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What is the full form of CDS

CDS: Combined Defence Services

CDS full form

CDS stands for Combined Defence Services. It is an examination that Union Public Service Commission conducts. It is usually conducted to recruit officers from the Indian Naval Academy and Indian Military Academy.

The Combined Defence Service exam is conducted on a merit basis twice a year, and a candidate has to go through many rounds to qualify for the Combined Defence Services. It is considered prestigious if an individual gets through this exam and gets into the service.

The exam is conducted in April and September and is conducted twice a year.

Eligibility Criteria

There is a long list of eligibility criteria to apply for the Combined Defence Services. So, those who want to see themselves as a CDS officer must first fulfil all these criteria factors.

The eligibility criteria is as follows;

  • Candidates who sit for Combined Defence Services must not be married.
  • Candidates should strictly be between nineteen to twenty-four years of age.
  • Coming to educational qualifications, one must have a degree from any recognized university or college to sit for the Indian Military Academy and Officers Training Academy.
  • Those who want to sit for the Indian Naval Academy are required to have an engineering degree from a recognized university or college.
  • And then, for Air Force Academy, the candidate should have an engineering degree with maths and physics as their background in twelfth standard from a recognized university.
  • Physical fitness is a crucial eligibility factor in Combined Defence Services Exams. So the candidate must be physically and mentally healthy.
  • Any tattoos on the body are not allowed for the exam.
  • Candidates with a hernia, hearing impairment, ear disabilities or deformities, or active congenital venereal disease are also not allowed.
CDS full form
  • The minimally acceptable height for males is 157.5 cm, and that for females is 152 cm.
  • A candidate of 18 years with 152 cm to 195 cm of height is supposed to weigh between 44-77 kilograms. Likewise, a candidate with the age of 20 with 152 cm to 195 cm of height is supposed to weigh between 46-78 and so on.
  • Moreover, BMI or body mass index must be below 25. Also, waist circumference should be less than 90 cm for male candidates whereas it must be 80 cm for female candidates


A candidate must be a

  1. a citizen of India, or
  2. a citizen of Bhutan, or
  3. a subject of Nepal, or
  4. a refugee from Tibet who entered India before 01st January 1962 with the will of permanently settling in India, or
  5. A candidate from India who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, Vietnam and the United Republic of Tanzania to permanently settle in India. With the condition that the candidate must belong to the categories (2) and (3).

A candidate may be admitted to the exam provisionally with the condition that the Government of India should give the necessary certificate to them before the declaration of the result by the Union Public Services Commission. It is a must for the candidates if they fall under the categories (4) and (5).

Process of Examination

There are two stages in the examination. One is Written, and the other is Service Selection Board Interview.

Coming to the subjects and their marks;

  • English carries 120 questions, General knowledge carries 120 questions, and Elementary Mathematics carries 100 questions.
  • There are 340 multiple-choice questions for the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy and 240 Multiple choice questions in the question paper for the entry into Officers Training Academy.

The student will have to choose the language of the question paper between English and Hindi.

CDS full form

The exam is scheduled to be conducted on 04th September 2022, while the registration for the exam starts on 18th May 2022. Candidates planning to attend the exam should check the documents for any discrepancies, and if they find something, they should report it to the exam conducting authorities to rectify it.

In the Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy and Naval Academy entrance exams, all the question papers are of objective type. There are three subjects for the candidate to write, each consisting of 100 marks with three hundred marks. The subjects in the test are English, General Knowledge and Elementary maths.

The entrance exam for the Officers' Training Academy consists of just two subjects each for 100 maximum marks. The two subjects on the test are English and General Knowledge, totalling two hundred marks.

Intelligence and Personality Test

As said earlier, a candidate has to go through two interview rounds conducted by the Services Selection Board. The candidates who successfully cleared stage I are the only ones eligible to attend the stage II interview of the Services Selection Board.

