CDS 2020 preparation books | Exact Booklist

CDS exam Books

CDS exam preparation books” term is highly searched by CDS aspirants. Beginner aspirants who have just started CDS preparation are confused from where to start and from which books to refer for CDS exam preparation. Today I will clear all these doubts explaining to you the importance of each book and give different lists of CDS preparation books as per time availability.

Keep patience and read this article on CDS books till the end, because here you will get a customized list of books and sources according to time available with you for the upcoming CDS exam and your doubts regarding CDS exam study material will be crystal clear.

CDS Books | Introduction

‘CDS books’ is a very generalized term. We will see CDS exam booklist and sources in 5 stages:

1. CDS books for 1 year preparation (10-12 months)

2. CDS books for 3 months preparation

3. CDS books for 1 month preparation

4. CDS books for Working professionals

5. CDS books for OTA (Nothing different as such)

CDS exam is conducted twice a year (February and September) and different aspirants are at different stages of preparation. Someone may be just pass out, some of you may have taken 1-year gap or some of you would be preparing for some other exam and just now shifted focus on CDS exam preparation. So, CDS Exam booklist must also vary which will increase your chances of being part of the merit list of the CDS exam. Let’s begin with CDS exam books for 1-year detailed preparation.

Also read: CDS Exam one month preparation (Yes, its possible)

CDS exam books for 1-year preparation:

CDS Exam books for 1 year strategy

I will start first with CDS books for 1-year preparation because this is the most effective strategy and I have invested 2-3 months of time for designing CDS exam GK strategy, CDS Maths strategy and CDS English strategy. If you have not read those specialized articles on CDS exam 1 year preparation, you must have a look at it once and then start your preparation.

When you have 10-12 months for CDS exam preparation, you can study in a systematic manner where you can cover each subject with ease, where you can integrate NCERT books reading, Newspaper reading and MCQ solving which are crucial for this competitive exam conducted by UPSC.

In the case of 1-year preparation, you must start with some important NCERT books and Newspaper reading for the first 1.5-2 months. Later on you must shift on Reference books (for Polity,History and Economy ) with newspaper reading. Science portion of CDS exam and CDS Maths study must be done on a daily basis as the number of questions asked from these sections is very high.

List of Books for CDS exam preparation:

This booklist includes selective NCERT books for CDS exam, Reference books for Maths and GK, The Hindu editorial reading which can be easily done and revised in a period of 10-12 months.

  • Democratic Politics 1
  • Democratic Politics 2
  • Indian Constitution at work
  • M Laxmikanth book for Polity (First 3 Parts only)
  • India Physical Environment(11th Geo NCERT)
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography (11th Geo NCERT)
  • 6th to 10th Geography NCERT
  • Geography through maps (for Mapping only)
  • Important NCERT science chapters (list given in GK strategy)
  • Modern History Spectrum book
  • Indian Economics Development (11th NCERT)
  • Microeconomics NCERT (Only Conceptual reading)
  • Macroeconomics NCERT(Only conceptual reading)
  • Mrunal Sir videos for economy
  • CDS Maths preparation single book
  • CDS English Grammar (wren and Martin)

This was the list of CDS exam study material you need to read and revise atleast once before going to the actual exam. Now, you have the list of books, but how will you read those books effectively? Which book will you start with? Knowing the booklist is a different thing and knowing how to read these books step by step with a specific time period is a different thing.

If you are planning to prepare for CDS exam in 10-12 months of time, and want a sure shot strategy, then I highly recommend to read these 4 articles today itself. These 4 articles will contain important books, important chapters, time you must allot for each book so that you can score 150+ in CDS exam:

These 4 articles are the heart of this channel, as hundreds of success stories are associated with it from the last 2 CDS attempts. (You can crosscheck)

Revision is the only key to success here. In the case of Maths and English preparation, you need to frequently solve the previous year’s questions and check where you are lagging and improve those specific sections.CDS book pdf can also be obtained from, but I will recommend you to go with offline copy because:

  • Notes making becomes easy on hard copy of NCERT Books. (separate section for notes making is available)
  • Multiple revision can be easily done if important points are highlighted.
  • You will need this book till you qualify CDS exam, so hard copy is a better option than cds book pdf.
  • These government books are affordable to all as its cost is very less.

