CDS Exam Pattern

CDS Exam Pattern 2020: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has announced the exam pattern of CDS (I) 2020. The selection procedure of CDS is conducted in two stages – Written Exam and SSB Interview. CDS (I) written exam is scheduled to be held on 07th February 2021. The CDS exam pattern is decided by UPSC to select candidates for admission in Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) and Air Force Academy (AFA).

CDS Exam Pattern 2020: Know UPSC CDS I Marking Scheme & Selection Procedure For IMA, INA, AFA & OTA

CDS Exam Pattern 2020: The CDS Exam Pattern has been prescribed by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). CDS will be conducted Exam in two stages – written exam and SSB Interview. As per CDS Exam Pattern 2020, the exam will be conducted in pen and paper mode. Applicants applying for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Air Force Academy (AFA) courses will have to write three subjects – English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. Those applying for Officers’ Training Academy course will have to appear for two subjects – English and General Knowledge. Each paper as per CDS Exam Pattern 2020 will be conducted for 2 hours. Each subject carries 100 marks. CDS exam pattern 2020 for both written stage and SSB Interview is explained in this blog. Applicants can check CDS 1 exam pattern to get an idea regarding the overall structure of exam like marking scheme, time duration, number of questions etc. CDS 1 exam is scheduled to be conducted on November 8, 2020.

Highlights of CDS Exam Pattern 2020

Conducting Body

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Name of the Exam

Combined Defence Services I 2020

Stages of exam

Written exam and SSB Interview

Mode of exam

Pen and paper based


English, General Knowledge, Elementary Mathematics

Exam duration

2 hours for each paper

Number of questions

340 MCQs for – IMA, INA and AFA

240 MCQs for – OTA

Total marks

Each subject carries 100 marks

Negative marks


Types of questions

Objective type multiple choice questions

Language of paper

English & Hindi (Both language except Hindi)

Attempt UPSC CDS Free Mock Test

CDS Selection Process: CDS Exam Pattern

UPSC Selection Procedure consists of four stages.
1. Written Exam
2. Interview/ Intelligence Test/ Personality Test
3. Document Verification
4. Medical Examination

CDS Exam Pattern 2020 – Written Exam

Candidates for admission to Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy courses have to appear for three subjects.

  • For admission to Officers’ Training Academy courses, candidates have to appear for two subject

  • There are three subjects – English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics

  • Total marks allotted for each subject is 100

  • Candidates have to attempt each paper within 2 hours

Structure of CDS Exam Pattern 2020

For Admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy:

Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 Hours 100
Total 300

For Admission to Officers’ Training Academy:

Subject Duration Maximum Marks
English 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge 2 Hours 100

CDS Exam Pattern 2020 – Question Distribution

Candidates can check below subject-wise distribution of questions.

Subject Number of questions 
English 120
General Knowledge 120
Elementary Mathematics 100

CDS Marking Scheme 2020

  • For each incorrect response one-third (1/3) marks will be deducted
  • More than one response will be treated as the wrong answer and 1/3rd mark will be deducted
  • If a question left blank there will be no marks and penalty will be given to candidates

CDS Exam Pattern 2020 – SSB Interview Candidates who qualify the written exam are called for Psychological Aptitude Test and Intelligence Test conducted at Service Selection Boards (SSBs). SSB Interview is a two-stage process. The details of each stage are explained below.

Stage 1 –  All candidates will be put to stage 1 on first day of reporting at Selection Centres. Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception DescriptionTest (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on a combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.

Stage 2 – The stage 2 of SSB Interview comprises Interview, Group Testing Officers Tasks, Psychology Tests and the conference. These tests are conducted over 4 days. The overall personality of the candidate is assessed by three different assessors – Interviewing Officers (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. The marks will be allotted by assessors after considering all the tests.

CDS Syllabus 2020

The syllabus of CDS covers the following topics.

Subject  Code number Topics 
English 01 Fill in the blanks, Sentence Correction, Jumbled Sentence, Reading Comprehension & Finding errors and omissions, the right use of English words, tenses, verbs etc.
General Knowledge 02 Currents happenings, business, politics, sports, entertainment, Indian Economy, Books and Authors name etc.
Elementary Mathematics 03 Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Menstruation etc.

CDS Examination Centers

The Allotment of centers will be done on the basis of “first-apply-first-allot” and once the seat-allotment is completed in a particular center then the seat allotment will be frozen. The examination is looked forward to take place at following centers:

Agartala Gangtok Panaji (Goa)
Ahmedabad Hyderabad Patna
Aizawl Imphal Port Blair
Allahabad Itanagar Raipur
Bengaluru Jaipur Ranchi
Bareilly Jammu Sambalpur
Bhopal Jorhat Shillong
Chandigarh Kochi Shimla
Chennai Kohima Srinagar
Cuttack Kolkata Thiruvananthapuram
Dehradun Lucknow Tirupati
Delhi Madurai Udaipur
Dharwad Mumbai Visakhapatnam
Dispur Nagpur

Best Books Recommended by Toppers for Competitive exam

CDS Exam Important Instructions

  1. Write only in Black ballpoint pen, your Centre and subject followed by the CDS 2020 test booklet series (in bracket), subject code and the exam roll number at the appropriate space provided on the answer sheet at the top.
  2. Encode your CDS 2020 booklet series (A, B, C, or D as the case may be), subject code and roll number in the circles provided for the purpose in the answer sheet.
  3. In case the CDS booklet series is not printed on the test booklet or answer sheet is un-numbered then candidates should report immediately to the invigilator and get the test booklet/answer sheet replaced.
  4. Candidates should note that any omission/mistakes/discrepancy in encoding/filling of details in the CDS 2020 OMR answer sheet,especially with regard to the Roll Number and Test Booklet Series Code, will render the answer sheet liable for rejection.
  5. Immediately after the commencement of the CDS 2020 please check that the test booklet supplied to you does not have any unprinted or torn or missing pages or items etc., if so, get it replaced by a complete test booklet of the same series and subject.
  6. Do not write your name or anything other than the specific items of information asked for, on the CDS answer sheet/test booklet/sheet for rough work.
  7. Do not fold or damage or put any extraneous marking over the CDS Answer Sheet. Do not write anything on the reverse of the answer sheet.

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