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  • Written by Saif_Ansari
  • Last Modified on 20-12-2023
  • Written by Saif_Ansari
  • Last Modified on 20-12-2023

About UPSC CDS 2024

About Exam

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Combined Defence Services Examination twice a year for candidates who wish to begin their careers in the Indian Air Force, Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Officer’s Training Academy. Candidates are selected based on the written exam and the SSB interview for intelligence and personality testing.

The Union Public Service Commission will conduct the UPSC CDS 1 exam 2024 on April 21, 2024. Aspirants can apply for the examination from December 20, 2023, until January 9, 2024. Check out the article to learn more about the UPSC CDS important dates, notification, registration process, exam pattern, syllabus, results, etc.

UPSC CDS Exam Summary 2024

Let us have an overview of the UPSC CDS 2024 before getting into other details:

Particulars Details
Name of Exam Combined Defence Service Examination
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Purpose of Exam Selection of Candidates for Admission to IMA, INA, AFA, and OTA
Frequency of Exam Twice a Year
Mode of Exam Offline
Language English and Hindi
Number of Phases Two Phases – Written Exam and SSB Interview (intelligence and personality test)
Number of Questions 340 (240 for Admission to OTA)
Number of Subjects Three (Two for Admission to OTA)
Time Duration Two Hours For Each Subject
Type of Questions Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
Negative Marking Yes
Official Website

UPSC CDS Latest Updates 2024


Here are some recent updates released by the UPSC regarding the Combined Defence Service Examination 2024.

UPSC CDS Notification 2024

Exam Pattern

The detailed notification for the CDS 1 2024 exam was released on December 20, 2023. The notification includes all information such as exam dates, registration procedure, exam pattern, syllabus, and other important information.

We will update the direct notification PDF link. Till then, aspirants can refer to last year’s UPSC CDS notification, or use the direct PDF link.

UPSC CDS Important Dates 2024

Exam Syllabus

The Commission has released the exam dates for CDS 1 & 2 exam along with the UPSC Calendar 2024. Per the calendar, the CDS I 2024 online registration will start on December 20, 2023, and end on January 9, 2024. Check out the important dates in the table below:

Events CDS 1 Dates CDS 2 Dates
CDS 2024 Notification Release Date December 20, 2023 May 15, 2024
Online Registration Start Date December 20, 2023 May 15, 2024
Online Registration End Date January 9, 2024 June 4, 2024
Online Application Withdrawn To Be Notified To Be Notified
CDS Admit Card Release Date March 2024 August 2024
CDS Exam Date 2024 April 21, 2024 September 1, 2024
CDS Answer Key 2024 (Unofficial) April 2024 September 2024
CDS Result 2024 May 2024 September 2024
Interview Dates To Be Notified To Be Notified
Final Result To Be Notified To Be Notified

UPSC CDS Vacancy 2024

Study Plan to Maximise Score

UPSC CDS vacancy 2024 has been announced along with the official CDS 1 notification 2024. We have added the vacancy details in the following table for your reference: 

CDS 1 Vacancy 2024


No. of Vacancies 

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun154th (DE) Course commencing in January 2023 [including 13 vacancies reserved for NCC `C’ Certificate (Army Wing) holders]


Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala Course commencing in January 2023 Executive Branch (General Service)/Hydro [including 03 vacancies for NCC ‘C’ Certificate (Naval Wing through NCC Special Entry ) holders ].


