CDS Syllabus 2020 – Knowledge of the syllabus and the latest CDS exam pattern is important to plan out the preparation of the Combined Defense Services exam in a strategic manner.Â
UPSC conducts CDS exam to recruit candidates for the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Officers Training Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy. Further information regarding the CDS exam is given in the linked page.Â
Aspirants willing to get into the Defense Force through CDS exam must upkeep themselves with the CDS Syllabus and exam pattern.Â Therefore, for candidates convenience, the article aims to provide the latest CDS exam pattern as well as the detailed CDS Syllabus as prescribed by the UPSC along with the important Booklist for CDS exam.
CDS Syllabus 2021 PDF Download PDF Here
Aspirants of other Government exams can check the link provided for the latest information on upcoming examinations.Â
Wondering how to do a comprehensive study of CDS Syllabus? Check the links for assistance in the preparation of CDS examÂ 
CDS Exam Pattern
The CDS exam pattern is prescribed by the Union Public Service Commission. UPSC mentions the exam pattern of CDS in detail in the official notification of the exam.Â
The CDS Selection Process is divided into two stages:
 Written examination
 SSB Interview
CDS exam pattern for Written Exam
The written examination of CDS is further divided into parts.
 For IMA, INA and AFA the written test comprises of three sections i.e. English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics.
 For OTA there are two sections in the written exam i.e. English and General Knowledge.
** Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA) and Officers Training Academy (OTA).
Important points for CDS Written Exam
 Total marks for the written exam is 500. 300 marks for the written test of IMA, INA and AFA, while 200 for the written exam of OTA.
 Time duration allowed to complete the exam is 6 hours (each section 2 hours) for IMA INA & AFA. 4 hours are given to complete the written test for OTA.
 The question paper in the written exam will be objective type only.Â
 For mathematics, the standard of questions will be of 10th level whereas for other subjects the standard of the paper will be of graduation level.Â
CDS Exam Pattern for IMA, INA, AFA
Sections  Duration  Maximum marks 
English  2 hours each section  100 marks each section 
General Knowledge  
Elementary Mathematics  Total – 300 marks 
CDS Exam Pattern for OTA
Sections  Duration  Maximum marks 
English  2 hours each section  100 marks each sectionÂ 
General Knowledge  Total – 200 marks 
CDS Marking Scheme
It is important to know the CDS marking scheme for candidates to devise an effective examtaking strategy. The CDS marking scheme as prescribed by UPSC is as follows:
 1 mark is awarded for each correct answer
 0.33 marks are deducted for each wrong attempt
 Questions left unanswered are not covered under negative marking
 If two answers are marked for one question. It will be considered wrong and negative marks will be deducted.Â
Note – as per CDS negative marking scheme 1/3 of the marks will be deducted for each wrong answer.Â
CDS Exam Pattern – SSC Interview
Candidates who qualify in the CDS written examination will have to appear for SSB Interview. The examination of CDS is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission but the interview is held by the Service Selection Board – SSB.Â
The SSB Interview is conducted in two stages over a period of 4 days –Â
Stage I – comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT)
Stage II – consists of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and Conference. Only the candidates shortlisted in Stage I of SSB Interview are called for this stage.Â
Now that you are aware of the CDS exam pattern, let us move ahead to the sectionwise and topicwise CDS Syllabus.
CDS SyllabusÂ
The notification of the Combined Defense Service examination mentions in detail the CDS syllabus.Â
CDS Syllabus is prescribed by the exam conducting body i.e. UPSC and generally remains the same each year.
Broadly, the syllabus of CDS is divided into three sections
 English
 General Knowledge
 Elementary Mathematics
Letâ€™s check out the topicwise CDS syllabus for each section
CDS Syllabus Mathematics
The topics covered in the CDS syllabus of mathematics are Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, Trigonometry, Mensuration and Statistics. Candidates preparing for CDS exam can check the links given below to compliment their mathematics preparation.
Important topics from each chapter to be covered for the exam are mentioned below
CDS Syllabus – Elementary Mathematics  
Algebra  Basic Operations, Simple factors, Remainder Theorem, HCF/LCM, Theory of polynomials, Quadratic equations,Relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered), Simultaneous linear equations in two unknownsâ€”analytical and graphical solutions, Simultaneous linear inequations in two variables and their solutions, Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or inequations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions, Set language and set notation, Rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices 
Arithmetic  Number System: Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers.
Fundamental operations: addition, substraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions Unitary method, Time and Distance, Time and work, Percentages, Simple and compound interest, Profit and loss Ratio and proportion, Variation, Elementary Number Theory: Division algorithm, Prime and composite numbers, Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11, Multiples and factors. Factorisation Theorem H.C.F. and L.C.M., Euclidean algorithm, Logarithms to base 10, Laws of logarithms and use of logarithmic tables 
Geometry  Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on Properties of angles at a point, Parallel lines, Sides and angles of a triangle, Congruence of triangles, Similar triangles, Concurrence of medians and altitudes, Properties of angles, Sides and diagonals of a Parallelogram, Rectangle and square, Circles and its properties including tangents and normals, and Loci 
Trigonometry  Sine Ã—, cosine Ã—, Tangent Ã— when 0Â° < Ã— < 90Â°
Values of sin Ã—, cos Ã— and tan Ã—, for Ã—= 0Â°, 30Â°, 45Â°, 60Â° and 90Â° Simple trigonometric identities Use of trigonometric tables Simple cases of heights and distances 
Statistics  Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, Histograms, Bar charts, Pie charts, etc., Measures of central tendency 
Mensuration  Areas of squares, Rectangles, Parallelograms, Triangle and Circle. Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book), Surface area and volume of cuboids, Lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, Surface area and volume of spheres 
Check out a few conceptbased articles that will be helpful to cover up the maths syllabus of CDS convenientlyÂ
For more such articles on various mathematics topics, check the Quantitative Aptitude page linked here.
CDS Syllabus – English
The questions in the English section of the CDS exam are designed to test the candidateâ€™s understanding of basic grammar, vocabulary and knowledge of English. Questions in this section are framed from the following topics:Â
CDS Syllabus – English  

