Institutes In Delhi

How to Prepare for UPSC CDS and NDA Exam

The UPSC CDS (Combined Defence Services) and NDA (National Defence Academy) exams are prestigious tests conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruiting candidates into the Indian Armed Forces. Clearing these exams opens the door to a highly respected career, complete with significant benefits and a stable future.

Table of Contents

  1. What is UPSC CDS and NDA?
  2. Eligibility Criteria
  3. Number of Attempts
  4. SSB Process
  5. Salary and Other Benefits
  6. Exam Syllabus in Detail
  7. Exam Form Expected Date
  8. Top Institutes in Delhi for UPSC CDS and NDA Preparation
  9. FAQs
  10. Conclusion

What is UPSC CDS and NDA?

The UPSC CDS exam recruits candidates for the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA). On the other hand, the NDA exam is for candidates aspiring to join the National Defence Academy, which prepares students for all three services – the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Eligibility Criteria


  1. Nationality: Indian
  2. Age Limit:
    • IMA: 19-24 years
    • INA: 19-24 years
    • AFA: 20-24 years
    • OTA: 19-25 years
  3. Educational Qualification:
    • IMA and OTA: Graduation from a recognized university
    • INA: Engineering degree
    • AFA: B.Sc with Physics and Mathematics or Bachelor of Engineering


  1. Nationality: Indian
  2. Age Limit: 16.5-19.5 years
  3. Educational Qualification:
    • Army Wing: 12th pass
    • Naval and Air Force Wings: 12th pass with Physics and Mathematics

Number of Attempts

There is no restriction on the number of attempts for both CDS and NDA exams, provided the candidates meet the age and educational qualifications.

SSB Process

The Services Selection Board (SSB) interview is a crucial part of the selection process for both CDS and NDA. It assesses a candidate’s suitability for a career in the armed forces. The SSB process includes:

  1. Stage 1: Screening Test (includes OIR Test and PPDT)
  2. Stage 2: Psychological Tests, Group Testing Officers (GTO) Tasks, and Personal Interview
  3. Conference: Final assessment and recommendation

Salary and Other Benefits

Starting Salary

  1. Lieutenant: Rs. 56,100 per month
  2. Flying Officer (AFA): Rs. 56,100 per month

Other Benefits

  1. Allowances: Dearness allowance, kit maintenance, etc.
  2. Healthcare: Comprehensive medical facilities
  3. Education: Subsidies for children’s education
  4. Housing: Accommodation or HRA
  5. Retirement Benefits: Pension and other post-retirement benefits

Exam Syllabus in Detail


  1. English: Grammar, comprehension, vocabulary
  2. General Knowledge: Current events, history, geography, polity, economy, science
  3. Elementary Mathematics: Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics


  1. Mathematics: Algebra, matrices, determinants, trigonometry, calculus, statistics
  2. General Ability:
    • English: Grammar, comprehension
    • General Knowledge: Physics, chemistry, general science, history, geography, current events

Exam Form Expected Date

  • CDS I: November
  • CDS II: August
  • NDA I: January
  • NDA II: June

Top Institutes in Delhi for UPSC CDS and NDA Preparation

Institute Name


Contact Number

Cavalier India

Mukherjee Nagar


Baalnoi Academy

Ber Sarai


Success Mantra Coaching

Laxmi Nagar


Tara Institute

Kingsway Camp


Minerva Academy

Patel Nagar



  1. What is the age limit for the CDS exam?
    • The age limit varies: 19-24 years for IMA, 19-24 years for INA, 20-24 years for AFA, and 19-25 years for OTA.
  2. Can a final-year student apply for the NDA exam?
    • Yes, final-year students can apply for the NDA exam.
  3. Is there a negative marking in the CDS and NDA exams?
    • Yes, both exams have negative marking for incorrect answers.
  4. What is the mode of the CDS and NDA exams?
    • Both exams are conducted in offline (pen and paper) mode.
  5. How can I apply for the CDS and NDA exams?
    • Applications can be submitted online through the official UPSC website.


Preparing for the UPSC CDS and NDA exams requires dedication, a clear understanding of the syllabus, and effective study strategies. With the right approach and resources, you can achieve success and embark on a rewarding career in the Indian Armed Forces. Remember to stay updated with the official notifications and manage your preparation time efficiently. Good luck!