CDS 1 2020 GK paper strategy | Aim 50+ Marks

CDS 1 2020 GK Strategy
CDS 1 2020 GK paper strategy

Finally, the wait is complete and I am here with the CDS 1 2020 Exam GK paper strategy where I will provide Combined Defence Services GK paper detailed analysis and exact books and even important chapters you must focus on to score 50+ marks in CDS GK paper.
Yes, you read it right. If you follow this strategy rigorously for 4-5 months, no one can stop you from scoring 45-50 marks in CDS 1 2020 exam.

This article will be lengthy as I have covered each and every aspect of CDS GK paper strategy and added step by step approach to make this article one-stop destination for CDS aspirants.

The common question of aspirants, that is, how to prepare for CDS gk will be crystal clear if you will follow this entire article. And I guarantee that your CDS GK preparation will be foolproof (scoring 50+ marks) if you follow step by step procedure.

CDS GK paper Strategy | Introduction

If you think that I will tell you a “Single Book” to clear CDS GK paper, then it’s not your piece of cake. CDS GK paper strategy expects you to be smart enough to understand the changing trend in CDS paper and increasing competition. If you will not study in detail, you will be thrown out of this competition in the first stage itself. So, be mentally prepared as you are aiming to be Officer in Armed Forces. (Class 1 Gazetted Post)

CDS 1 2020 GK paper strategy is designed considering the previous attempt trends. So, be prepared to focus 100% on self-study.

Also Check: CDS Exam Eligibility (No one will tell you these things)

Why 90% of CDS aspirants fail in CDS GK paper?

Most of the aspirants are not aware of what exactly to read for CDS GK paper. They end up buying 1 single Book for CDS GK paper and they not only ruin their attempt but also are confused about what to study even after 6 months of preparation. So, it’s better to follow a detailed CDS GK strategy which can be completed in 4 months period and you will be damn sure about attempting many questions in CDS GK paper.


Note: If you are a fresher, I urge you to ask your friends or seniors about CDS GK paper who have given CDS exam earlier. Their review will give you the reason to believe changing pattern of CDS GK paper and difficulty. I am not making you afraid, the reason is to make you serious and make upcoming CDS attempt your last attempt.

How much time is required to complete the CDS GK paper syllabus?

If you are dedicated enough and if you can manage to study 5- 6 hours a day, then you will complete the whole syllabus as per strategy given by me in 4 months. And after 4 months, you will start revision and Question paper solving. Guaranteed.

Role of NCERT’s in clearing CDS GK paper?

It is possible to clear CDS maths paper without NCERT books, but clearing the UPSC CDS exam without NCERT books is next to impossible. But it doesn’t mean that you will read 6th to 12th NCERT’s in a row. It will only waste your time. I will give you the exact sequence for each subject so that:

CDS exam imp books
Role of NCERT books in CDS exam preparation
  • You don’t waste huge time in NCERT reading (With no revisions)
  • Understanding of subject is easy if we read the topic in a systematic link (No random study)
  • Revision is the key to success. So, it’s important to focus more on important topics.

CDS 1 2020 strategy has been designed giving more emphasis on NCERT Books. This time CDS 1 2020 GK preparation will be full-proof and there will be no chance of getting less than 30 marks in GK.

Realistic Target setting for CDS GK preparation

Let’s begin our CDS GK paper strategy with realistic goal setting because it is necessary to be very specific and target-oriented to score 50+ marks in CDS GK paper. Let’s have an overview of the exam:

Subject DurationMarksQuestions
English2 hours100120
Mathematics2 hours100100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100120

All these three papers of the CDS exam are conducted on the same day. And CDS GK paper is considered as Match changing paper. So, its preparation matters a lot.

CDS GK paper will comprise of 120 questions for 100 marks, “means one question for 0.833 mark” with One Third Negative Marking. So, to get 50 marks, your Aim must be,

Correct Answers (Minimum)62-65
Wrong Answers (Maximum)5-6
Time for One GK Question :No issue of time in GK paper
Aim to score in GK:50+ Marks

So, now our aim is crystal clear. 60 correct questions, which need good conceptual clarity, multiple revision of given best sources. And this article on CDS GK strategy is specially designed to achieve our 65 correct questions Target (Out of 120 questions).

Indian Polity preparation of CDS GK strategy

Starting CDS GK preparation with Indian Polity is recommended as it is comparatively easy, relatable with real-life issues and interesting subject to start especially for Science Background students. Begin with these 3 basic books which will create interest and clear some basic concepts:

  • Social and Political Life -1 (6th Polity NCERT)
  • Social and Political Life-2 (7th Polity NCERT )
  • Social and Political Life-3 (8th Polity NCERT)

It will take not more than 3 days to complete these 3 books. But reading these 3 books will clear some very basic concepts and definitions and create interest in this subject if you are new to this subject. Actual study begins with 2 Democratic Politics Books given below:

  • Democratic Politics-1 (9th Polity NCERT)
  • Democratic Politics-2 (10th Polity NCERT)

Here begins your journey to the Indian Polity study. These 2 books will cover important concepts like ‘Federalism’, ‘Outcome and challenges to democracy’, ‘Struggle and movements’, etc. These 2 books will add light to politics happening around us and clear every basic concept and will be like “Birds eye view” of the Indian Polity book.

