UPSC CDS Cut Off- Process, Calculation, Factors

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has released a notification on 4th August 2021 announcing the UPSC CDS II examination 2021. The UPSC conducts the Combined Defence Services examination twice a year in February and September. These examinations are held to induct eligible and promising aspirants into the Indian Naval Academy (INA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officer’s Training Academy (OTA). Several non-tech vacancies are offered, including SSC (Short Service Commission) for Women who wish to join the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. The last date to submit the application form for the UPSC CDS is 24th August 2021. UPSC has already released CDS II 2021 examination date schedule with the official calendar. As per the notice, UPSC will conduct the CDS II examination on 04th November 2021. Continue reading for details of the UPSC CDS Cut Off


Cut-off marks are the marks that the candidate must secure to qualify for the next stage of the selection process. Passing marks or the minimum marks required to clear the examination is not the same as the cut-off marks. The minimum passing marks are specified before the examinations are conducted, but the cut-off marks are announced only after the examination is over. The cut-off marks change from year to year because several factors affect the process of determining the cut-off. The Cut off marks are set taking into account different factors like the number of candidates who appeared for the examination, Total seats available, the difficulty level of the Examination, and others.

Process to check the UPSC CDS Cut Off

The Commission will release the UPSC CDS Cut Off marks on their official website once the examination process is over. The candidates can check/ download cut off marks using the process mentioned below:

Step 1: Visit the website of the commission-

Step 2: Click on examination. 

Step 3: Click on UPSC CDS Cut Off Marks.

Step 4: The different Cut off links will be displayed. Click on the cut-off you want to check.

Step 5: The cut-off will be displayed on your screen.

Step 6: Click on the download link and save it for future reference.

Calculation of UPSC CDS Examination Marks 

Following are the steps to calculate UPSC CDS examination marks using the cut-off marks:

There are a total of 300 objective questions. Each question carries 1 mark. Negative marking is applicable. For every wrong answer or multiple answers to one question, 0.33 marks are deducted. No negative marking is done for unanswered questions.

Step 1: Multiply the sum of correct answers with 1

Step 2: Multiply the sum of wrong answers with 0.33

Step 3: Deduct the sum of step 2 from step 1. The remaining is your score. 


Oliveboard Mobile App
  • Video Lessons, Textual Lessons & Notes
  • Topic Tests covering all topics with detailed solutions
  • Sectional Tests for QA, DI, EL, LR
  • All India Mock Tests for performance analysis and all India percentile
  • General Knowledge (GK) Tests

Free videos, free mock tests and free GK tests to evaluate course content before signing up!

Factors Affecting UPSC CDS Cut Off

The UPSC admits candidates based on the written examination results followed by 5-day physical and psychological tests in 3 SSBs across India. The UPSC CDS Cut Off depends upon different factors, including the no. of students appearing for the examination, difficulty level, vacancies, and others. These factors finally contribute to the Cut off and students securing above the declared cut-off are qualified.

The commission does not issue a cut-off for the 5-day SSB. The final marks are released once the entire process, including the Written Examination, SSB Interview, and medical examination, is over. Following are the factors that are considered while deciding UPSC CDS cut off:

Number of Vacancies

The number of vacancies to be filled plays an important role in the cut-off being high or low. In case the number of vacancies is high, the cut-off marks would be lower. But, if there are only a few vacancies, the cut-off marks will be higher because competition will increase. 

Number of Candidates appearing for the Examination

The higher the number of candidates appearing for the examination, the cut-off too will go up. If the number of candidates appearing is less, then the cut-off will also be lower.

Difficulty Level of the Examination

The level of difficulty of the examination question paper also affects the calculations of the cut-off marks. The more difficult the questions are, the lower will the cut-off marks be, whereas an easier question paper will have higher cut-off marks. 

Previous year cut off trends

The previous year’s cut-off plays an important role in deciding the current cut-off marks.

The applicants securing marks above the declared cut-off are called for an SSB Interview followed by a Medical exam of the recommended candidates.

UPSC CDS Cut Off for Written Examination

  • Candidates must score the minimum qualifying marks in each subject that is 20%.
  • Candidates need to score the minimum aggregate cut-off marks to qualify for the written examination.
  • Candidates who qualify for the Written exam are called for the SSB Round.

UPSC CDS Cut Off for SSB Interview

  • SSB Interview is held for the candidates who qualify for the Written examination.
  • SSB Interview is a two-stage selection process.
  • Stage 1: It comprises of Officer Intelligence Rating tests and Picture Perception Description Test. 
  • Stage 2: It comprises interviews, psychology tests, Group Testing Officer Tasks, and the Conference.
  • To qualify for SSB Interview, candidates must score the minimum qualifying marks. 

UPSC CDS Cut Off for Final Selection

  • The Final cut-off is declared based on written exam and SSB Interview marks.
  • CDS final cut-off is decided based on the marks scored by the last recommended candidates.

Expected UPSC CDS Cut Off CDS Cut off 2021

AcademyWritten ExamFinal Exam
IMA120 – 130245 – 255
INA 105 – 120233 – 245
AFA 145 – 150268 – 270
OTA for men73 – 85162 – 170
OTA for women74 – 85164 – 170


If you are an aspirant for UPSC CDS, a tentative idea of the cut-off will be to your advantage as it will help you prepare for the examination with a certain target in mind. Since the commission’s final cut-off will be announced only after the examination is over, you will have to rely on the previous year’s cut-off marks. Decide on a tentative cut-off mark by calculating the previous cut-off marks and prepare diligently for the examination.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions 

When will the UPSC CDS Cut Off be announced?

The cut-off is declared after the conclusion of the written examination & SSB Interview. Based on the marks secured in the written exam, candidates are called for the SSB round, and then authorities combine the scores of both the written exam and the interview round to make the final cut-off list.

What are the factors affecting the UPSC CDS Cut Off marks?

The factors are:
Number of vacancies
The number of candidates appearing for the EXAM
Examination difficulty level.
Previous year cut-off marks.

Leave a comment