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CDS Previous Year Question Papers

The CDS previous year question papers are your gateway to understanding your full potential and the format of the examination. These papers are a great study resource and have been a useful part of exam preparation. Studying and practicing these question papers on Mockers will give you confidence and prove that the exam can be cleared easily. So, exercise these question papers on a regular basis and improve your overall preparation. 

CDS Exam Dates

You can check out the dates for the CDS 1 and CDS 2 exams in the table below and tailor your study plan accordingly. 

Application Form Start Date 20th December 2023
Application Form End Date 9th January 2024
CDS 1 Admit Card Release Date April 2024
CDS 1 Exam Date 21st April 2024
CDS 1 Result Date May 2024
Application Form Start Date 15th May 2024
Application Form End Date 4th June 2024
CDS 2 Admit Card Release Date August 2024
CDS 2 Exam Date 1st September 2024
CDS 2 Result Date October 2024

CDS Exam Overview

CDS is the short form for the Combined Defence Services in India. The examination for CDS is supervised by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This national-level exam is held twice a year and has two stages- a written exam and an SSB interview. The main purpose of the CDS question paper is to test your knowledge and select you for the position of a Commissioned Officer. The forces in which you will be recruited through this exam are:

  • Indian Military Academy (IMA)
  • Indian Naval Academy (INA)
  • Indian Air Force Academy (AFA)
  • Officers Training Academy (OTA)

Pattern Of CDS Written Exam

The CDS exam paper pattern reflects the key features of the format followed in the question paper. Have a look at the table below in order to understand the pattern of the CDS exam clearly. 

Exam Mode Offline
Language of Written Examination Bilingual (Hindi and English)
Subjects Included
  • English
  • General Knowledge
  • Elementary Mathematics (excluded in OTA)
Number of Sections
  • Three in IMA, INA, AFA
  • Two in OTA
Duration of Exam 120 minutes for every section
Questions Type Objective Type Multiple-Choice Questions
Total Marks
  • 200: OTA
  • 300: INA, IMA, AFA

CDS SSB Interview Pattern

You will be eligible for the Services Selection Board (SSB) interview after writing excellently in the CDS question paper. This interview is a five days process and consists of two rounds:

  • Day 1:
    • Round I: Your intelligence and personality are tested in the first round of the SSB interview. You have to appear for an Officer Intelligence Rating Test and Picture Perception & Description Test on day 1. 
    • Round II: In this round, your psychology towards this job, physical fitness, and confidence to represent the defence system of India are assessed. The second round goes on for four days. The tests that take place on the following days are:
      • Day 2: A Psychology Test is conducted on the second day. It includes the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT), Situation Reaction Test (SRT), and Self-Description Test (SDT). 
      • Day 3: On the third day, a Group Test is taken which is the most important part of the SSB CDS Interview. You have to prove your physical as well as mental strength in this test. The tasks you will be allocated on this day include Group Discussion, Group Planning Exercise, Progressive Group Task, Group Obstacle Race, and Half Group Task.
      • Day 4: The tests conducted on the fourth day are Individual Obstacle Task (IOT), Command Task, Final Group Task (FGT), Personal Interview and Individual Lecturette.
      • Day 5: The fifth day concludes the CDS SSB interview with a conference. All the officers who assessed the aspirants on the previous days are present at the board conference. The total assessment is narrated and then the result is announced by the board team. 

The aspirants who are shortlisted in the SSB interview for CDS are retained for further medical examinations. 

Year-Wise CDS Question Paper

You can get various CDS previous year question papers on Mockers. This year-wise format helps in increasing your study material and detecting your true potential. You can also click on the links below to reach directly on your preferred CDS previous year paper.

CDS Previous Year Paper Subject-Wise

The online platform of Mockers provides you with a subject-wise layout of the CDS previous year question paper with solutions. In this way, you can choose the subject in which you lack first and practice the questions accordingly. 

Year Subject Wise Paper

Conditions Of Eligibility For The CDS Exam

Several factors are considered by the UPSC for eligibility in the CDS examination. We have mentioned all the factors in detail below. 

Nationality: You can either be a:

  • Citizen of India
  • Subject of Nepal
  • Person of Indian origin who moved from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the purpose of settling in India permanently. 

Under the condition that you fall in the above-mentioned categories (ii) and (iii), then you must be the holder of an eligibility certificate from the Indian government.

No certificate of eligibility will be required if you are a Gorkha subject of Nepal.

In case, the eligibility certificate is necessary for you, then you might be provisionally admitted to the exam as long as the government issues the required certificate before the results are announced.

