UPSC CDS 2023: Syllabus and Exam Pattern

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) hosts two sessions of the Combined Defence Services examination each year for the purpose of filling vacancies in the Indian Defense Services, including the Indian Military Academy, the Indian Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and the Officers’ Training Academy. 

The bulk of the CDS Syllabus 2023 for admission to the Indian Air Force Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and the Indian Military Academy is focused to subjects like General Knowledge, English, and Elementary Mathematics.On the other hand, English and General Knowledge are the only required subjects for entry into the Officers’ Training Academy. Continuing reading will provide you with topic-by-topic coverage.

UPSC CDS 2023: Syllabus Overview

Candidates who wish to join the Defense Forces via the CDS must be seeking information about its structure, grading systems, number of questions, and any other relevant information that may be helpful to them. Even though the course outline has not been drastically altered, there have been some tweaks made here and there that might potentially appear on the test. It is essential to have a profound understanding of both the format and the topics that will be included on the CDS test.

Name of the Exam Combined Defence Forces (CDS)
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Conducted in A Year Twice a Year
Mode of Examination Offline
Type of Questions Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
Medium Hindi or English
Number of Questions
  • IMA/INA/AFA – 300
  • OTA – 200
Time Duration 2 hours for each paper
Negative Marking Yes (1/3rd deducted for every wrong answer)

UPSC CDS 2023: Syllabus

The applicants would be better prepared to sit the test if they had a comprehensive grasp of the CDS syllabus 2023, which will assist them in developing a vision and action plan that will be effective in doing so. After successfully completing the written exam, candidates are eligible to go on to the SSB interview stage. The readers of this post will get a deeper comprehension of the course material, which will bring them one step closer to accomplishing their objectives. 

UPSC CDS 2023: English Syllabus

They should read newspapers on a regular basis in order to expand their vocabulary and make it easier for them to comprehend the reading comprehension passages. Doing so will help candidates get a higher score on this segment of the exam. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the candidates’ grasp of the English language as well as their ability to utilize words professionally.

CDS 2023 English Syllabus 
  • Spotting the Error Questions.
  • Synonyms & Antonyms Questions.
  • Reading Comprehension Questions.
  • Fill in the Blanks Questions.
  • Idioms and Phrases Questions.
  • Sentence Improvement or Sentence Correction Questions.
  • Sentence Arrangement or Jumbled Questions.
  • Ordering of words in Sentence Questions.

UPSC CDS 2023: General Knowledge Syllabus

As one would expect of an educated individual who has not formally studied any scientific topic, general knowledge encompasses awareness of current events as well as daily observations and experiences that involve a scientific component. In addition, the test will include questions pertaining to geography as well as Indian history, and any applicant who is eligible should be able to reply to these topics without the need for extra study.


Topic Description
Current Affairs Coverage of significant worldwide and national summits and conferences, prizes, news connected to sports, books and writers, and other topics as appropriate.
Political Science Facts on the Indian Constitution, including its basic rights and principles, the authority of the President and Prime Minister, constitutional bodies, the Indian Judiciary.
Indian History Questions pertaining to Medieval, Modern and Ancient Indian History may be asked.
Indian Polity Prepare important Indian and global geography facts.
Economics Prepare topics like Budget, Five-year plan, foreign trade, etc.
General Science Physics: Stress on topics like, motion,units,optics, force, electricity, heat, temperature, etc.

Chemistry:Focus on important topics of organic, physical and general, inorganic, chemistry.

Biology:Stress on the topics of botany, zoology, important diseases, as well as human biology.

News Related to Defence Important defense-related topics, such as  Navy Day, Army Day, Current Advancements, etc., may be questioned from this section.

UPSC CDS 2023: Mathematics Syllabus

Arithmetic, trigonometry, geometry, mensuration, statistics, and other related subjects are some of the primary focuses of the CDS Syllabus for Elementary Mathematics. In order to improve one’s preparation and performance in this part, constant practice and focused effort are required. 


The candidates need to keep their accuracy and speed up if they want to tackle these questions within the allotted amount of time and get the results that they want. The primary subjects, along with an explanation of each, have been given for your perusal in this document. Read through the topics listed below to become acquainted with the comprehensive CDS Maths curriculum and better prepare for the upcoming exam.

CDS Syllabus – Mathematics
Arithmetic Number System

  • Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers.
  • Fundamental operations, subtraction, addition, division,multiplication, square roots, decimal fractions.
  • Unitary method, time and distance, time and work percentages.
  • Applications of profit and loss, ratio and proportion, compound and simple  interest, variation.