  • “Indian Constitution at Work” (11th polity NCERT)

This book needs to be done in very minute detail. It is a 121 pages small-sized book that is stuffed with very important detail from which direct questions are seen in many exams. You must not dare to skip this book before reading M Laxmikanth Indian Polity book.

  • After completing NCERT books, comes “Indian Polity By M Laxmikanth Book” which you need to read. The first 3 parts of this book are most relevant for UPSC CDS Exam which you need to revise atleast twice before the exam. (Remaining parts must be read atleast once)

(These sources may appear huge, but the NCERT books of Polity are doable in first 10 Days)

Also Read: CDS Exam Maths paper strategy (score 60+ Marks)

Geography Preparation of CDS GK strategy

The geography Strategy for the CDS exam is very straightforward and highly effective in CDS GK Syllabus coverage. A to Z questions will be seen from these NCERT books and Mapping book.

  • 6th Geography NCERT : Earth: Our habitat
  • 7th Geography NCERT: Our Environment
  • 8th Geography NCERT: Resources and Development
  • 9th Geography NCERT: Contemporary India 1
  • 10th Geography NCERT: Contemporary India 2
  • 11th Geography NCERT: Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • 11th Geography NCERT : India: Physical Environment

2 books of 11th are the most important and time-consuming. NCERT books of 6th to 9th are very easy and doable in 12-14 days maximum. Please do not underestimate these 7 books.

(No page to page reading of this Mapping book. Watch the below video to understand how to utilize it)

(Note: Today or tomorrow you have to study these basic books to clear the GK section of the CDS exam. So, it’s good to study the essential portion for CDS GK paper today itself.)

important topics for CDS exam
These 4 pillars can sail you through CDS GK paper!!

Science and Technology preparation for CDS exam

6th to 10th NCERT books of Science are very important for CDS GK preparation. But reading it in a sequence is not effective to solve questions in the exam. We need to study these books in bifurcation, that is, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

I have given important topics of 6th to 10th in Physics, Chemistry and Biology division. Read all topics of Physics at a time, and the same for Chemistry and Biology.

Important Physics chapters from 6th to 10th NCERT

  • 7th Science NCERT Chapter 4: Heat
  • 7th Science NCERT Chapter 13: Motion and Time
  • 7th Science NCERT Chapter 14: Electric Current and its effects
  • 7th Science NCERT Chapter 15: Light
  • 8th Science NCERT Chapter 11: Force and Pressure
  • 8th Science NCERT Chapter 12: Friction
  • 8th Science NCERT Chapter 13: Sound
  • 8th Science NCERT Chapter 14: Chemical Effects of Electric Current
  • 8th Science NCERT Chapter 16: Light
  • 9th Science NCERT Chapter 8: Motion
  • 9th Science NCERT Chapter 9: Forces and the Laws of Motion
  • 9th Science NCERT Chapter 10: Gravitation
  • 9th Science NCERT Chapter 11: Work and Energy
  • 9th Science NCERT Chapter 12: Sound
  • 10th Science NCERT chapter 10: Light
  • 10th Science NCERT Chapter 12: Electricity
  • 10th Science NCERT chapter 13: Magnet

These chapters may seem lengthy, but if you want to succeed in CDS 1 2020 exam, GK preparation of CDS 1 2020 must be done from basic to advance.

Also Read: CDS English paper strategy (score 65+ marks)

Important Chemistry chapters from 6th to 10th NCERT

  • 7th Science Chapter 5: Acids, Bases and salts
  • 7th Science Chapter 6: Physical and Chemical Changes
  • 8th Science Chapter 3: Synthetic Fibres and plastics
  • 8th Science Chapter 4: Materials, metals and Nonmetals
  • 8th Science Chapter 5: Coal and Petroleum
  • 8th Science Chapter 6: Combustion and Flame
  • 9th Science Chapter 1: Matter in our surrounding
  • 9th Science Chapter 2: Is matter around us pure?
  • 9th Science Chapter 3: Atoms and Molecules
  • 9th Science Chapter 4: Structure of the Atom
  • 10th Science Chapter 1: Chemical Reactions and equations
  • 10th Science Chapter 2: Acids, bases and salts
  • 10th Science Chapter 3: Metals and Non-Metals
  • 10th Science Chapter 4: Carbon and its compounds
  • 10th Science Chapter 5: Periodic Classification of elements

If you will follow these science topics for CDS 1 2020 GK preparation, direct questions can be seen in CDS GK paper from these authenticated sources.