  • In the first stage, the candidate is supposed to go through Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests. 'OIR' comprises two tests: Picture Perception* Description Test ( PP&DT). The candidates are then selected depending on the combined OIR Test and PP&DT performance.
  • The tests in the second stage are conducted for over 4 days. In the second stage of the interview, the candidate must go through an interview, group testing officer tasks, psychology tests, and the conference.

The personality assessment of the candidate is conducted by three distinctive officers: The Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO) and the Psychologist. The IO, GTO and Psychologist award marks to the candidate based on the candidate's overall performance in all the tests. There is no particular weightage for each of the tests.

Test by Air Force Board

After the Intelligence and Personality Test, candidates must undergo an Air Force Selection Board interview. In this case, only the candidates who got here through the Combined Defense Services Exam are called again for OLQ testing for Army, Navy and Officers' Training Academy.

In the CDS I 2020 exam, the vacancies open for Indian Military Academy are 100, 32 vacancies for Air Force Academy, 45 Vacancies for Indian Naval Academy and, 225 vacancies for Men in Officers' Training Academy and, 16 vacancies for Women in Officers' Training Academy comprising a total of 418 vacancies.

General Requirements for the UPSC CDS Application Form

  • The candidate must provide a matriculation certificate / marksheet.
  • Age proof/birth certificate is a must for the form.
  • Education Certificate
  • Caste Certificate
  • Challan / Credit Certificate / E-Challan
  • Recent Photograph
  • Signature

These all are the mandatory requirements to apply for CDS services. Documentation is a crucial part of UPSC Services. It is possible that even if you get through all the rounds in the exam, if your documentation fails, you will not be able to join.


Every candidate should get trained for Cadet training. Here in training, each candidate gets a stipend. The stipend starts from Rs. 56,100 per month as basic pay. Then the candidates are put into various defence training centres. The training period that a candidate is in is not considered a commissioned service. If the candidates successfully clear their commissioned service, the Combined Defence Services salary will reach the tenth level. The starting hierarchy in Combined Defence Services is Lieutenant.

The Lieutenant's salary ranges from Rs. 56,100 to Rs. 1,77,500. Later comes captain, Major, Lt Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier, Major General, Lieutenant General HAG Scale, HAG+Scale, Lieutenant General, and COAS. The gross fixed salary of officers from Military Service Pay is 15,500 per month.

Perks to CDS Officers

Besides salary, there are many perks and allowances which CDS officers can experience. These include allowances like ;

  • Flying allowance
  • Dearness Allowance
  • High Altitude Allowance
  • Uniform Allowance

The amount of the allowances is as follows;

  • Flying allowance of Rs. 25,000 per month is granted for the officers from the hierarchy of Lieutenant.
  • Highly active field area allowance of Rs.16,900 per month, field area allowance of Rs. 10,500 per month and modified field area allowance of Rs. 6,300 per month is given to the officers.
  • High altitude allowance of Rs. 42,500 per month is also given as an allowance.

Other allowances include free ration, uniform allowance of Rs. 20,000 per month, Transport Allowance of which are Rs. 7,200 per month and Rs. 3,600 per month to other places. For higher TPTA cities like Lucknow, Kolkata, Delhi, Patna, Kanpur, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kozhikode, Nagpur, Indore, Greater Mumbai, Ghaziabad, Pune, Coimbatore and Chennai, travel allowances are valid.

CDS full form

Note: The allowance of TPTA is only for those provided with Government Transport Facility. The 14th level pay officers are assigned to use office cars and have a perk to avail allowance of Rs. 15,750.


Combined Defence Service is a prestigious job.

Moreover, the CDS exam is one of the crucial stages of getting into the Defence services. This exam examines the candidate properly to decide if a candidate is a good fit for the services or not. People have a myth that it is hard to clear until and unless you have a more intelligence quotient. But the fact is that if you are smart enough and have the strong willpower to prepare for it, you can easily crack it.

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