Age Limits, Sex, and Marital Status:

  • For IMA and INA: Only unmarried male candidates who were born between 2nd January 2001 and 1st January 2006 are eligible.
  • For AFA: 20 to 24 years as of 1st January 2025. Upper age limits for candidates holding valid and current DGCA (India) issued Commercial Pilot Licence is relaxable for up to 26 years. A candidate under 25 years old needs to be single. It is not permitted to get married while in training. Candidates who are married and over 25 years old may apply, however, they cannot stay off campus with their families throughout the training time or be given married accommodations.
  • For OTA (SSC Course for Men): Only unmarried male candidates born between 2nd January 2000, and 1st January 2006 are eligible. 
  • For OTA (SSC Women Non-Technical Course): Women who are single, issueless widows who haven't gotten married again, and issueless divorcees who have their divorce documents in hand and haven't remarried are all qualified. Their dates of birth can be in between 2nd January 2000, and 1st January 2006. 

Please note that male widower or divorcee candidates are not treated as unmarried males for admission purposes in IMA/INA/AFA/OTA and accordingly they are not eligible for these courses. 

Educational Qualifications: The requirements for educational qualification are different depending on the desirable force.

  • A degree from a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or a Bachelor of Engineering degree is required for AFA. 
  • For INA, a degree in Engineering is required from a recognized University / Institution. 
  • The qualification requirement for IMA and OTA is a degree in any discipline from a recognized University or equivalent.

You need to submit the Graduation or Provisional certificate proof on the date of commencement of the SSB interview if your first choice is Army/Navy/Air Force. 

Important Topics For the CDS Exam

According to the UPSC CDS previous year paper, each section includes various topics that you need to answer accurately. In the below table, you can see the most important topics that are asked in the CDS exam. 


  • Algebra
  • Mensuration
  • Speed, Time, and Distance
  • Geometry
  • Statistics
  • Trigonometry
  • Number System
  • Simple and Compound Interest
  • Profit, Loss, and Discount

  • Idioms and Phrases
  • Direct and Indirect Speech
  • Error Spotting
  • Reading Comprehension
  • One Word Substitution
  • Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Basics of Adverb and Conjunction
  • Sentence Correction
  • Arrangement of Sentences
  • Fill in the Blanks

  General Knowledge
  • Current Affairs
  • Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History of India
  • World, Indian, Physical, and Human Geography
  • General Science - Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • Indian Polity and Economy
  • Environment and Ecology
  • General Awareness
  • Defence Related Questions - Army, Navy, Air Force

How To Practice with CDS Previous Year Paper?

The digital portal of Mockers offers you the best CDS previous year question paper with solutions. The steps you can follow to start practicing the question papers are mentioned below. 

  • Firstly, you need to type ( on your search engine and reach our official website. 

CDS previous year question papers, CDS previous year paper, CDS question paper, CDS exam paper pattern, CDS previous year question paper with solutions, UPSC CDS previous year paper

  • You will see the ‘Exam Categories’ tab at the top of the homepage. Click on it to open the drop-down menu. 

CDS previous year question papers, CDS previous year paper, CDS question paper, CDS exam paper pattern, CDS previous year question paper with solutions, UPSC CDS previous year paper

  • Now, from the menu, you have to locate the ‘Defence’ section. You can take a reference from the image below. 

CDS previous year question papers, CDS previous year paper, CDS question paper, CDS exam paper pattern, CDS previous year question paper with solutions, UPSC CDS previous year paper

  • You will be taken to a new page on your device by clicking on the 'CDS' option. 

CDS previous year question papers, CDS previous year paper, CDS question paper, CDS exam paper pattern, CDS previous year question paper with solutions, UPSC CDS previous year paper

  • There, you can select the ‘Previous Year Question Paper’ in order to open the list of CDS previous year question papers. 

CDS previous year question papers, CDS previous year paper, CDS question paper, CDS exam paper pattern, CDS previous year question paper with solutions, UPSC CDS previous year paper

  • You can now choose and start solving any of the last year’s question papers for CDS. 

CDS previous year question papers, CDS previous year paper, CDS question paper, CDS exam paper pattern, CDS previous year question paper with solutions, UPSC CDS previous year paper

Note: The most important part before practicing these question papers is to create an account or log in to your existing account on Mockers. 

Course Name And Number Of Vacancies In Civil Defence Services

The CDS examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for admission into various courses. You can also learn about other details related to each course from this table. 