Important Biology Chapters from 6th to 10th NCERT

Biology Section of CDS GK paper is generally neglected by many aspirants. But every CDS exam has a major chunk of Biology questions, so make sure you complete these given chapters for the upcoming CDS attempt.

  • 7th Science Chapter 1: Nutrition in Plants
  • 7th Science Chapter 2: Nutrition in Animals
  • 7th Science Chapter 10: Respiration in organisms
  • 7th Science Chapter 11: Transportation in animals and plants
  • 7th Science Chapter 12: Reproduction in plants
  • 8th Science chapter 2: Microorganisms friend and foe
  • 8th Science chapter 8: Cell Structure and functions
  • 8th Science chapter 9: Reproduction in animals
  • 8th Science chapter 10: Reaching the Age of Adolescence
  • 9th Science Chapter 5: The Fundamental Unit of Life
  • 9th Science Chapter 6: Tissues
  • 9th Science Chapter 7: Diversity in living organisms
  • 9th Science Chapter 13: Why do we fall ill?
  • 10th Science Chapter 6: Life Processes
  • 10th Science Chapter 7: Control and Co-ordination
  • 10th Science Chapter 8: Reproduction
  • 10th Science Chapter 9: Evolution
  • 10th Science Chapter 11: Human Eye
  • 12th Science chapter 11: Biotechnology Principles and Processes
  • 12th Science chapter 12: Biotechnology and its applications


Cover these chapters subject-wise and try to revise them atleast once. After reading these NCERT books, Lucent GK’s book can be a source of quick revision, especially for Physics, Chemistry and Biology. NCERT books being printed by the government makes them more relevant for exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission, especially for CDS GK study and CDS exam GK preparation.

It will take around 20-25 days to complete Science NCERT important chapters given in this article.

Some Current Affairs related Science questions are also seen in exam which are covered in The Hindu Science Section every Thursday.

Indian Economy preparation of CDS exam GK strategy

Indian Economy of CDS GK paper is an underestimated topic that remains untouched by many aspirants and they are even unable to solve simple economy questions in CDS GK paper. I will give the best NCERT books to prepare along with some video lectures.

  • 11th NCERT of Economy: Indian Economic Development
  • 12th Economy NCERT: Microeconomics
  • 12th Economy NCERT: Macroeconomics

(In 12th standard Economy books, focus more on Economy concepts clearing, not on Technical data)

After completing these 3 Economy books, watch “Mrunal Sir’s Economy videos” available on Youtube for free. These are full proof for solving economy questions in the CDS exam. You have ample time for CDS 1 2020 GK paper, so you can manage your time systematically to cover this economics portion.

(Playlist of Mrunal Sir’s Economy videos is available on Youtube for free)

History Preparation for CDS exam

I will try to keep the History syllabus of CDS GK preparation very simple and straightforward. Focus more on Modern History and Ancient History. Reading 6th to 12th NCERT books will consume a lot of time. So, I will recommend these 2 books for you:

  • 11th and 12th Tamil Nadu Board History
  • Spectrum book for Modern History

(cover mainly 1857 to 1950)

These 2 books have good cost-benefit analysis, which means with less reading, you can solve many questions of History in the CDS exam.

Spectrum book is best for modern History, but it requires multiple revisions to remind the data. 1857 to 1950 is the most important section of that book. And at the end of every chapter, you will find “SUMMARY” which is very important for revision.

Current Affairs Preparation for CDS exam

After the CDS 1 2018 attempt, the UPSC CDS GK paper pattern has seen a drastic change. More focus was given on Current Affairs questions than previous attempts and weightage of Current Affairs is going to increase with time, so it’s necessary to be ready for Current Affairs questions. For upcoming CDS 1 2020 GK preparation, current affairs will be deciding factor. So, please do not neglect it.

Reading ‘The Hindu’ newspaper’s Editorial is the best solution for Current affairs and revising these current affairs from Disha Quarterly Current Affairs books or any monthly Magazine.

Questions asked in the CDS exam on current affairs are issue-based which needs editorial reading. Just reading Monthly compilations 1 month before the exam will not work.

CDS GK preparation is a crucial part of CDS exam preparation as clearing sectional cutoff of CDS GK paper becomes difficult for many aspirants.

How many months of GK and current affairs should I study for CDS exam?

You must focus to cover Current Affairs and Important issues of At least 10 months before the exam. This will cover a major chunk of CDS GK preparation.

Follow this video if you want to master current affairs:

Why do we need to read the newspaper for Current affairs? Why can’t we read magazines instead?