Air Force Academy, Hyderabad (Pre-Flying) Training Course commencing in January 2023 i.e. No. 213 F(P) Course [including 03 vacancies are reserved for NCC `C’ Certificate (Air Wing) holders through NCC Spl. Entry]


Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras) 117th SSC (Men) (NT) (UPSC) Course commencing in April 2023


Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras) 117th SSC (Women) (NT) (UPSC) Course commencing in April 2023




Candidates can also refer to the UPSC CDS 2024 vacancies from the table below:

Name of the Academy Number of Vacancies
Indian Military Academy, Dehradun 100
Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala 22
Air Force Academy, Hyderabad 32
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras) SSC Men 170
Officers Training Academy, Chennai SSC Women 17
Total Vacancies 341

Also, check out the CDS 1 2022 vacancies from the table below:

Department Number of Vacancies
Indian Military Academy (IMA) 100
Indian Naval Academy (INA) 22
Air Force Academy (AFA) 32
Officer Training Academy – Men (OTA) 170
Officer Training Academy – Women (OTA) 17
Total 350

Check out the CDS 2 2022 vacancies from the table below:

Department Number of Vacancies
Indian Military Academy (IMA) 100
Indian Naval Academy (INA) 22
Air Force Academy (AFA) 32
Officer Training Academy – Men (OTA) 169
Officer Training Academy – Women (OTA) 16
Total 339

UPSC CDS Salary & Job Profile 2024

Previous Year Analysis

Candidates must note that the following details may differ as per the job location, experience, and various other factors. Check out the pay scale for UPSC CDS in the table below:

CDS Ranks/Job Profile CDS Pay Scale (As per 7th Pay Commission) Pay Matrix Level
Lieutenant Rs. 56,100 – 1,77,500/- Level 10
Captain Rs. 61,300 – 1,93,000 Level 10B
Major Rs. 69,400 – 2,07,200 Level 11
Lieutenant Colonel Rs. 1,21,200 – 2,12,400 Level 12A
Colonel Rs. 1,30,600 – 2,15,900 Level 13
Brigadier Rs. 1,39,600 – 2,17,600 Level 13A
Major General Rs. 1,44,200 – 2,18,200 Level 14
Lieutenant General Rs. 1,82,200 – 2,24,400 Level 15
HAG + Scale Rs. 2,05,400 – 2,24,400 Level 16
VCOAS Rs. 2,25,000 Level 17
COAS Rs. 2,25,000 Level 18

Perks, Allowances and Benefits

Candidates serving in the defence sector are eligible for a number of benefits and allowances depending on their posting and ranking, such as:

  • Highly Active Field Area Allowance
  • Compensatory Modified Field Area Allowance
  • Compensatory Field Area Allowance
  • Transport Allowance
  • High Altitude Allowance
  • Dearness Allowances(DA)
  • Kit Maintenance Allowance
  • Siachen Allowance
  • Uniform Allowance

UPSC CDS Eligibility Criteria 2024

Candidates applying for the UPSC CDS exam must meet the below mentioned criteria to apply for the examination. Here are the full details of the CDS eligibility criteria:

Age Varies From 18 to 25 Years for Different Forces
Educational Qualification Graduation/Engineering Degree
Nationality Citizen of India, or
Subject of Bhutan, or Tibetan refugee, or Nepal, or India origins migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, and East African Countries of Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaire, Malawi, and Ethiopia or Vietnam to settle in India permanently.
Number of Attempts Till Age Permits
Marital Status Unmarried/Married
Experience Not Required

UPSC CDS Application Form 2024

The Union Public Service Commission released the CDS application form online. Here, you can find details on how to apply online for the CDS exam.

  • 1st Step: Visit the official website of UPSC.
  • 2nd Step: Then enter your credentials under the heading “Part I” of your application form. Ensure to check the eligibility criteria and then apply.
  • 3rd Step: Following “Part A,” a registration ID will be generated, and you can proceed to “Part B” of the CDS II application form.
  • 4th Step: Upload all scanned documents and signatures in the specified format.
  • 5th Step: Pay the application fee and select your exam centre.
  • 6th Step: Check all details and finally click on “Submit”
  • 7th Step: Download and take a printout of the application form for future reference.

CDS Application Fee

Here the applicants can check the CDS 2024 application fee and submit the application form.

