How to Crack CDS 1 2024 Exam in First Attempt?
Tuesday | September 19, 2023

There are many career options available in defence forces for graduate candidates. The Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam is one such tremendous career opportunity. All graduates holding a bachelor degree either in science and technology or commerce or humanities can apply for the CDS exam. The only major factor is meeting the age requirements, which we have discussed in the below section. Like every year, the UPSC will conduct the CDS exam twice this year as well. So, if you are a graduate and looking for some adventurous career options, then this article is for you. In this comprehensive article by Centurion Defence Academy, the best coaching for defence exam preparation, you will get to learn how to crack the CDS-1 2024 exam in the first attempt and ensure a career in the armed forces. Read on to learn more about CDS-1 2024 in detail.


What is the CDS-1 2024 exam?


As we have already mentioned, like every year, the UPSC will conduct the CDS exam twice this year as well. The CDS 1 2024 exam will take place on 21st April 2024, while the CDS 2 2024 exam will take place on 1st September 2024. Here in this article, we will cover the CDS 1 2024 exam with all the important details that you should be aware of. Subsequently, we will also focus on certain key tips to crack the CDS 1 2024 exam in the first attempt. Centurion Defence Academy, known as the best CDS coaching in India, has designed the CDS 2024 study plan keeping in mind the needs and requirements of all CDS aspirants whether they are from a science background or humanities. So let us first start with an overview of the CDS 1 2024 exam.

Overview of CDS 1 2024

Exam Name CDS 1 2024 Exam
AcademiesIndian Military Academy

Officers Training Academy

Indian Naval Academy

Indian Air Force Academy

CoursesIMA 158th Course

INA Ezhimala Course

AFA Hyderabad Course

OTA 121st SSC (Men) Course

OTA 35th SSC (Women) Course

Exam Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission – UPSC
Application Mode Online 
Exam Frequency Twice a year 
Eligible Category IMA, INA, AFA – Only Male 

OTA – Both Male and Female 

Mode of Exam Offline (OMR Based)
Selection Process 
  • Written Exam 
  • SSB Interview
  • Medical Exam
CDS 1 2024 Application Form20th Dec 2023 – 9th Jan 2024
CDS 1 2024 Exam Date21st April 2024 
Subjects Covered (IMA, INA, AFA)English

General Knowledge

Elementary Mathematics

Subjects Covered (OTA)English

General Knowledge


Candidates who clear all the stages of the CDS exam successfully get admission either in the Indian Military Academy or Officers Training Academy or Indian Naval Academy or Indian Air Force Academy based on their preference. It should be noted that female candidates can apply only for the Officers Training Academy (OTA) Chennai. Further, all three papers as mentioned in the table above are mandatory for the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy. While there are only two papers, English, and General Knowledge for Officers Training Academy. Let us now focus on education qualification and age limit for CDS 1 2024.


CDS Educational Qualification


  • — For IMA and OTA (both men and women), candidates should graduate in any stream from a recognized University. 


  • — For INA, candidates should possess an engineering degree from a recognized university. 


  • — For AFA, the combination of physics and mathematics at the 10+2 level is a must. Besides, candidates should also possess a graduation degree or preferably a Bachelor of Engineering.


Additionally, such candidates who are in the final year of their graduation program can also apply for the CDS 1 2024 exam.


CDS Age Limit for IMA, INA, AFA, OTA


AcademiesDate of Birth
Indian Military Academy (IMA)2nd January 2001 to 1st January 2006
Indian Naval Academy (INA)2nd January 2001 to 1st January 2006
Air Force Academy (AFA)2nd January 2001 to 1st January 2005
Officers Training Academy OTA (Men)2nd January 2000 to 1st January 2006
Officers Training Academy OTA (Women)2nd January 2000 to 1st January 2006


For the Air Force Academy, the upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable up to 26 years. Thus, for such candidates, the CDS 1 2024 age limit is 2nd January 1999 to 1st January 2005.


Effective Tips to Crack CDS-1 2024 in the First Attempt


Before we discuss the effective tips to crack CDS 1 2024 in the first attempt, let us check the CDS written exam cut-off marks of the past few years. This approach will help you make a comparative analysis of the CDS exam trends so that you can devise your study plan effectively.


Exam CycleCDS Written Exam Cut-Off Marks (Academy-wise)
Out of 300Out of 200
CDS II 20221261181369898
CDS I 2022136128147100100
CDS II 2021138132148102102
CDS 1 2021145136158107107
CDS II 20201391341529797
CDS I 20201301181439393
CDS II 20191341221489595
CDS I 20191161051297878
CDS II 20181161021318080
CDS I 2018118981386969


By analyzing the above table, you can get an idea of the minimum written score in the CDS exam as per different academies. This analysis will help you plan your strategy accordingly so that you can score adequate marks in CDS 1 2024. Besides clearing the total cut-off marks, candidates also need to score at least 20% in each subject.


