CDS Syllabus 2023-24: Download the Latest UPSC CDS Subject-wise Syllabus PDF  

The CDS Syllabus 2023-24 is designed for those who wish to appear for the Combined Defence services exam. This exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for the purpose of recruitment into the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The exam syllabus covers a wide range of topics, from Mathematics to English, and General Knowledge. 

Candidates who are preparing for the CDS Exam must be well-versed in all the topics covered in the syllabus in order to stand a chance of passing the exam. The CDS Exam is not an easy exam to crack, and candidates must be prepared to put in the hard work in order to pass. However, with the right preparation and dedication, passing the CDS Exam is achievable.

CDS Exam Syllabus 2023 Overview

Reading comprehension, vocabulary, economics, history, number systems, percentages, and other related topics make up the majority of the CDS syllabus. All candidates should note down the complete syllabus before starting the CDS exam preparation. 

The exam for the posts in IAFA, INA, and IMA consists of the following sections. 

  • Elementary Mathematics
  • General Knowledge 
  • English 

For OTA Posts, the screening of candidates takes place on the basis of their knowledge of General Knowledge and English subjects. Remember, questions from elementary mathematics are not asked in the exam for OTA posts. 

Let’s take a quick look at the overview of the CDS syllabus. 

Mode of ExaminationOffline 
Number of Section3 sections for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy (AFA)
2 sections for Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)
Type of questionsObjective type Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
Maximum Marks 300 Marks for IMA, INA, and AFA200 Marks for OTA
Duration of the exam2 hours for each section
Language of questions English and Hindi
Negative Marking ⅓ marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer 

CDS Syllabus for IMA, INA, and AFA

To understand the syllabus in a better way, you should go through the CDS Exam Pattern 2023-24 given in the following table. Please note that this exam pattern is applicable for posts in Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy (AFA) only. 

SubjectsNumber of QuestionsMaximum Marks 
Elementary Mathematics100 in 2 hours100 
General Knowledge120 in 2 hours100
English 120 in 2 hours100
Total340 Questions in 6 hours300 marks 

Check: NDA syllabus

CDS Mathematics Syllabus 

Mathematics Syllabus for CDS Exam 
ArithmeticElementary Number TheoryDivision algorithmH.C.F. and L.C.MEuclidean algorithmPrime and composite numbers.Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11.Multiples and factors.Factorisation Theorem.Logarithms to base 10, use of logarithmic tables, laws of logarithms.
Number System Number System Unitary method, time and work, time and distance, percentagesNatural numbers, Integers, Rational and Real numbersApplications of profit and loss, simple and compound interest, ratio and proportion, variationFundamental operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Square roots, Decimal fractions
Algebra Basic operations and Simple factorsH.C.F. and L.C.MRemainder TheoremSimultaneous linear inequations in two variables & their solutions.Theory of polynomials, the relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered), solutions of quadratic equations.Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns — analytical & graphical solutions.Practical issues with solutions that result in two simultaneous linear equations, inequalities in two variables, or quadratic equations in one variable.Set notion and set languageLaws of indicesRational expressions and conditional identities
StatisticsCollection and tabulation of statistical dataMeasures of central tendencyGraphical representation of frequency polygons, bar charts histograms, pie charts etc
MensurationAreas of figures can be split up into these figures (Field Book), lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, Surface area and volume of cuboids, and surface area and volume of spheresAreas of parallelograms, squares, rectangles, triangles and circles
TrigonometrySine x, cosine x, Tan x when 0° < x < 90° , Values of sin x, cos x & tan x, for x = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° & 90°Simple trigonometric identitiesUse of trigonometric tablesSimple cases of heights and distances
GeometryPlane and plane figures, Lines and angles, Theorems on:Circles and their properties including tangents and normalsConcurrence of medians and altitudesSimilar trianglesProperties of sides, angles and diagonals of a rectangle, parallelogram and squareCongruency of trianglesParallel linesSides and angles of a triangleProperties of angles at a pointLoci

