CDS II 2018


“You do not need to be perfect to be the best. Your attitude determines your altitude” 
                                                                                             ― Ikechukwu Joseph

TOPPERS TIPS TO CRACK CDS EXAM: There is no such thing as a topper or an average student. Regular, planned hard work is the key to success in all exams. Nothing can beat the combination of strong will and adherence. This article highlights tips and strategies adopted by toppers  to crack CDS. If you follow this article diligently you can also achieve your aim.

This exam is not only of knowledge but also of strength, patience and focused hard work.

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1 CLARITY OF TARGET: Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know  exactly  what it is you want. You should clearly write your aim in bold letters with a good marker on five chart papers and place them in front of your study table, bed, dressing table, near the mirror  in washroom and near  TV. These will act as constant reminders and help you keep your focus on your aim.

2 KNOW THE SYLLABUS FIRST: Study the syllabus of CDS exam which will help you to understand what they might ask  you in CDS exam.


3 EXAM PATTERN: Thoroughly study previous years papers, exam analysis and model test papers to save time and hit the bull’s eye.

The CDS Written Exam pattern of IMA /IAF/INA :


Subjects Involved Exam Duration Number Of Questions Maximum Marks Allotted
English 2 hours (120 min) 120 100
General Knowledge 2 hours (120 min) 120 100
Elementary Mathematics 2 hours (120 min) 100 100
TOTAL 6 hours 340 300

The Written Exam Pattern of Officers’ Training Academy(OTA):

Subjects Involved Exam Duration Number Of Questions Maximum Marks Allotted
English 2 hours 120 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 120 100
TOTAL 4 hours 240 200

  TOPPERS TIPS TO CRACK CDS EXAM                                   


CDS Paper Features
CDS 2017 Exam Dates

·       CDS I: February 5, 2017 (Already conducted)

·        CDS II: November 19, 2017

Duration of each Exam As given in the above table
Mode of Exam Offline Mode
Medium of Exam English & Hindi
Types of question Multiple Choice Question (MCQs)
Negative Marking

·         For each incorrect response one-third (1/3) mark will be deducted

·          For more than one response it will be treated as wrong answer and 1/3rd mark will be deducted

·         There will be no penalty for blank answers.


 Important Highlights of the Written Exam:

  • All questions will be of multiple choice objective type only.
  • Question papers of Elementary Mathematics and General Knowledge will be in English as well as Hindi language.
  • Candidates need to write the paper through their own hand. Under no circumstances they are eligible to get help from a writer.
  • No candidate is allowed to use calculator while answering objective type questions .


CDS  SSB (Intelligence and Personality Test Pattern):

This will be the second part of the selection procedure in the form of a SSB interview. It’ll contain two stages i.e. Stage 1 and Stage 2. Candidates who qualify the stage 1 exam will be called for stage 2.

Stage 1: It will be an OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating) Test which contains Picture Perception and Description Test (PP & DT). Applicants will be shortlisted as per their performance in OIR test.

Stage 2: This part will consist of Psychology Test, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Interview and Conference tests which are organized in four days


Reporting Day: Reporting Day starts with document checking and form filling. You are supposed to report at the place mentioned in the call letter, mostly you are asked to report at MCQ (Moment Control Office). There will not be any difficulty in locating the MCQ as there will be many other candidates reporting on the same day.

Note: For some candidates, the reporting day and screening day are the same when their reporting time is early like 07:00 hours then your screening day will be on the very first day (reporting day).

Stage-1 Testing

  1. A) Screening: This process consists of picking up some potential candidates from all those who  have reported for the particular entry. It involves few activities like:


  • Verbal and Non-verbal Test: This test is so easy to crack. But it is always good to go well prepared. After this test you will get some rest.


  • PPDT: PPDT (Picture Perception & Description Test) consists of story writing and discussion. You will be shown a picture for 30 secs. You have to write a story based on it. Then, the candidates will be divided into sub groups of 14-15 members. Each candidate will narrate his story followed by group discussion on the picture. Please keep in mind that PPDT is the most important part which helps you to clear screening and takes you to stage-2 testing.
  • Result of Screening Test:  After the completion of PPDT, you will get some rest followed by the declaration of your screening test results. The selected candidates are allotted  new chest numbers. Rest of the candidates get their TA and are dropped backed to the railway station or bus stand.

Stage-2 Testing

  1. B) Psychological Test:It is a battery of projective tests, all tests are used to check the psychological suitability of the candidate to be an officer. Candidates are required to write their responses based on the particular test. Here the time limit is very crucial, so you are required to write your first response in time.


Battery of Tests:

  1. Thematic Apperception Test [TAT]
  2. Word Association Test [WAT]
  3. Situation Reaction Test [SRT]
  4. Self Description Test [ SD]
  • TAT: You will be shown 11 pictures one by one. Each picture will come just for 30 seconds and then disappear, after which you will get 4 minutes time to write the story based on that picture. After 4 mins, another picture will come for 30 seconds and same process will be followed till last slide {blank slide }.
  • WAT: You will be shown 60 words one after the other. Each word will remain on the screen for 15secs, during which time you are required to write a sentence which comes to your mind after reading that word. Similarly you have to write 60 sentences continuously without any pause in between.
  • SRT: You will get a booklet with 60 situations written in it. You are required to write your responses to those 60 situations. The time allotted will be 30 minutes.
  • SD: You are needed to write opinion about yourself  by your parents, friends, teachers and the thing you would like to develop in future. Time allotted will be 15 minutes.

