CDS (2) 2021: Application Form, Exam Date, Eligibility Criteria, Syllabus

CDS II 2021: For selection of candidates in the defence academy in Indian army, navy, air force and officer’s training academy, UPSC will be conducting CDS 2021. The exam will be conducted twice a year- in the month of February and November and will be followed by interview round. The exam will be held as a pen-and-paper based test at different centers all across the country. Interested and eligible candidates will be able to fill their application in online mode from 28th Oct 2020 (for February exam) and 4th August 2021 (for November exam).

CDS I application form will be available from 28th Oct 2020.

CDS 2021 Major Highlights

  • All the applicants are required to provide valid & active email id while filling the online application.
  • In case of any information regarding their application, candidature etc. candidates can contact UPSC’s Facilitation Counter.
  • The candidates should indicate their choice for the different academies at the time of application filling.
  • If any candidate appears at a centre/ paper other than the one indicated in their admit card, their papers will not be valued.
  • Candidates who are debarred by the Ministry of Defence from holding any type of commission in the Defence Services shall not be eligible for selection.
  • Women candidates are eligible only for selection in OTA.
  • Divorcee or unmarried male candidates will not be considered under the category of married.

CDS 2021 Important Dates

The tentative dates related to CDS 2021 exam are given in the table below:

Activities For CDS I For CDS II
Release of online application form 28th Oct 2020 4th August 2021
Last date for application submission 17th Nov 2020 24th August 2021
Admit card release date January 2021, 3rd week October 2021, last week
Date of exam 7th February 2021 14th November 2021
Publication of result May 2021 December 2021
Interview call letter release date August 2021, 4th week (for IMA) November 2021, 4th week (for OTA) Yet to be announced
Declaration of final result Yet to be announced Yet to be announced

CDS Eligibility Criteria

The details of the CDS 2021 eligibility criteria are given below:


The following candidates are eligible:

  • Citizen of India
  • Subject of Bhutan
  • Subject of Nepal
  • Tibetan refugee who came before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India
  • Person of Indian origin who migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India

Age limit, sex and marital status:

Academy Age limit Gender Marital status
IMA and INA Born between 2nd January 1997 and 1st January 2002. Male Unmarried
AFA Born between 2nd January 1997 (1995 for DGCA Commercial Pilot License holder) and 1st January 2002. Male Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried.
OTA (Men) Born between 2nd January 1996 and 1st January 2002. Male Unmarried
OTA (Women Non-Technical) Born between 2nd January 1996 and 1st January 2002 Women Unmarried, issueless widows & divorcees who are not remarried

*For CDS II, the birth month should be July in place of January.

Educational qualification:

  • For IMA and OTA: The candidates should hold a graduate degree or its equivalent from a recognized university.
  • For INA: A degree in engineering from a recognized university is required to be eligible.
  • For AFA: Applicants with a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level can apply.

Note: The candidates in the final year of their degree are also eligible to apply given that they will fulfill the minimum criteria before the selection.

Physical standards:

Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards given by the Commission for admission to Combined Defence Services examination.

CDS Application Form 2021

The candidates will be able to apply for CDS 2021 in online mode. Application form will be released on the official UPSC website The complete application form can be filled in two stages- part I and part II.

  • To fill the application form, candidates will have to provide their personal, educational, contact, address and other details as required.
  • Photograph and signature of the candidates in scanned format should also be uploaded in the application form.
  • Care should be taken to provide only correct information in the application or else it will be rejected.
  • The duly-filled application form, complete in all respect should be submitted on or before the last date.
  • Applicants should take a printout of the submitted application form and keep it safe for future reference.

Application fee:

  • The application form should be submitted along with the prescribed application fee.
  • Rs. 200/- should be paid as application fee in case of general/ OBC candidates. SC/ ST/ women candidates will be exempted from payment of application fee.
  • Fee payment can be done via net banking/ debit card/ credit card or through pay-in-slip submitted at any branch of SBI along with the fee in cash.

CDS Exam Pattern 2021

Check below the exam pattern overview of CDS 2021:

  • Mode of exam: Offline
  • Question paper language: Both Hindi & English (except for English section)
  • Type of questions: Multiple-choice questions
  • Negative marking: For each wrong answer, one-third of marks allotted to that question will be deducted

For IMA, INA and AFA:

Subject Maximum Marks Duration
Elementary Mathematics 100 2 hours
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
English 100 2 hours

For OTA:

Subject Maximum Marks Duration
General Knowledge 100 2 hours
English 100 2 hours


The syllabus for the CDS 2021 exam is given as:

  • English: Questions to test understanding of English and workmanlike use of words
  • General Knowledge: Current Affairs, Scientific Aspects, Indian History, Geography, etc
  • Elementary Mathematics: Algebra, Arithmetic, Mensuration, Trigonometry, Statistics and Geometry

Admit Card

  • Candidates can download their admit card from the website around three weeks before the exam.
  • Admit card can be downloaded using the registration id, date of birth, etc of the candidates.
  • After downloading, the candidates should take a printout of the admit card and carry it to the exam center.
  • Any candidate in the absence of admit card will not be allowed to appear for their exam.
  • The candidates should preserve their admit card as it will also be required at further stages of the selection process.


  • The result of the written test will be made available on the UPSC official website.
  • It is expected that the result for CDS I exam will be declared in May 2021 and that of CDS II in the month of December 2021.
  • A list of the candidates who qualify the written test will be prepared by the commission.
  • Such candidates will be allowed to take part in the interview round conducted at Services Selection Centres.


  • Candidates qualifying the exam are required to register themselves on the recruiting directorate website.
  • Such candidates will then be invited for the interview as per the schedule decided by the commission.
  • Those reporting for the interview must carry their important documents along with them for verification.
  • Applicants reporting without the certificates will not be allowed to appear for the interview.

CDS Selection Procedure

  • Candidates who clear both the written exam and the SSB interview will be considered for final selection.
  • Final selection of the candidates will be subject to successful verification of documents and eligibility of the candidates.
  • The candidates for Air Force and Naval Aviation will have to clear Pilot Aptitude Test to be eligible for selection.
  • Those who have failed this test earlier will not be considered for selection in Air Force and Naval Aviation.

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