How to Crack CDS Exam In First Attempt | Timetable and Strategies

The preparation of the CDS exam and obtaining cut-off marks is very much possible for those who willing to put in a little effort from now onwards.

This article aims to enlighten the CDS aspiring students to familiarize the syllabus & How to crack CDS exam in first attempt

This will help you to obtain the cutoff marks within a short period of regular studies and with the given tips to crack your written test.

how to prepare for cds exam

As a general trend in the environments that most of the final graduation students (Men & Women) are appearing CDS examination along with their final semester examination.

A majority of students have difficulty obtaining cutoff marks as prescribed by the Union Public Staff Commission(UPSC).

UPSC determines the cut off marks based on the number of applications received in a particular exam, number of vacancies released by Armed Forces & difficulty of the question, etc.

The CDS examination is conducted for those who are interested to join the Armed Force (Army/Navy/Air Force) after graduation/going to complete graduation from a recognized university as approved by G.O.I.

Do check the eligibility criteria before applying under the CDS Exam

UPSC pattern of examination of C.D.S. is based on High secondary level English, Graduation level of General Science and Elementary Mathematics(X Class Level).

Many of the students aspiring to join the Armed Forces are miserably failing due to:

  • Limited understanding of the subject
  • Lack of knowledge about the subject-wise syllabus
  • The importance of cutoff marks, and
  • Lack of sincerity to clear C.D.S. examination within the prescribed time.

Recommended: 3 Ways To Join Indian Army After Engineering

5 Steps on How to Crack CDS Exam in First Attempt

1. Understanding the approach & Tips towards C.D.S. exam

2. Know the 2021 C.D.S. Subject-Wise Syllabus

3. Know About the General pattern of distribution of Marks

4. Identify & Self-evaluation (Strength & Weakness)

5. Tips to How to Prepare for CDS Exam

Understanding the Approach & Tips towards C.D.S. exam

The most important question asked by you is that how do I prepare for the C.D.S. (2) examination which is scheduled on 14 November 2021, just a few months away.

A simple answer would be to prepare well.

But it’s much easier if you are motivated towards achieving your dream/present goal of wearing a uniform with stars, rather than limiting yourself to a written exam conducted by UPSC

Thus there is a requirement to understand all three activities such as written examination by UPSC, Five days of SSB interview by S.S.C. & military basic training at IMA/IN/AFA.

Recommended: A Strong Personality can give you an extra edge during your interview days. Build an Officer Like Quality from Day 1 with the Officers Recommended Personal Development Books

Please see the picture of the passing-out parade of I.M.A. on the second Saturday of Jun and December every year. Are they tired, or motivated and energetic?

If you start thinking about the C.D.S. exam, then its more than a year-long journey before you are entitled to those stars on your shoulder

When we compare your S.S.B. interview & basic military training, you may feel that the C.D.S. written examination is easier and merely a walkway.

Few facts Which will tell you Why CDS Exam is Straightforward:

>> There are Three Tests: English, General Knowledge & Mathematics

Maximum Marks: 100 each
Pass marks: Only 20% individually.

>> All three tests are based on:

General Knowledge is based on general awareness of the individuals
English is based on your 10+2 class &
Mathematics is based on your 10th class

>>Your schooling background doesn’t matter in CDS. Candidates who have completed their studies through any medium of language or had part-time/distant education can also apply

Tips to Approach CDS (II) 2021 Exam (Basic rule)

  • Making groups (including a minimum of 5 – 10 friends of the same college to facilitate combined studies).

    Encourage your friends and classmates to study together
  • Familiarize syllabus, and all three subjects examination is the same as other competitive examination.
  • Collection of study materials/Personal copies.
  • Identify your strengths & weaknesses by undergoing Mock tests of all three subjects at regular intervals.

Minimum Marks for each subject: 20 only(any average students can get it) &
Maximum Marks: 100 (Nobody can get it)

Your Aim Should be to get Minimum -20 Marks &
Maximum 70 Marks (so to achieve 50% average cut off)

Maximum questions: 120 objective types for English & General Science.

Time: 2 hours (i.e., one minute per question for Mathematics).

  • Identify self study & joint(combined) study & professional guidance for each sub-sub subjects.

    Several topics are easy, moderate, and difficult. So Identify & take professional help to understand the concept.
  • Share your knowledge with others (if you are good at English, then teach/guide your friends).

    This initiative will boost your morale and confidence.
  • Do not hesitate to approach old friends/teachers/classmates who know a particular subject better.
  • Identify which sub-subject needs more time to study.
  • Prepare a timetable & strict with it according to your current commitment & responsibilities.
  • Lastly, Remember, you will become a defense service officer who makes the Nation tomorrow’s destiny.

