Written Exams

CDS 2021 Exam

DS (I) Exam was conducted on February 07, 2021, and the CDS (II) will be taken on November 14, 2021.The CDS Exam Pattern 2021 for Indian Military, Indian Navy and Air Force Academy Exam is divided into 3 sections, whereas Officers’ Training Academy Exam is divided into 2 sections

Highlights of CDS Exam Pattern 2021

Mode of ExamOffline only 
Number of Questions asked300 MCQ Type
Number of questions in OTA200 MCQ Type
Maximum Marks300 ( Indian Military, Navy and Air Force) and 200 (OTA)
Duration of Exam2 hours (120 minutes) for each paper
MediumHindi or English
Negative markingOne-third marks deducted for every incorrect response

The CDS exam comprises of two stages viz: Written Exam and Interview for intelligence and personality test.

CDS Exam Pattern 2021 – Written Test

The written test for IMA, INA, and AFA consists of 3 sections – English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. Whereas the written paper for OTA consists of 2 sections – English and General Knowledge. The structure of the question paper is shown in the table below-

Mode of Exam: Offline i.e. candidates will be allocated an OMR sheet wherein they must color the appropriate response. 

Type of Questions: Objective Type i.e. each question will have four options. A candidate must choose the most appropriate response.

The medium of Exam: Bilingual in Hindi as well as English

CDS Exam Pattern for For IMA, INA, AFA

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
English Language 2 hrs100
General Knowledge2 hrs100
Elementary Mathematics2 hrs100

CDS Exam Pattern for OTA

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
English2 hrs100
General Knowledge2 hrs100

Standard of Questions

Given below is the expected standard of each section in the CDS 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.
  • English: The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words.
  • 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. The paper will also include questions on History of India and Geography of a nature which candidate should be able to answer without special study.

CDS Exam Pattern 2021 – Interview

The selection of the candidates is on the basis of marks scored in the interviews. Total marks for the interview for Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy is 300 marks, whereas 200 marks are allotted for interview of OTA.

SSB Interview will contain two stages i.e. Stage 1 and Stage 2. Candidates who qualify the stage 1 exam will be called for stage 2.

Stage 1: It is an OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating) Test which contains Picture Perception and Description Test (PP & DT). Candidates will be shortlisted as per their performance in the OIR Test and PP and DT.APPLY NOWCHECK ELIGIBILITYGET UPDATES

Stage 2: Candidates passing stage 1 will be called for this stageThis part consists of Group Testing Officer Tasks, Interview, Conference, and Psychology Test. These tests are organized in four days.Marking Scheme

CDS Marking Scheme 2021

Negative marking is applicable for every wrong marked answer. In CDS paper, each question carries 4 options and out of which only 1 option is correct. For each incorrect answer, 1/3 of the marks will be deducted. More than one option marked is treated as incorrect. However, if a question is left unanswered there will be no negative marking.

The following table explains the detailed marking scheme of the exam.

CDS Marking Scheme for IMA, INA, AFA

CDS PaperEnglishGKMathematics
Maximum Marks100100100
Marks for Correct answer+1 marks for each correct option+1 marks for each correct option+1 marks for each correct option
Negative marking-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer

CDS Marking Scheme for OTA

The following table shows Marking scheme for 2021 Officer Training Academy (OTA):

CDS PaperEnglishGK
Maximum Marks100100
Marks for Correct answer+1 marks for each correct option+1 marks for each correct option
Negative marking-0.33 marks for each wrong answer-0.33 marks for each wrong answer

Paper Analysis

CDS Previous Year Paper Analysis – Subject-wise

Here are the exam paper analysis of all subjects:

CDS English 

The English question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding of the English language. As per the previous year’s analysis, the following are the important topics asked in English paper.

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Sentence Improvement20Easy
Reading Comprehension23 (5 passages)Easy to Moderate
One Word Substitution5Moderate
Para-Jumble10Easy to Moderate
Spot the Error20Easy
Cloze Test20Easy

CDS General Knowledge

As per previous year analysis following are the important topics for GK paper:

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Science27Easy (Concept-based questions)
Geography22Moderate (Analytical based questions)
Ecology06Moderate (Fact-based questions)
Polity20Easy to Moderate
Economy/Trade11Moderate (Fact-based questions)
Miscellaneous /Armed Forces15Moderate (Fact-based questions)

CDS Elementary Mathematics  

In the following table, the previous year’s paper analysis of mathematics paper is mentioned.

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Algebra7Easy to Moderate
Mean-Median-Mode (Frequency Distribution Table)4Easy
Time speed and Distance6Easy
Number System20Easy to Moderate
Simple interest/Compound interest5Easy
Time and Work3Easy
Trigonometry14Moderate to Difficult
Set Theory1Easy
Geometry20Easy to Moderate

Filling Answer Sheet

Instructions to Fill CDS Answer Sheet

Candidates are advised to follow the instructions to fill the OMR sheet very carefully as the answer sheets are to be evaluated on the machine and any violation of these instructions may result in the reduction of scores. Before marking responses on the Answer Sheet, aspirants have to fill in various particulars in it.

After receiving CDS 2019 Answer Sheet, candidates have to check that it is numbered at the bottom. If it is un-numbered, it has to be replaced by a numbered one. The top of the answer sheet will have the particulars shown in thefigure below .


The following points should be kept in mind while filling CDS answer sheet:

  • Write with black ball pen only.
  • The test Booklet Series will be indicated by Alphabets A, B, C or D at the top right-hand corner of the Booklet.
  • Find out the appropriate subject code from the test booklet. Thereafter, encode the test booklet series, subject code and the roll number by using black pen.
  • Write and encode test booklet series after receiving the Test Booklet. For example, for English paper of ‘A’ Test Booklet Series you have to encode the subject code, which is 01 as shown below:


  • In the next step, you have to encode the Roll No. An example to encode the Roll Number is shown below.


  • Candidates have to make sure that they have carefully encoded their subject Test Booklet series and Roll Number.
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