UPSC CDS (Combined Defense Services ) exam is conducted twice a year. This exam is the requirement to get into the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Air Force Academy, and Officers Traning Academy. If you want to know all about the CDS exam then read the article till the end.

Things to Know about the UPSC CDS Exam

This exam takes place in two stages:

  1. Written Exam
  2. Interview for Intelligence and Personality test

The questions asked in the exam are multiple-choice. For every wrong answer, there is a penalty of ⅓ marks.

The scheme of the UPSC CSD exam is as followed:

Subject Duration Marks
English 2 Hours 100
General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 Hours 100

Note: The Candidates interested in Officers Training Academy (OTA) are only supposed to appear in English and General Knowledge.

UPSC CDS Syllabus

As now we have understood the paper pattern and marking scheme let us know to understand the Syllabus for CDS in detail.

CDS English Syllabus

The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.

CDS GK Syllabus

General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. The paper will also include questions on the History of India and Geography of nature which the candidate should be able to answer without special study.

Also Read: Examples of GK Questions Asked in 2020

CDS Elementary Mathematics Syllabus

Elementary Mathematics Syllabus contents are:

  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Statistics

Let’s understand the above contents in detail.


Number System—Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions. Unitary method, time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to 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. Factorization Theorem. H.C.F. and L.C.M. Euclidean algorithm. Logarithms to base 10, laws of logarithms, use of logarithmic tables.


Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M., Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, the relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered). Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—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.


Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90° Values of sin x, cos x and tan x, for x = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° Simple trigonometric identities. Use of trigonometric tables. Simple cases of heights and distances.


Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on

(i) Properties of angles at a point

(ii) Parallel lines

(iii) Sides and angles of a triangle

(iv) Congruence of triangles

(v) Similar triangles

(vi) Concurrence of medians and altitudes

(vii) Properties of angles, sides, and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle, and square

(viii) Circles and its properties including tangents and normals

(ix) Loci.


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.


Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts, etc. Measures of central tendency.

CDS GK Question Paper

Here are some previous year question papers for CDS GK.

For the year 2020:

  • CDS I General Knowledge 
  • CDS II is set to be on November 8, 2020

For the year 2019:

For the year 2018

For the year 2017

For the year 2016

CDS Question Paper

Here are question papers for English:

For the year 2020:

  • CDS-I English
  • UPSC CDS exam date for CDS-II is November 8, 2020

For the year 2019

For the year 2018

For the year 2017

For the Year 2016

H2-CDS Question Paper 

Here are the question papers for Elementry Mathematics 

For the year 2020

For the year 2019

For the year 2018

For the year 2017

For the year 2016

Also Read: Tips to Prepare GK for CDS in the Best Way


Combined Defense Services (CDS) is conducted by UPSC. The is conducted twice a year. UPSC CDS exam date for CDS II is November 8, 2020. The CDS exam takes place in two phases. The first paper is multiple-choice. The interview test takes palace in two stages, 1st is Officers Intelligence Test and 2nd is a personality test.

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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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