Recommended: Know the right ways to Join Army After Completing Your Graduation

What is the CDS Syllabus?

Below are the stated subjects with all the topics asked under them. You can refer to the same to help you cover all the topics under the CDS exam Syllabus

1. English

MCQ’s: 120
Maximum Marks: 100
Exam: 2hrs

Spotting the Errors
Sentence completion
Synonyms & Antonyms
Selecting Words
Ordering of Sentence
Comprehension Questions
Ordering of words in a sentence
Fill in the blanks questions
Idioms and Phrases
Best Books to Refer:

Wren and Martin High School English Grammar,
Word Power Made Easy

Hindu Newspaper

General Pattern Distribution of Marks (English)

S NoChapter NameIIIIIIIV
3One Word Substitution5
4Sentence Arrangement (S1-S6)10108
5Sentence Arrangement (PQRS)15711
6Spotting Error15152025
7Cloze test20252020
8Suitable Word Selection1010
9Question Based on Comprehension21202316
10Sentence Improvement20252020
Total Questions120120120120

2. General Knowledge (G.K.)

MCQ’s: 120
Maximum Marks: 100
Exam: 2hrs

Current Affairs
Defense-related Award
Best Books to Refer:

Lucent’s General Knowledge,
The Malayala Manorama English Yearbook,
Arihant General Knowledge

General Pattern Distribution of Marks (General Knowledge)

S NoChapter NameIIIIIIIV
5General Knowledge19181529
Total Questions120120120120

3. Elementary Mathematics

MCQ’s: 100
Maximum Marks: 100
Exam: 2hrs

>> Algebra

Basic Operations
Simple factors
Remainder Theorem
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 inequations 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

>> Arithmetic

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
Applications to simple and compound interest
Profit and loss
Ratio and proportion
Elementary Number Theory: Division algorithm
Prime and composite numbers
Tests of divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 11
Multiples and factors. Factorization Theorem
H.C.F. and L.C.M.
Euclidean algorithm
Logarithms to base 10
Laws of logarithms
Use of logarithmic tables

>> Trigonometry

Sine(x), cosine(x), Tangent(x) when 0° < x < 90°
Values of sin(x), cos(x), and tan(x), for x= 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90°
Simple trigonometric identities
Use of trigonometric tables
Simple cases of heights and distance

>> Geometry

Lines and angles
Plane and plane figures
Theorems on Properties of angles at a point
Parallel lines
Sides and angles of a triangle
Congruency of triangles
Similar triangles
Concurrence of medians and altitudes
Properties of angles
Sides and diagonals of a Parallelogram
Rectangle and square
Circles and its properties, including tangents

>> Mensuration

Areas of squares
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

>> Statistics

Collection and tabulation of statistical data
Graphical representation frequency polygons
Bar charts
Pie charts etc
Measures of central tendency
Best Books to Refer:

Pathfinder CDS (Combined Defence Services)
Mathematics for CDS Entrance Examination
best books for defence exam
Click Here to Know More

General Pattern Distribution of Marks (Mathematics)

S NoChapter NameI IIIIIIV
1Number System11101213
2HCF LCM of Numbers4344
3Decimal Fractions11
4Square Roots and Cube Roots2121
5Time and Distance71075
6Time and Work1614
8Simple Interest121
9Compound Interest121
10Profit and Loss111
11Ratio and Proportion2321
13Basic Operations and Factorisation11551
14HCF and LCM of Polynomials4344
15Rational Expressions1
16Linear Equations1111
17Quadratic Equations and Inequations7419
18Set Theory11
19Measurement of Angles and
Trigonometric Ratio
20Height and Distance2241
21Lines Angles31
23Quadrilateral and Polygon3544
26Area and Perimeter of Plane Figures46114
27Surface Area and Volume of Solids11811
Total Questions100100100100

Key Things to Remember for UPSC CDS (2) 2021 Exam

  • Maximum of 145 marks (as per the last five years’ data) is considered as cut off.

    Which you need to obtain from all three subjects combined (Maximum Marks 300)
  • OTA candidates are required to attend English & G.S. only. Their cutoff marks are, on average, 80-90 marks.
  • All Three exams will be conducted offline(Paper & Black Pen) and on the same day, i.e., 07 February 2021
  • Fixed time & date of examination, the announcement of the result.
  • Not mandatory to attend all questions & MCQ based.
  • 1/3 Marks will be deducted for each wrong answer. Hence, conscious and careful to attend to doubtful questions.

