CDS 2021: Exam Date, Registration, Application Form, Eligibility


CDS 2021: Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam is popular national level recruitment exam through which eligible candidates can join Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Officers Training Academy. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the exam conducting authority which conducts the CDS exam twice in a year. CDS-I and CDS-II exam 2021 will be held in the month of February and September 2021. Aspirants must collect the complete information about the CDS exam before applying online. It requires a lot of hard work and practice for qualifying the CDS exam as the CDS exam is one of the toughest recruitment exams. Candidates must start preparation well in advance before the announcement of exam dates.

Aspirants who want to appear in CDS exam should go through various aspect of the exam such eligibility criteria, application process, examination scheme, and important dates etc. The CDS-I and CDS-II exams are likely to be held in the 1st week of February 2021 and 2nd week of September 2021 respectively. In this regard, applicants can check relevant information regarding CDS 2021 exam in this article below. 

CDS 2021 Exam Overview

Exam Name Combined Defence Service (CDS) 2021
Regulating  authority The UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)
Date of CDS-I 2021 Exam February 2021
Registration Mode Online
Commence of the registration process October 2020
Last date for applying online November 2020
Registration Fee

Rs.200/-(SC/ST and female candidates are exempted hence, they need not pay the application fee)

Mode of Payment Net Banking/ Debit Card/Credit Card of E-Challan
Release of Hall Ticket Two or three weeks before the date of exam
Nature of questions Objective Type Questions
Negative Marking

Yes, it is applicable. 1/3rd marks will be deducted as penalty for each wrong answer.

Do not forget to carry

Admit Card, Identity Proof, Blue/Black Ball Point Pen, Passport Size Photograph, Wrist Watch etc.

Never Carry

Cell Phone, Any Bluetooth Device, Calculator, Pagers/any electronic device inside the exam centre.

CDS 2021 Exam Dates

The candidates can check tentative dates of the CDS 2021 exam in the table below. 

Events Dates for CDS-I Dates for CDS-II
Official information brochure will be released October 2020 June 2021
Submission of online application form will begin from October 2020 June 2021
Last date for applying online November 2020 July 2021
Availability of admit card/hall ticket January 2021 August 2021
Exam date February 2021 September 2021
Declaration of Result March 2021 October 2021

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must verify their eligibility to appear in the entrance test. The prescribed CDS eligibility criteria are as under:


  • Candidates must be an Indian citizen, or
  • A subject of Bhutan/Nepal or
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1st, 1962 with an intention to settle here permanently, or
  • A person of Indian origin migrated from Burma, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & East African countries of Uganda, Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zaire & Ethiopia, Zambia or Vietnam with an intention to settle here permanently.
  • Candidates other than Indian citizen must obtain the certificate of eligibility from the concerned department of the Government of India. However, candidates belonging to Gorkha subjects of Nepal are exempted to produce the certificate of eligibility.

Age Limit and Marital Status

  • Indian Military Academy (IMA): Unmarried male candidates, born between 2nd January 1998 to 1st January 2003 are eligible.
  • Indian Naval Academy (INA): Unmarried male candidates, born between 2nd January 1998 to 1st January 2003 are eligible.
  • Air Force Academy (AFA): The age of the candidate must be within 20 to 24 years as on crucial date i.e. 1st January 2022. Therefore, candidates born between 2nd January 1998 and 1st January 2002 are eligible to apply. Upper age limit for the candidates having current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA is relaxed upto 26 years, hence, such candidates must be born between 2nd January 1996 to 1st January 2002.

Note: Candidates below the age of 25 years must be unmarried and marriage is not allowed during the training period.

  • For Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for Men): Unmarried male candidates, who are born between 2nd January 1997 to 1st January 2003 will be eligible to apply.
  • For Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-technical Course): Unmarried women, issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless divorcees (having possession of divorce document) who have not remarried are eligible to apply. Such candidates must be born between 2nd January 1997 and 1st January 2003.

Educational qualification

  • Indian Military Academy and Officers’ Training Academy– Candidates must possess a bachelor degree from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • Indian Naval Academy– Candidates having a bachelor degree in Engineering from a recognized university/Institution will be eligible for CDS exam.
  • Air Force Academy– Bachelor of Engineering or a graduation degree with Physics and Mathematics subjects at 10+2 level from a recognized institute/University.
  • Candidates appearing in the qualifying exam in the final semester/year of degree course will also be eligible provided that candidate should submit a provisional pass certificate during the interview or in the later stage of selection process.

Physical and Mental Standard

  • Apart from fulfilling the above-mentioned eligibility conditions, candidates should be physically and mentally fit and should fulfill all the physical standards prescribed for the CDS exam.

CDS Application Form

Candidates eligible as per the criteria mentioned above should apply online. The CDS application form will be available online at the official website of the UPSC. Interested candidates can apply as per the given schedule. Candidates should submit only one application at a time. The application form will consist of two parts i.e. Part-I and Part-II. Be careful while making entries in the application form. Candidates also need to upload scanned photograph and signature as per specification given. Pay the requisite application fee. Verify all entries in the application form then proceed for submitting the application form.

