What is CDS (I) and (II) Exam?

The “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the recruitment of candidates into the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. The UPSC will conduct the CDS exam twice a year in the month of February and September. Candidates who aim to serve the nation by joining the defence forces can start applying for the CDS examination.

Sr. No Name of the Academy City
1 Indian Military Academy Dehradun
2 Indian Naval Academy Ezhimala
3 Air Force Academy Hyderabad
4 Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Men) Chennai
5 Officers Training Academy (SSC Women) Chennai
CDS Exam Details
Exam Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination
Organizing body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Application mode Offline
Application fee INR 200
Frequency Twice a year
Exam mode Offline
Selection process

Written test and SSB interview


Official website
Phone number (facilitation counter) 011-23098543/ 23385271/ 23381125/ 23098591
The UPSC will release the CDS notification twice a year in the months of December and May. The recruitment notification of CDS will be released for around 400 vacancies each time. Aspirants should note that the number of vacancies in the notification is tentative and may be changed at any stage by Services.

CDS  Eligibility Age Limit for CDS, Qualification, & Physical Standard

Both  men and women

can apply for 341 CDS vacancies. Following are some important points that must be noted by the aspirants before they apply for CDS Exam.

    •  Candidates must be settled in India permanently
    •  Candidates must be a graduate or at least in their final year/semester.
    •  The minimum age limit is 19 years
    •  Women candidates are eligible to apply only for OTA.
    •  Divorced women must be issueless
    •  Tech graduates can apply for IMA, INA AFA also.
    •  Candidates must meet the physical standards

CDS Eligibility Criteria


All the important details including the eligibility criteria are mentioned by the authorities in the CDS 2 2022 Notification. The Nationality requirements of CDS are listed below.

    •  A Citizen of India,
    •  A subject of Bhutan or Nepal
    •  A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1962 intending to permanently settle in India,
    •  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 intending to permanently settle in India.


  •  Candidates under points 2, 3, 4, and 5 must have a certificate or proof issued by the Indian Government in favor of their statement.

    Ø  Candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal are not required to show any kind of certificate of CDS eligibility.


    Ø A candidate in whose case a certificate of CDS eligibility 2022 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.

 Age Limit and Marital Status

According to CDS guidelines, female candidates can apply only for OTA while male candidates can apply for any post of CDS Examination, as long as they fulfill other eligibility criteria. The details about the age limit and required marital status are given below.

Academy CDS Age Limit Marital Status
Indian Military Academy (IMA) 19 – 24 Years Unmarried
Indian Naval Academy (INA) 19 – 22 Years Unmarried
Air Force Academy 19 – 23 Years <25 years unmarried or >25 years both married and unmarried.
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course) 19 – 25 Years Unmarried Women, issueless widows who have not remarried, and issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible.
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for Men) 19 – 25 Years Unmarried

Points to Remember

    •  Male divorcee/ widower candidates will not be treated as unmarried. So, they will not be considered eligible for CDS Exam.
    •  The date of birth that is entered in the Matriculation/Secondary School Examination Certificate or a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or any equivalent examination certificate will be accepted by UPSC.
    •  No other document relating to age like horoscopes, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, service records, etc. will be accepted. No change in date of birth will be allowed subsequently on any ground.
    •  During the verification process or at any stage of the exam, if it is found that the date of birth which the candidate has entered in the application form does not match with a valid certificate, disciplinary action will be taken against them by the Commission under the rules.

Educational Qualification

As mentioned above, candidates appearing for the CDS  exam must have completed their Graduation or at least be appearing for the final exam of the degree. It is important to remember that the CDS admit cards are issued only for candidates who fulfill all the eligibility criteria.

Academies CDS Educational Qualification
Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) Graduation from a recognized university
Indian Naval Academy (INA) An engineering degree from a recognized university/institute
Air Force Academy (AFA) Bachelor of Engineering or Graduation (with Physics and Mathematics at Class 12)


·         Candidates who are studying in the final year/semester degree course are required to submit the authentic certificate of passing the degree issued by the University/College at the time of the SSB interview. The certificate of the Degree should contain the date of issue and the date of issue must be before the specified date declared by UPSC. Otherwise, their candidature will be canceled.

·         Candidates who are debarred by the Ministry of Defence from holding any type of commission in the Defence Services shall not be eligible for admission to the examination

Physical Standards for Male & Female

Candidates must be physically and mentally fit as per the guidelines of UPCS. A good number of qualified candidates get disqualified on medical grounds. Therefore candidates are strongly advised to get themselves medically tested before applying for CDS Exam. The most commonly found reasons for dis qualification are listed below.

