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Syllabus of Combined Defence Services (CDS)  Exam

For authentic information about vacancy, application, Exam & syllabus ,please visit:

                                                       :  http://upsc.gov.in

                                                       :  http://upsc.gov.in/general/cds.htm

CDS Exam Syllabus:

The UPSC conducts a written exam called CDS Examination for the recruitment of the applicable aspirants. The CDS Exam Syllabus is very important to be read out for passing the exam. The exam comprises three basic subjects English, General Knowledge and Mathematics. These three subjects include various topics. The CDS Exam Syllabus Details will give the detailed information regarding the subjects as given below:

Paper I: English Syllabus

The question paper is designed to test your understanding of English and workmanlike use of words. Questions in English are from Synonyms, Antonyms, Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Error Spotting, Jumbled Sentences, Sentence Correction and Fill in the Blanks.

Paper II: General Knowledge Syllabus

General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. The paper also includes questions on History of India and Geography of a nature.

Paper III: Elementary Mathematics Syllabus:


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.


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 equations 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 .


Sine x, cosine x, Tangent x when 0 < x < 90 degrees, Values of sin x, cos x and tan x, for x = 0, 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees, Simple trigonometric identities, Use of trigonometric tables, simple cases of heights and distances.


Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Theorems on (i) Properties of angles at a point (ii) Parallel lines, (iii) Sides and angles of a triangle, (iv) Congruency of triangles, (v) Similar triangles, (vi) Concurrence of medians and altitudes, (vii) Properties of angles, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, rectangle and square (viii) Circles and its properties including tangents and normals, (ix) Loci.


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.


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

All these above mentioned fields have been included in the mathematics question paper so the aspirants must have good knowledge in elementary mathematics. The candidates need to be good in calculation and more basic operations so that they can perform well in the examination.

Service Selection Board (SSB):

Intelligence and Personality Test through Service Selection Board (SSB):

In addition to the interview the candidates will be put to Intelligence Tests both verbal and non-verbal, designed to assess their basic intelligence through Service Selection Board (SSB). 
They will also be put to Group Tests such as group discussions, group planning, outdoor group tasks, and asked to give brief lectures on specified subjects. All these tests are intended to judge the mental caliber of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also his social traits and interests in current affairs.

Name of this Interview: Service Selection Board (SSB) 

What is SSB?
The Service Selection Board (SSB), set up by the Ministry of Defense, undertakes the SSB Interview to evaluate prospective candidates for recruitment in the Army, Navy and Air Force. The benchmarks on which the candidates are assessed include intelligence, personality, compatibility and potential. Hence, mental preparation holds prominence over physical preparation, although physical fitness will be an added advantage. 

Schedule of SSB Examination

The five-day personality and intelligence test schedule is as under:

Day 1: Basic Intelligence Test

Day 2: Psychological Test

Day 3 & Day 4: The Group Testing Officers (GTO) Activities

Day 5: Conference
A Personal Interview (PI) can be taken on any day between second to fourth days. 

Tips to prepare for SSB Exam

  Reach a day before: Prepare yourself for a five-day schedule of the SSB. You need to reach a day before the first day, when you will be briefed on details of the next five days, code of conduct to be maintained, etc.

   Be confident: Maintain a confident and positive frame of mind and believe in your capabilities. After all, you've come this far from among thousands of candidates.

First day:

 On the first day of the schedule, basic intelligence and verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills are evaluated. You are asked to see a picture of thirty seconds duration and describe it in a story form. Later, group discussions are held in batches to select the most suitable story. To do well in this section, go through the last few years' question papers to get an idea. Solve papers of different aptitude tests. Get involved in GDs and debates whenever you get time. These will improve your verbal and non-verbal skills.


Practice writing & analyzing: Practice writing about anything you see, for instance, the boy playing in the park or the girl on a school bus. Write small stories and monitor your timing. The story should include seven parameters such as sex, mood, age, character, past, present and future of a situation that the character of your story is in. Analyse the story.


Things to keep in mind for the GD session:


•Do not look at the officers while narrating your story and just after completing it.

•Proper body language should be maintained.

•Do not argue in the GD; allow others to speak, including the weaker ones.

•Wait for the right time to put in the strong points of the story that you have written.

•Try to be actively present in the discussion so that the officers notice you.

Second Day:

The second day is considered very important. Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT), Situation Reaction Test (SRT) and Self Description are undertaken, all of which are part of psychological process. These are all general psychology tests that demand your extensive attention and concentration.

Self-description: Prepare for it beforehand. The psychologists usually look for your:

• Ability to self analyze

• Aim in life and determination

• Thinking and mentality regarding parents, family, friends, neighbours, teachers and others.

• Perception of how your parents, family, friends, neighbours, teachers and others analyse you.

Preparations for next two days:

The Group Testing Officers (GTO) activities conducted on the third and fourth days include various indoor and outdoor group activities like Group Discussion, Group Obstacle Race, Group Planning and Progressive Group Tasks. The individual tasks consist of Individual Lecturette, Individual Obstacles and Command Tasks. These tests are conducted to evaluate you as a team player in various situations as also as an individual. It also assesses your leadership qualities and the way you express yourself. Perform all the tasks in a calm and composed manner.

Personal interview: The officers can take your Personal Interview (PI) on any day between second to fourth days, so be mentally prepared for it.

Fifth day:

The fifth day generally comprises closing address by the board's Deputy President, conference and announcement of results, followed by dispersal.

Personality development: For SSB, it is not important that you should be a highly intelligent person but should be strong, mature and posses a well-developed personality.
Keep fit: It is essential to keep fit so that you can conduct all the physical activities with ease. A good heath will also help you to get a clearance in the medical tests. 

 NB: The Schedule, Pattern, Syllabus, Eligibility and Admission Process etc. of exam may change from time to time. Please visit the websites that authenticate the information to check for any such changes taking place.

The information available herein might be subject to change.