How to prepare for CDS Exam : Combined Defence Service Exam

UPSC is going to conduct CDS 1 2019 on 3 February 2019. There is pressure among candidates to crack it. The notification will be issued on 31 October 2018 and the online application could be submitted up to November 26, 2018. It is natural that we start to prepare for the exam when it is close. It becomes imperative to focus on studies and preparation. You are required to cover full syllabus before the examination at least once if you also aim for a revision.

The exam will be held in February. So from now, there are 4 months left in the exam. CDS syllabus is very wide and while every candidate tries to cover the entire syllabus, it is better to start now rather than rushing in the last month. It will be useful to chart a strategy or plan to study. Candidates are required to go through the syllabus and exam pattern. Based on the pattern and eyeing the syllabus, they need to pick relevant portions for the exam and plan the study.
Exam pattern



The CDS Exam is divided into 3 papers i.e. English, General Ability and mathematics. English and GK will have 120 questions each and 100 questions will be asked in mathematics. Each paper will be of 100 marks and there are 2 hours for writing each paper. Candidates who are applying for OTA have to appear in two exams only i.e. English and GK. The cut off marks will be different for academies i.e. IMA, AFA, NA and OTA.

How to prepare for CDS Exam?

CDS is not very hard to crack. You can pass it easily if you have planned your strategy and have gone through the syllabus, exam pattern, proper notes, and preparation books thoroughly. You also need to know your weakness and strength. Here are subject wise tips for preparation of CDS:

Tips for CDS mathematics paper:

If you aim for the Air Force then you should not be afraid of mathematics. In CDS, mathematics is of 100 marks. There are 100 objective type questions. 1 mark is rewarded for each correct answer and 1/3 mark will be deducted for every wrong answer. The syllabus includes Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, etc. Some tips to score well in mathematics are:
1. Have a good look at the syllabus. Mark the chapters which you think are difficult for you and give them some extra time.
2. A plan is the first requirement regarding how you are planning to cope with the syllabus.
3. Write down all the formulas separately and try to remember them. Revise them on a regular basis.
4. Then there are also theorems and Geometry formulas which requires quite a portion of the time.
5. A very important thing is to solve previous year question papers, mock test papers, online tests, etc to have an idea about the type of questions asked. Aim to solve as many questions as possible.




Tips for CDS General Science paper:

This paper also has objective type questions. 2 hours for solving 120 questions of 100 marks. 5/6 mark for the correct answer and a deduction of 5/18 mark for incorrect one. The questions are asked from Science(Physics, chemistry, biology), Economics, Politics, Geography, Current Affairs, Armed Forces, World GK, etc. There is a lot to study in a relatively short time. A good plan can help you cover the syllabus. Here are some tips to for General Knowledge study:-

1. Buy a good book of general knowledge. Avoid those monthly GK books as you will not be able to study and remember all of them.
2. Read the newspaper on a daily basis to get regular updates about the world. Read some magazines, books to be updated about the economy, sports, etc.
3. Try to develop an interest in current affairs.
4. Go through previous year solved papers, online tests and mock test papers also.

We recommend following books for General Science paper:
1. NCERT books from class 6th to 10-Science.
2. Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth.
3. NCERT: Fundamental of Physical Environment (Very Important).
4. NCERT: Fundamental of Physical Geography (Very Important).
5. History: A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir
6. CDS Pathfinder: the most favourite book of many CDS aspirants.
Additionally, you can download our free Ebook “SN General Knowledge“. The book contains basic Indian and World General Knowledge.

Tips for CDS English paper:

For some of the candidates, it is the most difficult paper. English is crucial both in our daily life and recruitment for any job. So you have to deal with it. You are not expected to learn it and talk fluently in four months but at least start to improve your vocabulary. Practice can help you get through the paper. There are 120 objective type questions in the paper of 100 marks. Exam duration is 2 hours. Here are some tips for preparation of English:-

1. Check the entire syllabus and allow time for topics in which you are weak and other which you think will require less time.
2. Read, read and read. Read as much as you can, English newspapers, books, magazines, etc. Along with it, practice speaking it and writing it. You also need to be a good listener.
3. Improve your vocabulary. Write down the words which trouble you while reading and find their meaning.
4. There are several topics in English ranging from grammar to vocabulary sections like one word for sentence, antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, etc.
5. Complete those topics first in which you are good as it will boost your confidence. The little time you take for these topics, the more time you could spare for difficult topics.
6. There are numerous books available for CDS in the market. Buy a good one and practice from it.
7. In order to have an idea of the questions being asked, take online tests, mock test papers and previous year papers.

We recommend following books for English:
1. Plinth to paramount English by Neetu Singh: Best book available in the market for competitive exams.
2. The Serve Nation Dictionary: Vocabulary book for Defence exams like NDA, CDS, AFCAT and it will also help you during WAT Test of SSB Interview.

You can follow the above subject wise tips for preparation of CDS. The key to crack an exam with objective type questions is to solve maximum questions possible. It will increase your confidence level. Answer the questions which you are fully confident of. There is negative marking also so you cannot afford to lose marks by ticking wrong answers. CDS is difficult but it is not impossible to crack it. With the right study plan, preparation strategy and following the above tips, you can clear the exam with flying colours. Good Luck!


CDS 1 2019 Notification: Check your eligibility


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