NDA and CDS are the top exams required to be cleared by the candidates who wish to serve the nation by joining the armed forces. Both the exams have significant similarities and differences concerning eligibility, syllabus, and other significant factors. This article will help the candidates to understand the difference in the NDA and CDS syllabus and how much approximate time they will need to complete the same.

NDA Vs CDS: Is the syllabus the same?

NDA’s eligibility factor allows it to be given by candidates who should have passed Class12/HSC or equivalent from a recognized board or university. For Air Force, Naval Academy candidates should have passed Class 12/HSC with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects.

In CDS, the candidates must be a graduate. For Air Force and Naval Academy, the candidates should be having a degree in engineering with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects in Class 12/HSC. For IMA and OTA, the candidate should be a graduate in any discipline.

It is pretty much clear from the eligibility perspective, the candidate’s syllabus will be different for NDA & CDS as knowledge level varies from a high school pass-out and a graduate.

UPSC conducts NDA and CDS, and significant variation exists in the subjects to be attempted by the candidates to clear the tests. The test pattern is also different for various branches of the Armed Forces.

Let us look in detail the subjects and syllabuses of NDA and CDS:

NDA Syllabus

The exam is conducted in two parts, i.e., Part 1 is Mathematics, and Part 2 is General Ability Test.

Part 1: Mathematics: The candidates need to answer 120 questions in 2 hours & 30 minutes. The candidates can score a maximum of 300 marks. The level of questions is of Matriculation level and includes the below-mentioned topics:

  1. Differential Calculus
  2. Statistics and Probability
  3. Vector Algebra
  4. Analytical Geometry of Two and Three dimensions
  5. Trigonometry
  6. Matrices and Determinants
  7. Algebra
  8. Integral Calculus and Differential equations.

Part 2: General Ability Test: The candidates need to answer 150 questions in 2 hours & 30 minutes. The candidates can score a maximum of 600 marks. The test comprises two sections, i.e., Section 1: English and Section 2: General Knowledge.

Section 1: English Language: This section includes Comprehension, Fill in the blanks, complete the sentences, Idioms and Phrases, Synonyms and Antonyms, Active and Passive voice, and Finding Errors. This section carries 200 marks and 50 questions.

Section 2: General Knowledge: This section includes questions from History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, and General Science. This section carries 400 marks and 100 questions.

CDS Syllabus

CDS is an offline exam with three sections for IMA, INA, and IAF and only two sections for OTA. The total duration is two hours each, and candidates can choose either English or Hindi medium to give this objective type test. The maximum mark which a candidate can score is 100 in each section.

Part 1: English: This is a standard test for all the branches of IMA, INA, IAF, and OTA and includes 100 questions from the following topics:

  1. Spotting Error Questions.
  2. Sentence Arrangement Questions
  3. Synonyms and Antonyms.
  4. Comprehension Questions.
  5. Fill in the blanks questions.
  6. Idioms and Phrases.
  7. Selecting Words.

Part 2: General Awareness: This is a standard test for all the branches of IMA, INA, IAF, and OTA and includes 100 questions from the following topics:

  1. Economics
  2. Physics
  3. Current Affairs
  4. Politics.
  5. Chemistry.
  6. Geography.
  7. Sports.
  8. Biology.
  9. Cultural.
  10. Sociology.

Part 3: Elementary Mathematics: This is a standard test for all the branches of IMA, INA, and IAF only and includes 100 questions from the following topics:

  1. Algebra
  2. Arithmetic
  3. Trigonometry
  4. Geometry
  5. Mensuration
  6. Statistics.

Time Management to Cover CDS Syllabus

The candidates should make a note of the following points for successful, timely preparation of CDS:

  1. The candidates should start at least 3 to 6 months earlier than the examination date to cover up all syllabus topics.
  2. A regular study plan ensures to meet the timelines set for covering the topics of each section.
  3. Current Affairs and static general knowledge questions should be prepared daily and can be practiced at BYJU’s Exam Prep along with the time duration set by the candidate.
  4. While practicing Elementary Mathematics topics, the candidates should note the time taken to solve the particular question and work out ways to do it in a shorter duration.
  5. Make a list of new words learned every day to increase the vocabulary and read books & newspapers to enhance comprehension skills.
  6. The candidates can join coaching classes to fast track the preparation and engage in regular discussions to brush up on essential topics relating to physics, chemistry, politics, geography, and other topics.

Good Luck!