To start with the preparation of the English syllabus of CDS exam refer to the links of relevant English language topics that are asked frequently in the examination:
 List of One Word Substitutions
 Adjective Degree Of Comparison Rules
 List of Homophones/Homonyms
 List of Synonyms and Antonyms
 Active And Passive Voice Rules
For more important topics on English For Competitive exams, such as Precis and Letter writing format, rules and list of prepositions, articles, conjunctions etc. check the link provided.
Also, go through important questions and answers on English topics for practice and preparation.
 One Word Substitution Questions & Answers
 Tenses Questions And Answers
 Direct & Indirect Speech Questions & Answers
 Sentence Correction Questions and Answers
More question and answer articles on important topics of the Verbal Ability section can be found on the linked page.
CDS Syllabus – General Knowledge
The General Knowledge section tests the knowledge candidate related to the current events and happenings around the world.. The questions in this section are included from the History of India, Geography of nature, and science as well. Topics that candidates should prepare in the General Knowledge section are given below.
CDS Syllabus – General Knowledge  
Current Awareness, Economics, Physics, Biology, Sociology, Chemistry, Award and honours, books and authors, History, Politics, Geography, Environment, Defence, Sport and Culture. 
For the preparation this section important topics that candidates must go through are listed below:
 List of Neighbouring Countries of India
 List of Highest Mountains in India
 List of Longest Rivers in the World
 Tennis Grand Slam Winners
 List Of Indian Ambassadors to Foreign Countries
 List of Indian Navy Chief Admirals
More such topics on general awareness are given on the Static GK page, check the link provided. For the preparation of current affairs candidates can check the following links
Knowledge of detailed syllabus and having good books handy is very important for good preparation of CDS exam.
CDS Booklist
Candidates after knowing the topicwise CDS syllabus must be willing to know the CDS books they should refer to for effective preparation. Dedicated books for the CDS exam will help candidates have a better knowledge of the subjects and ultimately bag a good score in the examination.
Hence, below mentioned are some of the important books for the CDS exam that candidates must keep handy.
CDS Books – Mathematics 

CDS Books – General Knowledge 

CDS Books – English 

CDS Booklist and Syllabus PDF Download PDF Here
The most common mistakes that candidates make is they start their preparation for the Combined Defense Services exam without completely understanding the CDS syllabus and exam pattern.Â
Knowing in detail the Syllabus of CDS is important as it confines the preparation and helps to strategise the study plan that is the key to attain success in any exam.
Check details related to Government exams after 12th in the given link.Â
Also, go through the Competitive Exam Preparation Strategies to plan out a good study schedule and leave no stone unturned for exam preparation.
Aspirants of other exams conducted by UPSC can go through the given links for assistance