CDS Exam books online can be distracting at times. So, be comfortable with NCERT books for CDS as early as possible.

(If you are from Hindi medium, CDS books in hindi can be helpful for you as all NCERT books are available in English, Hindi and Urdu Language)

Also read: CDS Exam Eligibility (No one will tell you actual eligibility)

Benefits of CDS exam books designed for 1 year:

  • 100% results can be obtained if the strategy followed rigorously.
  • It will take time, but this is “One Time Preparation” which will be helpful for upcoming CDS attempts.
  • Sources told in this detailed strategy will prepare you for Written exam plus personality development, especially ‘The Hindu reading’ (which will be helpful in SSB interview)
  • Time you have invested for 10-12 months will help you for UPSC CAPF exam too.

CDS books for 3 months preparation:

CDS Exam books for 3 month preparation

You may be a beginner, just graduate (pass out) or working professional, then I highly recommend you to follow the 10-12 months detailed CDS Exam strategy for CDS exam preparation. Because that strategy demands time but also delivers awesome results. But still, there are some aspirants who have time shortage or maybe in a situation like last attempt left for CDS preparation. For them, I have made this strategy where you can prepare for CDS exam in 3 months (It needs rigorous will and dedication for 3 months)

I have made this strategy integrating CDS Pathfinder Book which is used by many aspirants. (Many CDS aspirants demanded to integrate this book in strategy)

CDS Pathfinder Book: In this 3 months preparation time, we will cover mainly on CDS Pathfinder book which contains GK, Maths and English portion of CDS exam in one single book. We will read this book and try to revise at least once, and I will add those external sources in this strategy which will not be covered in this book so that the maximum CDS syllabus is covered. (we will try to cover most important books of all subjects)

Also Read: CDS OTA preparation (Score 90+ Marks in CDS OTA exam)

List of Books for CDS exam preparation in 3 months:

  • CDS Pathfinder Latest Book
  • India Physical Environment (11th Geography NCERT)
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography (11th Geography NCERT)
  • Important Science NCERT chapters as told in GK strategy
  • Indian Constitution at work (11th Polity NCERT)
  • Wren and Martin must for English preparation
  • No need for a special practice book for Maths or English. Pathfinder will suffice.

You are reading limited sources, so make sure you read them with minute detail and revise at least once. In case of current affairs, reading the Hindu is not that effective for 3 months strategy, so you can search “Disha Quarterly current affairs book” on google and try to cover atleast last 8-10 months current issues (This book is very small-sized, it contains only important issues which you need to study in detail)

I have recommended the latest CDS Pathfinder book as this latest book is updated in 2019 with current exam needs. I have provided the link of the latest book in the above list. So, be relaxed. (I repeat, only CDS pathfinder book is not sufficient, you need to supplement it with important books as given in list above)

Content given in Pathfinder is to the point and every point is important, so do not miss any section. CDS pathfinder is considered as the best book for CDS Maths as well as best English book for CDS Exam.

CDS GK important topics

(you have chosen to prepare in 3 months with comparatively less sources, so now it’s your responsibility to cover these sources with perfection)

Benefits of CDS exam books designed for 3 months:

  • It will take rigorous efforts for 3 months to cover these sources, but results can be good with this strategy too (considering the limited time you have )
  • You cover important topics via this strategy and expect questions from what you have read.
  • Be optimistic that you can read and revise these sources and clear cutoff with these sources.
  • If you follow this strategy as told, and even if you fail to clear cut off by a few marks, then also you will be in a strong position to start a Detailed strategy for the next attempt. Because your basics are completed now. (Worst case scenario)

Also read: CDS Exam syllabus (actual syllabus as per CDS exam trends)

CDS books for 1 month preparation:

CDS Exam books for 1 month preparation

Now you may be thinking that how is it possible to clear CDS exam with one month preparation? It is very difficult to clear CDS exam in 1 month preparation as conceptual questions asked in CDS exam demand detail study of GS subjects and good understanding of current affairs issues along with practice.

