UPSC CDS Exam Details and Benefits of Solving the Previous Year Papers

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Combined Defence Services Examination twice every year to recruit candidates in the Indian Naval Academy (INA), Officers Training Academy (OTA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), and Indian Air Force Academy (AFA). As it is a national-level exam, there are a lot of candidates that appear for this exam making it very competitive and tough to crack. The CDS exam is held in 2 stages. Written exam and an SSB interview.  

If you are planning to apply for the exam you must know the check the eligibility criteria before applying for the exam, so that your application does not get rejected in the future. In this article, we will discuss the CDS Exam Pattern so that you will have an overview of the exam. We will also look at the benefits of solving the CDS Previous Year question Papers further in this article.

UPSC CDS -Written Test Exam Pattern 2021

The written exam pattern slightly differs for military academies and officers training academies. But the questions asked in both the papers are objective type. The details of both papers are as follows:

A. UPSC CDS Exam Pattern for Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy, and Air Force Academy

There will be a total of three sections in this paper. GK, English, and Elementary Mathematics. Each section will be 100 marks and the time duration will be 2 hours.

SectionsTime (in hours)Marks
General Knowledge2100
English2100
Elementary Mathematics2100

B. UPSC CDS Exam Pattern for Officers’ Training Academy

The Elementary Mathematics section is not present in this exam. All other aspects like time and marks are the same as discussed in the previous paper.

SectionTime (in hours)Marks
General Knowledge2100
English2100

Marking Scheme for the CDS Exam

  • The questions will be of multiple-choice objective type having four alternatives as an answer to every question. For every wrong answer, there will be negative marks deducted of 1/3rd assigned to the question.
  • If two or more choices have been marked by the candidate as answers, it will be considered as incorrect and there will be a negative marking as discussed.
  • There will be no marks deducted in the case of any un-attempted questions.

The CDS marking scheme is explained in the tabular form below –

UPSC CDS Exam Details 2021English ExamMathematics General Knowledge 
Total marks100100100
Correct answer Marks+1 marks for every correct option+1 marks for every correct option+1 marks for every correct option
Negative marking Marks-0.33 marks for every wrong answer-0.33 marks for every wrong answer-0.33 marks for every wrong answer

CDS Exam – SSB Interview Exam Pattern

The Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview will have maximum marks of 300 for INA, IMA, and AFA. For OTA this stage will be held for 200 marks. The performance of the candidate will be judged by three officers – Psychologist, Interviewing Officer (IO), and Group Testing Officer (GTO). There will not be any individual marks for any stage in the interview, marks will be allotted based on the overall performance in all the interview stages collectively. The SSB Interview can be dived into two stages:

A. Stage1

  •  Picture Perception and Description Test (PP & DT)
  • Officer Intelligence Rating Test (OIR)

B. Stage 2

  • Interview
  • Psychology Tests
  • Group Testing Officer Tasks
  • Conference

This was the complete exam pattern of the CDS exam. Let us now look at the importance of solving the CDS Previous years papers while preparing for the exam.

Benefits of Solving the CDS Previous Year Papers During Your Exam Preparation

Practice is very important during exam preparation. Previous year papers are the most authentic sources to prepare for the exam and get to know the exam better. It will help you to boost your practice and overall preparation to score more marks in the CDS exam. Furthermore, your exam preparation will improve in the following ways –

  • You will have experience of solving exam-level questions with the help of these previous years.
  • You will become aware of your weaker or strong topics from the CDS syllabus.
  • You can get to know the progress of your exam preparation by checking your result and performance in these past year papers.
  • The past year’s papers will give you ample practice questions that can be asked in the actual exam.
  • You will practice questions of different difficulty levels and will learn to apply shortcut tricks and time management techniques.

These were some of the benefits of solving the past papers while preparing for the CDS exam. Make sure you make the most out of these past papers and get ample practice from them. With the help of the exam pattern and the syllabus for whichever post you wish to apply for, make a study plan to prepare for the exam at your learning pace. Start early and finish first for your exam preparation to stay ahead of the competition.  

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