November 19, 2019
Education Keeda

CDS 2019 Exam Pattern, Marking Scheme and Syllabus


CDS Exam Pattern: The competitive exam comprises of two stages viz:

  • Written Exam
  • Interview for intelligence and personality test

Check CDS Exam Syllabus

Latest: UPSC has scheduled CDS 2019 (Session 1) for February 3, 2019. Know more

The subjects of CDS written exam, the time allowed and the maximum marks allotted to each subject is tabulated below: 

For Indian Military, Indian Naval and Air Force Academy
SubjectDurationMax. Marks
English2 hours100
General Knowledge2 hours100
Elementary Mathematics2 hours100
For Officers’ Training Academy
SubjectDurationMax. Marks
English2 hours100
General Knowledge2 hours100

Check OTA Exam Pattern, Syllabus and Books

Highlights of CDS Exam Pattern

Mode of ExamOffline only (Pen and paper mode)
Number of Questions asked300 MCQ Type
Number of questions in OTA200 MCQ Type
Maximum Marks300 and 200 (OTA)
Duration of Exam2 hours (120 minutes) for each paper
MediumHindi or English
Negative markingOne third mark deducted for every incorrect response

CDS Exam Pattern in Detail

Mode of Exam: Offline i.e. candidates will be allocated an OMR sheet wherein they must color the appropriate response. 

Type of Questions: Objective Type i.e. each question will have four options. A candidate must choose the most appropriate response.

Medium of Exam: Bilingual in Hindi as well as English

Standard of Questions: Given below is the expected standard of each section in CDS Exam:

  • The standard of the papers in Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level. The standard of papers in other subjects will approximately be such as may be expected of a graduate of an Indian University.
  • English: The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.
  • General Knowledge: 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 History of India and Geography of a nature which candidate should be able to answer without special study.

Other Facts:

  • Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. In no circumstances will they be allowed the help of a scribe to write answers for them.
  • The Commission has the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects of the examination.
  • The candidates are not permitted to use a calculator for answering objective type papers (Test Booklets). They should not, therefore, bring the same inside the Examination Hall.
  • Those who qualify in the written test are called for the second stage i.e., Intelligence and Personality Test. 
  • The maximum marks allotted to the written examination and to the interviews will be equal for each course i.e. the maximum marks allotted to the written examination and to the interviews will be 300, 300, 300 and 200 each for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Officers’ Training Academy respectively.

CDS Marking Scheme

Negative marking is applicable for every wrong marked answer. In CDS paper, each question carries 4 options and out of which only 1 option is correct. For each incorrect answer, 1/3 of the marks will be deducted. More than one option marked is treated as incorrect. However, if a question is left unanswered there will be no negative marking.

The following table explains the detailed marking scheme of the exam.

CDS PaperEnglishGKMathematics
Maximum Marks100100100
Marks for Correct answer+1 marks for each correct option+1 marks for each correct option+1 marks for each correct option
Negative marking-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer

Check CDS II Preparation Tips

The following table shows Marking scheme for 2019 OTA (Officers Training Academy):

CDS PaperEnglishGK
Maximum Marks100100
Marks for Correct answer+1 marks for each correct option+1 marks for each correct option
Negative marking-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer

Distribution of Questions

Equal weightage is given to all the sections- GK, Mathematics and English.

PaperNumber of questions

The selection of the candidates is on the basis of marks scored in the interviews. Total marks for interview for Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy is 300 marks, whereas 200 marks are allotted for interview for OTA.

CDS Intelligence and Personality Test Pattern

SSB interview will be the 2nd part of the selection procedure. SSB Interview will contain two stages i.e. Stage 1 and Stage 2. Candidates qualify the stage 1 exam will be called for stage 2. 

Stage 1: It is an OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating) Test which contains Picture Perception and Description Test (PP & DT). Candidates will be shortlisted as per their performance in OIR test and PP and DT.

Stage 2: Candidates passing stage 1 will be called for this stageThis part consists of Group Testing Officer Tasks, Interview, Conference and Psychology Test. These tests are organized in four days.

