CDS (Combined Defense Services) Exam Pattern 2018

Last Updated - March 06 2018

CDS (Combined Defense Services) 2018 exam will be organized in offline method only. Aspirants who seeking to appear for CDS 2018 should go via CDS 2018 Exam Format and Syllabus cautiously. They should know about the important chapters and instructions to be followed while taking the test.

  • 240 MCQ type questions for aspirants applying for OTA as Mathematics is not eligible for OTA. Check CDS 2018 Hall Ticket
  • The exam will be organized in offline method only
  • 340 MCQ type questions that would be asked from Mathematics, GK and English.
  • The total time allotted for each paper is 2 hours
  • One-third mark will be deducted for each inaccurate answer
  • Negative marking is eligible in the CDS 2018 Exam. Check CDS 2018 Result

CDS 2018 Application Form filling will start on November 9, 2018 and will end on December 2, 2018. CDS 2018 written exam consists of 3 papers (2 papers in case of OTA). CDS 2018 is tentatively scheduled to be organized on February 5, 2018.

Highlights Table of CDS 2018

Aspirants can refer to the following table to check medium of CDS 2018 for each paper. Paper for Mathematics and GK will be available both in English and Hindi language, whereas paper for English will be available only in English only.

The following table gives information about the highlights of CDS 2018 Exam Format:

Method of ExamOffline only (Pen and paper mode)
Number of Questions asked340 MCQ Type
Number of questions in OTA240 MCQ Type
Maximum Marks300 and 200 (OTA)
Period of Exam2 hours (120 minutes) for each paper
MediumHindi or English
Sections in PaperEnglish: 8-9 GK and Mathematics: Questions are asked in mixed attitude
Negative markingOne-third mark deducted for every inaccurate answer

Marking Scheme for CDS 2018

CDS 2018 consists of only Multiple Choice Questions. For getting into Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy, aspirants are need to appear for all the 3 papers- English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. Each paper carries 100 marks.

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

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

CDS 2018 PaperEnglishGKMathematics
Maximum Marks100100100
Marks for Accurate response+0.8 marks for each accurate option+0.8 marks for each accurate option+1 marks for each accurate option
Negative marking-0.33 marks for each wrong response-0.33 marks for each wrong response-0.33 marks for each wrong response

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

CDS 2018 PaperEnglishGK
Maximum Marks100100
Marks for Accurate response+0.8 marks for each accurate option+0.8 marks for each accurate option
Negative marking-0.33 marks for each wrong response-0.33 marks for each wrong response

Distribution of Questions

Equal weight is given to GK and English as both the papers will contain 120 questions each in CDS 2018. However, paper of mathematics will consist of 100 questions.

PaperNumber of questions
English120
Mathematics100
GK120

The selection of the aspirants 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 Individuality Test Format

SSB interview will be the 2nd part of the selection process. SSB Interview will contain two stages i.e. Stage 1 and Stage 2. Aspirants 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). Aspirants will be shortlisted as per their performance in QIR test and PP and DT.

Stage 2: Aspirants passing stage 1 will be called for this stage. These tests are conducted in four days. This part consists of Group Testing Officer Tasks, Interview, Conference and Psychology Test.

English Syllabus for CDS 2018

English question paper will be designed to test the aspirants' understanding of English language. As per earlier 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
Synonyms8Moderate
Antonyms7Easy
One Word Substitution5Moderate
Para-Jumble10Easy to Moderate
Sentence-Jumble7Moderate
Spot the Mistake20Easy
Cloze Test20Easy

Preference 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

General Knowledge Syllabus for CDS 2018

For GK paper, aspirants can cover the following topics:

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

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

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
History19Difficult
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)

Recommended Books 

CDS does not have a well-structured syllabus for General Knowledge so a thorough study is required 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

Elementary Mathematics Syllabus for CDS 2018

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

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

In the following table, earlier year paper analysis of mathematics paper is mentioned.

TopicNumber of QuestionsLevel of Difficulty
Mensuration14Easy
Algebra7Easy to Moderate
Mean-Median-Method (Frequency Distribution Table)4Easy
Time speed and Distance6Easy
Number System20Easy to Moderate
Simple interest/Compound interest5Easy
Percentage2Easy
Profit/Loss1Easy
Mixture1Easy
Time and Work3Easy
Trigonometry14Moderate to Difficult
Set Theory1Easy
Clock2Easy
Geometry20Easy to Moderate

Preference Books 

Aspirants can follow the NCERT books to complete the basics but for competitive exam level mathematics, you required a book on quantitative aptitude to learn and exercise 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 PrakashanB00U241N14 (ASIN)

Instructions to Fill CDS Response Sheet 2018

Aspirants are advised to follow the instructions to fill OMR sheet very cautiously as the response sheets are to be evaluated on machine and any violation of these instructions may result in reduction of scores. Before marking answers on the Response Sheet, candidates have to fill in different particulars in it.


After receiving CDS 2018 Response Sheet, aspirants have to check that it is numbered at the bottom. The top of the response sheet will have the particulars shown in the figure below. If it is un-numbered, it has to be replaced by a numbered one.

The following points should be kept in mind while filling CDS 2018 response sheet:

  • The next step is to find out the suitable subject code from the test booklet. Thereafter, encode the test booklet series, subject code and the roll number by using black pen.
  • Write your roll Number as per hall ticket with black ball pen in the boxes offered for this purpose. You are not supposed to omit any zero which may be there.
  • You have to write with black ball pen the name of the center and subject in English or Hindi.
  • The test Booklet Series will be indicated by Alphabets A, B, C or D at the top right hand corner of the Booklet.
  • Writing and encoding of test booklet series has to be done after receiving the Test Booklet and checking the booklet series from the same. For example, for English paper of β€˜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.
  • Aspirants have to make sure that they have cautiously encoded their subject Test Booklet series and Roll Number.

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