CDS 2024 Selection Process For IMA, INA, AFA & OTA

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CDS 2024 Selection Process

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), is a prestigious gateway for individuals aspiring to serve as Commissioned Officers in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. The CDS Selection Process 2024 is a meticulous journey comprising three integral stages: the Written Examination, the SSB Interview, and the Medical Examination. In this article, we will explore each stage in detail, giving aspiring candidates a clear understanding of the process.

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CDS Selection Process 2024 – Overview

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination, administered by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) twice a year, is conducted offline. In this exam, candidates encounter Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and can respond in either Hindi or English. The question distribution varies, with IMA/INA/AFA papers featuring 300 questions, while OTA papers have 200 questions. Each paper lasts for a duration of 2 hours. It is crucial to be aware of the negative marking system, where 1/3rd of the marks are deducted for every incorrect answer.

Certainly! Here’s the information presented in a tabular format:

Name of the ExamCombined Defence Services (CDS)
Conducting BodyUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Conducted in a YearTwice
Mode of ExaminationOffline
Type of QuestionsMultiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
MediumHindi or English
Number of QuestionsIMA/INA/AFA – 300, OTA – 200
Time Duration2 hours for each paper
Negative MarkingYes (1/3rd deducted for every wrong answer)

CDS Selection Process

The CDS (Combined Defence Services) Selection Process, administered by UPSC, is a vital pathway for aspiring Commissioned Officers in the Indian Armed Forces. The three-stage process involves a written examination, covering topics like CDS Eligibility Criteria and Officer Intelligence Rating Test, followed by an SSB Interview, assessing candidates through Picture Perception & Description Test, Thematic Apperception Test, Word Association Test, and others. The final phase includes a rigorous Medical Examination. This meticulous selection ensures candidates meet academic, intelligence, and physical standards, aligning with the demands of roles in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force.

  1. Phase 1: Written Examination:
    • Eligible candidates begin with a written examination.
    • The written test assesses candidates’ knowledge, aptitude, and abilities in various domains.
    • It serves as the initial stage of the selection process.
  2. Phase 2: SSB Interview (Service Selection Board):
    • Successful candidates from the written exam move on to the SSB interview stage.
    • The SSB interview evaluates candidates’ personality, leadership qualities, and communication skills.
    • It is a comprehensive assessment conducted by the Service Selection Board.
  3. Phase 3: Medical Verification:
    • Following the SSB interview, candidates undergo a medical examination.
    • The medical verification aims to ensure the candidates’ physical and mental fitness.
    • It verifies their ability to meet the health standards required for military service.

CDS Selection Process Phase 1: CDS Written Exam Pattern For IMA, INA, & AFA

The admission criteria for the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), and Air Force Academy involve a written examination with three subjects—English, General Knowledge, and Mathematics. Each subject has a duration of 2 hours, with a maximum mark of 100 for each. Additionally, candidates who pass the written exam proceed to the next stage, which is the Service Selection Board (SSB) Test/Interview, spanning 5 days with a total of 300 marks. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that candidates demonstrate proficiency in various aspects before securing admission to these esteemed academies.

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
English2 Hours100
General Knowledge2 Hours100
Mathematics2 Hours100
SSB Test/Interview5 Days300

CDS Selection Process Phase 1: CDS Written Exam Pattern For OTA

The CDS (Combined Defence Services) Exam Pattern for OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) includes three main subjects: English, General Knowledge, and SSB Test/Interview. The English and General Knowledge papers each have a duration of 2 hours, with a maximum of 100 marks for each subject. In the English section, candidates are evaluated on language proficiency and comprehension skills. The General Knowledge section assesses candidates’ awareness of current affairs and general knowledge. The SSB Test/Interview spans 5 days and carries a maximum of 300 marks. This comprehensive exam pattern ensures a thorough evaluation of candidates’ abilities in both written and interview assessments.

SubjectDurationMaximum Marks
English2 Hours100
General Knowledge2 Hours100
SSB Test/Interview5 days300

CDS Selection Process Phase 2: CDS SSB Interview Selection Procedure 2024

The SSB Interview spans five days with two stages: Stage I involves OIR tests and PP & DT, while Stage II includes Psychology Tests, GTO Tasks, Interview, and Conference. It evaluates candidates comprehensively.

  1. SSB Interview Duration:
    • Five days in total.
  2. Stages of SSB Interview:
    • Stage I:
      • Screening test includes Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests.
      • Picture Perception & Description Test (PP & DT) is conducted.
    • Stage II:
      • Comprises comprehensive testing.
      • Psychology Tests assess various aspects of the candidate’s mental and emotional attributes.
      • Group Testing Officer (GTO) Tasks involve collaborative exercises to evaluate teamwork and leadership skills.
      • The Interview phase is a personal assessment.
      • Conference involves a group discussion where assessors collectively review the candidate’s performance.
  3. SSB Interview Components:
    • Intelligence & Personality Test is an integral part.
    • Designed to assess not only intellectual capabilities but also the candidate’s character and overall personality.