Application fee

  • Everyone must pay the application fee in order to submit the application form.
  • The CDS application fee is Rs.200/-
  • All female candidates and candidates belonging to reserved category are exempted to pay the application fee.
  • Applicants can pay fee through online mode i.e. via net banking, debit/credit card or bank challan.
  • The fee is non-refundable and any request to return the application fee will not be entertained.

CDS Exam Pattern 2021

The candidates are recommended to prepare as per the examination scheme and syllabus.  Check the following information with regard to CDS 2021 examination pattern:

  • The CDS exam will be conducted in offline mode i.e. Pen & Paper based mode.
  • Questions will be multiple choices in nature.
  • Questions paper will be available in both Hindi and English except English section.
  • The penalty of 1/3rd marks will be imposed on the wrong attempt as the negative marking is applicable.
  • The answer sheet must be clean and wrinkle-free.
  • Candidates are recommended to circle answer properly as the OMR sheets are checked by machines and improper marking of circle may not evaluate by the machine.

Exam Pattern for admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy:  

Subject Section Max Marks Test Duration
English 100 2 hours
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
Elementary Mathematics 100 2 hours

Exam Pattern for admission to officers’ Training Academy:   

Subject Section Max Marks Test Duration
English 100 2 hours
General Knowledge 100 2 hours

CDS Preparation Tips 2021

The aspirants should have a strategy to crack the CDS exam and in order to do so, one must make a preparation plan. There are a huge number of applicants participates in this exam as the Defence sector jobs attract the Indian Youth. Hence, everyone must focus on preparation and should set a goal of achieving a higher rank in the written exam as well as subsequent stages. Here candidates can check CDS 2021 preparation tips below:

  • First of all, the applicants must collect complete information about CDS selection process.
  • Candidates must be aware of the pattern of preliminary exam, main exam and group discussion etc.
  • Go through the CDS syllabus and understand the same in details.
  • Now prepare a study timetable assigning a sufficient time to different subject/topics.
  • Purchase some CDS Sample Paper books from the market and practice the same on regular basis.
  • Also, collect previous year exam question papers and solve them time to time and try to speed up practice.
  • Practicing previous year questions and sample papers will help you guys to understand the pattern of questions, difficulty level, and important topics etc.
  • You must take care of physical and mental health for better preparation.
  • We recommend candidates not to take preparation easy you must be focused and should understand that qualifying CDS exam is a hard nut to crack.

CDS Syllabus 2021

The Union Public Service Commission will publish syllabus of the exam through its CDS 2021 notification at the official website. Candidates can download the information brochure form the website. The syllabus will consist of various chapters from General Knowledge, Elementary Mathematics and English. Candidates recommended to start the preparation well in advance as per the prescribed syllabus.

CDS Admit Card 2021

  • The Commission will issue CDS admit card or hall ticket to the eligible candidates before the exam.
  • The admit card will be available on the official website of the UPSC prior to the examination.
  • Candidates can download the admit card with the help of registration ID and date of birth.
  • The competent authority will not send any hard copy of the admit card to any individual.
  • Must bring admit card along with identity proof on the day of the exam.

CDS Exam Centre

The UPSC has all the rights reserved to allot any test centre to the applicants. However, candidates can opt exam centre as per the preference during submission of the application form. Generally, the test centres are allotted on the basis of the choice filled by the candidates. No request for change of test centre will be entertained after submission of the application form. Hence, fill the exam centre preference very carefully. Check the test CDS centre details below:

Allahabad Aizawl Ahmedabad
Agartala Bareilly Bhopal
Bengaluru Chennai Chandigarh
Cuttack Delhi Dehradun
Dispur Dharwad Gangtok
Hyderabad Itanagar Imphal
Jaipur Jorhat Jammu
Kohima Kochi Kolkata
Lucknow Mumbai Madurai
Nagpur Patna Port Blair
Panaji (Goa) Raipur Ranchi
Sambalpur Shimla Shillong
Srinagar Tirupati Vishakhapatnam
Udaipur Thiruvananthapuram

CDS 2021 Answer Key

  • Candidates can find CDS 2021 answer keys on the official website of the UPSC after the commencement of exam.
  • Check official website time to time for the update in this regard.
  • Candidates will be in a position to count his/her score. The answer keys will be helpful to the candidates to match their answers.
  • If the candidate finds any discrepancy in the answer keys, he/she can report it to the competent authority within the specified time.

CDS 2021 Result

Candidates can check their respective result on the official website of the UPSC. The Commission will publish CDS result 2021 at an appropriate time on its official website. Qualified candidates of the written exam, will further need to go through SSC/Interview. The authority will declare the final result of the exam after analyzing the overall performance of the candidates.

CDS Selection Process

  • Selection of eligible candidates includes written exam score, performance in SSB/interview and medical fitness.
  • First, candidates will be shortlisted on the basis of written exam score.
  • Then those who will secure their names in the merit list will have to face SSB/Interview.
  • After qualifying SSB/Interview, the candidate will go through a medical examination.
  • Document verification will also be done at the end.
  • The competent authority has all rights reserved to select of cancel candidature of the candidates.

Official Website:

Stay tuned to for more information on CDS 2021 Exam.


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