Stage -3 Testing

  1. c) GTO:This consists of a series of outdoor tasks, the main aim of these task is to judge your qualities during group performance, remember most of the task in this series are group task, you are required to support the group with best of your qualities and not to compete with them in any manner.


 Series of Tests:

  1. GD(Group Discussion)
  2. GPE(Group Planning Exercise)
  3. PGT(Progressive Group Task)
  4. HGT(Half Group Task)
  5. IOT(Individual Obstacles Task)


1 GD: Back to back group discussion on two topics, mostly current affairs.

2   GPE: Group Planning Exercise, each candidate has to write his planning for the mentioned problem and map given, later group members are required to discuss on the problem and have to come with a common plan with common consensus. Later one of the group member has to explain the common planning with the help of pointer and map.

 3 PGT: Progressive Group Task, you are required to cross some obstacles with the help of supporting materials like rope, plank, wood log etc. Some rules are required to be followed during this task, it a full group activity.

4 HGT: Half Group Task, mostly same as PGT but the number of group members will be half, you may get more chance to show your potential.

5 IOT: Individual Obstacles Task, you are required to attempt 10 obstacles individually, each obstacle consist of some points from 1 to 10.

  • Command Task: You will be a commander in this task, you are required to cross some obstacles with the help of 2-3 subordinates. You can choose 2-3 candidates from your own group whom you think can help you to clear the obstacles.
  • Group Obstacle/Snake Race: All group members will be competing with other groups,   members will be holding a snake like rope, they are required to cross certain obstacles with the snake. There are certain rules like all other tasks. It is kind of race among different groups, it’s a fun.

                                              Stage- 4 Testing

  1. D) Individual Lecturette: Each candidate will be giving lecture for 3 mins on a topic selected by him/her. You will get 4 topics out of which you have to select one topic.

E)FGT( Final Group Task): It is  same like PGT, just like another chance to show

Stage- 5 Testing

F)Personal Interview:


It is a main key which decides your recommendation in the SSB Interview, SSB Interview questions and answers plays vital role in the assessment of the candidate.


G)Conference: Each candidate  facing  board members, he will face few general questions like how was your stay or what did you learn from this, conference is just to decide whether or not to recommend you as an officer in Indian defence forces. All assessors collectively decide your suitability, for some candidates those who are in border line, may face certain questions, which can be decisive one

4 PROPER COACHING: Coaching is indeed very important. It is important to join an institute of repute where teaching quality is good. It gives the right guidance to students. Most importantly it analyses your performance and gives suggestions to improve your weaknesses. This enhances your overall performance. The study material provided during preparation period proves to be highly beneficial. Practicing from the question bank given by the institute helps a lot in having a fair idea about the actual exam. It tells you what to do and what not do during the exam. Take as many mock tests as possible, analyse your mistakes and overcome them.


5 DOUBT CLEARANCE: You should interact with your teachers and seniors as much as possible and follow their advice. Make maximum use of your WhatsApp and E- mails to clear your doubts.


6 STUDY SCHEDULE: To achieve success in CDS exam, make a practical study plan and stick to it. A study schedule of 12-13 hours including coaching classes is a must due to rise in competition level.

  • Start taking individual practice test for each topic for analysis with time limit for each topic.
  • Set weekly targets and make sure to follow them diligently. Complete your syllabus well in time so that you have sufficient time for revising the concepts as Revision at regular intervals is the master key to success.
  • Focus more on weak subjects and topics.
  • Focus equally on coaching and self study.


7 PROPER REVISION: Try to revise each subject time and again as practice is the key to success. Pay more attention to the topics which need a revision frequently.


8 TIME MANAGEMENT DURING EXAM :  Please do not spend too much time on any one question, if question is not getting solved easily and within short time, skip that question and move on to next question.

9 STRESS MANAGEMENT /OVERCOMING SAD MOMENTS: Try not to take much pressure of studies on yourself. To get rid of stress , indulge yourself  in various activities that relax your mind like  watching movies, jogging, swimming and playing  outdoor games which you enjoy the most. Try to keep yourself healthy as a Sound mind resides in a sound body.




  • Consistency and stability in hard work as well as thoughts is very important to gain success in CDS Exam. Most importantly candidates should also have faith in themselves as confidence can do wonders.


11 MOTIVATION: Focus on your strengths so that you can manipulate your weaknesses rather than bothering  about weaknesses…and keep realistic targets so that you do not pressure yourself . Its just an exam and just a part of your life and not life itself. Do your part that is hard work, smart work, seriously and be honest to yourself.



There is a list of several books recommended by toppers:

    • Pathfinder CDS printed By Arihant.
    • CDS Combined Defence Services Examination Practice Papers (English) By-Sachchida Nand Jha



Mathematics For CDS Entrance Exam: By  R.S. aggarwal.


(a) Word Power Made Easy  1st  Edition Author: NORMAN LEWIS

(b) Objective General English :By R. S. Aggarwal

(c) Objective General English for Competitive Exams by S.P. Bakshi


(a) Objective General Knowledge & Current Affairs : By  Disha Experts

(b) General Knowledge: By Lucent

Click Here To View CDS-1 Exam 2017 Of English 

Click Here To View CDS-1 Exam2017 Of General Knowledge 

Click Here To View CDS-1 Exam 2017 Of Math 

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