    •  Wax (ears) Deviated Nasal Septum
    •  Hydrocele/Varicocele/Phimosis
    •  Overweight/Underweight
    •  Piles
    •  Gynaecomastia


Permanent body tattoos are strictly prohibited anywhere on their body parts except the inner face of the forearm i.e. inside of elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of the hand. In certain cases, candidates with tattoos of specific tribes on their faces or bodies as per their existing customs and traditions will be permitted.

CDS Heights and Weight Standards

    •  The minimum acceptable height for male candidates is 157.5 cms. (157 cms for Navy and 162.5 cms for Air Force) and that for female candidates is 152 cms.
    •  For Gorkhas and individuals belonging to hills of the North-Eastern region of India, Garhwali and Kumaon, the minimum acceptable height will be 5 cms less. In the case of candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum acceptable height can be reduced by 2 cms.
    •  Body Mass Index should be below 25.
    •  The waist Hip ratio should be below 0.9 for males and 0.8 for females
    • Waist Circumference should be less than 90 cm for males and 80 cm for females.
    •  All biochemical metabolic parameters should be within normal limits.

*45 for Navy ** 47 for Navy

  •  A ± 10% (for Navy) departure from the average weight given in the table above is to be considered within normal limits. However, in individuals with heavy bones and broadly built as well as individuals with thin built but otherwise healthy, this may be relaxed to some extent on merit.

Age-wise Heights and Weights- Air Force (Male Candidates)

The acceptable weight for Air Force candidates will be ± 10% of the average. (For FAT % (<20) of Normal Individuals).

CDS Height and Weight Standards- Female Candidates

The age-specific height and weight requirements for the female candidates to work in OTA are listed below.

Height in Centimeters’ (Without shoes) Weights (Kgs)
18 years 20 years 30 years
148 39 41    43
150 40 42   43.5
153 42 43.5 45
155 43 44 46
158 45 46 48
160 46 47 49
163 47 48 51
165 49 51 53
168 50 52 54

Other Standard

CDS Eligibility Criteria:

  •  Other Physical Standards

Other than heights and weight ratio, there are several physical criteria that candidates should meet to prove their physical fitness:

  •  Visual Standards

UPSC has specified three types of visual standards for all academies:

For IMA and OTA

    •  Uncorrected vision(max allowed) – 6/60 &6/60
    •  BCVA – Rt 6/6 & Lt 6/6
    •  Myopia – < -3.50 D Sph ( including max astigmatism ≤ +/- 2.0 D Cyl)
    •  Hypermetropia – <+3.50 dSph ( including max astigmatism ≤ +/- 2.0 D Cyl)
    •  Lasik/equivalent surgery – Permitted
    •  Colour perception: CP II
Male Female
Vision (corrected) better eye 6/6 and worse eye 6/12 Vision(corrected) better eye 6/6, worse eye 6/12
Myopia of not more than minus 3.5 D Myopia of not more than minus 5.5 D
Manifest hypermetropia should be less than plus 3.5 D including Astigmatism Manifest hypermetropia should be less than plus 3.5 D including Astigmatism.

For Naval Candidates

    •  Uncorrected without glasses: 6/12, 6/12
    •  Corrected with glasses: 6/6, 6/6
    •  Limits of Myopia: -1.5D
    •  Limits of Hypermetropia : +1.5D
    •  Binocular Vision: III
    •  Limits of Colour Perception: I
Male Female
Vision (corrected) better eye 6/6 and worse eye 6/12 Vision(corrected) better eye 6/6, worse eye 6/12
Myopia of not more than minus 3.5 D Myopia of not more than minus 5.5 D
Manifest hypermetropia should be less than plus 3.5 D including Astigmatism Manifest hypermetropia should be less than plus 3.5 D including Astigmatism.

For Air Force

Candidates who habitually wear spectacles are not eligible for Air Force. Minimum distant vision 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other correctable to 6/6 only.

Hypermetropia Colour Vision CP-1

    •  Hypermetropia: +2.0 d Sph
    •  Manifest Myopia: Nil
    •  Retinoscopic Myopia- 0.5 in any meridian
    •  Astigmatism : +0.75 D Cyl (with + 2.0 D- Max)

Maddox Rod Test

  •  at 6 meters:
    •  Exo-6 prism D
    •  Eso-6 prism D
    •  Hyper-1 prism D
    •  Hypo-1prism D
    •  at 33 cms:
    •  Exo-16 prism D
    •  Eso-6 prism D
    •  Hyper-1 prism D
    •  Hypo-1 prism D

* Lasik/equivalent surgery

Candidates who have undergone any kerato-refractive procedures are required to show certificate/ operative notes from the medical center specified the date, type of surgery, and procedure. The candidates also need to fulfill following criteria to be considered fit.

