CDS 2020 Result(Released), Cut-off, Counselling, Answer Key

The "Combined Defence Services" (CDS) Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission to recruit the students into the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Air Force Academy Officers Training Academy. The exam is conducted twice a year. The exam notification usually released in the months of October and June, and the examinations are conducted in February and November respectively.  The qualified candidates are invited for the interview conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB) and the successful candidates are admitted into the respective Academies. During the process of the interview, candidates have to undergo various physical, psychological and medical tests to ascertain whether or not he is fit for the defense services. 

Latest updates:

CDS(I) Results released: Click Here

CDA(I) Cutoff released: Click Here

UPSC Released CDS(I) Marks of Recommended Candidates: Click Here


Exam name
Combined Defence Services Examination
Conducted by
Union Public Service Commission
Exam level
Exam frequency
Twice a year
Exam mode
2 hours
Application mode
Language of exam
English & Hindi

CDS 2020 Schedule:

CDS I – February 2020
CDS II – November 2020
Release of UPSC CDS Notification
30th October 20195th August 2020
UPSC CDS 2020 Registration Began on 
 30th October 2019
 5th August 2020
Last day to fill CDS Application Form 2020
 19th November 2019
 25th August 2020
CDS 2020 Application Withdrawal window
26th November  –  3rd December 2019 
 1st September – 8th September 2020
Issue of CDS Admit Card 2020
 9th January 2020 (Released)
3rd October 2020
CDS I 2020 Exam Date
 2nd February 2020
 8th November 2020
CDS Results2nd February 2020(Released)2nd December 2020
CDS Cutoff4th February 2020(Released)7th December 2020

CDS 2020 Admit Card

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) releases the admit card of CDS three weeks before the commencement of the exam. The admit card will be available online and a hard copy will be sent to the candidates through post.

Steps to Download the CDS Admit Card:

1. Go to the official website of UPSC CDS

2. Click the admit card link on the home page

3. Enter your roll number or registration number

4. The Admit card will appear on the screen

5. Download the admit card and take its printout

Details present in the CDS admit card:

1. Roll number

2. Application number

3. Candidate’s name

4. Father’s name

5. Scanned images of photograph

6. Candidate’s signature

7. Test center

8. Category

9. Date and time of exam

10. Reporting time

11. Exam day instructions

CDS Exam day Instructions:

1. Without admit card, candidates will not be allowed to enter the examination hall

2. Candidates must preserve CDS admit card till completion of the recruitment process

3. Reach the examination centre 20 minutes before the commencement of exam

4. Electronic devices such as calculators, mobile phones, pages, etc are not allowed inside the examination hall

5. Candidates will not be allowed to leave the examination centre until the completion of the test

CDS 2020 Syllabus

The standard of the papers in Elementary Mathematics will be of Matriculation level. The standard of English and GK subjects will approximately be such as may be expected of a graduate of an Indian University.

Syllabus of English and GK:
General Knowledge
Spotting Errors
Sentence improvement
Word substitution
Selecting Words
Awards & Awardees
Ordering of sentences
Ordering of words in a sentence
Books and Authors

Syllabus for Mathematics:

Number System
Simple interest & Compound interest
HCF&LCM of polynomials
Linear Equations in one and two Variables
Surface area and volume of solids
Decimal fraction
Ratio and proportion
Quadratic Equations and Inequations
Lines and angles
Square roots and cube roots
Set theory
Time and distance
Profit and loss
Measurement of angles and trigonometric measurement
Quadrilateral and polygon
Time and Work
Height and distance
Ratio Expressions
Statistical Data Analysis
Intelligence & Personality Test:

The SSB procedure consists of a two-stage Selection process - stage I and stage II. Only those candidates who clear the stage I are permitted to appear for stage II. The details are:

1. Stage I comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests are Picture Perception & Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on a combination of performance in the OIR Test and PP&DT.

2. Stage II Comprises of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference. These tests are conducted over 4 days. The details of these tests are given on the 

The personality of a candidate is assessed by three different assessors viz, the Interviewing Officer (IO), Group Testing Officer (GTO), and the Psychologist.

The marks are allotted by assessors only after taking into consideration the performance of the candidate holistically in all the tests. In addition, marks for conferences are also allotted based on the initial performance of the Candidate in the three techniques and decisions of the Board. The various tests of IO, GTO and Psych are designed to bring out the presence/absence of Officer Like Qualities and their trainability in a candidate. Accordingly, candidates are Recommended or Not Recommended at the SSB.

CDS 2020 Exam Pattern:

Exam mode: Offline

Total Marks: 300 (200 for OTA)

Question type: MCQs

Language of paper: English and Hindi

Duration: 6 hours (2 hours for each section) and 4 hours (for OTA)

Marking system: +1 for each correct answer, -0.33 for each incorrect answer.