How to Achieve 145 Magic Marks for C.D.S. Written Examination

All students appearing for the examination is master in one of the subjects at least.

Let us take the following assumption as per the details given below:

If you are a Humanities Degree graduate:

Can obtain 65 marks in G.S. as an easy subject,
25 marks in Mathematics as a difficult subject and
55 marks in English as a moderate subject

(Total -145 marks)

If you are a BSc Degree graduate:

You may quickly get 70 marks in Mathematics as an easy subject,
55 Marks in English &
25 marks in G.S. as moderate subject

(Total 145 marks)

If you are an English Degree graduate:

You may get 75 marks in English as an easy subject,
25 marks in Mathematics as a problematic subject &
45 marks in G.S. as a moderate subject

(Total 145 marks)

A few students have no particular interest in the subject above:

Focus on getting 55 marks in G.K. as an easy subject,
50 marks in English as moderate subject &
40 marks in Mathematics as a difficult subject.

Note – It is recommended that candidates should aim to get maximum marks and should not restrict themselves to the cut-off marks ie 135- 145 marks.

Tips on How to Study for the Exam

  • Identify Your Strong and Weak Subjects

    Go for The straight forward subject for maximum marks

    The moderate subject for fairly good marks &

    The difficult subject needs professional help from your old teachers, friend circle.
  • Identify and divide each subject Eg: English

    Take one topic under English (like Spotting Mistakes)

    Divide that topic to sub-sub group and even more sub-sub-sub groups for you to study and complete the ease
  • Divide the time equally for all three categories and strict with it. Revision & mock test is mandatory
  • Leaves easiest sub-sub-subjects of each main subject based on your profession in the subject.
  • Avoid studying entirely unknown/difficult sub-sub-subjects of each main subject to save time.

Recommended: Fly High with the Indian Airforce, Know how to Become an Officer Through AFCAT exam

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How to Crack CDS in 2 Months – Complete TimeTable

If you have 75 days to go for the exam, you should plan for four & a half to study.

One hr for study and a half-hour for self-evaluation, memorizing a formula, self-assessing tests. This half an hour is most important for this kind of competitive exam.

A day wise time table starting from 01 September 2021 to 14 November 21 (exam day) is given below:

