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Effective CDS (II) 2023 Preparation Strategy for the Last 60 Days

Utkarsh Classes 04-09-2023
Effective CDS (II) 2023 Preparation Strategy for the Last 60 Days

The UPSC conducts the CDS exam twice a year, and all candidates who have applied for the CDS must prepare properly in order to pass the exam. The UPSC has scheduled the CDS 2 exam for September 3, 2023, to select candidates for training as commissioned officers in the Indian Army, Navy, or Air Force. Candidates who are chosen are trained at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), the Indian Naval Academy (INA), the Air Force Academy (AFA), and the Officers' Training Academy (OTA). 

The Combined Defence Services Exam (CDS Exam) is regarded as one of the most difficult in the country, and it can only be passed with great effort and determination. Preparing for this exam can be challenging, but it is not impossible.

This exam is easier to pass if you are ready to work hard and use a good preparation strategy. We will provide you with the UPSC CDS Exam Strategy in this article, which will assist you in analysing how you can attempt the exam and what your preparation strategy should be. These tips will help you succeed whether you are a first-time candidate or looking to improve your performance.

UPSC CDS - A brief information

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) holds the "Combined Defence Services" (CDS) Examination twice a year to recruit candidates for the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy. The UPSC conducts the CDS examination twice a year, in February and September. 

Important Details of CDS (II) 2023


Military Wing

Name of the Course 

Approximate No. of Vacancies

Indian Military Academy, Dehradun

157th (DE) Course commencing in July, 2024 


[including 13 vacancies reserved for NCC `C’ (Army Wing) holders] 

Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala

Course commencing in July, 2024 Executive Branch (General Service)/Hydro 


[including 06 vacancies for NCC ‘C’ Certificate (Naval Wing) holders

Air Force Academy, Hyderabad

(Pre-Flying) Training Course commencing in July, 2024 i.e. No. 216 F(P) Course. 


[including 03 vacancies are reserved for NCC `C’ Certificate (Air Wing) holders through NCC Special Entry]

Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai (Madras)

120th SSC (Men) (NT) (UPSC) Course Commencing in October, 2024


Officers Training Academy, Chennai (Madras) 

34th SSC Women (NT) (UPSC) Course commencing in October, 2024




Selection Procedure

A candidate will be selected after he/she successfully clears all 3 following stages:

  • UPSC CDS (II) - Written Exam

  • SSB Interview by Service Selection Boards of Army/Navy and Air Force (two-stage process)

  • Medical Examination by Board of Service Medical Officers

Training Period

The officers in the Navy, Army, and Air Force receive 18 months of training, while officers in the Officer's Training Academy receive 49 weeks.


Many defence aspirants wonder, “if they can crack CDS in less than two months”?

Yes, you can pass your CDS exam if you start preparing for it now if you have the determination and strength to pursue your dreams. 

If you start late, you will have to devote more time to your daily CDS preparation as compared to those who started a few months ago. We must now look at the strategy that must be used to prepare for and pass the CDS Exam on the first try.

Preparation Tips for CDS (2) 2023  

Most candidates believe that the CDS examination is extremely difficult, which is not entirely correct. Because practising good CDS preparation tips and attempting to solve more and more questions on related topics will boost your confidence. We have provided subject-specific tips and tricks to assist you in understanding the strategy to crack CDS (II) in 60 days.

Understand the CDS Exam Pattern & Syllabus

If you want to pass the exam, you should understand the CDS exam pattern, including the subjects, marking scheme, and time allocation for each section. This will give you an idea of the topics that will be covered in the exam.

Create an Effective Study Schedule

Make a list of all the topics you are familiar with and those you are unsure about as you study according to the CDS syllabus. This will help you allocate your study time more efficiently. Create a structured timetable first, and instead of putting too much pressure on yourself, take it slow and gradually increase your study hours. Divide your 60-day period into separate study periods for each subject. Allocate more time to subjects/topics that you find difficult and less time to those that you are already familiar with. Schedule regular breaks into your schedule to avoid burnout.

