CDS Selection Process 2024: Written Test, SSB Interview & Document Verification

Combined Defence Services Exam 2024 ( CDS )

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Exam On: 1 Sep '24

Dewesh Nandan Prasad

Dewesh Nandan PrasadAssociate Senior Executive

Updated on Jun 11, 2024 18:31 IST

CDS Selection Process 2024: Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) prescribes the CDS selection process to select eligible candidates as Commissioned Officers in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. The CDS selection process comprises two stages: a written exam and an SSB interview. All candidates who qualify for the written exam are required to register themselves online on the Indian Army Recruiting website - joinindianarmy.nic.in within two weeks of the announcement of the written test result. After that, candidates are allotted SSB dates and centres. 

CDS Selection Process Highlights

Selection is done based on the written exam and SSB Interview.

  • SSB Interview is a two-stage process
  • Candidates need to secure CDS cut off marks to qualify for each stage of selection
  • Candidates are assigned All India Ranks based on their merit
  • The allotment is done on merit-cum-preference basis
  • In the subject of written exams, candidates need to secure 20 per cent
  • All candidates need to undergo training for certain period

CDS Selection Process

Candidates can check below the stages under the CDS selection process below:

  • In the first stage of CDS selection process, candidates have to attempt three papers for selection in Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Air Force Academy (AFA) whereas Officers Training Academy (OTA) candidates have to attempt only two papers
  • In the second stage of CDS selection process, candidates have to appear for SSB interview where they are assessed on the basis of intelligence, personality and psychological aptitude. 
  • Candidates qualifying both the stages are required to undergo training at IMA, INA, AFA and OTA
  • Any graduate candidate can apply for the exam

What are the CDS stages before the exam?

The CDS stages begin with the release of the notification for the CDS exam. The CDS is taken twice a year and the selection process is repeated in same order for both cycle.

CDS Notification 

The UPSC releases the notification for the CDS exam twice a year. The notification for the CDS exam is released one after the conduction of the previous cycle. The CDS 1 2024 was released on December 20, 2023.

CDS Application Form

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) releases CDS application form online. Any graduate candidates are eligible to apply for the exam. The application fees are INR 200 and female/SC/ST candidates are exempted from paying the fees.

CDS Admit Card

CDS admit card is issued for written exam by UPSC. All registered candidates can download the admit card from the official website using their registration number or roll number. SSB Interview call letter is issued after the declaration of CDS result of written exam. Qualified candidates can download the call letter for SSB Interview from the respective websites of Army, Navy and Air Force.

CDS Written Exam

The written exam of Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Air Force Academy (AFA) comprises three sections. The exam for OTA comprises two sections. The total marks for admission to IMA, INA and AFA carries 300 marks while it is 200 for admission to OTA.

Also Read:

CDS exam pattern

CDS syllabus

CDS Result

CDS result for written exam is declared online. The roll numbers of qualified candidates are made available in PDF. Those qualifying the written exam are called for SSB Interview. 

SSB Interview

The SSB procedure consists of two-stage Selection process-stage I and stage II. Only those candidates who clear the stage I are permitted to appear for stage II.

Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT). Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference.

Also Read: How to Crack CDS SSB Interview?

Final Selection

The candidates will be placed in the order of merit on the basis of the total marks secured by them in the written examination and in the SSB tests. The final selection will be made in order of merit subject to medical fitness and the number of available vacancies.

Q:   What is the difference between CDS result and SSB interview?

A:
CDSE (Combined Defence Services Examination) is a written exam conducted by UPSC for the recruitment to the IMA, INA, AFA, and OTA. The written exam is followed by an interview by the Service Selection Board (SSB). The SSB interview is a five day long personality and intelligence assessment test conducted by the SSB for candidates who have qualified in the written exam. The SSB interview is conducted in two stages and includes various tests such as psychological tests, group tasks, Personal Interview and outdoor activities. The main objective of the SSB interview is to assess the suitability of the candidate for a career in a defence forces. In summary, CDS result refers to the outcome of the written exam, while the SSB interview is the second stage of the selection process for the candidates who have qualified in the written exam. The SSB interview is a comprehensive assessment of candidate's personality, intelligence and suitability for career in the defence forces.
 

Q:   What are the stages of CDS selection process?

A:
The selection process for the CDS (Combined Defence Services) exam consists of three stages: Written Exam: The first stage of the selection process is a written exam consisting of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) on English General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. The exam is conducted in an offline mode and carries a total of 100 marks for each subject. SSB Interview: Candidates who clear the written exam are called for the Services Selection Board (SSB) interview. The SSB interview consists of a series of tests such as Intelligence and Personality Test, Group Testing Officers (GTO) Tasks, and Personal Interview . The SSB interview is conducted over a period of five days and carries a total of 300 marks. Medical Examination: Candidates who clear the SSB interview are called for a medical examination to ensure that they meet the required physical standards for the respective defense services. The medical examination includes a thorough physical and medical examination by a board of medical officers. On the basis of the performance of the candidates in the written exam, SSB interview, and medical examination, the final merit list is prepared, and candidates are selected for admission to the respective defense academies. Therefore, candidates who wish to join the Indian Army, Navy, or Air Force through the CDS exam should prepare well and perform their best in all the stages of the selection process to increase their chances of selection.
 

