The CDSE - Combined Defence Services Examination is taken up by candidates who want to get recruited into the Officers Training Academy, Indian Military Academy, Indian Air Force Academy and Indian Naval Academy. The Union Public Service Commission o

  • Overview
  • Important Dates
  • Application Form
  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Exam Pattern
  • Others

The CDSE – Combined Defence Services Examination is taken up by candidates who want to get recruited into the Officers Training Academy, Indian Military Academy, Indian Air Force Academy and Indian Naval Academy. The Union Public Service Commission or UPSC conducts the CDS Examination twice a year. After an Interview session all the successful candidates get admission in their respective academies. CDSE is a written exam generally conducted in the month of February and August. So Aspirants those who want to choose a career in Defence can select this mode.

The UPSC releases the notification for CDS exam in the month of December and June. Both male and female fulfilling the age criterion can appear for this exam. Male candidates can apply for Army (Short Service/Permanent Commission in Non-Technical Field trained in Officers Training Academy/Indian Training Academy), Navy (Permanent Commission trained in Naval Academy), & Air Force (Permanent Commission trained in Air Force Academy). Female candidates can apply only for Army Short Service Commission in Non-Tech Field.

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Important Dates

The tentative dates for UPSC CDS examination I & II 2018 are given below:

Exam Events For CDS I For CDS II
Issuance of CDS admit card 3 weeks before the exam 3 weeks before the exam
Date of written examination 3rd February 2019 (Sunday) 8th September 2019 (Sunday)
Announcement of result March 2019 October 2019

Application Form

UPSC will make CDSE Application form available in online mode only. The candidates need to visit the official website of UPSC, No other mode of application will be available other than online mode. The steps that candidates need to follow are:

  • Candidates can use the official link of UPSC for online application.
  • Candidates must fill their application form with the required details.
  • Candidates have to upload a scanned copy of their photograph and signature.
  • After filling their application form, candidates must pay their application fee for successfully registering themselves. Candidates must pay their application fee through Net Banking/Cash.
  • Application fee for General & OBC Candidates is Rs. 200/-, for Female/SC/ST candidates is there is no provision for fee payment.


Eligibility Criteria

  1. Age Limit:

  • Indian Military Academy: 19-24 years.
  • Naval Academy: 19-22 years.
  • Air-Force Academy: 19-23 years.
  • Officer’s Training Academy: 19-25 years.
  1. Educational Qualification:

  • Candidates applying for Indian Military Academy & Officer’s Training Academy needs to have a degree or equivalent qualification from a recognized university.
  • Candidates applying for Naval Academy needs to have a B.Sc. degree with Mathematics & Physics or B.A degree with English.,
  • Candidates applying for Air Force Academy needs to have a B.Sc. degree with Mathematics and/or Physics or B.A English.
  1. Nationality:

  • Candidates must be Indian, or
  • A Subject of Nepal/Bhutan, or
  • A Tibetan refugee who migrated into India before 1st July, 1962 with a motive to become a permanent resident, or
  • A person of Indian origin who migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma & East African countries like Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam, Zaire & Ethiopia to become permanent resident of India.
  • Candidates belonging to 2, 3 and 4th category must have an Indian Government issued certificate.
  1. Marital Status

  • Unmarried candidates for Indian Military Academy.
  • Unmarried candidates for Indian Naval Academy.
  • Unmarried till 25 candidates for Air Force Academy.
  • Married/Unmarried candidates for Officers Training Academy. For Female Unmarried/Widowed
  1. Candidates must be physically and mentally fit.

Exam Pattern


(Objective type questions)

Indian Military Academy Naval Academy Air Force Academy Officer’s Training Academy
English 100  marks 100 marks 100 marks 100 marks
General Knowledge 100 marks 100 marks 100 marks 100 marks
Elementary Mathematics 100 marks 100 marks 100 marks           –
Total 300 marks 300 marks 300 marks 200 marks

The general marking scheme in the all sections for IMA, NA, AFA & OTA: Candidates score 3 marks for each correct answer while there is deduction of one mark for each incorrect answer.


The Cut-off marks vary for different academies. The examination authority fixes the cut-off marks depending on the score secured by the candidates in that particular year. It is the highest for Air Force. Candidates can refer to previous year’s cut-off marks and analyze themselves accordingly.

Selection Process

Selection of candidates is done on the basis of three stages, Written Exam, Personal Interview, Document verification & Medical Inspection of the candidates.

Written Examination: The candidates have to clear the first selection procedure of written examination to qualify for the next stage.

Personal Interview: Candidates those who qualify the first stage can appear for Personal Interview. This stage consists of different parts such as Group Discussion (GD), Group Activities and Interview.

Document Verification: Candidates successfully clearing stage 2 will move on to Stage 3. The candidates have to show the required documents to the selection authority for their authenticity verification.

Medical Inspection: The candidates clearing all the previous stages will move on to the final selection stage, i.e. Medical Inspection. Here the applicant’s physical and psychological fitness will be examined before the final short-listing of candidates.

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