Day 1 of SSB Interview: The Screening Test

  1. Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR):
    • Candidates undergo assessments to gauge their intelligence and analytical abilities.
  2. Picture Perception & Description Test (PP & DT):
    • Participants interpret images and provide descriptions, evaluating their observational and communication skills.

Day 2 of SSB Interview: Psychology Tests

  1. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT):
    • Candidates interpret images, narrating stories to assess their thought processes and imagination.
  2. Word Association Test (WAT):
    • Participants respond spontaneously to words, revealing personality traits and cognitive flexibility.
  3. Situation Reaction Test (SRT):
    • Evaluates quick decision-making and responses to various scenarios.
  4. Self Description Test (SDT):
    • Candidates provide self-descriptions, assessing self-awareness and communication skills.

Days 3 & 4 of SSB Interview: Group Testing (GTO Tasks)

  1. Group Discussion:
    • Candidates engage in a group conversation to assess communication skills and teamwork.
  2. Group Planning Exercise:
    • Involves collaborative planning, evaluating strategic thinking and decision-making.
  3. Progressive Group Tasks (PGT):
    • Candidates work together on progressively challenging tasks to assess teamwork and leadership.
  4. Half Group Tasks:
    • Similar to PGT but with a smaller group, focusing on individual contributions.
  5. Individual Obstacles:
    • Candidates navigate obstacles individually, testing agility and problem-solving.
  6. Group Obstacles Race or Snake Race:
    • Involves a group navigating obstacles, evaluating coordination and speed.
  7. Command Task:
    • Assesses leadership as candidates take charge of a task and guide a group.
  8. Lecturette:
    • Candidates present a brief talk on a given topic, assessing communication and presentation skills.
  9. Final Group Task:
    • The last group task evaluates overall group dynamics and leadership qualities.

Day 5 of SSB Interview: Conference and Results

  1. Conference and Result Announcement:
    • The day marks the conclusion of tasks, with results disclosed. Selected candidates proceed to the medical examination.

CDS Selection Process Phase 3: Medical Examination

Candidates must be physically and mentally healthy, without conditions hindering military duties in different environments. They should also avoid medical conditions requiring frequent visits to facilities or dependence on aids/drugs.

  1. Medically Fit Criteria:
    • To be deemed ‘Medically fit,’ candidates must be in good physical and mental health, free from conditions that may hinder military duties in various environments.
  2. Health Requirements:
    • Candidates should be free from diseases, syndromes, or disabilities likely to interfere with military duties, including in remote areas and austere conditions with no medical aid.
  3. No Frequent Medical Visits:
    • Candidates should not have medical conditions requiring frequent visits to medical facilities or the use of aids/drugs for efficient military service.

Medical Examination and Merit List:

  • After the medical evaluation, a final merit list of recommended candidates is announced in the following months.

What Comes Next After CDS Selection?

Following successful selection in the CDS process, candidates experience the following at each academy:

Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officer Training Academy (OTA):

  • Cadets receive a stipend of INR 56,100 during training.
  • At IMA, a comprehensive 18-month military training program is undertaken.
  • Successful completion results in a Permanent Commission as Lieutenant, contingent on medical fitness.

Indian Naval Academy (INA):

  • Candidates undergo probation until completing initial training.
  • After about 18 months, cadets are commissioned as Sub-Lieutenants.

Air Force Academy (AFA) – Flying Branch (Pilots):

  • The Flying Branch (Pilots) training at the Air Force Academy lasts approximately 74 weeks.

These training programs aim to equip candidates for their roles in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force, ensuring they are well-prepared for their responsibilities as officers.

Disqualification Criteria Related To CDS Selection Process

  1. Candidates disqualified from prestigious institutions (AFA, IMA, NDA, INA, and OTA Chennai) due to unacceptable behavior are ineligible for CDS Selection Process 2024.
  2. Those terminated from the Indian Military Academy for lacking officer-like qualities cannot reapply.
  3. National Defence Academy or Naval Training Establishments won’t admit candidates who left as Special Entry Naval Cadets due to a lack of officer-like skills.
  4. Withdrawal from NCC, Officer Training Academy, Indian Military Academy, or a graduate program due to a lack of officer-like skills bars a chance for an Army short service commission.

CDS 2024 Selection Process – FAQs

How Many Stages are There in the CDS 2024 Selection Process?

The CDS 2024 Selection Process consists of three stages: Written Examination, SSB Interview, and Medical Examination.

What Does the Written Examination Include?

The Written Examination comprises subjects such as English and General Knowledge, with multiple-choice questions (MCQs).

What are the SSB Interview Stages?

The SSB Interview has two stages: Stage I includes Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception & Description Test (PP & DT), while Stage II involves Psychology Tests, Group Testing Officer (GTO) Tasks, and Interview & Conference.

Is there Negative Marking in the CDS Written Examination?

Yes, there is negative marking in the CDS Written Examination, with 1/3rd of the marks deducted for each incorrect answer.

What are the Requirements for Medical Fitness?

Candidates must be in good physical and mental health, free from any disease or condition likely to interfere with the efficient performance of military duties in various conditions.


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