Entrance Exams

CDS 2024 Exam Pattern – Check Marking Scheme, Subjects and Duration

Know the CDS 2024 exam pattern and increase your chance to score 100% on the exam day.

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam is a challenging and prestigious test conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruiting officers for India’s defence sector.

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The exam is held twice a year, and the CDS 1 registration for the 2024 session is also started on 20 December 2023 and candidates must meet strict eligibility criteria, including educational qualifications, age limits, and physical fitness standards.

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The CDS exam consists of a written test, an interview and a medical examination. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has laid down the CDS examination pattern for the written and SSB interview.

The CDS OTA examination pattern differs slightly from the other three examinations. CDS examination is an offline examination conducted in pen-paper format. The CDS marking system, negative marking, overall marks, exam timing, and paper pattern for the CDS exam are available below.

Overview Of The CDS Exam Pattern 

The table mentioned below will provide you with a clear overview of the CDS exam pattern simply and understandably:

Details Particular
Mode of examination Offline/pen-paper mode
SectionsThere are four sections in the CDS examinationIndian Military Academy Indian Naval Academy Air Force Academy Officer’s Training Academy
Medium Hindi/English
Time Duration2 hours for each section
Type of questions askedObjective type
Total MarksIMA, INA, AFA- 300 marks, OTA- 200 marks 
Overview Of The CDS Exam Pattern 

CDS Exam Pattern 

The exam pattern for CDS may differ as per the academies but the number of questions and type will be the same i.e. objective-type questions. The exam conducted for the OTA may have a slight difference in the number of sections otherwise everything will remain the same. Both the examinations will be bilingual.

The details about both the CDS exam patterns are mentioned below:

  1. IMA, INA, and AFA Exam Pattern:
Subject CodeTime Duration Marks 
English112 Hours100
General Knowledge122 Hours100
Elementary Mathametics132 Hours100
IMA, INA, and AFA Exam Pattern:
  • The IMA, INA, and AFA examination consists of three subjects: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. 
  • Their subject codes are 11, 12 and 13 respectively. 
  • The time duration provided to complete all the tests is 2 hours.
  • Each subject contains 100 marks in total.
  1. Officers Training Academy Exam Pattern:
Subjects CodeTime Duration Marks
English112 Hours100
General Knowledge122 Hours100
Officers Training Academy Exam Pattern
  • The Officers Training Academy (OTA) examination has two subjects i.e. English and General Knowledge.
  • The examination code for English is 11 and for General Knowledge, it is 12.
  • The time duration provided to complete the examination is 2 hours.
  • Both the test is of 100 marks each.

CDS Examination Pattern FAQs 

Q- What is the mode of the CDS examination?

Ans- The CDS examination is conducted in offline/pen-paper mode.

Q- How many subjects are there in the CDS examination?

Ans- There are three subjects in the CDS examination i.e. English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics.

Q- What are the total marks of each subject in the CDS examination?

Ans- Each subject carries a total of 100 marks in the CDS examination.

Q- What is the medium of the CDS examination?

Ans- The CDS examination is conducted bilingually meaning it can be in both English or Hindi as per candidates’ reference. 

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