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CDS – Combined Defence Service

  • About CDS 
  • Selection Process
  • Eligibility

Combined Defence Service exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission twice every year for recruitment to office cadre of the Army, Navy and Air force.

Candidates qualifying the written test are interviewed by the Service Selection Board and if finally selected, depending upon the choice given by the candidates and their merit list ranking, are sent to one of the following institutes for orientation training:

  • Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
  • Naval Academy, Goa
  • Air Force Academy, Begum pet, Hyderabad
  • Officers Training Academy, Chennai
  • Women candidates are eligible for OTA (Officers Training Academy, Chennai) only

Those joining the first three institutes get permanent commission. Cadets passing out of Officers Training Academy get short service commission. Applicants are required to mention their preferences while filling up the application forms.

The official notification of the Combined Defence Services (CDS) Exam-I, 2016 has been released by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The exam is conducted twice a year.

There are basically four different training academies which one can join through CDS exam.

Indian Military Academy for Indian Army (Only Men)

Indian Air Force Academy for Indian Air Force (Only Men)

Naval Academy for Indian Navy (Only Men)

Officers Training Academy (Men and Women)

Selection procedure:

 The process consists of the following stages:

  • Written exam
  • Interview/ Intelligence Test/ Personality Test
  • Document verification
  • Medical examination

Candidates qualifying the written test will have to appear for the interview and the group discussion.

The interview will be held for a duration of five days:

Day 1: Picture perception and description test
Day 2: Psychological test
Day 3: SSB interview
Day 4: Tests on individual levels on factors like stamina, drive, determination and courage
Day 5: Conference

The final list of short listed candidates will be selected at various posts in the Indian Air Force, Officers Training Academy, Military Academy, and Indian Naval Academy.


A candidates must either be:

(i) a Citizen of India, or

(ii) a subject of Bhutan, or

(iii) a subject of Nepal, or

(iv) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st January, 1963 with the intention of permanently setting in India, or

(v) a person of India origin who has migrated 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 intention of permanently setting in India. Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (ii), (iii),

(iv) and (v) above shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Govt of India

Certificate of eligibility will, however, not be necessary in the case of candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal

A candidates in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination provisionally subject to the necessary certificate being given to him/her by the Govt. before declaration of result by UPSC


i) For Indian Military Academy (IMA): Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 02nd July 1993 and not later than 1st July 1998 only are eligible

ii) For Indian Naval Academy (INA): Unmarried Male candidates born not earlier than 2nd July 1993 and not later than 01st July 1998 only are eligible

iii) For Air Force Academy (AFA) – Age: 20 to 24 years as on 01st July 2017 i.e. born not earlier than 02nd July 1993 and not later than 01 July 1997 (Upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable upto 26 yrs. i.e. born not earlier than 02nd July 1991 and not later than 01st July 1997) only are eligible

Note: Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried

iv) For Officers Training Academy (SSC Course for Men): Male candidates (married or unmarried) born not earlier than 02nd July 1992 and not later than 01st July 1998 only are eligible

v) For Officer Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course): Unmarried Women, issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless divorces (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible

They should have been born not earlier than 02nd July 1992 and not later than 01st July 1998 are eligible


i) For Indian Military Academy / Officers’ Training Academy: Degree from a recognized university or equivalent

ii) For Indian Naval Academy: Bachelor of Engineering

iii) For Air Force Academy: Degree of a recognized University with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level or Bachelor of Engineering

Graduates with first choice as Army/Navy/Air Force are to submit proof of graduation provisional certificate on the date of commencement of the SSB interview at the SSB

For CDS exam, applicants can be from any stream but for entry to Air Force and Navy, candidates should have studied physics and maths up to Class 12

Candidates who are studying in the final year degree course and have yet to pass the final year degree examination can also apply but they will be required to subject proof of passing the degree examination to reach the Army Head Quarter/Rtd CDSE Entry, West Bloc III, R.K. Puram, New Delhi-110066

Candidates appearing at the degree or equivalent examination are 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.


Candidates should be physically fit as per the physical standards for admission to the Combined Defence Services Examination.

Candidates should know about the exam pattern for Combined Defence Services Examination (II) 2016


Application Fee: Candidates (excepting Female /SC/ST candidates who are exempted from payment of fee) are required to pay a fee of Rs.200/- (Rupees two hundred only) either by depositing the money in any Branch of SBI by Cash, State Bank of Bikaner andJaipur/State bank of Hyderabad/State Bank of Mysore/State Bank of Patiala/State Bank of Travancore or by using Visa/Master Credit/Debit Card

No fee exemption is, however, available to OBC candidates and they are required to pay the full prescribed fee

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