Q:   In how many stages SSB interview for CDS exam is conducted?

A:
The SSB (Services Selection Board) interview for the CDS (Combined Defence Services) exam is conducted in two stages: Stage 1: The first stage of the SSB interview consists of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) Tests and Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT). The OIR tests are conducted to assess the candidate's verbal and non-verbal intelligence, while the PPDT is a test of the candidate's ability to perceive and describe a given picture. Candidates who clear the Stage 1 are selected for Stage 2. Stage 2: The second stage of the SSB interview consists of a series of tests, including Psychological Tests, Group Testing Officers (GTO) Tasks, and Personal Interview . The psychological tests include tests such as Thematic Perception Test (TAT), Word Association Test (What), and Situation Reaction Test (SRT). The GTO tasks include group discussion, group planning exercise, and outdoor group tasks. The Personal Interview is conducted by a board of officers to assess the candidate's personality and suitability for the respective defense service. The SSB interview is conducted over a period of five days, and each test carries a certain weightage in the final selection process. Candidates are required to perform well in all the tests to increase their chances of selection. Therefore, candidates who clear the CDS written exam should prepare well for the SSB interview and perform their best in all the stages of the interview to increase their chances of selection for admission to the respective defense academies.
 

CDS Selection Process: Written Exam

The first stage of CDS 2024 selection process is the written test which includes three papers-English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics for admission in IMA, INA and AFA

  • For admission to Officers' Training Academy, candidates have to appear for two papers only-English and General Knowledge
  • CDS written exam is objective in nature and time allotted to each paper is two hours
  • Candidates who will qualify the written exam will become eligible for the second stage of the CDS selection process, i.e. interview

CDS Selection Process: SSB Interview

The second stage of CDS selection process is the SSB interview:

  • CDS Interview is a five-day process and is held in two stages
  • Candidates are judged physically, mentally and psychologically 
  • Candidates need to clear stage 1 inorder to be shortlisted for stage 2
  • The Officer Intelligence Rating & Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT) is a one-day programme. Candidates are scrutinsed based on verbal and non-verbal abilities

Check below the details related to Officer Intelligence Rating and PPDT:

Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR)

The Officer Intelligence Rating test is the first part of Stage 2 of SSB Interview. The test comprises two sections- Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning. 

Verbal Reasoning Section

A total of 50 questions are asked from the Verbal Ability Reasoning section in the OIR test. Candidates will be given 30 minutes to complete the test and then proceed to the Non-Verbal Reasoning Section.

Non-Verbal Reasoning Section

In this section, candidates are asked to attempt 50 questions within 25 to 30 minutes.

Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT)

This section assesses the candidate's memory retention along with the abilities to comprehend situations. Candidates are given only 30 seconds to observe a hazy picture and expound on it within three minutes. Within this time frame, candidates have to focus on the following parameters:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Mood
  • Character
  • Past (what happened in the picture situation just before the click)
  • Present (what events currently take place)
  • Future (what will happen next in the picture)

Q:   What is the duration of CDS interview process?

A:
The duration of the CDS interview process varies depending on various factors. Including number of candidates appearing for the interview, the number of interviewing officers, and the time taken for evaluation of each candidate. Generally, the interview process takes place over a period of four to five days, with each candidate being called in batches. Each candidate have to appear before a panel of officers for the Personal Interview and the psychological aptitude test, which usually lasts for 30 to 40 minutes.
 

Q:   Does CDS have Physical Test?

A:

Yes, the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam have physical test in the selection process. A lot of candidates are rejected after the physical test as they were not physically sound. The candiatesneed to clear the written, mental, physical test and a interview in order to get enrolled for the Indian Armed Forces Academies. The candidates are advised to take the physical and medical test prior filling out the CDS application form.  

 

Q:   What is the exam pattern for OTA CDS exam?

A:
The OTA (Officer's Training Academy) CDS exam pattern is similar to the CDS exam pattern for the other academies, with a few differences. The OTA CDS exam is conducted in two stages: a written exam which is followed by an interview. The written exam consists of two papers: a) English This paper is of two hours duration and consists of objective-type questions designed to test the candidate's understanding of English grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and usage. B) General Knowledge: This paper is also of 2 hours duration and consists of objective type questions on various topics such as Current Affairs history, geography, economics, and general Science. It is important to note that there is no Elementary Mathematics paper for the OTA CDS exam Also, the OTA CDS exam is conducted only for the candidates who have applied for Short Service Commission (Non-Technical) course. The interview for the OTA CDS exam is similar to that of the other CDS academies and includes a Psychological Aptitude Test and a Personal Interview.
 

