How to Crack CDS 2020 Exam in First Attempt!

By Naveen Singh|Updated : May 8th, 2020

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination offers an excellent opportunity to the graduates to serve our country. So, for all the aspirants preparing for this exam, here are some important tips to crack the CDS exam in the 1st attempt!

The students who are preparing for the CDS for the first time need to know some basic details about the exam first, in they wish to clear the CDS exam in the very first attempt and this article serves that purpose. So, read now!

Best Preparation Tips to Crack CDS 2020

CDS Examination is conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) twice in a year with titles CDS-I and CDS-II for recruiting officers in Indian Armed Forces (i.e. IMA, INA, OTA and IAFA).

For beginners, the basic and most important tip to crack CDS exam, or for that matter any examination, is to have a basic understanding about the exam like eligibility criteria, syllabus, paper pattern, cutoff etc. One should be well aware with these exam details for efficient preparation of the CDS exam and to crack it in the 1st attempt.

So in-line with the above understanding, let us take a quick peek at the basic information about CDS examination:

1. Eligibility Criteria:

As per the official notification, the minimum qualification required to appear for CDS exam is graduation from a recognized university. You can check the complete eligibility criteria for CDS exam shared by us for a better understanding of the minimum age limits and educational qualification required to fill the CDS exam form,

2. Examination Pattern:

For admission to Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Air Force Academy there are three objective type question papers, namely:

  1. English (120 questions)
  2. General Awareness (120 questions)
  3. Elementary Mathematics (100 questions)

For admission to Officers Training Academy (OTA), there are just 2 objective papers:

  1. English (120 Questions)
  2. General Awareness (120 Questions)

The pattern has remained same over the years and is not expected to change as of now. So, formulate a strategy keeping in mind the above pattern.

3. Syllabus:

The official notification mentions the standard of Elementary Mathematics to be of matriculation level while the standard of the other two papers will be of graduation level of an Indian university.

  1. English:
    Basics of Grammar so as to be able to use workmanlike words is a prerequisite.
  2. General Knowledge:
    Current events and knowledge of any such matters of everyday observation. Basics of History of India, Geography.
  3. Elementary Mathematics- -
  • Number System
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Statistics

Candidates can also check the exam pattern and detailed syllabus of CDS exam shared by us earlier to know the exact pattern and topic-wise expected number of questions from different sections for better preparation of this exam.

4. Cutoff:

UPSC notification does not mention anything about the paper-wise individual cutoff. Though a general trend to assume 20% of the maximum marks as the individual cutoff is prevalent. But to clear any examination in such times of ruthless competition, just clearing the cutoff won’t take you anywhere. So a serious candidate should not be bothered about this part.
However, you may go through the previous year cutoff of CDS exam to get an idea of the minimum safe attempts for this exam.

Tips to Crack CDS Exam in the First Attempt!

We will now talk about the prime topic of our discussion, i.e. "Best Strategy to crack CDS exam in the first attempt". Here are some of the tips and tricks to achieve that:

  1. First of all, take one or two unsolved previous year’s paper, each of English, General Awareness and Elementary Mathematics and solve them in the stipulated time limit.
  2. Solving an entire paper may sound a bit ambitious but correctly solving the entire paper is not the objective of this activity. This activity will help you to identify your strong and weak areas. You will have an idea of which sections you are comfortable in and which sections need the effort to improve further. Besides, this will also help you get acquainted with the paper pattern of CDS exam.
  3. After identifying your weak areas, follow any good study material (from books for CDS exam or online material) to brush up those topics. It is advisable to not cramp yourself with a humongous volume of study material from multiple sources as you will end up studying nothing. Please remember, in competitive exams, quality of study should take preference to the quantity of study.
  4. Solve the question papers of at least last 8-10 years, of all three sections extensively while keeping keynotes on questions/topics of importance. The questions in the examination may or may not repeat over the years but the basic framework of the paper remains same. So, solving previous years will give an insight on what type of questions you may expect in the CDS-II examination 2018.
  5. Follow online sources for mock tests and current affair capsules. They help you to skip extensive study for General Awareness part and impart a consolidated knowledge which will otherwise require time and effort. Mock tests will help you assess your preparation level. Please do solve as many problems as possible, in form of mock tests, previous year papers etc because this holds the key to success.
  6. Time Management is of extreme importance. You will have to solve 100-120 questions in 120 minutes.
    Besides, marking bubbles in the answer sheet and signing attendance in the examination hall will roughly take minimum 15-20 minutes. So, effectively you have about 100 minutes, and hence, 50 seconds per question to read, comprehend and solve the problem. Manage your time accordingly and do not waste too much of your time on any particular question.
    So, maintaining an excellent flow in solving problems is of utmost importance.
  7. In the first go, read and comprehend the type of the problem (i.e. easy, medium or hard) and solve the problem if you find it to be easy. If you feel the problem will take time then skip that question and continue with forthcoming problems. Solving easy problems first helps you gain confidence and also assists you in maintaining the necessary pace and concentration to attempt the harder problems. After the thorough first attempt, go for the questions you found moderate or tough in the first go.
  8. Go through how to crack CDS SSB Interview in First Attempt

Preparing the syllabus efficiently, practising ample questions and mock tests and following the above-mentioned tips will definitely help you crack the CDS exam in the very first attempt!

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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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Virat Yadav
I applied for OTA
Please guide me

AnujaJun 9, 2019

After this exam, what was the next stage of selection?

M KJul 27, 2019

Sir mai ba 2nd year kya main exam details sakata hoo
Nikhil Bisht

Nikhil BishtAug 25, 2019

Hye I am Nikhil Singh I join IMA in 2017 .Best of luck of your exam

ChanduSep 2, 2019

Apne kismat pe kutte mut rkhe hain behanchod
Martha Ejang P
Sir could you tell me to fill up the form am confused? Am going to apply for CAPF please suggest me  sir.
Chanda Yadav

Chanda YadavMar 23, 2020

Sir Which book read for cds general awareness
Shreya Singh

Shreya SinghApr 11, 2020

Plzz mujhe rrb ntpc ki regular classes ki timing suggest kijiye kb hoti h
Sat Paul

Sat PaulDec 10, 2020

Akanksha mam
Please suggest me some tips to crack ssb .
I am from Jammu and Kashmir
And I live in a village mam
Please tell me mam🙏

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