CDS Preparation 2023: Subject Wise Tips for Written Exam and Interview

By Naveen Singh|Updated : April 5th, 2023

CDS Preparation 2023 requires a lot of strategic hard work and devotion as it is one of the top competitive government exams. The Combined Defence Service exam is conducted by the UPSC twice a year to find suitable commissioned officers for the IMA, OTA, INA, and IAF. With the release date of the exam date, it is now time for candidates to start their CDS preparation.

As the syllabus for the exam is quite vast, the candidates must do the CDS exam preparation strategically. We have provided information on the best subject-wise CDS preparation tips for the English, General Knowledge, and Mathematics sections.

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CDS Preparation 2023

With more than 3 lakh people applying for the CDS Exam every year, only a few of them make it to the final merit list. The selection of the candidates depends on their performance in the written exam and interview, and only the candidates with the best CDS preparation make it to the final selection rounds. Effective preparation for the exam would involve strategies that help them use their time in an optimized manner and tips that help them study more meaningfully.

We have provided some of the most thoughtful CDS preparation tips below to help aspirants to score well by optimizing their time, and reading the best books and content, for the exam. Check out the subject-wise CDS preparation tips given below.

CDS Preparation for English

If you put the right effort into CDS preparation for English, you can improve your chances of scoring really well in the exam. English is one of those subjects where you just need to be thorough with fundamental concepts to score well. Here are some of the tips that will help you with the CDS English preparation:

  • The most underrated tip is to revise grammar rules and concepts regularly. When you have got your fundamentals right, there would be less room for errors.
  • Go through the entire CDS Syllabus for English - Cover all topics that are important from an exam point of view. The syllabus includes Vocabulary, One Word Substitution, Sentence Improvement, Spotting Errors, Idioms, Phrases, and English Comprehension.
  • Make reading a habit - Read newspapers, magazines, or books every day. Reading will also improve your general comprehension and vocabulary.

CDS Preparation for General Knowledge

The exam will test the candidate's knowledge of general topics, concepts, and current affairs. For this paper, you must study Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History, Economics, General Science, Civics, and Geography. The CDS preparation tips for General Knowledge are as follows:

  • Make sure you follow the latest domestic and international news to stay updated with current affairs.
  • Read extensively on the syllabus - use sources like the internet, including Wikipedia pages, YouTube videos, etc., to polish your knowledge.
  • Go through the CDS Previous Year Paper to get an idea of the questions most frequently asked.

CDS Preparation for Mathematics

The Mathematics paper consists of topics like Profit and Loss, Percentage, Time Speed and Distance, Ratios, Algebra, and Average. The main purpose of this subject is to check the candidate's numerical ability. CDS preparation for Maths can be enhanced by following the given tips:

  • Practice is the key to perfecting your preparation for Maths. So, ensure you're solving an adequate number of questions daily.
  • It is not necessary to attempt all the questions, but it is important to attempt them correctly.
  • Time management is the key to this subject. Candidates should allot their time in such a way that they understand all the questions clearly and answer them correctly.
  • Solve previous year's papers and CDS Mock Tests as it will help strengthen your CDS exam preparation for Maths.
  • Write down all the formulae and shortcuts and revise them every day.

General Tips for CDS Preparation

Now that you have gone through the subject-wise CDS preparation tips, you must also consider some general tips for exam preparation. The pointers given below will help you understand some effective strategies that can help you prepare for the exam:

  • Keep a Revision Notebook - Maintain a separate notebook with all the formulae and important points you need to memorize and read it every day.
  • Mock Tests and Previous Papers - Make it a habit to solve mock tests and previous year papers as it will help you get acquainted with the exam structure and frequently asked questions.
  • Try the Pomodoro Technique - If you struggle with being consistent in your study routine, try the Pomodoro technique, in which you study for 25 minutes, take a 3-5 minutes break, and continue the pattern.
  • The most underrated tip for CDS preparation is to read extensively so make reading newspapers, e-news, magazines, and books a habit.

Best Books for CDS Preparation

It is quite obvious that you would require good books for your study. So, we have curated the list of some of the Best Books for CDS preparation here. The given table shows the subject-wise details of books you should be studying for your CDS preparation:

Best Books for CDS Preparation


Wren & Martin's High School English Grammar & Composition by S. Chand,

Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis,

Objective General English by S.P. Bakshi

General Knowledge

General Knowledge by Manohar Pandey,

Manorama Yearbook by Malayala Manorama publishers,

Newspapers like The Hindu, Indian Express


Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by R.S. Aggarwal,

Mathematics for CDS Examination by R.S. Aggarwal



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FAQs for CDS Preparation

  • A good CDS preparation strategy would be to make a timetable to cover subject-wise topics and also understand the syllabus. Also, you must practice the previous year's questions and mock tests religiously. In addition, highlight the important points and revise them every day.

  • CDS is a competitive exam so it requires dedicated practice to crack the exam. Ideally, candidates are advised to begin their CDS exam preparation at least 3 to 6 months before the examination. Prepare a timetable and devote 4-5 hours every day to preparations.

  • The best CDS preparation tips involve studying every subject every day for at least a few hours, solving previous year's papers, and mock tests. You must also write down important information like formulae, etc., in one place and revise them daily.

  • Some candidates are daunted by CDS preparation for Maths. Here are some tips that would help:

    • Note down all the important formulae in one place and revise them every day. 
    • Practice mock tests to get familiar with the questions most asked.
    • Take the help of a guidebook for preparation.
  • The CDS exam is one of the tough exams to qualify. But with proper planning and dedication, one can easily crack the exam without coaching as well. All you have to do is plan a proper timetable, understand the syllabus for CDS preparation, and revise concepts daily.

  • We have mentioned some of the best books for CDS preparation that will help you take your preparation to the next level for all subjects. Check out the list of books below - 

    • English - Wren & Martin’s High School English Grammar & Composition by S. Chand, and Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis.
    • General Knowledge - General Knowledge by Manohar Pandey, Manorama Yearbook by Malayala Manorama publishers, newspapers.
    • Mathematics - Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations and Mathematics for CDS Examination by R.S. Aggarwal
  • It can be challenging to do CDS preparation while doing a job, but it is certainly possible. Candidate should practice mock tests daily, clearly understand all the concerts and topics and make notes subject-wise for revision.

  • Doing CDS preparation in a short duration, like 4 weeks, can be challenging. However, you can follow the given tips to make it possible:

    • Study the most important topics first that carry the most weightage rather than struggling with topics.
    • Revise whatever you know every single day.
    • Practice mock tests religiously. They can help you understand the exam pattern and will prepare you for the exam.

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