Elementary Number Theory

  • Division algorithm.
  • Prime and composite numbers.
  • Factorisation Theorem.
  • Euclidean algorithm.
  • Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11.
  • Multiples and factors.
  • H.C.F. and L.C.M.
  • Logarithms to base 10; use of logarithmic tables; laws of logarithms.
  • Basic operations and Simple factors,
  • H.C.F. and L.C.M.
  • Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns — analytical & graphical solutions.
  • Practical issues with solutions that result in two simultaneous linear equations, inequalities in two variables, or quadratic equations in one variable.
  • Rational expressions and conditional identities.
  • Laws of indices.
  • Theory of polynomials, relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered), solutions of quadratic equations.
  • Remainder Theorem.
  • Simultaneous linear inequalities in two variables & their solutions.
  • Set notation and set language.
  • Simple trigonometric identities.
  • Sine x, cosine x, Tan x when 0° < x < 90° , Values of sin x, cos x & tan x, for x = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° & 90°.
  • Use of trigonometric tables.
  • Simple cases of heights and distances.
Geometry Plane and plane figures; lines and angles; theorems on:

  • Properties of angles at a point
  • Sides and angles of a triangle
  • Concurrence of medians and altitudes
  • Circles and their properties including tangents and normals
  • Congruence of triangles
  • Parallel lines
  • Similar triangles
  • Properties of sides, angles and diagonals of a rectangle, parallelogram and square
  • Loci
  • Areas of figures can be split up into these figures (Field Book), lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, Surface area and volume of cuboids, and surface area and volume of spheres.
  • Areas of, squares, circles, parallelograms triangles and rectangles.
  • Graphical representation of frequency polygons, histograms,bar charts, pie charts etc.
  • Collection and tabulation of statistical data.
  • Measures of central tendency.


The CDS 2023 test curriculum includes general knowledge questions, English language questions, and mathematics questions. However, applicants who want to take the CDS OTA 2023 exam are exempt from having to take the mathematics test. This is because the mathematics test is not one of the disciplines  included in the CDS 2023 OTA curriculum; instead, only English and general knowledge are. The OTA, IMA, INA, and AFA all have identical curricula for their English and General Knowledge classes.

UPSC CDS 2023: Important Topics

You may prioritize studying the most essential things first, even if you only have a short amount of time to prepare the CDS syllabus. Listed here are the most important topics that will be included in the General Knowledge, English and Mathematics portions of the UPSC CDS exam in 2023:

  • English: Idioms and phrases, reading comprehension, synonyms and antonyms, jumbled sentences, filling in the gaps, one-word substitution, spotting mistakes, and other related topics.
  • Mathematics: Time and Work, Trigonometry, Percent, Profit and Loss, SI and CI, Lines and Angles, etc.
  • General Knowledge: Knowledge of Current Events, Indian History, Politics, the Constitution, Fundamental Science, Geography, and Other Disciplines, etc.

UPSC CDS 2023: Exam Pattern

For IMA, INA, and AFA: 

Subject Duration Maximum marks
English 2 hours 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 hours 100


Subject Duration Maximum marks
English 2 hours 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100

UPSC CDS 2023: Important Instructions

  • In the space provided at the top of the answer sheet, write only in black ballpoint pen your Centre and subject, followed by the CDS 2023 test booklet series (in brackets), subject code, and the exam roll number. The answer sheet may be found at the back of the exam booklet.
  • Fill out the answer sheet with your CDS 2023 booklet series (A, B, C, or D depending on the conditions), subject code, and roll number. For this specific purpose, these circles have been provided.
  • If a candidate notices that the CDS booklet series is missing from their exam booklet or that their answer sheet lacks numbers, they must notify an invigilator immediately.
  • Candidates should be aware that their CDS 2023 OMR answer sheet will be rejected if there are any blanks, errors, or inconsistencies in the encoding or filling of information, especially in regards to the Roll Number and Test Booklet Series Code. Candidates must remember both their Roll Number and the Test Booklet Series Code. Most importantly, this is true of the Roll Number and the Test Booklet Series Code.
  • Please double check that the exam booklet that was provided to you before to the commencement of the CDS 2023 exam does not include any unprinted pages, damaged pages, or missing pages or of like nature; if this is the case, you will need to have it replaced with a full test booklet that is part of the same series and covers the same subject.
  • You are only allowed to fill in the details asked on the CDS answer sheet, test booklet, or rough work page; do not include your name or any other identifying information.
  • Avoid folding or otherwise damaging the CDS Answer Sheet, as well as making any unnecessary markings on top of it.You are not allowed to make any notes or write anything on the backside of the answer sheet.


UPSC CDS 2023: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What exactly is included in the CDS curriculum?

The syllabus for CDS 1 2023, which is required for entrance to IMA, INA, and AFA, mostly includes General Knowledge, English, and Elementary Mathematics. On the other hand, the CDS 1 2023 course outline for admission to OTA includes just English and General Knowledge topics.

Who is eligible to submit a CDS 1 2023 application?

To sit for the CDS 1 2023 test, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university or college. In addition, they must meet the age requirements specified for the jobs they are applying for.

What will the maximum age requirement be for CDS 2023?

Candidates must satisfy the age limits established by the UPSC in order to be eligible to sit the CDS test in 2023. These age requirements are as follows: 19 to 24 years old for IMA and INA, 20 to 24 years old for AFA, and 19 to 25 years old for OTA.

What is in the curriculum for the CDS OTA?

Candidates must get a passing score on both the English language and general knowledge portions of the CDS 2023 examination in order to be admitted to the Officers Training Academy.

How many attempts do you have for the CDS test?

Those interested in sitting for the CDS 2023 exam must be between the ages of 19 and 25, although there is no hard and fast limit on how many times they may retake the examination.Candidates have the option of taking the exam an unlimited number of times, as long as they remain within the permitted age range.