    •  More than 20 yrs of age at the time of surgery
    •  Minimum 12 months post LASIK
    •  Central corneal thickness equal to or more than 450 µ
    •  The axial length by IOL Master equal to or less than 26 mm
    •  Residual refraction of less than or equal to +/- 1.0 D incl cylinder, (provided acceptable in the category applied for).
    •  A normal healthy retina.
    •  Corneal topography and ectasia markers can also be included as additional criteria.

Hearing Standards for Air Force

Conditions related to ear and hearing standards are:

Speech test:

Free Field hearing loss is a cause for rejection. Any reduction of less than 600 cm in CV/FW is not acceptable.

Audiometric Test:

    •  Audiometric loss should not be greater than 20 dB, in frequencies between 250 and 8000 Hz. On the recommendation of an ENT Specialist, an isolated unilateral hearing loss up to 30 DB may be condoned provided ENT examination is otherwise normal.
    •  A radical/modified radical mastoidectomy entails rejection even if completely epithelialized and good hearing is preserved. Cases of cortical mastoidectomy in the past with the tympanic membrane intact, normal hearing, and presenting no evidence of disease may be accepted.
    •  Cases of chronic otitis externa accompanied by exostoses or unduly narrow meat will be rejected. Exaggerated tortuosity of the canal, obliterating the anterior view of the tympanic membrane will be a cause for rejection.

Tympanoplasty Type :

I is acceptable twelve weeks after surgery, provided the ear clearance test in the altitude chamber is normal. The following middle ear conditions will entail rejection:-

    •  Attic, central or marginal perforation.
    •  Tympanic membrane scar with marked retraction.
    •  Tympanoplasty Type II onward but not type I.
    •  Calcareous plaques (tympanosclerosis) if occupying more than 1/3 of pars tensa.
    •  Middle ear infection.
    •  Granulation or polyp in the external auditory canal.
    •  Stapedectomy operation.
    •  Otosclerosis
    •  Meniere’s disease
    •  Vestibular dysfunction including nystagmus of vestibular origin.
    •  Bell’s palsy following an ear infection.

Spinal Conditions for Air Force

Past medical history of diseases or injury of the spine or sacroiliac joints, either with or without objective signs which have prevented the candidate from successfully following a physically active life, is a cause for rejection for commissioning in IAF. History of spinal fracture/prolapsed intervertebral disc and surgical treatment for these conditions will entail rejection. The following conditions detected during the medical exam will disqualify a candidate for Air Force service.

The granulomatous disease of the spine


    •  Rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders
    •  Ankylosing spondylitis
    •  Osteoarthrosis, spondylosis, and degenerative joint diseases
    •  Non-articular rheumatism (e.g. lesions of the rotator cuff, tennis elbow, recurrent lumbago, etc.)
    •  Miscellaneous disorders including SLE, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, vasculitis.
    •  Spondylolisthesis/ spondylolysis/ spondylosis
    •  Compression fracture of vertebrae
    •  Scheuermann’s disease (Adolescent Kyphosis)
    •  Loss of cervical lordosis when associated with clinically restricted movements of the cervical spine.
    •  Unilateral/bilateral cervical ribs with a demonstrable neurological or circulatory deficit.

Prospective candidates are advised to keep themselves in good physical condition by following the below-mentioned routine.

    •  Running: 2 to 4 km in 15 minutes
    •  Pushups & Sit-ups: Minimum 20 each
    •  Chin-ups: Min. 8
    •  Rope Climbing: 3 to 4 meters
    •  Skipping
    •  Dental Conditions

Conditions related to Dental standards and problems for CDS candidates are:

    •  Incipient pathological conditions of the jaws, which are known to be progressive or recurrent.
    •  Significant jaw discrepancies between the upper and lower jaw may hamper efficient mastication and/or speech will be a cause for rejection.
    •  Symptomatic Temporo-Mandibular Joint has clicking and tenderness is subject to rejection.
    •  A mouth opening of less than 30 mm measured at the incisal edges, Dislocation of the TMJ on wide opening.
    •  All potentially cancerous conditions.
    •  Clinical diagnosis for submucous fibrosis with or without the restriction of mouth opening.
    •  Poor oral health status in the form of gross visible calculus, periodontal pockets, and/or bleeding from gums.
    •  Loose teeth: More than two mobile teeth will render the candidate unfit.
    •  Cosmetic or post-traumatic maxillofacial surgery/trauma will be UNFIT for at least 24 weeks from the date of surgery/injury whichever is later.
    •  If malocclusion of teeth is hampering efficient mastications maintenance of oral hygiene or general nutrition or performance of duties efficiently.
    • Chest Conditions
    •  The candidates with any of the following conditions will be rejected on medical grounds even if they fulfill all the other eligibility criteria.
    •  Tuberculosis, or evidence of tuberculosis, lesions of lungs, heart, musculoskeletal lesions of the chest wall
    •  Abdomen and Genitor-urinary System:
Problems like Hernia, undescended testis, varicocele, organomegaly, solitary kidney, horseshoe kidney & cysts in the kidney/liver, Gall bladder stones, renal and ureteric stones, lesions/deformities of urogenital organs, piles, sinuses, and lymphadenitis/pathy
  • Nervous System
    •  Tremors, and speech impediments, as well as imbalance, are not allowed.
    •  Skin Problems: Vitiligo, haemangiomas, warts, corns, dermatitis, skin infections
    •  Growths and hyperhidrosis are not allowed.
    • Other Important Facts

