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CDS 2018 Exam Pattern

Updated On - February 4th 2018

CDS (Combined Defence Services) 2018 will be conducted in offline mode only. For Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy and Air Force Academy, there are 100 MCQs in each of the three sections. Questions will be asked from Mathematics, GK and English. For Officers’ Training Academy, Elementary Mathematics section is eliminated. Go through CDS Syllabus and exam pattern carefully before sitting for the exam. Check CDS Answer Key (Feb 4), Question Paper, Analysis and Cut off

The total time allotted for each paper is 2 hours. Marks allotted to each section is 100 marks. Negative marking is applicable in the CDS 2018. One-third mark will be deducted for each incorrect response. Paper for Mathematics and GK will be available both in English and Hindi language, whereas paper for English will be available only in English.  Check CDS Practice Papers

UPSC has released CDS 2018 Admit Card for the first session which is scheduled for February 2018. Candidates can visit the official website to download the admit card.

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CDS 2018 Highlights

Candidates can refer to the following table to check medium of CDS 2018 for each paper.

Mode of ExamOffline only (Pen and paper mode)
Number of Questions asked300 MCQ Type
Number of questions in OTA200 MCQ Type
Maximum Marks300 and 200 (OTA)
Duration of Exam2 hours (120 minutes) for each paper
MediumHindi or English
Sections in PaperEnglish, GK and Mathematics, English and GK for OTA
Negative markingOne third mark deducted for every incorrect response

CDS 2018 Exam Pattern in Detail

CDS 2018 is a written exam which consists of only Multiple Choice Questions. For getting into Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy, candidates are required to appear for all the 3 papers- English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. However, For Officers Training Academy, candidates must take two papers only- English and GK. Each paper carries 100 marks.

The question paper will also consist of questions involving the metric system of Weights and Measures only will be set. Those who qualify in the written test are called for the second stage i.e., Intelligence and Personality Test. 


CDS 2018 Marking Scheme

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 2018 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

The following table shows Marking scheme for 2018 OTA (Officers Training Academy):

CDS 2018 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

Distribution of Questions

Equal weightage is given to all the sections- GK, Mathematics and English.

PaperNumber of questions

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

CDS 2018 Intelligence and Personality Test Pattern

SSB interview will be the 2nd part of the selection procedure. SSB Interview will contain two stages i.e. Stage 1 and Stage 2. Candidates 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 OIR test and PP and DT.

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.

CDS 2018 Syllabus for English

English question paper will be designed to test the candidates' understanding of English language. As per previous year analysis, 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

Recommended Books 

CDS 2018 Exam Preparation English books are mentioned below:

Name of the BookAuthorISBN
Objective EnglishS.P. Bakshi978-9351768449
Quick Learning objective EnglishR.S. Aggarwal978-8121922111

CDS 2018 Syllabus for General Knowledge

For GK paper, candidates can cover the following topics:

  • Latest Current Affairs
  • Indian Constitution
  • Indian History
  • Indian Economy
  • Indian Geography
  • Indian Politics
  • Indian Navy & Military
  • Religions
  • Books & Authors
  • Sports, Awards, etc

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)

Preparation Books 

CDS does not have a well-structured syllabus for General Knowledge so a thorough study is needed for GK paper.The following books can be followed to study for GK paper.

Name of the BookISBN
Manorama Yearbook 2017 (English) 50th EditionASIN: B00O1N77HG
Lucent’s General KnowledgeISBN-10: 8192933563

CDS 2018 Syllabus for Elementary Mathematics

Mathematics paper covers topics from diverse topics. Following are the topic covered in CDS 2018 Mathematics paper.

  • Arithmetic
  • Number System
  • Elementary Number Theory
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration

In the following table, previous year 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

Recommended Books 

Candidates can follow the NCERT books to clear the basics but for competitive exam level mathematics, you need a book on quantitative aptitude to learn and practice advanced concepts.

List of Mathematics books is as follows:

Name of the BookAuthorISBN
Quantitative AptitudeDr. R.S. AggarwalB01MCU1JSH (ASIN)
Quicker MathematicsM. Tyra978-8190458924
Quantitative Aptitude Numerical Ability: Fully Solved 7000 + Objective QuestionsKiran ParkashanB00U241N14 (ASIN)

Instructions to Fill CDS 2018 Answer Sheet

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

After receiving CDS 2018 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 the figure below.


The following points should be kept in mind while filling CDS 2018 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.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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