Category Application Fee
Female/SC/ST Candidates No Fees
Others Rs.200

UPSC CDS Exam Centre 2024

Topper List Success Stories

Check out the exam centers for the UPSC CDS 2024 exam from the table below:

State Exam Centre
Tripura Agartala
Gujarat Ahmedabad
Mizoram Aizawl
Uttar Pradesh Allahabad
Karnataka Bengaluru
Uttar Pradesh Bareilly
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal
Punjab Chandigarh
Tamil Nadu Chennai
Tamil Nadu Cuttack
Uttarakhand Dehradun
Delhi Delhi
Karnataka Dharwad
Assam Dispur
Sikkim Gangtok
Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad
Manipur Imphal
Arunachal Pradesh Itanagar
Rajasthan Jaipur
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu
Assam Jorhat
Kerala Kochi
Nagaland Kohima
West Bengal Kolkata
Uttar Pradesh Lucknow
Tamil Nadu Madurai
Maharashtra Mumbai
Maharashtra Nagpur
Goa Panaji
Bihar Patna
Andaman and Nicobar Port Blair
Chhattisgarh Raipur
Jharkhand Ranchi
Odisha Sambalpur
Meghalaya Shillong
Himachal Pradesh Shimla
Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar
Kerala Thiruvananthapuram
Arunachal Pradesh Tirupati
Rajasthan Udaipur
Arunachal Pradesh Visakhapatnam

UPSC CDS Exam Pattern 2024

Exam counselling

CDS exam pattern for the written test for admission to Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy (AFA) includes three subjects – Elementary Mathematics, English and General Knowledge. However, admission to Officers Training Academy (OTA) will only have two subjects in their written test – English and General Knowledge.

CDS exam marking scheme for INA, IMA, AFA is listed below:

Subjects Number of Questions / Maximum Marks Time Duration
English 120 / 100 2 hours
Elementary Mathematics 100 / 100 2 hours
General Knowledge (GK) 120 / 100 2 hours
Total 340 / 300 6 hours

UPSC CDS 1 exam pattern for OTA is mentioned below:

Subjects Number of Questions/ Maximum Marks Time Duration
English 120 / 100 2 hours
General Knowledge (GK) 120 / 100 2 hours
Total 240/200 4 hours

Each correct answer attracts 1 mark in the UPSC CDS exam.

  • Negative Marking: For every wrong answer given by the candidate, there is a negative marking of 1/3.
  • Time Duration: The total time duration for each section is 2 hours.

UPSC CDS Syllabus 2024

Exam talks

The UPSC CDS syllabus is mainly based on three subjects — Elementary Mathematics, General Knowledge, and English language. Candidates who wish to score well in the examination must be well aware of the syllabus and prepare for it thoroughly. 

Subjects Topics
English Antonyms, Synonyms, Sentence improvement, Comprehension, Spotting Errors and more
General Knowledge Economics, Current Awareness, Defence, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and more
Elementary Maths Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration, and Statistics and more

Check out the detailed UPSC CDS syllabus here.

UPSC CDS Preparation Tips 2024

About Exam

It is important that you follow a few preparation tips in order to score high marks in the examination. Here are some of the preparation tips for UPSC CDS created by the experts on Embibe:

  • Study from NCERT Textbooks: NCERT books are specifically designed to help you prepare for competitive examinations. The books have simple and basic concepts that you can easily understand. NCERT books also have a few exercises at the end of the chapters to help you practice.
  • Reference Books: Reference books come with plenty of exercises and questions for you to solve. There are easy as well as difficult questions in the book. By solving the exercises, you can easily answer the questions quickly in the final exam question paper. 
  • Categorise Topics (Difficulty-level wise): Dividing the topics based on their difficulty level will help you strategise your study. We recommend you to first prepare for the easy ones and then move to the ones you find difficult. Doing this will help you cover the syllabus quickly. 
  • Read Concepts Thoroughly: It is always important to first understand and then learn. Knowing the concept and then reading and understanding it thoroughly will help you in your final examination. If you are able to understand the basic concept, you do not have to mug it up.
  • Practice Mock Tests: Practicing mock test series will help you improve your problem-solving skills and writing skills. Embibe’s mock test series will give you an exact idea of the final exam paper. It is designed in accordance with the latest exam pattern.
  • Solve Previous Years’ Question Papers: Solving the UPSC CDS previous year question papers will help you get a better idea of the exam and also the type of questions that are asked in the exam. It will be like a practice test for you to analyse your preparation so that you can improve on the topics that need more practice. 
  • Revise Every Day: It is important that you revise what you study every day. A habit of revision every day will help you study efficiently for your examination. This way, you will memorise quickly.