The following conditions detected on X-ray examination will be disqualifying for entry to Army and Navy.

    •  The granulomatous disease of the spine.
    •  Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis & allied disorders and ankylosing spondylitis
    •  Scoliosis more than 100 degrees as measured by Cobb’s method.
    •  More than mild Kyphosis/Lordosis.
    •  Spondylolisthesis/Spondylosis/Spondylolysis.
    •  Herniated nucleus pulposus.
    •  Compression fracture of Vertebra.
    •  Sacralisation Disease.
    •  Cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological or Circulatory deficit.
    •  Presence of Schmorl’s node at more than one level.
    •  Atlanto-occipital and atlantoaxial anomalies.
    •  Incomplete Sacralisation Unilateral or Bilateral.
    •  Spina Bifida is other than SV 1 and LV 5.
    •  Any other abnormality, if so considered by specialist

General Guidelines of Medical Standards

To be a ‘Medically fit’ person, candidates have to be in good physical and mental health. They also need to be free from any kind of disease or syndrome. In the following paragraphs, the detailed guidelines of Medical standards for IMA, INA, AFA, and OTA:

    •  The candidate also should be free of any medical conditions which lead them to visit medical facilities or use any aid/drugs.
    •  There should be no proof of a weak constitution, imperfect development of any system, any congenital deformities/ diseases/syndrome, or malformation.
    •  No swelling/s including tumors/cyst/swollen lymph node/s anywhere on the body will be allowed.
    •  No sinus/es or fistula/es anywhere on the body will be considered as good health.
    •  No hyper or hypopigmentation or any other disease/syndrome/disability of the skin.
    •  No hernia anywhere on the body.
    •  No scars which can impair the functioning and cause significant disfigurement.
    •  No arterio-venous malformation anywhere in/on the body.
    •  No malformation of the head and face including asymmetry, deformity from fracture or depression of the bones of the skull; or scars indicating old operative interference and malformation like sinuses and fistulae, etc.
    •  No impairment of vision including color perception and field of vision.
    •  No hearing impairment, deformities/disabilities in-ears vestibule-cochlear system
    •  No impediment of speech due to any etiology.
    •  No disease/disability/ congenital anomaly/syndrome of the bones or cartilages of the nose, or palate, nasal polyps, or disease of the nasopharynx, uvula, and accessory sinuses. There should be no nasal deformity and no features of chronic tonsillitis.
    •  No disease /syndrome/disability of the throat, palate tonsils or gums, or any disease or injury affecting the normal function of either mandibular joint.
    •  No disease /syndrome/disability of the heart and blood vessels including congenital, genetic, organic incl hypertension, and conduction disorders.
    •  No evidence of pulmonary tuberculosis or previous history of this disease or any other disease /syndrome/disability chronic disease of the lungs and chest including allergies /immunological conditions, connective tissue disorders, musculoskeletal deformities of chest.
    •  No disease of the digestive system including any abnormality of the liver, pancreas including endocrine, congenital, hereditary, or genetic diseases /syndromes and disabilities.
    •  No diseases/syndrome/disability of any endocrine system, reticuloendothelial system.
    •  No diseases/syndrome/disability of genito-urinary system including malformations, atrophy/hypertrophy of any organ or gland.
    •  No active, latent or congenital venereal disease.
    •  No history or evidence of mental disease, epilepsy, incontinence of urine, or enuresis.
    •  No disease/deformity/syndrome of the musculoskeletal system and joints incl skull, spine, and limbs.
    •  There is no congenital or hereditary disease/ syndrome/disability.

The following ocular diseases will make a candidate unfit :

  • Corneal Opacity.
  • Lenticular opacity.
  • Entropion/Ectropion.
  • Night blindness.
  • Retinal lesions.
  • Naso-Lacrimal occlusion.
It is advisable to all the candidates that they get themselves examined by a professional physician as per CDS physical and medical standards before applying for any of the posts under CDS 2022 Examination.