CDS SSB Interview Schedule

The SSB interview schedule for the CDS exam is given below.

Dates Events

Day 1

Reporting, Filling of forms, Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT)

Day 2

Psychological Test- This includes TAT (Thematic Appreciation Test), WAT (Word Association Test), SRT (Situation Reaction Test). SD (Self- Description)

Day 3

The most important leg of CDS Interview is Group Tasks wherein candidates have to prove their physical as well as mental prowess. Also, Officer Like Qualities are judged on the basis of these tasks. The tasks allotted to candidates include Group Discussion, Military Planning Exercise, Progressive Group Task, Group Obstacle Race, Half Group Task

Day 4

Individual Obstacle Task (IOT), Command Task, Final Group Task (FGT), Personal Interview and Individual Lecturette

Day 5

Conference and Document Verification

Note: If the candidates do not get their interview call letter before the CDS interview then the candidates are advised to contact the exam authority as soon as possible or they will not be allowed in the CDS interview. The contact details for the CDS exam authority has been given below for the ease of the candidates:

Army HQ/Rtg. (CDSE Entry/ SSC Women Entry for Officers Training Academy)

175, West Block-III,

Ramakrishnapuram, New Delhi- 110066

OR contact on telephone No. 26176028

The candidates appearing for the CDS Air force and Navy Interview they will have to contact the Air Force Head Quater. 

What after CDS Final Selection?

On successful commissioning, the stipend given to Gentlemen or Lady Cadets during the entire duration of training in service academies at IMA and OTA is INR 56,100. At the Indian Military Academy, candidates are given military training for a period of 18 months. On successful completion of training, Gentlemen Cadets are granted Permanent Commission in the rank of Lt. subject to medical fitness. Candidates joining INA will be under probation till the completion of initial training.  The cadets are commissioned in the rank of Sub-Lieutenant after successful completion of approximately 18 months of training. The approximate duration of training for Flying Branch (Pilots) at the Air Force Academy is 74 weeks.

Also Read: CDS Salary

Q:   What should be the next step after clearing CDS exam?

A:
Hi Gaurav, The next step after clearing the CDS examination is to prepare for SSB (Service Selection Board). The Ministry of Defense undertakes the SSB Interview to evaluate prospective candidates for recruitment in the Army, Navy and Air Force. The benchmarks on which the candidates are assessed include intelligence, personality, compatibility, and potential. Hence, mental preparation holds prominence over physical preparation, although physical fitness will be an added advantage. The five-day personality and intelligence test schedule is as under: Day 1: Basic Intelligence Test Day 2: Psychological Test Day 3 & Day 4: The Group Testing Officers (GTO) Activities Day 5: Conference A personal interview (PI) can be taken on any day between second to fourth days.
 

Q:   What is the pay scale in CDS?

A:
The pay scale for CDS officers varies depending on their rank and position. Generally, the pay scale for CDS officers is quite competitive and includes various allowances and benefits. For example, the starting pay for a Lieutenant in the Indian Army is around Rs. 56,100 per month. This includes basic pay, Military Service Pay, and other allowances such as Dearness Allowance, Kit Maintenance Allowance, and Field Area Allowance. The pay scales for higher ranks such as Captain, Major, and Lieutenant Colonel are higher, and officers may also receive promotions and increments based on their performance and years of service. It's important to note that the pay scale and other benefits may vary depending on the academy or service for which the officer is recruited, as well as their rank and position.
 

Q:   What is the difference between NDA and CDS exams?

A:
Though both are defence exams, there are many similarities and differences in the recruitment process, exam pattern, training, salary, perks, promotion, eligibility, etc. NDA is conducted for candidates who wish to join the defence services after Class 12. CDS is the exam conducted for the graduate candidates for training at Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Air Force Academy (AFA), Officers Training Academy (OTA) and Indian Naval Academy (INA). NDA exam is conducted for Class 12 pass candidates. Whereas, CDS exam is conducted for graduate-level candidates. NDA exam carries two subjects-GAT and Maths. CDS exam carries three papers-Maths, English and GK. English and GK section is conducted for OTA, IMA, INA and AFA. Maths paper is conducted for IMA, INA and AFA. The total marks allotted to the written exam of NDA is 900 whereas it is 300 for CDS.
 

CDS Selection Process 2024 FAQs

Refer CDS Selection Process 2024 FAQs Here 

Q:   What are the perks for CDS officers?