For the exam of Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy, and Naval Academy:                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Subject Name


2 hours
2General Knowledge
2 hours
3Elementary Mathematics
2 hours
6 hours
For Officers’ Training Academy (OTA):
Subject Name
100 2 hours
2General Knowledge
100 2 hours
-200 4 hours
SSB Interview Pattern:

The SSB Interview procedure consists of two stages – I and II. Only those candidates who clear the stage I are permitted to appear in stage II.

Stage I: This stage consists of Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception Description Test (PP&DT)

Stage II: This stage consists of Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests, and Conference, which is conducted for a period of over 4 days.

CDS 2020 Cut-Off

The cut-off for CDS is released by the UPSC after the exam is conducted. The cut-offs for the written exam and SSB test are published separately. Candidates clearing the written exam cut-off are called for the SSB test. Those candidates who qualify both the written and SSB test cut-off are recommended for the final selection.

Steps to check cut-off:

1. Visit the official website

2. Click on "cut off" in the "Examination" section available on the home page

3. The course-wise CDS cut off marks is displayed on the screen in PDF format

4. Download and save the file

Factors affecting the cut-off:

1. Number of vacancies

2. Total number of appeared candidates

3. The difficulty level of exam

4. Previous year cut-off

CDS 2020 Expected Cut-off:

Written Result
Final Result

Minimum aggregate marks of last qualified candidate 
Marks of last recommended candidate
116 marks (i.e. 38.67%) 
102 marks (i.e. 34%) 
131 marks (i.e. 43.67%) 
OTA (Male)
80 marks (i.e. 40%)
OTA (Female)
80 marks (i.e. 40%)

CDS 2020 Application Form

There are 4 steps involved in applying for CDS.

Step 1. Registration

1. Go to the official website of UPSC CDS

2. Click on registration to open the registration form

3. Enter the details asked such as name, date of birth, parent's name, address, category, mobile number, email ID, etc.

4. After successful submission, your registration ID will be sent to your registered e-mail address

Step 2. Payment

1. The application fee of CDS is Rs. 200/-

2. Candidates who are female, Sc, ST, and physically handicapped are exempted from the fee payment

3. Candidate need to log in with the registration ID provided

4. The application fee can be paid through Debit/ Credit Card or SBI Netbanking

5. Through offline mode, the application fee can be paid through cash at any SBI Bank branch or they can generate bank challan during the registration process and submit the same along with the fees at any SBI bank branch.

Step 3. Application Form

1. Candidates have to fill the application form with utmost accuracy

2. Provide all the personal information, educational information etc. asked in the form

3. Select the course you are applying for

4. Select your preferred test centre

5. Recheck all the areas and then submit the application form

Step  4. Uploading Documents

Candidates have to upload scanned copies of photograph, signature, and photo ID proof with size and specifications mentioned below:

CDS 2020 Counseling

Candidates who qualify the written exam are called for SSB interview which is conducted in two stages.

Stage I:

1. This is the Officer’s Intelligence Rating and Picture Perception and Description Test

2. This stage has two sections: Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning

3. In this test, candidates are shown a hazy picture for 30 seconds and based on it the further exercise is carried out which goes on for a duration of 30 minutes with approx. 50 questions

Stage II:

1. This is a 5-day test comprising of Psychological test, Group Task, Personal Interview, and Conference

2. Psychological test: Here the candidate's behavioral reaction is tested through various reaction and appreciation tests.

3. Group task: Here the candidate's physical and mental power is tested.

4. Personal Interview: Several senior officials judge the candidate on the basis of personal abilities, behavior, and thought exercises.

5. Conference: In this stage, the candidate's interview is taken by the President of the board, Deputy President, Group Testing Officers, Psychologists, etc.

After qualifying all the rounds, the candidates are placed in the final selection for which they have to submit the following documents:

1. 10TH pass certificate or equivalent in support of date of birth

2. Bachelor’s degree along with the mark sheet of all the semesters in support of educational qualification.

UPSC CDS-I 2020 Vacancy

UPSC has announced 418 vacancies for CDS I 2020 exam as mentioned below:

Name of Institution
Number of CDS Vacancies
Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala
Indian Air Force Academy, Hyderabad
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Women)

CDS 2020 Result

The CDS result will be available on the official website of UPSC on its due date.  Candidates who have qualified the written exam by securing the minimum qualifying marks are called to appear for the SSB Interview. The final result will be published on the basis of performance in the written exam and the SSB interview.

Steps to Check the CDS Result:

1. Go to the official website of UPSC

2. Click on the "CDS Result Link"

3. The result will open in pdf format

4. Download the result and save it

SSB Test:

1. UPSC will prepare a list of the qualifying candidates in the written exam. Those candidates will be called by the Service Selection Board for psychological aptitude tests, intelligence tests, and interviews. 

