Combined Defense Services, or CDS, is an examination conducted by UPSC to recruit officers into the Indian Military Forces. The exam is held twice every year; this year it was scheduled in February and November. Before one gets to the titular claim, the scheme of exam must be discussed. The written exam consists three papers- English, General Knowledge and Mathematics. All three papers are of two hour duration and contain 100-125 questions.

The good news is – one need not be a master of either of the three subjects and yet stroll into the second stage of the exam which is a personality test of sorts. The cut off for the written exam has been hovering around the 100 mark for the past 3-4 years. 100 marks out of 300 cannot possibly deter any half-sincere candidate.

A certain sense of clarity goes a long way in setting one’s for the exam. The Minimum Qualifying Marks for each paper is set at 20, which means an average score of 40 in each paper is enough to sail through to the next stage. The most important inference to be made here is that with CDS, a jack of all trades fares just as well as a master of one.

The difficulty of English and Mathematics papers is no more than their corresponding Matriculate level examinations. General Studies, on the other hand, requires a realistic and systematic approach. It would be almost foolish to try and master all the subjects- History, Geography, Polity, Economics, Science, and Current Affairs withing 4-6 months. A smart candidate would look to master any four out of these six.

Personally, we’d suggest to bank less on History as questions from this section can be very vague.

To sum it up, CDS is the sort of exam, anyone marginally good with two of the three aforementioned subjects can back himself to crack. Less than 6 months of dedicated preparation and you’re set to rock the exam.

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