Indian Military Academy - 158th DE Course Dehradun  January 2025 100 (including 13 vacancies reserved for NCC ‘C’ (Army Wing) holders. 
Indian Naval Academy - Executive Branch (General Service) / Hydro  Ezhimala  January 2025 32 (including 06 vacancies for NCC ‘C’ certificate (Naval Wing) holders. 
Air Force Academy - (Pre-Flying) Training Course Hyderabad  January 2025 32 (including 03 vacancies reserved for NCC ‘C’ certificate (Air Wing) holders through NCC special entry.
Officers Training Academy - 121st SSC (Men) NT (UPSC) Course Chennai (Madras) April 2025 275
Officers Training Academy - 35th SSC (Women) NT (UPSC) Course Chennai (Madras) April 2025 18

Important Information Related To Vacancies

  • Vacancies for men and women are separately published by the Indian Army for different entries. The operational and administrative needs of the Force are kept in account by the management. 
  • The number of vacancies mentioned in the above table is tentative and might be changed by the Services Headquarters at any stage. 
  • There are respective columns in the application form where you need to clearly specify the Services for which you wish to be considered in the order of your preference. 
  • If you are a female candidate, please keep in mind that you can indicate OTA as the only choice because you will be considered solely for the Short Service Commission at the Officers Training Academy. 
  • In case you desire to join the Air Force Academy, then you must specify AFA as your first choice since you have to be administered the Computer Pilot Selection System (CPSS) and/or AF Medicals at Central Establishment / Insititute of Aviation Medicines. Indicating AFA as a second or third choice will be treated as invalid by the organization.

Advantages Of Solving CDS Previous Year Question Papers

The CDS previous year question papers act like a torch for your upcoming exam. You can gain numerous advantages by practicing these papers. Some of them are:

  • Knowing the Little Details: Past year's papers shed light on the exams’ format. It helps you reveal the weightage of different sections, recurring question types, and even the examiner's preferences. This knowledge lets you prioritize your preparation and avoid wasting time on irrelevant topics.
  • Improving Time Management: The CDS exam is a race against the clock. The CDS previous year paper, with its time limits, acts as a training ground for your time management skills. Practicing under exam conditions builds your stamina and sharpens your ability to prioritize questions.
  • Testing Your Ability: Facing your weaknesses head-on is crucial for improvement. The UPSC CDS previous year paper is like a mirror. The paper reflects the areas where your knowledge is shaky or your techniques need refinement. By knowing your mistakes on past papers, you can check the gaps in your preparation and approach the actual exam with greater confidence.
  • Revealing Secrets:  Previous year papers of CDS aren't just about memorization. They showcase a variety of approaches to solving problems. By studying multiple solutions for the same question, you broaden your thinking, develop critical skills, and unlock innovative ways to face challenges. This flexibility can be your secret weapon in the actual exam, helping you shine even when faced with unfamiliar questions.
  • Measuring Your Growth: Regularly solving CDS previous year question papers allows you to chart your progress over time. Witnessing your improvement motivates and keeps you on track. This self-assessment helps you adjust your preparation strategy and ensures you're at the top just before the exam.

CDS Salary Structure And Allowances

We have mentioned the rank and pay scale for the different posts on the CDS forces in a tabular format below.

Lieutenant - Level 10 INR 56,100 - INR 1,77,500
Captain - Level 10 B INR 61,300 - INR 1,93,900
Major - Level 11 INR 69,400 - INR 2,07,200
Lieutenant Colonel - Level 12 A INR 1,21,200 - INR 2,12,400
Colonel - Level 13 INR 1,30,600 - INR 2, 15,900
Brigadier - Level 13 A INR 1,39,600 - INR 2,17,600 
Major General - Level 14 INR 1,44,200 - INR 2,18,200
Lieutenant General HAG Scale - Level 15 INR 1, 82, 200 - INR 2,24,100
HAG + Scale - Level 16 INR 2,05,400 - INR 2,24,400
Vice Chief of the Army Staff/ Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG) - Level 17 INR 2,25,000 (fixed) 
Chief of the Army Staff - Level 18 INR 2,50,000 (fixed)

INR 15,500 per month is given as Military Service Pay to the officers from the rank of Lieutenant to Brigadier.

INR 56,100 per month is the stipend given to Gentlemen or Women Cadets during the entire duration of training in Service academies i.e. during the training period at IMA and OTA. 