Strategic Planning for CDS-1 2024


Recognize the specific subject requirements for the academy you aim to join. For OTA, candidates need to attempt English and General Knowledge, while IMA requires all three papers: English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. It’s crucial to score at least 20% in each subject to meet the sectional cut-off. Identify your strengths among the subjects. If you excel in a particular subject, aim for the maximum possible score in that subject to boost your overall aggregate score. For example, if you’re strong in English, focus on maximizing your score in the English paper.


If you have weaknesses in a subject, aim to cross the 20% cut-off for that subject while concentrating more on your strengths. This way, you can balance your performance and still achieve a competitive overall score. For example, if your General Knowledge is weak but you’re strong in English, ensure you score at least 20% in General Knowledge while aiming for a high score in English. Plan your preparation strategically based on your strengths and weaknesses. Allocate more study time to subjects where you need improvement while not neglecting your strong areas. Always aim to score well above the cut-off marks to secure your place in the merit list.


Syllabus Understanding and Revision


A clear understanding of the syllabus ensures that you cover all the necessary topics and don’t miss out on any important areas while preparing for the exam. Going deeper into each subject allows you to tackle more complex questions so that you can increase your chances of scoring higher marks. Moreover, a consistent study routine helps in disciplined preparation while also ensuring that you cover all subjects regularly. A strong foundation in English, Mathematics, and General Knowledge is essential as it forms the basis for answering questions correctly and confidently.


Practicing previous years’ papers familiarizes you with the exam pattern and helps you understand the types of questions that are asked in the exam. Furthermore, revision consolidates your knowledge and ensures that you retain what you’ve learned. Above that, mock tests build your confidence so that you can be more comfortable with the exam format and timing. Further, mock tests also help in reducing stress on the actual exam day. Being physically fit ensures you meet the physical standards required for the exam, while mental sharpness aids in staying focused during preparation and on the exam day.


Best Coaching for CDS-1 2024 Preparation


Centurion Defence Academy provides the best coaching for CDS 1 2024 preparation. In this CDS 1 2024 course by Centurion Defence Academy, you will receive daily classes, free study material, bimonthly mock tests and subject-wise tests, current affairs on a daily basis, backup classes and complete course coverage. In short, joining this holistic course for CDS 1 2024 preparation by Centurion Defence Academy will help you excel in the exam. Centurion Defence Academy is the best coaching for CDS preparation 2024 as it not only covers the written exam but also focuses on the SSB interview preparation which is equally important in the CDS exam.


CDS-1 2024 Important FAQs


~ Who is eligible to apply for the CDS 1 2024 exam?


Graduates from various disciplines can apply for CDS 1 2024, however, they should ensure that they meet the age requirements.


~ When will the CDS 1 2024 exam take place?


The CDS 1 2024 exam will take place on 21st April 2024.


~Which academies can candidates join after clearing the CDS exam?


Candidates can join either the Indian Military Academy or Indian Naval Academy or Air Force Academy or Officers Training Academy (OTA).


~What are the subjects covered in the CDS 1 2024 exam?


The subjects vary based on the academy. For IMA, INA, and AFA, it’s English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics. For OTA, it’s English and General Knowledge.


~Can female candidates apply for all academies through the CDS exam?


No, female candidates can apply only for the Officers Training Academy (OTA) Chennai.


~Can candidates in their final year of graduation apply for CDS 1 2024?


Yes, candidates in their final year of graduation can apply for CDS 1 2024.


~What is the significance of scoring 20% in each subject in the CDS exam?


Based on past trends, scoring at least 20% in each subject is essential to meet the sectional cut-off in the CDS exam.


~What are the effective tips for cracking CDS 1 2024?


The effective tips for cracking CDS 1 2024 include strategic planning, focusing on strengths, identifying weak areas, practicing previous papers, and also staying physically and mentally fit.


~Why is solving previous years’ question papers recommended for CDS preparation?


Solving previous years’ question papers familiarizes candidates with the exam pattern and also helps them understand the types of questions asked.


~How do mock tests help in CDS preparation?


Mock tests build confidence, simulate the exam environment, and also improve time management skills for CDS preparation.


~Why is Centurion Defence Academy the best coaching for CDS 1 2024 preparation?


Centurion Defence Academy offers comprehensive guidance for written exam and SSB interview preparation and thus it stands out as the best coaching for CDS 1 2024 preparation.


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