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CDS 2019 Exam Syllabus | Topicwise Distribution | Recommended Books

UPSC the Union Public Service Commission conducts the CDS (Combined Defence Services) Exam twice i.e. CDS I and CDS II a year. This year UPSC released the CDS I 2019 notification with the total 417 vacancies in IMA, INA, Indian Air Force, & OTA (male & female) combined. UPSC conducted the CDS I examination on 3rd February 2019 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM for English, General Knowledge and Maths papers. 

Read: CDS II 2019 Apply Online

UPSC provides all the essential information regarding the CDS exam i.e. Application form, procedure dates, Admit card, Result, Cut off, etc. After the completion of CDS I Exam 2019, the board is now proceeding to CDS II exam 2019. The board has released the CDS Exam syllabus 2019 for various recruitments to Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA) and Officer’s Training Academy (OTA).

Read: AFCAT II 2019 Notification, Exam Date and All Important Details

As CDS II Exam application procedure is going to begin from 12th June 2019, the board has released all the required details on its official portal CDS exam 2019 syllabus and exam pattern is same for all (English, General Knowledge, Mathematics) the exams, except for OTA Paper (English, General Knowledge) which does not consist of Mathematics.

CDS II 2019 Exam Pattern

To have a quick idea about the CDS exam 2019 syllabus, go through the below table. The subjects along with their max. time duration and max. marks for various CDS exam is given in the below table.

Check Now: CDS II 2019 Result, Merit List, Cut-Off

For Indian Military, Indian Naval and Air Force Academy
SubjectDurationMax. Marks
English2 hours100
General Knowledge2 hours100
Elementary Mathematics2 hours100
For OTA (Officers’ Training Academy)
SubjectDurationMax. Marks
English2 hours100
General Knowledge2 hours100

As shown in the above table the CDS exam comprises of same subjects (General Knowledge, English, Mathematics) for Indian Military, Indian Naval and Air Force Academy, hence these exams will carry the questions from all the three subjects. While the OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) exam will not carry the questions from Mathematics.

Read Now: AFCAT II 2019 Syllabus

Note: The maximum marks allotted to the written exam and to the interviews will be equal for each course i.e. the maximum marks allotted to the written exam and to the interviews will be 300, 300, 300 and 200 each for admission to the IMA, INA, AFA, and OTA respectively.

CDS I & II 2019 Exam Syllabus

Topic wise syllabus distribution is given below of CDS I 2019 and CDS II 2019 exam for all the CDS aspirants. It is very important for all the CDS aspirants to know about the exam syllabus if they want to clear the CDS 2019 exam with flying colors.

CDS English Syllabus

The CDS exam syllabus includes an English section which tests candidates’ understanding of English and workmanlike use of words. In this section, the questions will be asked from the following topics:

AntonymsSentence improvementComprehension
SynonymsWord substitutionOrdering of sentences
Spotting ErrorsSelecting WordsOrdering of words in a sentence

CDS Recommended Books: English

The English test will carry 200 marks in all and a language exam. Hence it is most scoring subject out of all the other two (GK, Mathematics) Candidates are suggested to prepare for the English section with the following books:

  1. Objective General English by Arihant
  2. Objective General English by RS Aggarwal
  3. Word Power Made Easy: Norman Lewis

CDS Syllabus for General Knowledge

  • CDS General Knowledge consists of questions based on current affairs, History of India, Geography, Politics, and Economy.
  • To score well in this section a regular update of the past few months is necessary.
  • All the topics on which questions are asked in the exam are mentioned in the below table:
EconomicsPhysicsCurrent Awareness 
History Defence relatedAward
Statement true/false —— 

Best Books to Prepare for CDS Exam General Knowledge

General Knowledge is also a very common subject. In this section, the basic questions will be asked of science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), History, Geography, Economics, Politics, and Current affairs. For the best preparation of the General Knowledge section, go for the following books:

  1. Manorama Yearbook 2018
  2. Lucent’s General Knowledge
  3. Competition in Focus (Half Yearly and Yearly)

CDS Syllabus for Elementary Mathematics

The third subject of the CDS exam includes is Mathematics. This section will also carry a maximum of 200 marks. The basic Mathematics questions will be asked on various topics. To score good marks, candidates should know its complete syllabus. Mathematics paper consists of questions from arithmetic, algebra, mensuration, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. Check the detailed syllabus in the below section.


Basic Operations, simple factors, Remainder Theorem, H.C.F., L.C.M. Set language and set notation, rational expressions, and conditional identities, Laws of indices. Theory of polynomials, solutions of quadratic equations, the relation between its roots and coefficients (Only real roots to be considered). Simultaneous linear inequations in two variables and their solutions. Simultaneous linear equations in two unknowns-analytical and graphical solutions. Practical problems leading to two simultaneous linear equations or inequations in two variables or quadratic equations in one variable & their solutions.


Simple cases of heights and distances. Use of trigonometric tables. Sine x, cosine x, Tangent x when fn< x < 90° Values of sin x, cos x and tan x, for x = 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° Simple trigonometric identities.