2. Candidates have to qualify separately for both written and SSB tests.

3. The final merit list is prepared based on the total marks secured in the written exam and SSB Interview

4. The final selection is done on the basis of performance in all the test and medical fitness test.

CDS Answer Key 2020

Check here answer key of UPSC CDS 1 after the exam on February 2, 2020. They will be published here for English, GK, Maths, after they are held from 9-11 am, 12-2 pm, and 3-5 pm respectively. There are separate answer keys for all four sets namely A, B, C, D of each paper. Just after exam the solutions are by coaching centres like Made Easy, IES Master, and other institutes. UPSC will release official answer key after CDS result. Use the CDS answer Key 2020 to calculate score and predict chances of selection even before CDS result, the Combined Defence Service exam, is announced by the Union Public Service Commission

Steps to download CDS Answer Key

To download the official answer key of CDS, candidates need to follow the steps below –

1. Visit the official website of UPSC

2. Click the ‘Examination’ tab

3. Select the exam

4. CDS answer key 2020 will appear on the screen

5. Download the answer key and save the file. 

How to calculate scores using CDS answer key 2020

To calculate scores, candidates need to follow the marking scheme prescribed by the examination authority. For the correct answer, candidates need to allot the marks assigned to the particular question. For incorrect answers, 1/3 marks are deducted as per the CDS exam pattern 2019. UPSC will calculate the scores of candidates based on the number of correct answers after applying the penalty for wrong answers.

Steps to challenge the CDS Answer Key

1. Candidates can challenge the Answer key through Online Question Paper Representation Portal (QPRep).

2. For each exam, the commission has fixed a time-frame of 7 days.

3. To raise objections, candidates need to enter details like roll number, date of birth and random image.

4. After entering these details, candidates must submit their challenges.


Educational Qualifications:

1. For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy: Degree of a recognized University or equivalent.

2. For Indian Naval Academy: Degree in Engineering from a recognized University/Institution.

3. For Air Force Academy: Degree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.

Age Limits, Sex and Marital Status (For CDS 2020):

1. For IMA: Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd July 1996 and not later than 1st July I999 only are eligible.

2. For Indian Naval Academy: Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd July 1996 and not later than 1st July 1999 only are eligible.

3. For Air Force Academy: 20 to 24 years as on 1st July 2020 i.e. born not earlier than 2nd July 1996 and not later than 1st July 1998 (Upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable up to 26 yrs. i.e. born not earlier than 2nd July 1994 and not later than 1st July 1998) only are eligible.

Note: Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried. Marriage is not permitted during training. Married candidates above 25 years of age are eligible to apply but during the training period they will neither be provided married accommodation nor can they live with family out of the premises.

4. For Officers' Training Academy: (SSC Course for men) unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd July 1995 and not later than 1st July 1999 only are eligible.

5.  For Officers' Training Academy: (SSC Women Non-Technical Course) Unmarried women, issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible. They should have been born not earlier than 2nd July 1995 and not later than 1st July 1999. 

NOTE: Male divorcee/widower candidates cannot be treated as unmarried males for the purpose of their admission in IMA/INA/AFA courses and accordingly they are not eligible for these courses.



A candidate must be unmarried and must either be:

1. A Citizen of India, or

2. A subject of Bhutan, or

3. A subject of Nepal, or

4. A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or

5. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 above shall be a person in whose favor a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India. Certificate of eligibility will, however, not be necessary in the case of candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal. A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary may be admitted to the examination provisionally subject to the necessary certificate being given to him/her by the Govt. before the declaration of result by UPSC.


Q: What is the educational qualification to apply for CDS?

A: The candidates need to have a degree in engineering from a recognized university to apply for CDS.

Q: CDS is conducted how many times in a year?

A: CDS is conducted 2 times in a year.

Q: What is the exam mode of CDS?

A: CDS is conducted in offline mode i.e. paper-based.

Q: What is the syllabus of CDS?

A: CDS exam consists of 3 sections which is in the level of matriculation:

1. Mathematics

2. English

3. General Knowledge

Q: What is the duration of CDS?

A: Duration of various courses of CDS are:

For the exam of Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy, and Naval Academy: 6 hours

For the exam of Officers’ Training Academy: 4 hours

Q: In which language CDS exam is conducted?

A: The CDS exam is conducted in the language of English and Hindi.

Q: What is the application fee of CDS?

A: The application fee of CDS is Rs. 200 for unreserved category candidates. Female, Sc, ST, and physically handicapped candidates are exempted from the fee payment.

Q: Are there any documents needed to be uploaded during the application process?

A: During the application process, the candidates need to upload the following documents:

1. Recent photograph

2. Signature

3. Photo ID proof

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