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CDS II 2018 Preparation Tips

Updated On - September 13th 2018

CDS Exam is conducted by UPSC to select eligible candidates for Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA). The CDS 2018 Exam is held twice in a year (CDS 1 and CDS 2). Candidates who clear the written exam are called for an Interview by Service Selection Board (SSB).

For the second session, CDS will be conducted on November 18, 2018. Candidates appearing for the exam must have a fair idea about CDS Exam Pattern and Syllabus. The article provides some of the useful tips and tricks to attempt each section and ace CDS with a decent score. 

CDS II SyllabusCDS II Practice PapersCDS II Cut off

CDS 2018 Exam Pattern

The CDS examination consists of 3 subjects: General Knowledge, English, and Elementary Mathematics. Each subject has a paper of 100 marks with a time duration of 2 hours. Candidates who wish to be selected for IMA, INA, or AFA have to give and clear all the 3 papers. However, the candidates who wish to be selected for OTA have to face only English and General Knowledge papers. Given below are the total marks and time duration for CDS. Check CDS 2018 Exam Pattern

For IMA, INA, and AFA

English1002 hours
General Knowledge1002 hours
Mathematics1002 hours
Total3006 hours


English1002 hours
General Knowledge1002 hours
Total2004 hours

Topic of CDS Exam

Any candidate who wishes to clear the CDS exam must be thorough and familiar with the CDS 2018 Syllabus of the exam. Given below are the subject wise important syllabus topics for CDS:

  1. English

  • Spotting Errors Questions
  • Sentence Arrangement
  • Synonyms & Antonyms
  • Selecting Words
  • Ordering of Sentence
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Vocabulary Preparation
  • Fill in the blanks questions
  1. General Knowledge

  • Latest Current Affairs
  • Indian Constitution
  • Indian History
  • Indian Economy
  • Indian Geography
  • Indian Politics
  • Indian Navy & Military
  • Religions
  • Banking Sector
  • Universities
  • Books & Authors
  • Taxation
  • Sports – Awards etc.
  1. Mathematics

  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Statistic

How to Prepare for CDS 2018

To prepare for CDS exam, a candidate must be willing to work hard physically as well as mentally. Candidates must own a proper UPSC study material, like previous years’ papers, preparation books, topic-wise notes, etc. After acquiring the relevant study material, the candidates can follow the following tips to improve their chances of getting selected:

English: English is one of the subjects where many candidates fail to score appropriate marks. The CDS English paper tests the candidate’s basic understanding of English in a total of 120 questions that add up to 100 marks. The candidates only get 2 hours to complete the paper, which leaves the candidate with a minute for each question. So, the candidate must be swift in answering. Here are some steps to follow to improve this section of the exam:

  • Develop a reading habit. Reading different sorts of media, like magazines, newspapers, blogs, notes, etc. help to enhance the vocabulary as well as the understanding of practical English.
  • Make a list of all the new words and their meanings. Try and use the words in the list in different scenarios and sentences.
  • Take online mock tests to improve the answering ability.

Read More:

CDS English Preparation Tips

How to solve spotting Error Problems in CDS

How to Solve Sentence Improvement Questions

General Knowledge: CDS GK section has 120 questions of 100 marks total that need to be answered in 2 hours. The paper mainly focuses on topics like Constitution, History, Economy, Geography, Politics, Navy & Military and Latest current affairs etc. The following tips can be followed to prepare for GK section:

  • Read newspapers, news blogs, watch news, etc. on a daily basis to be in touch with the latest happenings in all sectors of the world. Try to keep the material vast.
  • Make notes of every important date, name, or event you come across.
  • There are many mock tests which can help a candidate with GK preparations.

Read More:

CDS GK Preparation Tips

Some Important Current Affair Questions for CDS 2018

Mathematics: The difficulty level of CDS Mathematics paper can be compared to that of matriculation. The syllabus is also identical. A candidate with a good memory of the basic formulas can do quite well in this section. The math paper contains a total of 100 questions with a total of 100 marks. The following are some pointers to help candidates with their preparation:

  • Make a list of all the important formulas, theorems, identities, etc. and revise them daily.
  • Try to solve questions with variety to learn the proper use of theorems and identities.
  • Enroll in an online mock test series.

Read More:

CDS 2018 Mathematics Preparation Tips

How to solve Trigonometry Questions

How to solve Number System Questions 

UPSC CDS Physical and Medical Exam

The Defense sector requires candidates who are not only strong mentally, but also physically. Apart from the written exam, the candidates have to clear a physical and medical exam as well. No candidate should have a history of mental breakdown. The physical exam is one of the crucial part of the CDS selection. The candidates can follow these tips for the physical exam:

  • The weight and height of the candidate must be on a standard scale.
  • Regular and proper exercise and training is important.
  • Candidate must get a full body checkup before appearing for the exam to make sure they do not have any type of illness or disease.

Personal Interview

After clearing the CDS test, the candidates have to face the personal interview conducted by SSB. This interview tests the candidate’s intelligence, personality, and ability to hold ranks with the Officers in the Defense Forces. There are several components of the interview, like Psychological Tests, Group Discussion, Intelligence Tests, Outdoor activities, Opinion on issues, Physical Fitness etc. Here are some tips to clear the interview:

  • Stay confident. It is natural to be nervous or anxious, but a candidate must be able to express his/her thoughts as beautifully as possible.
  • A well-honed communication skill is crucial, as the thoughts can be expressed in better and more suitable words.
  • Be updates and in touch with the latest and interesting happenings around the globe.
  • Think before you speak and act like you are already an Officer.
  • It is imperative to be respectful and humble.

What to do in the Last Weeks

The few weeks before the exam are crucial as that is the time to revise all that you have studied, without cramming up all the knowledge. The following steps may help candidates to plan and prepare in that time:

  • Make small and useful notes. The notes should be to the point and should act like a summary of what has been studied.
  • Although the last weeks can be a chaotic time, a calm and planned approach is all that is needed.
  • Time management is crucial. The CDS exam is a time-based exam which gives candidates about a minute to attempt each question. Not only the knowledge, but swiftness in using that knowledge is important.
  • The exam has negative marking for each incorrect answer. So, guesswork should be avoided.
  • Taking online mock test is helpful.

Read More:How to Make Accurate Guesses in CDS paper

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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