UPSC CDS Syllabus 2021: Check Exam Pattern & Syllabus for Written Exam & SSB Interview of Combined Defence Services

UPSC CDS Syllabus 2021: Check latest exam pattern and detailed syllabus for UPSC CDS 2021 written exam for General Knowledge, English and Mathematics. UPSC CDS 2021 Exam will be held on 7th February 2021 for recruitment of 345 vacancies in Combined Defence Services IMA/INA/AFA/OTA. PDF Download UPSC CDS Syllabus here.

Created On: Jan 8, 2021 12:27 IST

UPSC CDS 2021 Exam Pattern & Syllabus: Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has released the CDS 1 2021 Notification for recruitment in Combined Defence Services (CDS) through courses carried out by IMA, INA, AFA and OTA. The UPSC CDS 1 Exam 2021 will be held on 7th February 2021 in written mode for selection of candidates for SSB Interview round before getting recruited by Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA) Men and Women. The UPSC CDS 2021 Exam will be carried out at selected Exam Centres across the country. The exam will be conducted on the basis of latest UPSC CDS syllabus and exam pattern. Candidates can check the detailed subject-wise syllabus of UPSC CDS Syllabus 2021 below. Let's first have a look at the important dates of the CDS 2 2021 exam:

UPSC CDS 2 2021: Important Dates

Release of UPSC CDS Notification

28th October 2020

Start of Online Application

28th October 2020

Last date to Apply Online

17th November 2020

UPSC CDS 2 Exam Date

7th February 2021

Release of UPSC CDS Admit Card


UPSC CDS Result Date


UPSC CDS 2 Notification & Exam Details

Let’s now have a look at the latest Exam Pattern and Syllabus of the UPSC CDS 2 2021 Exam in detail below:

UPSC CDS Exam Pattern 2021

UPSC conducts the CDS Exam twice every year for admission to Indian Military, Navy, Air Force and Officers Training Academy. The selection process for CDS Recruitment involves two phases:

Written Exam

SSB Interview

Candidates need to qualify each phase to get selected for the admission. Have a look at the exam pattern for written exam below:


No. of MCQs



General Knowledge



120 minutes

English Language



120 minutes

Elementary Mathematics



120 minutes

Note: Candidates appearing for OTA need to attempt only General Knowledge & English Language Papers

All papers will contain objective type multiple choice questions (MCQs).

The question papers of General Knowledge and Mathematics will be set bilingually in Hindi and English.

There is Negative Marking of 1/3rd marks for wrong answers marked in the exam.

Candidates need to attempt the exam in their own hand; they will not be allowed the help of a scribe.

Candidates cannot use calculators or Mathematical table for answering the questions.

UPSC CDS Written Exam Syllabus 2021

Let’s have a look at latest and detailed UPSC CDS syllabus of General Knowledge, English Language and Elementary Mathematics:


(Code 1)

It will check understanding of English language and use of workmanlike word through:

Unseen Passage

Spotting Errors

Sentence Rearrangement

Idioms & Phrases

Ordering of Sentences


Synonyms & Antonyms

Parts of Speech

Spelling Mistakes

Transformation of Sentences

Reported Speech

General Knowledge

(Code 2)

The section will test candidates' knowledge of current events and matters of everyday observation along with their knowledge of scientific aspects, Indian History and Geography:

General Science

Social Studies



Current Events & Affairs

Elementary Mathematics

(Code 3)


Number System

Square roots

Decimal fractions

Unitary method

Time and distance

Time and work


Simple and Compound interest

Profit and loss

Ratio and proportion

Division algorithm

Prime and composite numbers

Tests of divisibility

Multiples and factors

H.C.F. and L.C.M

Euclidean algorithm

Logarithms to base 10, Laws of logarithms


Remainder Theorem

H.C.F., L.C.M.

Theory of polynomials

Solutions of quadratic equations

Relation between its roots and coefficients

Linear equations

Set language and set notation

Rational expressions

Laws of indices


Sine ×

cosine ×

Tangent ×

Values of sin ×, cos × and tan ×

for × = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°

Use of trigonometric tables

Simple cases of heights and distances


Lines and angles

Plane and plane figures








Areas of figures

Surface area and volume of cuboids

Volume of right circular cones & cylinders

Surface area and volume of spheres


Collection & tabulation of statistical data

Graphical representation

UPSC CDS SSB Interview 2021

The SSB Interview carries equivalent marks as that of written exam. For IMA/INA/AFA Courses, the SSB Interview holds 300 marks and for OTA, the interview holds 200 marks. The SSB involves two stage selection process:

Stage I: Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests

Stage II: Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests & Conference

Both the stages are successive for selection of candidates. Candidates need to qualify both the stages. Candidates' performance in SSB Interview is accessed by three accessors:

Interviewing Officer (IO)

Group Testing Officer (GTO)


Candidates who are able to fetch UPSC CDS Cut off Marks in the written exam and qualify the SSB Interview make into the final merit list prepared by the UPSC. Candidates selection for admission to IMA, INA, AFA and OTA courses is made through this final merit list.


What is difficulty level of UPSC CDS Exam?

The difficulty level of CDS exam is different every year as per the question paper set by the UPSC. Have a look at difficulty level of UPSC CDS 2019 Paper here -

How many times is CDS Exam conducted in a year?

UPSC conducts CDS Exam twice in a year.

Is UPSC CDS exam conducted online?

No, the CDS Exam is not conducted online. UPSC conducts the exam in offline written mode on OMR Sheet.

When will UPSC conduct CDS 2 Written Exam 2020?

UPSC CDS 2 Exam 2020 is scheduled to be held on 8th November 2020

What is selection process for UPSC CDS?

UPSC conduct two-phased selection process to shortlist candidates for admission to IMA, INA, AFA and OTA Courses. The selection process comprises - Written Exam & SSB Interview.
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