10 Expert Tips To Crack CDS Exam

The Combined Defence Service Examination (abbreviated as CDS Exam) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of Commissioned Officers in the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Officers Training Academy (OTA), Indian Naval Academy (INA) and Indian Air Force Academy. The CDS exam is held twice a year. only unmarried graduates of age between 19-25 years can sit for the CDS exam. The candidates who crack the CDS exam will appear in the SSB interview of their respective board. 

The CDS exam consists of three sections mainly English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics having 120 questions, 120 questions and 100 questions respectively. The time duration allocated to each paper of the CDS exam is 2 hours. Around 2 lakh candidates appear for the CDS exam which makes it one of the most difficult exams in India. This year’s CDS 2 2021 exam is going to be held on  Sunday,14 Nov 2021 and CDS 1 2022 exam is going to be held on 10 April 2022 

So, to crack the CDS exam, candidates require expert tips and here we got you covered! In this article, we will discuss the 10 expert tips to crack the CDS exam. 

1. Clear all fundamental concepts 

The fundamental concepts and formulas make the base of all the extreme maths and English parts of the CDS exam. It is very important to clear all the basic concepts before starting the actual preparation for the CDS exam. In this exam, simple questions are asked in a tricky manner. Those questions are also meant to be solved in very little time so, clearing the basic concepts before is a must for cracking this exam.

Start your preparation with the basic questions and then move to the tougher questions. It will help in gaining momentum while solving the questions and also will give the motivation and confidence to solve further questions. 

2. Know the syllabus and exam pattern 

Having adequate knowledge of the syllabus and exam pattern is the most important thing before preparing for the exam. The syllabus and exam pattern helps in understanding the core and pattern of the question paper. When aspirants understand the core and exam pattern, then solving the question paper becomes easy. 

The CDS exam question paper for IMA, INA, AFA involves three sections mainly English, Mathematics and GK while the OTA paper consists of English and GK with 2 hours each. A negative marking of ⅓ marks is done for every wrong answer. These basic details of the CDS exam help the candidate to understand the question paper easily.

3. Study from reliable sources

There are many sources available for the preparation of the CDS exam. But you should always choose the most reliable sources to study for the CDS exam. Many sites provide content for the preparation of the CDS exam, but not every content is legit and correct as per the syllabus of the CDS exam. That is why aspirants should always choose the most trusted and reliable source for the preparation of the CDS exam. You can check SSBCrackexams for online mentorship and preparation for the CDS exam.

4. Make a realistic timetable 

Time management is the most crucial thing when it comes to preparing for any government exam, and here we are talking about the CDS exam which is considered one of the most difficult exams. So, time management plays a key role here. 

Aspirants who are aspiring to appear for the CDS exam must make a realistic and achievable timetable. Following a timetable would help the candidate in managing their time and using it more fruitfully. 

5. Have a positive attitude and a calm mind 

Keep a positive outlook towards everything in life. Avoid any sort of negativity because a negative mind would never give you a positive result. The exam brings a lot of mental pressure and it’s very important not to take any mental pressure just before the exam. Pressure ruins self-confidence and worsens results. So, try to be as calm as possible while taking the CDS exam. A positive attitude gives motivation and keeps away laziness and other bad thoughts. So, mind being cheerful always.

6. Solve previous year’s question papers 

Previous year question papers are key to success. the candidates should always solve the previous year’s question papers as it gives great insights into the real question paper, the exam pattern and style. Solving the question paper also helps the candidates to get command on the questions. The candidates should try to solve the question paper in the specified time frame and then calculate the marks by themselves to analyse their preparation level and weak areas. 

7. Analyse your strong and weak areas

Everyone who is preparing for the CDS exam has some weak and strong areas and it is not bad to have them unless you work upon them. While preparing, you will notice some topics which are easily comprehensible while some are difficult to solve. Considering the difficult portion, try to furnish their time and solve them. The strong areas can help you in scoring more but at the same time, the weak areas will let marks loose in the exam. So, it is better to make the stronger areas stronger and weak areas strong.

8. Attempt easier questions first 

Most aspirants while attem[ting their CDS exam question paper, tend to solve questions in sequence. This can be a good idea when you have a great command of all the subjects but not in general cases. It is always advisable to solve the easier questions first and then attempt the difficult ones. What happens mostly is the candidates try to solve the difficult questions first which consume a lot of time and then they get left with no or very little time for the easier questions which had a good probability to give scores. Don’t commit this mistake.

9. Give proper time to difficult subjects

Not every aspirant is good in all subjects. Everyone has some weak areas which they encounter while their preparation like maths or English. It is important not to ignore the difficult subject instead you should give proper time for the preparation of that difficult subject. If needed, you can get mentorship or coaching for that difficult subject. The ultimate goal is to remove the fear of the subject and that can only happen when you constantly practice the subject instead of running away from it. 

10. Practice and weekly revision 

Revision is the most vital thing when it comes to cracking the exam. a human mind only remembers the contents till a certain period. This makes the candidate forget the studied material and eventually the same happens in the exam. To tackle this, candidates should do weekly revisions. This will help in remembering all the little details and the candidate will not forget studied content while attempting the question paper. 


The CDS exam is one of the toughest exams in India.  A lot of candidates compete among themselves to crack this exam. It is held twice a year and is a door for the candidates to get into the defence forces. Cracking the CDS exam is difficult and that’s why the candidates should be hardworking and motivated throughout the preparation of the CDS exam. 

Although, there are expert tips that can be followed by aspirants which can help them in scoring good marks. Some of these tips are solving previous year question papers, time management, weekly revision and many more which are discussed above. So overall, with persistence, hard work and a positive attitude, any aspirant can crack the CDS exam on the first attempt. For more guidance and mentorship regarding CDS and other competitive exams, candidates can also visit SSBCrackExams. All the best!

Mausami Sharma

    Intern at SSBCrackExams. An avid reader, UPSC aspirant and a curious defence aircraft researcher. Pursuing my Interest in global politics and diplomatic studies.

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