Combined Defence Services

The “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment into the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. The Notification for the examination is usually released in the months of October and June, and the examinations are conducted in February and November respectively. Only unmarried graduates are eligible to sit for the exam. Successful candidates are admitted into the respective Academies after an interview conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB).

cds combined defence services in chennai NDA National Defence Academy



A candidate must be unmarried and must either be:

(i) a Citizen of India, or

(ii) a subject of Bhutan, or

(iii) a subject of Nepal, or

(iv) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or

(v) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Educational Qualifications :

(i) For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy— Degree of a recognised University or equivalent.

(ii) For Indian Naval Academy—Degree in Engineering from a recognised University/Institution.

(iii) For Air Force Academy—Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.

Age Limit

Indian Military Academy 19–24years
Air Force Academy 19–24 years
Naval Academy 19–24 years
Officers’ Training Academy 19–25 years

Scheme of Examination

Indian Military Academy / Air Force Academy / Naval Academy

All the papers are of objective type.

Subject Marks
English 100
General Knowledge 100
Elementary maths 100
Total 300

Officers’ Training Academy

Each paper contains objective type questions.

Subject Marks
English 100
General Knowledge 100
Total 200

1 ENGLISH The question paper will be designed to test the candidates’ understanding ofEnglish and workmanlike use of words.
2 GENERAL KNOWLEDGE General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters ofeveryday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected ofan educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. Thepaper will also include questions on History of India and Geography of a naturewhich candidate should be able to answer without special study.
4 INTELLIGENCE AND PERSONALITY TEST  The SSB procedure consists of two stage Selection process – stage I and stage II. Onlythose candidates who clear the stage I are permitted to appear for stage II. Thedetails are:-(a) Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception*Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based oncombination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.(b) Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Testsand the Conference.  The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz.

Service Selection Board Procedure

S.No Day Test Description
1 Day 0   candidates report to their allocated centre, they present their educational documents for verification and are given a number by which they will be identified throughout the process. A briefing about the schedule and general instructions may be given.
2 Day 1 screening tests On Day 1, stage one of testing is administered. This includes a verbal and non-verbal intelligence test (About 50 questions each) and then a Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT). In this test, a picture, either hazy or clear is shown to the candidates for 30 seconds. Each candidate observes it and then, in the next one minute, must record the number of characters seen in the picture. Then, in four minutes, each candidate must in over seventy words, make a story from the picture (and not just describe the picture). The candidate must record the mood, approximate age and gender of the first character they saw, known as the “main character”. In stage two of the PPDT, the candidates are given their stories, which they may revise. Then, in a group, each candidate must narrate his story in under one minute. The group is then asked to create a common story involving each or their perceived picture stories.After the completion of these tests, unsuccessful candidates are dismissed. Other candidates are short-listed. They must complete the first of up to five personal information questionnaires which must each be recorded in the same manner. The personal information questionnaire is the basis for the individual candidate interview.
3 Day 2 psychological tests On Day 2, a Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) or picture story writing is administered. It is similar to the PPDT, but the picture used is clear. Again the candidates are shown a picture for thirty seconds and then write a story in the next four minutes. Twelve such pictures are shown sequentially. The last picture is a blank slide inviting the candidates to write a story of their choice. Candidates do not need to remember the number of characters in each picture and there is no group discussion.Also administered on the second day is a Word Association Test. The candidates are shown sixty simple, everyday words in sequence. Each is shown for fifteen seconds. For each word, the candidates write the first thought that come to mind in response to the word.Other tests administered on day two are the Situation Reaction Test in which a booklet of 60 situations is given in which responses are to be completed in 30 minutes. and the Self Description Test which consists of 5 questions asking about parent’s, teacher’s, friend’s and your own perception about yourself.
4 Days 3 and 4 group testing On the third and fourth days, there are tasks including group discussion; group (military) planning exercises; progressive group tasks; small (half) group tasks; individual tasks (obstacles); group obstacle or “snake race”; command tasks; a lecturette and a final group task. Day 2 to 4, individual candidate interviews The interviews are conducted by the interviewing officers. It is based on the personal information questionnaires filled by the candidates on day 0 and some general knowledge.
5 Day 5 final assessment and results(Conference) On day five, All the officers in Proper Uniform to attend the conference each candidate has a conversation with a panel of assessors. The assessors look for confidence and expression when speaking; a positive attitude in adversity and in life; and honesty. Following this, the final results are announced. Successful candidates remain for an intensive medical examination taking three to five days at a military hospital.

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