UPSC CDS Admit Card 2024

UPSC will release the CDS 1 exam hall ticket online on in March 2024, tentatively. Below you can find the procedure to download the UPSC CDS admit card, the details mentioned on the admit card, and the required documents candidates need to carry.

Candidates can follow the below-mentioned steps to download the UPSC CDS admit card 2024:

  • 1st Step: Go to the official website of UPSC.
  • 2nd Step: Go to the “Examination” tab and click on “Active Examinations” from the drop-down menu box.
  • 3rd Step: Now click on “Combined Defence Services Examination (1), 2024”.
  • 4th Step: Then click on “Click Here” against “e-Admit Card”.
  • 5th Step: Now, click on “Click Here” under the column “To Download e-Admit Card
  • 6th Step: Read the instructions properly and then click on the “Yes” button.
  • 7th Step: Select “By Registration ID” or “By Roll Number”.
  • 8th Step: Enter your Registration ID/CDS Roll Number and Date of Birth
  • 9th Step: Now enter the captcha code and click on the “Submit” button.
  • 10th Step: Your CDS admit card will appear on a new screen. Download it and print a few copies of the same. Also, save the PDF file in a safe folder on your device.

UPSC CDS Answer Key 2024

About Exam

The exam conducting authority will release the UPSC CDS answer key soon on its official website since the result is declared. Candidates can follow the below-mentioned steps to check the answer key:

  • 1st Step: Visit the official website of UPSC.
  • 2nd Step: Click “Examination>>Answer Keys” on the homepage.
  • 3rd Step: Click on the link against “Combined Defence Service Written Examination Answer Key 2024”
  • 4th Step: The UPSC CDS Answer Key pdf will be opened,
  • 5th Step: Download the pdf and check your responses marked from the answer key.

UPSC CDS Result 2024

Eligibility Criteria

The UPSC CDS result for Paper 1 2024 will be released in May 2024.

Candidates can follow the below-mentioned steps to download the UPSC CDS result 2024:

  • 1st Step: UPSC’s official website is, and students should visit the site first. 
  • 2nd Step: Click on the accessible ‘UPSC CDS 1 Result 2024’ link on the homepage.
  • 3rd Step: A new PDF file will appear on the screen. It is possible for candidates to check their names in it.
  • 4th Step: Candidates can access the PDF online and print a copy for future reference.

UPSC CDS Cut-off 2024

Admit Card

The CDS cut-off 2024 will be released soon. Candidates can check out the expected cut-off marks for UPSC CDS from the table below:

Academy Written Exam Final Exam
IMA (Indian Military Academy) 119 – 131 244 – 256
INA (Indian Naval Academy) 104 – 121 232 – 246
AFA (Air Force Academy) 146 – 151 267 – 271
OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) men 73 – 84 161 – 170
OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) women 75 – 85 164 – 170

FAQs on UPSC CDS 2024

Exam Answer key

Following are the frequently asked questions and their answers related to the UPSC CDS 2024:

Q: Who is the conducting authority for the CDS Exam? 

Ans: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the CDS Exam every year.

Q: When will the UPSC CDS 1 notification be released?

Ans: The UPSC CDS 1 notification 2024 was released on December 20, 2023.

Q: How many times is the CDS exam conducted in a year? 

Ans: The CDS examination is held twice a year.

Q: How many attempts are allowed for the CDS exam? 

Ans: There are no such restrictions on the number of attempts you can make for the CDS exam.

Q: In what mode is the CDS examination conducted?

Ans: The CDS exam is conducted in offline mode (pen-and-paper-based). 

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