Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE): Everything You Need to Know

The Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) is a national-level competitive exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment into the Indian Armed Forces. In this article, we will take a closer look at what the CDSE is, its eligibility criteria, syllabus, exam pattern, and other relevant details.

What is the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE)?

The Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) is a competitive examination conducted by the UPSC for recruitment into the Indian Armed Forces, including the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. The exam is conducted twice a year in February and November.

Eligibility Criteria for CDSE

To be eligible for the CDSE, a candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Nationality: Only Indian citizens are eligible to apply for the exam.
  • Age: The candidate must be between 20-24 years old as of 1st January or 1st July of the year of examination.
  • Educational Qualification: The candidate must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or institution.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The CDSE consists of three stages: Written Examination, SSB Interview, and Medical Examination.

Written Examination: The written exam consists of objective-type questions and is conducted in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.

  • Part 1: English (100 marks)
  • Part 2: General Knowledge (100 marks) and Elementary Mathematics (100 marks)

SSB Interview: Candidates who clear the written examination are called for an SSB interview. The interview process consists of two stages: Stage 1 and Stage 2.

  • Stage 1: Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) and Picture Perception and Description Test (PP&DT)
  • Stage 2: Psychology Tests, Group Testing Officer Tasks, Interview, and Conference.

Medical Examination: Candidates who qualify the SSB interview are called for a medical examination.


The CDSE is a highly competitive exam that provides an opportunity for candidates to join the Indian Armed Forces as an officer. Candidates should prepare thoroughly for the exam and keep themselves updated with the latest developments and changes in the exam pattern and syllabus.

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