Subject-Wise Approach for Better CDS (II) Preparation

Let us first have a look at the Exam pattern for different academies:

CDS Exam Pattern for IMA, INA and Air Force Academy



Maximum Marks 





2 Hours

General Knowledge 



2 Hours

Elementary Mathematics 



2 Hours

CDS Exam Pattern for Officers’ Training Academy




2 Hours

General Knowledge 



2 Hours


English Tips for CDS Exam

To prepare for English, make it a habit to read the newspaper on a regular basis. Reading the newspaper increases one's vocabulary as well as one's knowledge of the subject. Refer to basic grammar books to clarify your basic grammar concepts. Every day, try to learn a couple of new words. You will soon notice that you have a good grasp of the language if you do this.

The best way to improve your vocabulary is to begin learning new words, as well as their antonyms and synonyms, and how to use them in sentences. Try solving previous year's question papers to get a sense of the types of questions.


Elementary Mathematics Tips for CDS Exam

This subject assesses the candidate's numerical ability, and the paper includes topics such as profit and loss, percentage, time speed and distance, ratios, algebra, and average. Practice is the key to perfecting your Math preparation. As a result, make sure you're answering a sufficient number of questions each day. It is not necessary to attempt all of the questions, but it is critical to do so correctly. The key to this subject is time management. Candidates should plan their time so that they understand and answer all of the questions correctly. Solve previous year's papers and CDS Mock Tests to improve your CDS exam Maths preparation. Make a list of all the formulas and shortcuts and go over them every day.

General Knowledge Tips for CDS Exam

You should study Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History, Economics, General Science, Civics, and Geography for this paper because this section will assess your knowledge of general topics, concepts, and current events. Make sure you are up to date on the most recent national and international events for the current affairs section. To improve your knowledge, read extensively on the syllabus from various sources such as the internet, including Wikipedia pages, YouTube videos, and so on. Examine the CDS Previous Year Paper to get a sense of the most frequently asked questions.

Last 15 days Tips for CDS 2 Exam

Mock Tests and Previous Year Papers

To assess your preparation level and identify areas for improvement, take the CDS (2) Mock Test on a regular basis and solve the previous year's question papers. Regular self-evaluation will assist you in not only tracking your progress but also improving your speed and accuracy. This will also help you become acquainted with the exam format and gain confidence.


Spend the last week of your preparation thoroughly revising. Review your preparation notes, practise important formulas, and take the CDS Quiz to strengthen your weak points.

Physical and Mental Fitness

Physical fitness is essential for defence examinations. In order to stay fit and maintain stamina, incorporate regular exercise, outdoor activities, and sports into your daily routine. Spend some time meditating in the morning and evening. This will assist you in remembering the information for a longer period of time.

Stay Motivated and Stay Healthy

Maintain a positive attitude, stay motivated, and have faith in your abilities. Getting enough rest before the exam will help you stay calm and perform better in it. Remember to eat a balanced diet and take short breaks for relaxation.

CDS SSB Guidance

Candidates who successfully clear the written examination will be considered for the CDS SSB  Interview. At the respective SSB Interview centres, candidates are evaluated based on their intelligence and personality. The Personality Test (Interview) is divided into two stages. Only those candidates who clear stage I are permitted to appear for stage II. 

  • Stage I comprises Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) tests and Picture Perception & Description Test (PP&DT). The candidates will be shortlisted based on the combination of performance in OIR Test and PP&DT.

  • Stage II Comprises Interview, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Psychology Tests and the Conference. These tests are conducted over 4 days. You can find all the details of this test on JoinIndianArmy‘s Website.

It is recommended that you participate in group discussions and understand the topics to boost your confidence. Current events and knowledge of Combined Defence Forces subjects may help you pass the CDS Exam SSB Interview.

To summarise, preparing for the CDS exam in 60 days requires a significant amount of hard work and dedication. With the right approach and consistent effort, you can pass the exam. Best of luck with your exam!

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