Lines and angles, Plane and plane figures, Sides and angles of a triangle, Similar triangles, Concurrence of medians and altitudes, Congruency of triangles, Theorems on Properties of angles at a point Parallel lines, Properties of angles, rectangle and square Circles and its properties including tangents and Normals, sides and diagonals of a parallelogram, Loci.


Areas of squares, parallelograms, rectangles, triangle, and circle. Surface area and volume of cuboids, Areas of figures which can be split up into these figures (Field Book), lateral surface and volume of right circular cones and cylinders, surface area and volume of spheres.


Collection and tabulation of statistical data, Graphical representation, pie charts, histograms, bar charts, frequency polygons, etc. Measures of central tendency.

To know about all the important Mathematics topics individually on which questions will be prepared in the CDS exam, go through the below table

Number SystemSimple interestHCF&LCM of polynomialsArea
HCF & LCM of numbersCompound interestLinear Equations in one and two VariablesSurface area and volume of solids
Decimal fractionRatio and proportionQuadratic Equations and InequationsLines and angles
Square roots and cube rootsAverageSet theoryTriangles
Time and distanceProfit and lossMeasurement of angles and trigonometric measurementQuadrilateral and polygon
Time and WorklogarithmHeight and distanceCircle
percentageBasic operations and factorizationRatio ExpressionsStatistical Data Analysis
Locus —— 

Best Books to Prepare for CDS Elementary Mathematics Exam

Although each section involved in the CDS exam syllabus is difficult and requires enough hardwork and dedication to score well, but the Mathematics is considered comparatively more difficult. Hence, to qualify the exam it is necessary to prepare best for this section.

Below, some most recommended books are suggested to prepare with. The candidates should prefer these books in order to perform best in the upcoming CDS examination.

  1. Arihant Pathfinder
  2. Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma
  3. Mathematics for CDS by RS Aggarwal
  4. Quantitative Aptitude for examinations paperback 2018 by RS Aggarwal

Highlights of CDS Exam Pattern

Exam pattern is another important factor for the exam. Each candidate must have the correct information of the exam pattern i.e. mode of exam, Number of questions asked in the exam, How much time will be given to finish the exam, medium (language) of exam etc. All these information is tabulated below, check through carefully.

Mode of ExamOffline only (Pen and paper mode)
Number of Questions asked300 MCQ Type
Number of questions in OTA200 MCQ Type
Maximum Marks300 and 200 (OTA)
Duration of Exam2 hours (120 minutes) for each paper
MediumHindi or English
Negative markingOne third mark deducted for every incorrect response

Previous Years CDS Official and Final Cutoff

The previous years CDS Cut off Statistics can help the candidates to set a realistic idea about the CSD exam Cut off 2019. It contains cut-offs of previous years CDS examination held for various posts such as IMA(Indian Military Academy), INA(Indian Naval Academy), AFA(Air Force Academy), OTA(Officer’s Training Academy) for Men, OTA for Women.

The CDS exam cut-off of both the written and final exam for various posts is given below:

Previous Years Official CDS I Cut Off

In the previous few years, there are many ups and downs in CDS I written exam cut off. Check CDS I cut-offs for IMA INA AFA and OTA for man and women for years 2014-2017.

 AcademyCDS I 2017CDS I 2016CDS I 2015 CDS I 2014
OTA for Men82688678
OTA for Women82688678

Previous Years Official CDS II Cut Off

If we look at the CDS II written examination Previous few years cutoffs, there is also abrupt ups and downs in cut-off marks in years 2014 and 2017, while the cut-off range is same for years 2015 and 2016. Check the cut off marks in the below table.

AcademyCDS II 2017CDS II 2016CDS II 2015CDS II 2014
OTA for Men86728472
OTA for Women86728472

Previous Years Final CDS I Cut Off

CDS I Exam Final cut-offs of the previous few years is between 200-250 for IMA and INA. The cut-off marks range for AFA is slightly up as compare to IMA and INA. OTA cut off marks are in between 150-175 out 200 in the previous few years. To check cut off marks have a look at the below-provided table

 AcademyCDS I 2017CDS I 2016CDS I 2015CDS I 2014
OTA for Men163150168159
OTA for Women164157172160

Previous Years Final CDS II Cut Off

The cut-off results are seen almost the same for CDS II examination as it is also in between 200-250 for IMA and INA, slightly increased for AFA. In CDS II also, OTA cut-off is between 150-170 in the previous few years. Check details in the below table

AcademyCDS II 2017CDS II 2016CDS II 2015CDS II 2014
OTA for Men167157166168
OTA for Women171159170170

Considering the above CDS Exam Cut-off marks, the same can be expected for this year too. All the candidates needs to prepare best before the examination. As UPSC will release updates about the CDS I & II examination events, the same will be available here. For new upcoming updates regarding CDS I & II examination bookmark or keep visiting this page.

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