A:
The Combined Defence Services is one of the most challenging but respectable careers to aspire to. CDS officers get many perks, which include the following: 1. Salary: The officers get a fixed stipend during training, which is Rs. 56,100 per month. After commissioning into the respective services, the officers get a salary as per their rank. 2. Allowances: Officers get many additional allowances such as Dearness Allowance, Uniform Allowance, High Altitude Allowance and Children education allowance etc. 3. Ration: In field areas, defence officers get a free ration, and in peace areas they get a Ration Money Allowance (RMA). 4. Other perks: Officers as well as their family members get facilities such as medical facilities, canteen facilities, and accommodation on concessional rent.
 

Q:   What are the educational criteria to apply for CDS exam?

A:
The candidates who wants to appear for the CDS exam must fulfill the eligibility criteria of the CDS exam. The candidates who did not fulfill the eligibility criteria of the CDS exam will not be allowed to fill out the application for the CDS exam. The educational criteria for the CDS exam have been given below for the candidates Indian Military Academy: Graduation Degree Indian Naval Academy: B.E and B.Tech (Intermediate with Physics and Maths Air Force Academy: Graduation, B.E and B.Tech (Intermediate with Physics and Maths Officers Training Academy (Men): Graduation Degree Officers Training Academy (Women): Graduation Degree.
 

Q:   Can girls apply for CDS exam?

A:
Yes, girls can apply for CDS exam. They are considered for OTA and are allotted to SSC (Short Service Commission) in the non-technical cadre. The SSC ends after 10 to 14 years of service. Further, the commissioned girls can apply for the permanent service after the approval of the board. The girls cannot be admitted in IMA, INA, and AFA through CDS exam. Though, the candidates can apply for the Indian Air Force as pilot or ground duty officers through the AFCAT exam.
 

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CDS Exam

Student Forum

chatAnything you would want to ask experts?
Write here...

Answered a week ago

The medical standard fixed for CDS  including eyesight i.e., - for a male candidates the minimum acceptable visual acuity are distant Vision (corrected) better eye 6/6 and worse eye 6/18 and for women candidates the minimum acceptable visual acuity are distant Vision (corrected) better eye 6/6, wors

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S

Supriya Rani

Beginner-Level 3

Answered a week ago

Exam preparation for the National Defense Academy (NDA) and Combined Defence Services (CDS) SSB (Services Selection Board) necessitates a thorough strategy that includes comprehension of the exam structure, concentrated study, and both mental and physical preparation.  Regular exercise, running, and

...more

N

Nishtala vks Gayatri

Beginner-Level 5

Answered a month ago

AFCAT exam means Air Force Common Admission Test. This exam is taken to select candidates for admission in Flying and Ground Duty (Technical and Non-Technical) branches in Indian Air Force. AFCAT exam is conducted by Indian Air Force. CDS exam is conducted for candidates who wish to make their caree

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A

Anangsha Patra

Contributor-Level 10

Answered a month ago

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) application form was released on the official website on May 15, 2024. The candidates can able to apply for the CDS 2 exam from May 15, 2024 to June 4, 2024. The candidates can aply for the exam by following the steps given below:

  • Go to the official website- upscon

...more

D

Dewesh Nandan Prasad

Contributor-Level 10

Answered a month ago

The candidates can check the expected CDS 1 expected cut off below in the table:

CDS Written Exam Expected Cut Off 2024
CDS 1 Expected Cutoff 2024CDS 1 Written ExamCDS 1 Final Cutoff 
CDS Cut off AFA135-140260-270
CDS Cut off IMA110-120240-250
CDS Cut off INA108-115230-240
CDS Cut off OTS (female)90-95160-165
CDS Cut off OTS (male)90-94165-170

D

Dewesh Nandan Prasad

Contributor-Level 10

Answered a month ago

The candidates can download the CDS 1 2024 result by following the steps given below:

  • Go to the official website 
  • Click on the CDS 1 Written exam result link 
  • The CDS 1 Result PDF link will appear on the screen 
  • Click on the CDS 1 Result PDF link 
  • The UPSC CDS result PDF will appear on the screen 
  • Check t

...more

D

Dewesh Nandan Prasad

Contributor-Level 10

Answered a month ago

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) released the UPSC CDS 1 Result 2024 for the exam conducted on April 21, 2024 on May 9, 2024. The candidates can download the CDS result as a PDF from the official website-upsc.gov.in. The candidates need not log in to their registrered accounts to download

...more

D

Dewesh Nandan Prasad

Contributor-Level 10

Answered a month ago

Follow the below list of age limits for the 2024UPSC CDS exam:

Indian Military Academy (IMA): In Indian Milatary Academy the condiate should be born between 2nd Jan 2001 to 1st Jan 2006. Also in Indian Naval Academy the same criteria is applied.

Air Force Academy: The candidates who has an age between

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T

Tathagata Patra

Beginner-Level 5

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