CDS Syllabus for General Knowledge 

General Knowledge Syllabus for CDS Exam 
Indian History Indus Valley Civilization, Rig Vedic period, Later Vedic period, Jainism, Buddhism, Mughal Period, Indian Independence Movement, Indian National Congress, etc. 
Indian PolityDrafting committee and making of the Constitution, Influence of other constitutions, Salient Features of Indian Constitution, Union and its Territory, Indian Judiciary, Citizenship, Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). 
EconomicsFeatures of Indian Economy, Basic Economic Indicators, Population, Fiscal policy, Theory of employment, Economic Growth and Development, etc. 
Political SciencePolitical Processes in India, Understanding Political Theory, Perspectives on International Relations and World History, Political Theory-Concepts and Debates, Perspectives on Public Administration, Democracy, Freedom, etc. 
General SciencePhysics – Electrostatics, Magnetic Effects of Current and Magnetism, Current Electricity, Electromagnetic Waves, Electromagnetic Induction and Alternating Currents, Dual Nature of Radiation and Matter, Optics, Electronic Devices, etc. Chemistry – Atomic Structure, Acids, Bases, and Salts, Oxidation and Reduction, Chemical Bonding, Matter and its States, Fuels, Metallurgy, Metal and Non-Metals, Electrochemistry, etc.Biology – Photosynthesis, Carbon Cycle, Nitrogen Cycle, Human Digestive System, Human Heart, Flora And Fauna, Human Brain, Cells, Blood, Gymnosperms, Transpiration,  Biofertilizers, etc.  
Defence Current AffairsRecent Tests and Development by DRDO, Innovations by Army, Navy, or Air Force, Gallantry Awards, etc. 
Current AffairsNational Affairs, International affairs, Economy and business world, Sports and Games, Science/Technology, Environment Ecology and Climate, etc. 

Check: BPSC syllabus

CDS English Syllabus 

English Syllabus for CDS Exam 
English Cloze TestMultiple MeaningPara-jumblesFill in the blanksIdioms & PhrasesReading ComprehensionParagraph CompletionSentence CompletionVocabulary/Word AssociationMiscellaneousError SpottingActive/Passive Voices

CDS Syllabus for OTA

The CDS syllabus for OTA is similar to that of the syllabus for INA, IMA, and AFA. However, they need not prepare for the Elementary Mathematics Section. The Mathematics section is not included in the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) Syllabus.

SubjectsNumber of QuestionsMaximum Marks 
General Knowledge 120 in 2 hours100 
English120 in 2 hours100
Total 240 Questions in 4 hours200 marks 

Check: Sainik school entrance exam

Tips to Prepare for CDS Examination 2023

  1. Know the Exam Pattern and Syllabus – The first step towards UPSC CDS exam preparation is to know the exam pattern. This will give you a clear idea about the nature of the questions, marking scheme, total number of questions and time duration for the examination.
  2. Start with the basics – Once you are aware of the UPSC CDS exam pattern, start with the basic concepts. If you are preparing for CDS Exam I, make sure you have a clear understanding of topics like Indian History, Geography, Economy, etc. For CDS Exam II, brush up on your Mathematics and English skills.
  3. Time management – Time management is a key skill to crack any competitive examination. For the CDS examination, you will have to attempt objective type questions in a limited time. So, it is important that you know the shortcut tricks to solve problems, especially in mathematics. 
  4. Don’t Ignore Your Health – Make sure you remain fit and active throughout your exam preparation journey. Try to eat healthilxy and take short breaks while studying. 

Best Books for CDS Preparation 

A large number of books are available in the market for Combined Defence Services exam preparation. A few of the best books are as follows. 

  • Elementary Mathematics – Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by R.S. Aggarwal, Mathematics for CDS by R.S. Aggarwal, Pathfinder for CDS by Arihant Publications.
  • General Knowledge – General Awareness by Manohar Panday (Arihant Publications), Manorama Yearbook by Philip Mathew, Pratiyogita Darpan by Pratiyogita Darpan Editorial Team, Newspapers  – Hindu, The Indian Express, The Economic Times, etc. 
  • English – High School English Grammar & Composition by Wren and Martin, Objective General English by SP Bakshi, Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis.

Download UPSC CDS Exam Syllabus PDF

For future reference, candidates may save and download the CDS Syllabus PDF. Remember, the syllabus is present in the official notification of the exam. Give below the link to download the official PDF of the CDS Syllabus – Check Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the syllabus of UPSC CDS Exam change every year?

No, the syllabus remains the same. However, slight changes in the Current Affair section are observed by the candidates. 

Is there a mathematics section in the CDS syllabus for OTA?

No, there is no mathematics section for Officers’ Training Academy. 

How many questions are there in each section of the CDS exam?

100 for mathematics, and 120 each for General Knowledge and English.

Are INA, IMA, and AMA syllabuses different?

No, the syllabus of INA, IMA, and AMA is the same. 

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