CDS Salary Allowances

  • Qualification Grant: Higher Qualification Incentive (HQI) will be given to the eligible employees who wish to pursue further education. The order for HQI is yet to be issued by the Ministry of Defence, India. 
  • Flying Allowance: The Army Aviators (Pilots) serving in the Army Aviation Corps are entitled for an allowance of fixed INR 25,000 per month under the R1H1 of Risk and Hardship Matrix. It will be given to the posts of Lieutenant (Level 10) and above. 
  • Dearness Allowance: To protect and maintain the standard of living, the dearness allowance is acceptable at the same rates and under the same conditions as are applicable to the civilian personnel from time to time. 
  • Field Area Allowance: All the officers posted at border or highly active areas are eligible for the following areas:
    • Highly Active Field Area: INR 16,900 (R1H2)
    • Field Area: INR 10,500 (R2H2)
    • Mod Field Area: INR 6,300 (60% R2H2) 
  • High Altitude Allowance: All the officers posted at high altitude locations will be given the Risk and Hardship allowances as: 
    • CAT-I: INR 3,400 per month (R3H2)\
    • CAT-II: INR 5,300 per month (R3H1)
    • CAT-III: INR 25,000 per month (R1H1)
  • Siachen Allowance: Siachen is the highest battlefield in the world and the officers who are placed here will get an allowance of INR 42,500 per month.
  • Kit Maintenance & Uniform Allowance: These allowances have been included in the newly proposed Dress Allowance which is of INR 20,000 per year for every CDS officer. 
  • Transport Allowance: You can go through the table below for the detailed of the transport allowance in Civil Defence Services.
9 and above INR 7,200 per month + DA afterwards INR 3,600 per month + DA afterwards
  • The higher transport cities are Hyderabad, Patna, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bengaluru, Kochi, Kozhikode, Indore, Greater Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Jaipur, Chennai, Coimbatore, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Kolkata.
  • The allowance will not be given to those service personnel who have been provided with the facility of Government transport. 
  • Officers in Pay Level 14 and above, who are entitled to use official car, will have the option to avail official car facility or to draw the TPTA at the rate of Rs. 15,750+DA per month. 
  • Physically disabled service personnel will continue to be paid at a double rate, subject to a minimum of Rs. 2250 + DA per month. 

Tips To Master The CDS Question Paper

You can surely secure your place in the ranks and master the CDS question paper by following the tips below. 

Study Smarter, Not Just Harder:
  • You should focus on understanding the concepts and not just memorizing the facts.
  • You can use visual assistance like diagrams, charts, etc. to help you remember information.
  • You may break down complex topics in the CDS previous year paper into smaller and more manageable parts. 
Create a Study Schedule and Stick to it:
  • You must always set realistic goals for each day and week while scheduling regular study sessions. 
  • You should find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted at the time of practicing the CDS previous year question papers. 
  • Make sure to take short breaks every hour to avoid exhaustion. 
Practice Under Exam Conditions:
  • You should take mock tests and solve the UPSC CDS previous year paper without any distractions. 
  • In this way, you can get used to the pressure of the exam environment. 
  • Always review your mistakes after each test and question paper to identify areas where you need to improve. 
Manage Your Stress: 
  • You may start practicing relaxation techniques to stay calm while going through the CDS previous year paper. 
  • You should never compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on your preparation and goals. 
  • Try getting enough sleep and eating healthy food to keep your mind and body in top shape.
Believe in Yourself
  • It is important that you have confidence in your abilities and preparation before beginning to solve the CDS previous year question papers. 
  • You should visualize yourself succeeding in the exam and achieving your dream of joining the Armed Forces.
  • A positive attitude can go a long way in helping you overcome any challenges on exam day.
The minimum qualifying score in the CDS question paper is 20% in all three subjects. You must score equal to or above the passing mark ratio. To be in a competitive range, you must aim for an overall mark of 180+ in the written exam.
Over the years, some questions in the exam may or may not be repeated. However, the basic structure of the paper remains the same. So, solving the CDS previous year question papers will give you an insight into the layout of the examination.
The marking scheme followed in the CDS previous year question papers is given below: 1. +1 mark for every correct answer. 2. -⅓ for each incorrect answer. 3. No marks for unattempted questions.
After passing the CDS exam, SSB interview, and medical test, the starting post that you will earn in different forces is: 1. A lieutenant in the Army. 2. Sub-Lieutenant in the Navy. 3. Flying Officer in the Air Force.
Solving the CDS previous year paper is very crucial if you wish to score well in the exam and get enrolled into your desired course. With the help of theses PYQs, you can learn about the exam pattern, question format, and level of difficulty.
The CDS previous year question papers are available for free on the digital platform of Mockers. Additionally, you can get them in the books specifically dedicated to CDS exam preparation.
The CDS question paper cover subjects such as English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. You must be aware that, there are specific papers for different branches of the armed forces.
Yes, on the Mockers website, you will get the UPSC CDS previous year question paper with solutions. These detailed explanations of answers provides you with immediate feedback and help you in adjusting your study plan accordingly.
While CDS previous year question paper with solutions PDF are valuable resources, we advise you to include them with other study materials like textbooks, reference books, and CDS mock tests for comprehensive preparation.
The CDS previous year question papers level of difficulty varies year to year. They cover a wide range of easy to moderate to diffcult questions.
Absolutely yes, the online Mockers platform offers you to download the CDS question paper of past years free of cost. Our aim is to make these PYPs accessible to all aspirants without any financial restrictions.
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