But still, if you have only 1 month time left for the exam with almost zero preparation, you can try following this strategy.

It is better to prepare as per 1 month strategy, rather than wasting 1 month time in planning to prepare for next attempt

(Even if you will fail, no issues. You have at least completed basics of each subject which can be foundation for next attempt)

I will provide only those sources in CDS Exam one month strategy which are practically possible to complete and revise.

List of Books for CDS 1-month preparation:

  • Lucent GK book for General Knowledge paper
  • Fastrack arithmetic book for Maths
  • Previous year question papers for English
  • Solving questions from previous year question papers on a daily basis
  • Disha Quarterly current affairs book (very small book as it contains only imp issues)

Complete important topics of CDS Maths from Fastrack Arithmetic book which will be sufficient. Lucent GK is a book in notes format where only important data of each GS subject is compiled. So, make sure you revise Lucent GK book atleast 2 times. It is a ‘notes’ like book, so you need 2 revisions to recall things from this book (Tried and tested)

For English, keep practicing Previous year questions for the best result. We do not have time to complete grammar study in this 1 month period. So, work smart and solve many previous year question papers.

Completing current affairs is also very difficult in 1 month, but still, you can try your luck by reading important topics from Disha Quarterly Current Affairs book.

“You need to be positive in this 1 month, and give 200% for Preparation. Maybe many questions can come from portion you have read. And even if this doesn’t happen, this one month preparation will build foundation for next attempt”

(And if you still have any doubts, feel free to ask it in the comment section below)

CDS books for working professionals:

Working professionals must choose the strategy as per the number of hours they can utilize for UPSC CDS exam preparation. But I will recommend working professionals to follow detailed strategy, which will include preparation of 10-12 months with daily study of 4 hours.

Working professionals can get 4 hours a day where they can do a quality study of all 3 papers. Aim that CDS attempt which will come after 10 months so that you can study with patience and in a detailed manner.

It becomes hectic for working professionals to study as per 3 months strategy (as they have only 4 hours daily) and they end up wasting attempt, time and even motivation to study for the next attempt, so better follow detailed strategy which will give you best results.

(Lucent GK is best book for CDS GK if you want to cover GK syllabus overview in 1 month time)

Best Book for CDS OTA:

There is nothing special about CDS OTA books. OTA stands for ‘Officers Training Academy‘ for which you have to face only 2 papers, CDS English and CDS GK. So, the best book for CDS OTA remains the same as other academies. Just you need to score high in both papers so that you can manage to score 90+ marks to clear the written exam cutoff.

Separate article has been made for CDS OTA preparation which you need to read if you are planning to clear CDS exam in the upcoming attempt.

Best Books for CDS Exam 2020:

You need to understand that the question paper decides the difficulty of the paper. So previous year question papers of CDS exam will tell you how your preparation should be. I have provided the best books for CDS exam 2020 in this article.

Especially in 2020 attempts (CDS 1 2020 and CDS 2 2020), the major focus must be on Current Affairs and the study of other subjects must be in linkage with current issues.

Conclusion of today’s article:

I have provided you with an exact booklist for the CDS exam as per your time availability. We focused on:

  • CDS Exam 1-year strategy booklist (includes best book for CDS GK)
  • CDS Exam 3 months strategy booklist
  • CDS Exam 1-month strategy booklist

Sarkaari Service has given you all the dimensions of following each strategy. Now, the decision is up to you to choose the best strategy as per your time availability for preparation. Many aspirants are willing to study but are not aware of sources and how to start. After reading this article, you might have gained confidence for the upcoming attempt. Now, you can customize your personal strategy based on your preparation level and available time slots.

Hopefully, this article on ‘CDS exam best books’ helped you.

And if you still have any doubts or need help in your personal timetable making, feel free to ask in the comment section below. I will answer in 48 hours. Guaranteed.


  1. I am a student of 1year graduation and i want to start study from now i have complete 2year for study so how can i prepare for cds in 2 year?????

  2. Thanks for the Wonderful Work you are doing for the aspirants. Keep providing such valuable material. Thanks again!!!!!!!


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