How to Prepare for CDS Examination

CDS Examination is conducted for the selection of the candidates in the Indian Armed forces as an Officer. This exam is conducted under Union Public Service Commission Authority. There is a total of three phases in the Examination that one has to clear to get selected. The Written Exam is the first phase of selection. Here in this article, I will talk about How to prepare for CDS Examination. To get complete information, check out the blog below. I have shared all the details that are important to know regarding the preparation of this examination.

How to Prepare for CDS
Combined Defense Service Examination conducted twice a year. All the candidates who match the eligibility criteria can apply for the vacancy. The Written Exam is the first phase of selection. In order to understand the preparation tips, We must check out the complete syllabus first, and then we will discuss the how to prepare for CDS preparation of this.

CDS Exam Syllabus and Pattern:

For the Written Examination, A candidate will have to prepare  cds exam syllabus and pattern the following subjects;

  • English
  • General Knowledge
  • Elementary Mathematics etc

There are many books cds exam syllabus and pattern available in the market that may give you complete preparation but most of the books are just full of questions and nothing else. The Syllabus is not broad and it can be easily covered within a short span of time. Here are the topics that one has to cover in these subjects.


  • Antonyms
  • Sentence improvement
  • Comprehension
  • Synonyms
  • Word substitution
  • Ordering of sentences
  • Spotting Errors
  • Selecting Words
  • Ordering of words in a sentence

General Knowledge:

  • Latest Current Affairs
  • Indian Constitution
  • Indian History
  • Indian Economy
  • Indian Geography
  • Indian Politics
  • Indian Navy & Military
  • Religions
  • Books & Authors
  • Sports Events & News related to this
  • Awards, Awardee, etc.

Elementary Mathematics:

  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Statistics
  • Mensuration etc

This is the complete syllabus of the examination. One will need to prepare better in order to clear the Examination. There are many books suggested by the experts to prepare for these subjects individually. Here is the Name of the books that you must have.

CDS Written Exam Pattern:

  • All the questions that will be asked in the Examination will be Objective Type Questions with Multiple Choice Answers.
  • Each question would be carrying 1 mark and around 0.33 marks will be deducted for each wrong answer.
  • Total Number of questions: 100
  • Total marks: 300
  • Total Time duration: 3 hours.

Through the CDS Examination, Candidates get selected for Indian Military Academy, Indian Air force Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Officer’s Training Academy, etc.

For the Officer’s Training Academy, One will just need to clear the English and General Knowledge paper. There is no mathematics paper in this. Exam Pattern of OTA’s

  • Each Question would be carrying 1 mark.
  • 33% marks will be deducted for each wrong answer.
  • Total Number of Question: 200
  • Total Marks: 200
  • Total Time duration: 2 hours

Mathematics Book for CDS Exam:

General Knowledge book for CDS Exam:

  • Newspapers like The Hindu, Indian Express, etc.
  • General Awareness by Manohar Panday
  • Manorama Yearbook
  • Magazines such as Pratiyogita Darpan, Competition Success Review (CSR), and Yojana.

English Book for CDS Exam:

  • Wren and Martin – High School English Grammar & Composition
  • Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  • Objective General English by SP Bakshi

CDS Preparation at Home or Coaching:

The preparation can be done easily at home. But, if you are new to this field and have prepared for any competitive examination. My personal recommendation would be to join the Coaching Academy. There are many Defence Coaching Academy in India. You must find out the best one and start your training. Joining the coaching Academy can be beneficial for you.

Most of the coaching is run by Ex- defense Officer. It can give you a better atmosphere as well as better guidance. While choosing any coaching, you must check that coaching’s selection rate and try to take a review from the existing students, They can guide you better in this.  Join the best academy and get trained well for the examination.

There are many students who prepare at home. Most of the students have also qualified for the Written Examination. Well, the Selection is maximum based on the SSB Interview. The Shortlisting of the candidate for the SSB Interview is done through the Written Exam. Most of the candidates clear the Written Exam but fail to clear SSB Interview. In this Coaching Academy, you will get enough knowledge about the SSB Interview also.

There are around 16 Officers Like Quality that one must have to clear the SSB Interview. In order to clear the SSB Interview, It is mandatory to have an officer like Quality. Ex-defense Officers can really help you a lot in building this Officer Quality.

Well, I am not paid to promote coaching Institute. This is all my personal experience. Most of the coaching is also doing fraud in the name of education. Be aware of it.

CDS Preparation Tips:

  • Make a proper plan for your study.
  • Make sure that you cover every topic of your syllabus.
  • Time management is the key to success. Manage your time properly and give equal time to each subject.
  • Once you finish the syllabus. Start solving the previous year Question Paper.
  • There are many sample papers, Model papers as well as previous year Question Paper that could give you real preparation tips.
  • Once you are done with this all, appear for the mock tests.
  • Mock tests are conducted by websites for the practice.
  • The Mock Tests are completely the same as real paper. It can give you a better experience.
  • The CDS Written Exam is not as tough as SSB Interview. Keep in mind that after the Written Exam, you have to appear for SSB Interview. This is the mandatory interview to clear to become an officer in the Indian Armed forces. All the best by my side and hope you do well in your examination.

FAQs For How to Prepare for CDS

Best CDS Exam Preparation Books?

There are many books available in the market, that can give you complete preparation for the exam. You can go with Arihant books for CDS. As per the ranking, this book is best for CDS.

What is the Syllabus of the CDS Written Exam?

In the CDS Written Exam, One will need to prepare English, Mathematics and General Knowledge, etc. For the OTA, Only English and General Knowledge, etc.

About the author

Dasharath Maurya

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