CDS Syllabus 2021 OTA, INA, IMA, IAFA: Check CDS Exam Pattern

CDS Syllabus 2021 OTA, INA, IMA, IAFA: Check CDS Exam Pattern

ByNaveen Singh  |  Updated on: Aug 9, 2021CDS is a National Level Entrance exam conducted twice a year, first in the Month of February and second in the month of November.
CDS is a National Level Entrance exam conducted twice a year, first in the Month of February and second in the month of November.
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CDS Syllabus & Exam Pattern 2021

CDS Syllabus 2021 is important to prepare for the OTA, IMA, INA, and AFA exams. Similarly, it's necessary to go through the exam pattern for quality preparation of the CDS I & II exam. 

A good understanding of the CDS exam pattern and syllabus is very crucial for all the aspirants who are preparing for this exam. The latest exam pattern helps students understand the subjects which will be asked in the CDS exam along with their respective number of questions and weightage of marks.

In addition, the overview of the detailed CDS syllabus helps them figure out the exact topics to be studied from these sections. So, go through the exam pattern and detailed syllabus of the CDS exam for IMA, INA, OTA, and AFA to step up your preparation and boosting the score in this exam!

CDS Exam Pattern 2021

Candidates should note that the CDS exam pattern of IMA (Indian Military Academy), INA (Indian Naval Academy), and AFA (Air Force Academy) is the same and there is a slight change in the CDS exam pattern of OTA (Officers Training Academy).

1. CDS Exam Pattern 2021 for IMA, INA & IAFA:

Name of the SubjectTotal DurationNumber of QuestionsMaximum Marks
English2 hours120100
General Knowledge2 hours120100
Elementary Mathematics2 hours100100

2. CDS Exam Pattern 2021 for OTA:

Name of the SubjectTotal DurationNumber of QuestionsMaximum Marks
English2 hours120100
General Knowledge2 hours120100

Important Details of the CDS Exam Pattern:

  • The exam of CDS will be offline, i.e. through pen and paper mode.
  • The question paper of Mathematics and General Knowledge will be set bilingually, i.e. in Hindi as well as English.
  • All the tests will consist of objective-type questions only.
  • English and General Knowledge sections will comprise 120 questions each, while the Mathematics section would contain 100 questions.
  • There is a penalty for every wrong answer. 1/3rd marks will be deducted for every incorrect answer marked by the candidate.
  • The help of scribe will not be permitted to write the answers in the exam under any circumstance.

CDS Syllabus 2021

Here is the syllabus of the CDS exam for each individual section:

1. English Syllabus for CDS Exam

The aim of this section is to test the understanding of English as well as word usage by the candidates. Questions in this section will be asked from the following topics:

  • Fill in the blanks
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Vocabulary (Synonyms/ Antonyms/ Phrases)
  • Sentence Rearrangement (Jumbled sentences)
  • Spotting Error
  • Sentence Improvement/ Correction

2. General Knowledge Syllabus for CDS Exam

This section aims to check how well the candidates keep up with the current events and how well they understand their surroundings, especially in reference to their scientific aspects.



Current AffairsCover news of important international and national summits/ conferences, awards, sports-related news, books, and authors, etc.
Political ScienceImportant facts of the Indian constitution, fundamental rights, and directive principles, powers of the president and prime minister, constitutional bodies, Indian judiciary, etc.
Indian HistoryQuestions may be asked from Ancient, Medieval and Modern India.
Indian PolityPrepare important facts of Indian as well as world geography.
EconomicsPrepare topics like Budget, Five-year plan, foreign trade, etc.
General Science
  • In Physics, focus on topics like optics, motion, force, units, heat, electricity, temperature, etc.
  • In Chemistry, prepare important topics of organic, inorganic, physical and general chemistry.
  • In Biology, focus on the topics of important diseases, botany, zoology as well as human biology.
Defence Related NewsQuestions in this section may be asked from important defence related topics like Army Day, Navy Day, recent developments, etc.

3. Elementary Mathematics Syllabus for CDS Exam

Questions in the mathematics section will be asked from Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Mensuration, and Statistics. Here are the details of the topics which will be covered under these sub-sections:



  • Number System (natural, integers, rational & real numbers)
  • Fundamental operations (subtraction, addition, division, multiplication)
  • Unitary method
  • Percentages
  • Time & Work
  • Simple & Compound Interest
  • Time & distance
  • Ratio & proportion
  • Profit & loss
  • Elementary number theory
  • Composite & prime numbers
  • Divisibility tests
  • Theorem of factorisation
  • Factors & Multiples
  • Euclidean algorithm
  • laws of algorithm & algorithmic tables
  • Basic operations
  • Remainder theorem
  • L.C.M. & H.C.F.
  • Polynomial theories
  • Quadratic equations (relation between roots & its coefficients)
  • Linear equations in 2 variables
  • Set language and set notation
  • Laws of indices
  • Conditional identities
  • Rational Expressions
  • All about Sine a, Cos a, Tan a when 0° < a < 90°, Sin, Cos and Tan values of important angles like 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°
  • Simple trigonometric identities
  • Trigonometric tables
  • Heights and distance
  • Plane & plane figures
  • Lines, and angles
  • Important theorems (like angle property based)
  • Parallel lines
  • Congruency of triangles
  • Medians & Altitudes
  • Similar triangles
  • Parallelogram
  • Circles
  • Rectangle
  • Square
  • Areas of circles
  • Triangles
  • Rectangles
  • Squares
  • Parallelograms
  • Volume
  • Surface area of cuboids
  • Cones
  • Cylinders
  • Spheres
  • Tabulation of statistical data
  • Graphical representation of frequency polygons
  • Bar graphs
  • Histograms
  • Pie charts
  • Measures of central tendency

Posted by:

Naveen SinghNaveen SinghMember since Jan 2019
Recommended twice for Indian Army in 2011 & 2017. Cleared NDA, CDSE, AFCAT, CAPF Exams.
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CDS Syllabus FAQs

  • Gradeup is now BYJU'S Exam Prep that offers the most comprehensive preparation for all exams. Get Monthly/Weekly Current Affairs, Daily GK Update, Online Courses, Latest Pattern Test Series and detailed Study Material from the top faculty at your fingertips. Want to learn more? Do not hesitate to contact our customer care here.

  • CDS exam is conducted offline.

  • It depends on the choices you have filled in the application form. If you have applied for OTA then you don't have to give Maths paper.

  • CDS exam is conducted by UPSC twice a year. There is no difference in the syllabus or exam pattern of the two exams.

  • There is no bar on the percentage criteria for the CDS exam.

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