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CDS Syllabus 2020: Check Detailed CDS Syllabus and Exam Pattern

CDS Syllabus: Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination twice a year for the recruitment of candidates for the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Officers Training Academy (OTA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Indian Air Force Academy (AFA). Lakhs of candidates from all over the country apply for the recruitment. In order to clear the exam with flying colors candidates must have all the information regarding the CDS exam pattern and CDS Syllabus. Candidates preparing for the CDS recruitment exam 2020 can check the detailed subject-wise syllabus and exam pattern of the UPSC CDS exam 2020 below.

CDS Syllabus 2020

The CDS syllabus 2020 is divided into three subjects: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. The syllabus standard for Elementary Mathematics will be of matriculation level and other subjects it will be of graduation level. The detailed syllabus of the CDS Exam 2020 has been provided below.

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  • English Language

The questions in this section have been designed to check the appearing candidate’s understanding of the English language. Questions in this section are majorly asked from the topics provided below:

Subject Topics
  • Spotting Errors Questions
  • Sentence Arrangement Questions
  • Synonyms & Antonyms
  • Selecting Words
  • Ordering of Sentence
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Ordering of words in a sentence
  • Fill in the blanks questions
  • Idioms and Phrases
  •  General Knowledge

General Knowledge is a vital component CDS Syllabus of recruitment exam tests a candidate’s knowledge regarding the current events. The paper includes questions on the History of India and Geography of nature. Topics that candidates must prepare in the General Knowledge section have been given below.

Subject Topics
General knowledge
  • Economics
  • Physics
  • Current Affairs
  • Politics
  • Chemistry
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Defence-related Award
  • Geography
  • Environment
  • Sport
  • Biology
  • Cultural
  • Book
  • Statement
  • true/false
  • Elementary Mathematics

Questions in Elementary Mathematics are asked from Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration and Statistics. Candidates preparing for OTA don’t have to prepare this subject.

Subject Topic
Elementary Mathematics Algebra
  • 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
  • Number System: Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers.
  • Fundamental operations: addition, substraction, 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. Factorisation Theorem
  • H.C.F. and L.C.M.
  • Euclidean algorithm
  • Logarithms to base 10
  • laws of logarithms
  • use of logarithmic tables
  • Sine ×, cosine ×, Tangent × when 0° < × < 90°
  • Values of sin ×, cos × and tan ×, for ×= 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 Properties of angles at a point
  • Parallel lines
  • Sides and angles of a triangle
  • Congruency of triangles
  • Similar triangles
  • Concurrence of medians and altitudes
  • Properties of angles
  • sides and diagonals of a Parallelogram
  • rectangle and square
  • Circles and its properties including tangents and normals
  • 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 Recruitment 2020: Selection Process

CDS Selection Process comprises of two stages i.e. Written test and SSB Interview round.

  • The first stage includes the written exam, candidates have to attempt three papers in the written exam for selection in IMA, INA and AFA whereas OTA candidates have to attempt only 2 papers.
  • In the second stage, candidates have to appear for an Interview which will test their intelligence, personality and psychological aptitude. In order to be eligible for CDS 2020, the candidates have to qualify both stage 1 and stage 2.

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CDS Syllabus 2020: Exam Pattern

  • For IMA, INA, AFA: The written exam for IMA, INA and AFA comprises of three sections: English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. The total exam duration for IMA, INA and AFA is 6 hours (each section is for 2 hours). Total marks of the test for IMA, INA and AFA are 300
Subject No. of MCQs Marks Time
General Knowledge 120 100 120 minutes
English Language 120 100 120 minutes
Elementary Mathematics 100 100 120 minutes
  • CDS Exam Pattern for OTA: The written exam for OTA comprises of two sections: English, General Knowledge. The total exam duration for OTA  is 4 hours (each section is for 2 hours). Total marks of the test are 200 marks
Subject No. of MCQs Marks Time
General Knowledge 120 100 120 minutes
English Language 120 100 120 minutes

Marking Scheme 

  • Each question in the CDS exam 2020 carries 4 options, out of the 4 options only one option will be correct
  • For every incorrect answer, 1/3 marks will be deducted.
  • Candidates marking more than one option will be treated as incorrect
  • No negative marking for the questions left unanswered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the syllabus of CDS?

Ans. The CDS syllabus 2020 is divided into three subjects: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. Check detailed UPSC CDS 2020 Syllabus for IMA, INA, AFA and OTA in this post.

Q. What is the selection process for UPSC CDS?

Ans. UPSC Conduct Two-Phased Selection Process To Shortlist Candidates. The Selection Process Comprises of Written Exam & SSB Interview.

Q. Are there negative marks for wrong answers in CDS Exam?

Ans. Yes, there is negative marking. 1/3 marks will be deducted for wrong answers.

Q. What is the duration of the CDS exam 2020?

Ans. Each section of the CDA exam is conducted for 2 hours.

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