UPSC CDS Exam Pattern Marking Scheme for All Posts

UPSC Exam Pattern PDF Download CDS Exam Pattern for IMA OTA

Combined Defense Service CDS Exam is conducted by Union Public Service UPSC every year. Huge number of aspirants fills up the forms to get admissions in IMA, NA, OTA and AFA. As you all know by this time CDS is the one of the biggest exam in India. Male candidates can join Indian Military Academy, Navy, and Air force but for Female candidates OTA in army is available. After giving the examination, candidates who clear is eligible for the SSB interview. This article is all about the CDS Exam Pattern so read all the sections carefully.

CDS Written Test Pattern

Well exam question paper consists of objective type questions and divided in three sections English, General Awareness and Mathematics. Each of the paper contains 100 marks and total of 300 marks. Every section consists of 120 questions in which 2 hours duration is given and in between 1 hours break is given. If any candidate gives any incorrect answers there will be negative marking of 1/3 which will be deducted from your score. From this we can conclude that 0.33 is negative marking and 0.8 marks will be rewarded for every correct answer.


Candidates who are thinking to apply in CDS OTA exam are looking for the exam pattern, its consists of two section English and General Awareness.

CDS Exam Pattern for OTA

Paper Subject Name Time Duration Maximum Marks
I English 2 Hours (120 Min) 100
II General Knowledge 2 Hours (120 Min) 100
                                               Total 200


Now we are explaining CDS Exam Pattern for IMA, NA, and AFA

Paper Subject Duration Maximum Marks
I English 2 Hours 100
II General Knowledge 2 Hours 100
III Elementary Mathematics 2 Hours 100
                                               Total Marks 300

AFCAT Preparation Material

AFCAT Exam Pattern & Syllabus  AFCAT Preparation Best Books
AFCAT Preparation Tips  AFCAT Sample Papers
AFCAT Full Eligibility Details AFCAT Study Material
AFCAT Previous Papers

UPSC Previous Year Question Papers DOWNLOAD


Well we have provided you all the details regarding the UPSC CDS examination pattern. Hope you get an idea that how question paper will be formulated and time duration given. We suggest that to keep on trying and practicing every day. If you need any kind of help them just comment in the section given below and do not forget to Subscribe Us to get all the latest notification regarding CDS and exam related to defence services. Follow or connect us on FB for more interaction with you.

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  1. Hi Sir,
    Is GK and English Paper common for all posts.

    1. Hi Sujit,
      Yes, the marking for english and GK is same for all posts.

      1. Do we have physics chemistry and biology in gk for OTA??

        1. Hi Ankit,
          There are no specific questions for Physics, Chemistry & Biology but the candidates can be asked general sense queries.

    2. diwakar mamidisetty


  2. i want to know that if i am preparing for cds ota then the english and general knowledge section for bota ota and cds air force, navy will be same or the aspirants of OTA have to give different paper

    1. Hi Himadri,
      The GK & English paper is same for all posts. Only mathematics paper differs which is NOT given by OTA candidates only.

  3. I m doing BCA . N want to join army after this . Plz tell me I m eligible for army to give exams .

    1. Hi Arati,
      You are eligible to give the CDS paper in the last year of your degree course. Please check the CDS ELigibility details at-

  4. wat is the age limit for OTA exam?

    1. Hi Mohita,
      Full Details for CDS Exam Eligibility can be checked at-

  5. hi..
    all 3 papers in same day???

  6. Sir , i m preparing for cds OTA . .can u please guide me regarding to books . .which book is to follow specially for english

  7. Is there any negative marking in upsc cds and if yes then at what criteria

  8. Hii….
    i’m roshan,doing my last year. my question is that can a male candidate eligible for OTA exam or not???
    plzzz rply

  9. can a male candidate eligible for OTA???

  10. can a male candidate apply 4 OTA?

    1. Yes Roshan,
      You can apply for OTA but please keep it as last option.

  11. sir,which book is best to crack CDS ?

  12. Hi
    my graduation exam is complete but result is not declared but I want to apply for CDS (2) exam for ota.
    am I eligible for this exam???

  13. can you upload the previous year cut-offs? Want to see the general trend.
    is it available in the UPSC website ?

  14. Sir what is age limit of ota plz reply sir

  15. Hey Sir..i want to know..that how many attempts are provided for OTA..?

  16. Is there any presentage requirements in gradution for CDS?

    1. Hi Naman,
      The percentage criteria is not mentioned in CDS notification.

  17. Hi, I am Renu Kharwar. Please suggest me books for OTA preparation.

  18. being a male candidate can I give ota ?

    1. Hi Sumit,
      You can take up OTA, but keep it as last option

      1. Why ota should be given less priority

        1. Hi Asutosh,
          It can be because OTA is meant for females at priority.

  19. Hai sir,
    I know the books for preparing cds.but my question is how to know GENERAL KNOWLEDGE which one is helpful for that.

    1. Hi Kannan,
      General Knowledge does not include any of fixed topics, it is totally variable it is dependant on current affairs, new events, important dates etc. So, you need to be updated with the current knowledge ongoing around you.

  20. Can you please tell me minimum qualify marks in each subject.

    1. Hi Rahul,
      There is no as such criteria for each section, overall cut off will matter.

  21. I m going to attempt ota first time plz suggest me about prepration.

    1. Hi Chetna,
      You can check the preparation material which is sent to your ID.

  22. dear Abhi sir….
    every section me se kitne questions puchte h….mens history me kitne… geography me kitne plz tell me
    only GK and Maths me

    1. Hi Lalit,
      You can check the full exam scheme from above and refer it for your exam preparation.

  23. sir can I apply only for ota

    1. Yes Mohit,
      You can apply for it but it can be of least priority for you.

  24. I have a dought about exam type I,e is this online exam or offline (paper)exam

    1. Hi,
      This is online exam.

  25. Hello sir
    As im giving OTA for womens non tech.will it b for indian army only or i can attempt for all the three forces

    1. Hi Priya,
      You can only attempt for OTA.

  26. Hi sir, mujhe iska individually portion wise jankari kha se milegi

    1. Hi Ajay,
      You can check the exam scheme in detail from above.

  27. I want to know that… For every right answer how much marks will be rewarded in ota

    1. Hi Rahul,
      The marking scheme as per question is not defined by UPSC, normally it is 1 mark for each.

  28. I want to ask you that 5 days SSB is also for OTA womens candidates.

  29. Hlo sir,
    I am preparing final year then can I apply cds. And ota is only for women.

  30. hello can you give me the link for previous cds(ota) exam question paper and for both g.k and english?

  31. My preference was given to IMA and OTA at the time of applying form . So i want to know is that can I write the exam for only OTA paper ie English and general knowledge

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