How To Prepare for CDS Exam after 12th Class?

Jai Hind! Future Warriors. Today we are going to discuss some tips and strategies regarding preparation for CDS Exam and SSB Interview. This post is only for students who have completed their class XII exams (or are going to very soon).

About CDS Exam:

CDS Exam is conducted for following training academies:

  • IMA(Indian Military Academy, Dehradun) where candidates train for 1.5 years before being commissioned as Lt. in Indian Army. The nature of commission is permanent.
  • AFA(Air Force Academy, Dundigal) where candidates train for a duration of 74 weeks in case of Flying and Tech branches and 52 weeks for non-tech branches,  before being commissioned as Flying Officer in Indian Air-Force. The nature of commission is permanent.
  • INA(Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala) where candidates train for 18 months before being commissioned as Sub-Lt. in Indian Navy. The nature of commission is permanent.
  • OTA(Officer Training Academy ,Chennai) where candidates train for 49 week before being commissioned as lieutenant in Indian Army. The nature of commission here is temporary.

Alos Check Out: CDS 1 2023 Notification, Exam Date, Vacancies, Eligibility, Syllabus And Age Limits


  • Age Limit (as on date of commencement of the course)
  • IMA: 19-24 years
  • OTA: 19-25 years
  • AFA: 20-24 years
  • INA: 19-24 years
  • Education :
  • IMA and OTA :  Graduate from any recognized university/ or in final year of graduation and can get the degree in advance to commencement of course.
  • INA : Completed B.Tech/B.E or in final year of engineering
  • AFA : Degree from any recognized university with Physics and Maths at 10+2 level or Bachelor in Engineering

Also Read: CDS Exam 2023 Age Limits – Who Can Apply For CDS 1 2023 And CDS 2 2023

Syllabus of CDS Exam:


The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words. Questions in this section are asked from the following topics: 

  • Antonyms
  • Sentence improvement
  • Comprehension
  • Synonyms
  • Word substitution
  • Ordering of sentences
  • Spotting Errors
  • Selecting Words
  • Ordering of words in a sentence

General Knowledge

General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. Generally questions are asked from the following topics:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Polity
  • Economics
  • Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)
  • Environment
  • Sports
  • Awards
  • Books & Authors
  • Culture and Traditions

Elementary Mathematics

  • Arithmetic

Number System: Natural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbers. Fundamental operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions. Unitary method, time and distance, time and work, percentages, applications to simple and compound interest, profit and loss, ratio and proportion, variation.

Elementary Number Theory: Division algorithm. Prime and composite numbers. Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11. Multiples and factors. Factorisation Theorem. H.C.F. and L.C.M. Euclidean algorithm. Logarithms to base 10, laws of logarithms, use of logarithmic tables.

  • Algebra

Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M., Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered). Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns—analytical and graphical solutions. Simultaneous linear inequations in two variables and their solutions. Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or inequations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions. Set language and set notation, Rational expressions and conditional identities, Laws of indices.

  • Trigonometry

Sin(x), Cos(x), Tan(x) when 0° < x < 90° Values of sin(x), cos(x) and tan(x), for x = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° Simple trigonometric identities. Use of trigonometric tables. Simple cases of heights and distances.

  • Geometry

Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on

  • Properties of angles at a point
  • Parallel lines
  • Sides and angles of a triangle
  • Congruency of triangles
  • Similar triangles
  • Concurrence of medians and altitudes
  • Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square
  • Circles and its properties including tangents and normal
  • Loci
  • Mensuration

Areas of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangle and circle. Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book), Surface area and volume of cuboids, lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, surface area and volume of spheres.

  • Statistics

Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation frequency polygons, histograms, bar charts, pie charts etc. Measures of central tendency.

Prepare for the CDS Exam 2023:

Standard of the Exam

The standard of the papers in Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level. The standard of papers in other subjects will approximately be such as may be expected of a graduate of an Indian University.

Exam Pattern

Mode of Exam: Offline (OMR based)

Duration of Exam: 1(One) Day

Type of Questions: MCQ with four options for each questions out of which only one will be correct.

Duration: All three papers will be conducted on the same day but at different timings. Those three papers are:

  1. English
  2. General Knowledge
  3. Elementary Mathematics
  4. Each paper is of 100 marks .
  5. Time-Limit for each paper is 2 hours.
  6. Each correct answer will fetch you 1 mark and each wrong answer will have a negative marking of -0.33 whereas no answer will fetch you zero(0)s marks.
  7. Candidates who fill OTA as their first preference have to attempt only two papers: English and General Knowledge.
  8. This means for candidates who have opted IMA, INA and AFA as first choice will have a score out of 300 whereas OTA candidates will have their scores out of 200

Tips to Prepare(For Class XII pass)

Elementary Maths

As the name of paper suggests the level of questions asked in this exam is from till 10th level unlike the NDA Exam. I know most of you will also simultaneously be preparing for some other exam as a backup option. So on weekends, or whenever you can devote time for this section, focus on clearing your basics and be consistent. As there is not much to learn, so it may seem boring, but continue this problem solving. You should also refer to previous year question papers and try to solve them. To identify your weak areas just give a monthly mock, I know scores will be low but they will be a reflection of you motivating you to burn more and shine. The quant section of SSC CGL matches in some terms with CDS elementary maths, so also solve books related to it.


See there are two levels for this:

  1. Beginner(Completed 12th from Hindi/Regional Medium) who does not have a good base in English. Start reading anything, it may be some weekly magazine, some newspaper, novel etc. If you are finding it tough to read The Hindu, Times of India or other English papers, buy their student editions and learn about sentence formations, improving vocabulary.
  2.  Those who have studied English: Buy a good grammar question booklet (SP Baskhi would do) and find your strong and weak areas. Reading as a habit would be advantageous.

English or for that sake any subject requires practice so do as many problems as you can. Other than CDS pyq also refer to previous year questions papers of Bank Exams, SSC CGL etc,

General Knowledge

For this section, start reading NCERTs of History, Civics, Geography and Science from class VI- X. You would think that CDS exam doesn’t require such a high degree of knowledge and you are right but this knowledge would be highly helpful in your backup exams.

Tips for SSB

  • Join NCC in your college and just don’t be a member, participate in competitions, go for the camps, give your best, improve upon your physical and mental strength.
  • Improve your physique and build stamina
  • Participate in as many competitions as you can, help in organizing the fests, and most important develop your leadership skills, because this is the best place to do it. After graduation, you wont get so many chances.
  • Also work on your core subjects, because the forces require an all rounder person.


These all may sound too much, but also see that you have three/four years, if you start making monthly goals, you will surely achieve your dream. For more strategies and information regarding defence exams and SSB Interview, stay tuned.

To join the Indian Army as an Officer and crack the SSB Interview, You can join our SSB interview live classes batch and we recommend you to Enroll SSB INTERVIEW ONLINE COURSE. Trusted by thousands of defence aspirants.

Want To Prepare For The CDS Exam and SSB Interview?

Ashish Tiwari

    Intern at SSBCrackExams. Maths Undergrad and Defence Aspirant, been to SSB 4 times for NDA Entry. Enjoy reading novels and playing cricket

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    1. Naveen Meena

      CDs exam
    2. Nidhin

      Best wishes to you all.

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