Prepare better with CDS II Practice Papers

CDS Syllabus for English

English question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English language. As per previous year analysis, following are the important topics asked in English paper.

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Sentence Improvement20Easy
Reading Comprehension23 (5 passages)Easy to Moderate
One Word Substitution5Moderate
Para-Jumble10Easy to Moderate
Spot the Error20Easy
Cloze Test20Easy

Recommended Books 

CDS Exam Preparation English books are mentioned below:

Name of the BookAuthorISBN
Objective EnglishS.P. Bakshi978-9351768449
Quick Learning objective EnglishR.S. Aggarwal978-8121922111

CDS Syllabus for General Knowledge

For GK paper, candidates can cover the following topics:

  • Latest Current Affairs
  • Indian Constitution
  • Indian History
  • Religions
  • Indian Economy
  • Indian Geography
  • Sports, Awards, etc
  • Indian Politics
  • Indian Navy & Military
  • Books & Authors

As per previous year analysis following are the important topics for GK paper:

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Science27Easy (Concept based questions)
Geography22Moderate (Analytical based questions)
Ecology06Moderate (Fact based questions)
Polity20Easy to Moderate
Economy/Trade11Moderate (Fact based questions)
Miscellaneous /Armed Forces15Moderate (Fact based questions)

Preparation Books 

CDS does not have a well-structured syllabus for General Knowledge so a thorough study is needed for GK paper. The following books can be followed to study for GK paper.

Name of the BookISBN
Manorama Yearbook 2017 (English) 50th EditionASIN: B00O1N77HG
Lucent’s General KnowledgeISBN-10: 8192933563

CDS Syllabus for Elementary Mathematics

Mathematics paper covers topics from diverse topics. Following are the topic covered in CDS 2019 Mathematics paper.

  • Arithmetic
  • Number System
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration

In the following table, previous year paper analysis of mathematics paper is mentioned.

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Algebra7Easy to Moderate
Mean-Median-Mode (Frequency Distribution Table)4Easy
Time speed and Distance6Easy
Number System20Easy to Moderate
Simple interest/Compound interest5Easy
Time and Work3Easy
Trigonometry14Moderate to Difficult
Set Theory1Easy
Geometry20Easy to Moderate

Recommended Books 

Candidates can follow the NCERT books to clear the basics but for competitive exam level mathematics, you need a book on quantitative aptitude to learn and practice advanced concepts.

List of Mathematics books is as follows:

Name of the BookAuthorISBN
Quantitative AptitudeDr. R.S. AggarwalB01MCU1JSH (ASIN)
Quicker MathematicsM. Tyra978-8190458924
Quantitative Aptitude Numerical Ability: Fully Solved 7000 + Objective QuestionsKiran ParkashanB00U241N14 (ASIN)

Instructions to Fill CDS Answer Sheet

Candidates are advised to follow the instructions to fill OMR sheet very carefully as the answer sheets are to be evaluated on the machine and any violation of these instructions may result in the reduction of scores. Before marking responses on the Answer Sheet, aspirants have to fill in various particulars in it.

After receiving CDS 2019 Answer Sheet, candidates have to check that it is numbered at the bottom. If it is un-numbered, it has to be replaced by a numbered one. The top of the answer sheet will have the particulars shown in the figure below.


The following points should be kept in mind while filling CDS answer sheet:

  • Write with black ball pen only.
  • The test Booklet Series will be indicated by Alphabets A, B, C or D at the top right-hand corner of the Booklet.
  • Find out the appropriate subject code from the test booklet. Thereafter, encode the test booklet series, subject code and the roll number by using black pen.
  • Write and encode test booklet series after receiving the Test Booklet. For example, for English paper of ‘A’ Test Booklet Series you have to encode the subject code, which is 01 as shown below:
  • In the next step, you have to encode the Roll No. An example to encode the Roll Number is shown below.
  • Candidates have to make sure that they have carefully encoded their subject Test Booklet series and Roll Number.
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