Combined Defence Services

About CDS

The "Combined Defence Services" (CDS) Examination is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment into the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. The Notification for the examination is usually released in the months of October and June, and the examinations are conducted in February and November respectively. Only unmarried graduates are eligible to sit for the exam. Successful candidates are admitted into the respective Academies after an interview conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB).


Educational Qualification: (AS ON 01.07.2017)

Aspirants can check the important highlights of CDS eligibility criteria 2018 as given in the table below.


Applying candidate must either be

  • A citizen of India, or
  • A subject of Bhutan, or
  • A subject of Nepal, or
  • A Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1 July 1962 to permanently settle in India, or
  • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam to permanently settle in India. If a candidate belongs to categories 2, 3, 4, and 5, he must produce the certificate of eligibility that has been issued by the Government of India. Gorkha subjects of Nepal need not produce the certificate of eligibility.
  • Age Limits, Sex and Marital Status:

    For IMA Courses:

  • Male unmarried candidates not born before January 2, 2, 1995 and not after January 1, 2000.
  • For Indian Naval Academy:

  • Male unmarried candidates should not have been born before January 2, 1995 and not later than January 1, 2000 only are eligible.
  • For Air Force Academy:

  • Applicants should be in the age group of 20-24 years as on January 1, 2018 i.e. they should not have been born before January 2, 1994 and not later than January1, 1998. The Upper age limit of candidates holding valid and current commercial pilot license issued by DGCA (India) is relax able upto 26 years.
  • For Officers’ Training Academy:

  • (SSC Course for men) – Male candidates (married or unmarried) born not earlier than January 2, 1993 and not later than January 1, 1999 only are eligible.
  • For Officers’ Training Academy:

  • (SSC Women Non-Technical Course) Unmarried women, issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless divorces (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible. They should have been born not earlier than January 2, 1993 and not later than January 1, 1999.
  • Note: Date of Birth as mentioned on high school/secondary school certificates will be considered. Applicants will have to submit their birth certificate once the CDS result for written exam has been declared.

    Note: Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried. Marriage is not permitted during training. Married candidates above 25 years of age are eligible to 7 apply but during training period they will neither be provided married accommodation nor can they live with family out of the premises.

    Academic Qualification

    For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy:

  • Applicants should be a graduate in any discipline from any recognised university or equivalent.
  • For Indian Naval Academy:

  • Candidates should have a degree in Engineering from an Institution/University recognized by the central government.
  • For Air Force Academy:

  • Applicants need to have a graduation degree from any recognized university (with physics and mathematics compulsory at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.
  • For Officers Training Academy:

  • Graduation Degree in any disciplines recognised university or equivalent.
  • For Officers Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course):

  • Degree from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • Note:

    Candidates who are studying in the final year degree course can apply for the exam provided they will have to submit proof of passing the exam at the time of SSB test.

    Candidates having professional and technical qualifications can apply for the exam.

    Selection Process

    CDS Exam Selection Procedure consists of Four stages:

    Written Examination

    Personality Test/ Personal Interview

    Verification of the candidates

    Medical Examination of the selected candidates

    STEP 1: Written Examination

    The very first step in the selection procedure of CDS 2014 begins with candidates appearing for written examination which is conducted twice every year by UPSC.

    1. The candidate opting for IMA, INA and AFA are required to give three written subjects of the following subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • General Knowledge and
  • 2. The candidates appearing for Officers Training Academy will have to give written test of two subjects of the following:

  • Elementary Mathematics
  • General Knowledge
  • STEP 2: Interview/ Intelligence Test/ Personality Test

    The candidates who are selected in written test are called for 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.

  • 1. Stage I comprises of Officers Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception Description Test (P&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on combination of performance in QIR Test and PP and DT.
  • 2. Stage II comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officers Tasks, Psychology Tests and the conference. These testes are conducted over 4 days .
  • The personality of candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz. the interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist.
  • STEP 3: Document Verification:

    Document Verification will be conducted only after the candidate has qualified the SSB interview Following is the list of documents to be submitted for verification:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Academic Degrees (HSC, SSC, Graduation etc)
  • Certificate of Eligibility for certain candidates
  • Passport size photograph
  • Identity proof
  • Residence proof etc.
  • Category or cast certificate (SC, ST, OBC, PH etc)
  • STEP 4: Medical Examination

    The medical examination of all the shortlisted candidate is done as the authority wants to check whether the candidate is medically fit or not. Candidate recommended by the Services Selection Board will undergo a medical examination by a Board of Service Medical Officers.

  • A merit list of the candidates selected for Combined Defence Service is prepared after all the four steps above mentioned are followed