognized University

AFA: Engineering Degree (Physics & Maths at 10+2) or B. Tech from Recognized University

OTA: Graduate from Recognized University

CDS 2024 Age limit

For each position, the commission has established a specific age requirement, and applicants must meet this requirement in order to avoid having their application rejected at any point during the selection process. All CDS positions have an age restriction of 20 to 24 years, which means:

Candidates for the IMA, INA, and AFA must have been born between July 1, 2000, and July 1, 2005.

Candidates for the Officers’ Training Academy (Men and Women) must have been born between July 1, 1999, and July 1, 2005.

CDS 2 2024 Exam Pattern

Candidates should be familiar with the CDS exam’s paper structure as they get ready for it in 2024. Students will perform better on the exam if they analyze the CDS 2 2024 Exam Pattern and have a thorough understanding of the key subjects covered in the syllabus.

For the Officer Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy, and Indian Air Force, the CDS 2 2024 exam’s exam format differs. It is split into two parts:

Written Test

Personality & Intelligence Test

CDS Exam Pattern for IMA, INA, and OTA

The exam of Indian Naval Academy/Indian Military Academy/Indian Air Force comprises 3 papers, which carry a total of 300 marks. The total duration of each exam is 2 hours

English1002 hours
General Knowledge1002 hours
Elementary Mathematics1002 hours

UPSC CDS 2 2024 Exam Pattern for OTA

The exam of Officer Training Academy (OTA) consists of 2 subjects with a total of 200 Marks. The duration of the CDS exam is 4 hours.

English1002 hours
General Knowledge1002 hours

Candidates should be aware of the subjects of the CDS Exam Syllabus and important topics. Candidates must thoroughly prepare for CDS 2 2024 by reviewing the entire syllabus.

General Knowledge: History, physics, biology, geography, political science, and recent four to five months’ worth of current events are included in the general knowledge category.

English: Basic grammar, synonyms, antonyms, comprehension exercises, error detection, paraphrase puzzles, etc. in English.

Elementary Maths: Natural numbers, integers, percentages, HCF and LCM, geometry, logarithms, trigonometry, time and distance, statistics, mensuration, and other topics are covered in elementary math.

CDS 2024 Selection Process

The recruitment of AFA, IMA, INA & Officers Training Academy posts is done based on four rounds. Listed below are the 4 stages of CDS 2024.

  • Written Exam
  • SSB Interview/Personality Test
  • Document Verification
  • Medical Examination

A merit list is prepared for those students who obtain good marks in both the rounds of the CDS exam, i.e., written examination and SSB Interview. Again note the final round of selection is based on the medical fitness for all available posts.

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