The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) holds a competitive examination named Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination for admissions to Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA) and Officers Training Academy (OTA). This examination is held twice a year, generally in the month of February and August. Blank application forms and other particulars are published in Employment News, generally in the month of August and March.


Important Dates

UPSC CDS (II) 2016

Official Exam notifications16 July, 2016
Last application Date12 August, 2016
CDS Exam Date23 October, 2016

UPSC CDS (I) 2017

Official Exam notifications9th November 2016 (Wednesday)
Last application Date2nd December 2016 (Friday)
CDS (I) 2017 Exam Date5th February 2017 (Sunday)

UPSC CDS (II) 2017

Official Exam notifications9th August 2017 (Wednesday)
Last application Date8th September 2017 (Friday)
CDS (II) 2017 Exam Date19th November 2017 (Sunday)

CDS Eligibility

Women candidates are eligible for OTA only.

Age Limits

  • 19-24 Years: Indian Military Academy
  • 19-22 Years: Naval Academy
  • 19-23 Years: Air Force Academy
  • 19-25 Years: Officers’ Training Academy

Educational Qualifications

  • IMA & OTA: Degree of a recognized University or equivalent
  • Naval Academy: B.Sc. with Physics & Mathematics or Bachelor of Engg
  • Air Force Academy: B.Sc. with Physics and/or Mathematics or Bachelor of Engg

Candidates appearing at the degree or equivalent examination also eligible to compete. Such candidates will be required to submit the proof of passing the requisite qualifying examination by a date to be specified in the Commission’s Notice for the Examination.

How to Apply

The candidates who fulfill the eligible criteria may apply for the CDS 2016 exam through online process. The form will be available on the official website is external). The application fee for the exam is Rs.200/- Candidates may either deposit the money in any branch of SBI bank by cash or by using net mini banking facility.

Important Note: The Online Application Form is available in English and in Hindi Language but it can only be filled in English Language.

UPSC CDS Exam Pattern

Click here for UPSC CDS Question Papers

(a) For Indian Military Academy Naval Academy and Air Force Academy

#Paper / SubjectQuestionsDurationMarks
1English1202 Hours100
2General Knowledge1202 Hours100
3Elementary Mathematics1002 Hours100

All question papers are Objective type in nature. There is penalty for wrong answers.

Successful candidates have to appear for Personality Test (Interview) that carries 300 marks.(Indian Military Academy (IMA), Naval Academy (NA) and Air Force Academy (AFA))

(b) For Officers’ Training Academy

#Paper / SubjectQuestionsDurationMarks
1English1202 Hours100
2General Knowledge1202 Hours100

Successful candidates have to appear for Personality Test (Interview) that carries 200 marks (Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) )


CDS Selection Procedure Details

The UPSC CDS Selection Procedure consists of three stages.

  1. Written Exam: The first step in UPSC CDS exam is the written test. It consists of 3 papers: English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. The Maths paper is not requirement if applying for Officers’ Training Academy (OTA). The candidates who successfully clear the written exam will be eligible for detailed for intelligence and personality test at the Service Selection Board based on their preference, by the respective service HQ.
  2. Interview/ Intelligence Test/ Personality Test: The candidates who have cleared written tests are called for Interview test. The Interview test consist of 2 stages. Candidates should pass the first stage to be eligible for second stage.Stage I consists of Officers Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and the Picture Perception Description Test (P&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on combination of performance in QIR Test and PP&DT.
    Stage II comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officers Tasks, Psychology Tests and the conference. These testes are conducted over 4 days .Each candidate’s personality is accessed based by 3 different assessors: the interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. The collective marks obtained from these 3 assessors will be taken into considerations.
  3. Document Verification : The Document Verification process will be conducted only after the candidate has qualified for Interview/Personality Test.
  4. Medical Examination: The candidates have to undergo a medical examination by a Board of Service Medical Officers. Women candidates will undergo Medical Examination by a Medical Board comprising male/ female doctors/ specialists/ Gynecologist. Only those candidates will be admitted to the Academy who are declared fit by the Medical Board.

UPSC CDS Exam Centers

The UPSC CDS exams will be conducts in the following cities. Generally request for the change of centre will not be entertained. However, in certain extreme cases, if change in centre is needed, then a request is to be addressed to the Secretary, Union Public Service Commission giving full justification as to why he or she desires a change in centre.

AgartalaGangtokPanaji (goa)
AizawlImphalPort blair

Applicants should note that there will be a ceiling on the number of candidates allotted to each of the Centres except Delhi, Chennai, Dispur, Kolkata and Nagpur. Allotment of Centres will be on the “first-apply-first allot” basis, and once the capacity of a particular Centre is attained, the same will be frozen. Applicants are, thus, advised that they may apply early so that they could get a Centre of their choice.