Sr. No.DateSubjectSubjectSubject
EnglishGeneral StudiesMathematics
101-Sep-21Spoting Errors QuestionsEconomicsAlgebra
202-Sep-21Spoting Errors QuestionsEconomicsAlgebra
303-Sep-21Sentence Arrangement QuestionPhysicsArithmetic
404-Sep-21Sentence Arrangement QuestionPhysicsArithmetic
505-Sep-21Test (Ser No 1 to 4)Test (Ser No 1 to 4)Test (Ser No 1 to 4)
606-Sep-21Synonyms and AntonymsCurrent AffairsTrigonometry
707-Sep-21Synonyms and AntonymsCurrent AffairsTrigonometry
808-Sep-21Selecting WordsPoliticsGeometry
907-Sep-21Selecting WordsPoliticsGeometry
1008-Sep-21Test (Ser No 1 to 9)Test (Ser No 1 to 9)Test (Ser No 1 to 9)
1109-Sep-21Ordering of SentenceChemistryMensuration
1210-Sep-21Ordering of SentenceChemistryMensuration
Comprehension QuestionSociologyStatistics
1412-Sep-21Comprehension QuestionSociologyStatistics
1513-Sep-21Test (Ser No 1 to 14)Test (Ser No 1 to 14)Test (Ser No 1 to 14)
1614-Sep-21Ordering of Words in a SentenceHistoryAlgebra
1715-Sep-21Ordering of Words in a SentenceHistoryAlgebra
1816-Sep-21Fill In the Blanks QuestionDefence Related AwardsArithmetic
1917-Sep-21Fill In the Blanks QuestionDefence Related AwardsArithmetic
2018-Sep-21Test (Ser No 1 to 19)Test (Ser No 1 to 19)Test (Ser No 1 to 19)
2119-Sep-21Idioms and PhrasesGeographyTrigonometry
2220-Sep-21Idioms and PhrasesGeographyTrigonometry
2523-Sep-21Test (Ser No 1 to 24)Test (Ser No 1 to 24)Test (Ser No 1 to 24)
2624-Sep-21Spoting Errors QuestionsSportMensuration
2725-Sep-21Spoting Errors QuestionsSportMensuration
2826-Sep-21Sentence Arrangement QuestionBiologyStatistics
2927-Sep -21Sentence Arrangement QuestionBiologyStatistics
3028-Sep-21Test (Ser No 1 to 29)Test (Ser No 1 to 29)Test (Ser No 1 to 29)
3129-Sep-21Synonyms and AntonymsCulturalAlgebra
3230-Sep-21Synonyms and AntonymsCulturalAlgebra
3301-Oct-21Selecting WordsBooksArithmetic
3402-Oct-21Selecting WordsBooksArithmetic
3503-Oct-21Test (Ser No 1 to 34)Test (Ser No 1 to 34)Test (Ser No 1 to 34)
3604-Oct-21Ordering of SentenceStatements (True/False)Trigonometry
3705-Oct-21Ordering of SentenceStatements (True/False)Trigonometry
3806-Oct-21Comprehension QuestionEconomicsGeometry
3907-Oct-21Comprehension QuestionEconomicsGeometry
4008-Oct-21Test (Ser No 1 to 39)Test (Ser No 1 to 39)Test (Ser No 1 to 39)
4109-Oct-21Ordering of Words in a SentencePhysicsMensuration
4210-Oct-21Ordering of Words in a SentencePhysicsMensuration
4311-Oct-21Fill In the Blanks QuestionCurrent AffairsStatistics
4412-Oct-21Fill In the Blanks QuestionCurrent AffairsStatistics
4513-Oct-21Test (Ser No 1 to 44)Test (Ser No 1 to 44)Test (Ser No 1 to 44)
4614-Oct-21Idioms and PhrasesPoliticsAlgebra
4715-Oct-21Idioms and PhrasesPoliticsAlgebra
5018-Oct-21Test (Ser No 1 to 50)Test (Ser No 1 to 50)Test (Ser No 1 to 50)
5119-Oct-21Spoting Errors QuestionsSociologyTrigonometry
5220-Oct-21Spoting Errors QuestionsSociologyTrigonometry
5321-Oct-21Sentence Arrangement QuestionHistoryGeometry
5422-Oct-21Sentence Arrangement QuestionHistoryGeometry
5523-Oct-21Test (Ser No 1 to 54)Test (Ser No 1 to 54)Test (Ser No 1 to 54)
5624-Oct-21Synonyms and AntonymsDefence Related AwardsMensuration
5725-Oct-21Synonyms and AntonymsDefence Related AwardsMensuration
5826-Oct-21Selecting WordsGeographyStatistics
5927-Oct-21Selecting WordsGeographyStatistics
6028-Oct-21Test (Ser No 1 to 59)Test (Ser No 1 to 59)Test (Ser No 1 to 59)
6129-Oct-21Ordering of SentenceEnvironmentAlgebra
6230-Oct-21Ordering of SentenceEnvironmentAlgebra
6331-Oct-21Comprehension QuestionSportArithmetic
6401-Nov-21Comprehension QuestionSportArithmetic
6502-Nov-21Test (Ser No 1 to 64)Test (Ser No 1 to 64)Test (Ser No 1 to 64)
6603-Nov-21Ordering of Words in a SentenceBiologyTrigonometry
6704-Nov-21Ordering of Words in a SentenceBiologyTrigonometry
6805-Nov-21Fill In the Blanks QuestionCulturalGeometry
6906-Nov-21Fill In the Blanks QuestionCulturalGeometry
7007-Nov-21Test (Ser No 1 to 69)Test (Ser No 1 to 69)Test (Ser No 1 to 69)
7108-Nov-21Self StudySelf StudySelf Study
7209-Nov-21Mock TestMock TestMock Test
7310-Nov-21Self EvaluationSelf EvaluationSelf Evaluation
7411-Nov-21Mock TestMock TestMock Test
7512-Nov-21Preparation for ExamPreparation for ExamPreparation for Exam
7613-Nov-21Preparation for ExamPreparation for ExamPreparation for Exam
  • You can modify it as per your choice and time.
  • However, divide the subject into two-three parts, such as geography divided into Indian geography & World Geography.

    An example of Indian geography is divided into a drainage system, soils, Location of lakes, mountains, minerals, etc.
  • It is also important to conduct mock tests when you complete a set of subjects (as given in our time-table above).

    This test is for your self-evaluation & facilitate your morale booster rather than lose your self-confidence.

    As stated earlier, you should not look to complete the whole syllabus (if you lack time), but to study a topic thoroughly to help you get a perfect score on that topic
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A sincere and focused study with motivated & hardworking efforts from your side is the only requirement for preparation and, subsequently, a written exam.

The above articles give you all the information on how to crack CDS exam in your First Attempt, the marks distribution, and a dedicated time-table to help you prepare better

The continued and consistent studies definitely will encourage the motivation level to clear S.S.B in near future

All the Best

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