CDS Exam Syllabus and Exam Pattern

The Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) 2022 syllabus and exam format have been established by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). In order to strategically prepare for the entrance exam, candidates must review the CDS exam pattern and curriculum 2022. The themes and subtopics covered by the CDS syllabus for 2022 are strictly dependent on the format of the exam.

For English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics, CDS holds separate examinations. According to the CDS exam format, there are 120 questions on each of the English and General Knowledge question papers, while the Elementary Mathematics exam has 100 questions.

CDS Exam Syllabus and Exam Pattern 2022 – Important Highlights 

  1. Candidates appearing for the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy (AFA) entry have to attempt all three papers while Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) candidates have to appear for only English and General Knowledge.
  2. The entrance test will include objective-type questions.
  3. As per the CDS exam pattern, two hours will be given to solve each paper.
  4. Examinees shall be awarded 1 mark for each correct answer.
  5. In case of incorrect responses, one-third of the marks will be deducted.

CDS Exam Syllabus and Exam Pattern 2022 – Section-wise Topics 

Complete know-how of the entrance test syllabus will help the candidates in qualifying the CDS 2 with flying colours. Aspiring candidates can check the topic-wise syllabus for (Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA) and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) below.


CDS Exam Syllabus 2022 – English 

The CDS English section assesses the candidates’ understanding of English comprehension and usages of words. The questions in this section are asked from the following topics:

  1. Reading Comprehension
  2. Synonyms and Antonyms
  3. Spot the Error
  4. One Word Substitution
  5. Cloze Test
  6. Fill in the Blanks
  7. Sentence Correction
  8. Sentence improvement
  9. Ordering of words in a sentence
  10. Idioms and Phrases

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CDS Exam Syllabus 2022 – General Knowledge 

The CDS syllabus for General Knowledge is extensive in nature and questions related to different subjects will be asked. The sub-topics included in this section are:

  1. Geography
  2. History of India
  3. Polity
  4. Economy
  5. Current Affairs
  6. Sociology
  7. Award
  8. Sports
  9. Physics
  10. Chemistry
  11. Biology
  12. Defence
  13. Environment
  14. Questions about famous personalities

CDS Exam Syllabus 2022 – Elementary Mathematics 

Candidates who apply for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), or Air Force Academy (AFA) need to qualify the CDS mathematics exam. Check out the major topics mentioned below to develop an understanding about CDS mathematics syllabus.



Simple Factors

Basic Operations


Set Language and Set Notation

Solutions of Quadratic Equations

Simultaneous Linear Equations in two unknown-analytical and Graphical Solutions


Trigonometry Use of Trigonometric Tables

Simple Trigonometric Identities

Simple Cases of Heights and Distances

Geometry Triangles

Parallel Lines

Lines and Angles


Properties of Angles

Similar Triangles

Number System Decimal

Rational and Real Numbers

Ratio and Proportion

Square Roots

Time and Distance



Mensuration Rectangles

Area and Volume of Spheres

Volume of Right Circular Cones, Cylinders and Surface

Surface area and Volume of Cuboids


Statistics Bar Charts

Graphical Representation Frequency Polygons


CDS Exam Syllabus and Exam Pattern – Paper Pattern 

As per CDS exam pattern 2022, there will be a total of three sections for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy (AFA) and candidates will be given two hours for each paper. By going through the CDS paper pattern 2022, candidates will learn about the marks distribution,  type of questions asked, etc.

Candidates qualifying in the written test will further be eligible to go for Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview. Check below the written as well SSB pattern of CDS II.

Paper Pattern of CDS 2022 – IMA, INA, and AFA

Section Number of Questions Marks Allotted Duration
English 120 100 Two Hours
General Knowledge 120 100 Two Hours
Elementary Mathematics 100 100 Two Hours

CDS Exam Pattern 2022 – OTA

Section Number of Questions Marks Allotted Duration
English 120 100 Two Hours
General Knowledge 120 100 Two Hours

CDS Exam Syllabus and Exam Pattern – Marking Scheme 

As per the CDS exam pattern, one-third (0.33) of the marks will be deducted for an incorrect response and 1 mark will be awarded for each correct answer. If candidates mark two options for one answer, it will be considered as a wrong answer. If candidates do not attempt a question, then no marks will be given or deducted.

CDS Exam Pattern – Preparation Tips for Written Exam

All the candidates appearing for the CDS exam must follow the below-mentioned preparation tips:

  1. Go through the CDS exam pattern and exam syllabus to understand the structure and formation of the question paper.
  2. Candidates should prepare a timetable and must ensure that they follow the same with discipline.
  3. Try to get some recommended books for CDS preparation.
  4. Candidates must solve the CDS question papers of previous years to get a hang of the kind of questions and difficulty level they can expect and manage their time accordingly.
  5. Apart from solving the sample question papers, candidates should also take as many CDS mock tests as they can.
  6. They must also prepare short notes for revising conveniently after preparing each topic.
  7. Candidates must have the basic understanding of every topic and subtopics of CDS syllabus.

CDS Exam Pattern – Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview 

SSB is conducted to assess the qualities and characteristics of a candidate to become an officer in defence services.  Examinees, who qualify the CDS written exam, are shortlisted for the SSB interview. As per the pattern, there are two stages of the SSB interview. Only those candidates who qualify the Stage I will be eligible to appear for Stage II of SSB interview. Check the detailed information below:

SSB Interview (Stage I)

  • In this stage, there will be a screening test consisting of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) and Picture Perception & Description Test (PPDT). The candidates will be selected on the basis of their combined performance in the OIR Test and PPDT.

SSB Interview (Stage II)

  • In Stage II, candidates will have to appear for an Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference. The second stage will be held for four to five days.
  • The marks are allotted based on the performance of the candidate in all the tests.
  • The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different examiners – Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and Psychologist.

CDS 2022 – Tips for SSB Interview 

To qualify the CDS SSB interview, a strategic approach and understanding of selection parameters are prime requirements. Candidates can consider the tips below to clear the SSB interview:

  1. Candidates are suggested to develop story-telling as well as drafting skills.
  2. Practice of verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions will enhance a candidate’s performance.
  3. Also, avoid shouting during the group discussion. Have a calm approach, listen to discussion by other group members attentively, and speak in a firm but polite voice to add an extra edge to your performance.
  4. Increase writing speed so that you can write your answers within the given timeframe.
  5. Also, for the personal interview, prepare yourself well. You must have knowledge of the current national and international events.
  6. While going for PI, sit confidently, admit your mistakes gracefully, and have a positive attitude.
  7. Candidates must be physically fit and alert to respond promptly.

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