No direct question is asked from any subject. If you will observe questions minutely, you will come to know that all questions are interlinked. And the newspaper plays a major role of integrator.

CDS Exam current affairs
Why Newspaper is must for the CDS exam?

This is the most crucial point of the CDS GK paper strategy.

CDS Exam General Knowledge Paper exact Syllabus: (Shocked!)

CDS Exam Syllabus: “General Knowledge including knowledge of current events and of such matters of everyday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person who has not made a special study of any scientific subject. The paper will also include questions on History of India and Geography of a nature which candidate should be able to answer without special study”

This is the 4 line syllabus of CDS GK paper as given in official Notification. This syllabus is very generalized so it is necessary to understand previous year question paper trends to study for CDS GK paper. We cannot rely on this syllabus as it is not specific.

You are lucky enough to have good preparation time. As per the new timetable of UPSC, CDS 1 exam will be conducted in February and CDS 2 exam in September. So, you get a good amount of time between two attempts for preparation. (Earlier CDS 2 Paper was conducted in November, giving very less time for February Attempt preparation.)

Now you just need to follow CDS GK paper strategy as told so that all CDS GK section questions can be solved with ease.

Also read: CDS 1 2020 Exam (15 things you must know about CDS exam)

If you haven’t revised, you are at the same level of Fresher

You have the CDS Exam strategy with you, but make sure you revise the above sources at least once before appearing for the exam. Otherwise, you and a complete fresher will be on the same scale.

CDS GK Topicwise weightage (Questions asked in CDS Paper)

CDS GK paper topicwise weightage

CDS exam GK topic-wise weightage

Indian Polity 23-26 questions
Geography 16-17 (Mapping and location-oriented
more questions)
Economics 13-14 questions
History 14 questions
Physics 10-11 questions
Chemistry 11-12 questions
Biology 10-11 questions
Current Affairs 16-17 (some polity and geo oriented
current)
Defence-related 3-4 questions only
Sports, award, important days 2-3 questions only
Environment related 1-2 questions only

This table of CDS topic-wise weightage will give you an idea about which topic to focus on. Be smart to focus more on high weightage topics.

This is the general trend of the last few attempts. More or less the trend is the same. The current affairs portion will increase more in the upcoming CDS attempt and static information related questions will decrease.

Note: If you will see CDS latest Question paper, there are no straightforward GK questions. They are either “issue oriented” or “select correct options among all” which need detail study of particular issue. That’s the reason why CDS GK Detailed strategy is so specific and designed as per CDS exam needs.

Is this CDS GK paper strategy the same as the IAS exam?

Having experience of clearing CDS Exam thrice and UPSC IAS exam Mains exam once, I can tell you that the IAS exam is to a different difficulty level. Comparing both exams is not correct. And if you are underestimating CDS GK difficulty, then you will face its consequences in the upcoming CDS attempt. So, it’s better you learn from other’s mistakes.

And CDS GK paper strategy provided in this article will help you clear CDS GK paper if you are dedicated enough to do self-study as told.

Should I study all subjects of CDS GK paper at a time?

Start preparation with One static subject (eg. Polity, Geography, Economy) and Current Affairs at a time. Current affairs preparation must never stop.

Try to cover the Static syllabus as early as possible so that you can revise. You will start analyzing and understanding subjects in depth only during revisions!!

Hopefully your common question of how to prepare for cds gk and other things like ‘CDS GK preparation tips’ are crystal clear now.

Conclusion of this Article:

  • Now you have CDS 1 2020 exam detailed GK strategy, topic-wise weightage, sources, important chapters and books which can help you score 50+ in GK paper. Now it depends upon you to start study and complete whole syllabus in 4 months or keep complaining about the vast syllabus eventually wasting the attempt.

  • Today or tomorrow, you have to study these books in order to crack the CDS exam merit list. So, better start studying these GK sources before it’s too late.

Even if 1 Aspirant follows this strategy and clears the CDS exam, the moto of giving this CDS exam GK strategy will be accomplished. You must also check CDS Exam eligibility before starting preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

1. What are the main topics for CDS GK Exam?

Science, Indian Polity, Indian Geography and Current Affairs are main topics for CDS GK exam. Just make sure you study these topics inter-related.

2. How many months of Current Affairs is must for CDS GK paper?

Minimum of 10 months current affairs before the date of CDS examination is must for CDS GK Paper (The Hindu reading prefered)

3. Which is the best book for CDS GK ?

There is no single best book for CDS GK paper. NCERT Books and reference books must be done if you want to sustain the increasing competition

4. Is there any sectional cutoff in CDS GK ?

Yes. There is sectional cut off of 20 marks in CDS GK paper. Means, you need to score 20 marks in GK paper irrespective of overall score, if you want to qualify CDS written exam.

5. How to clear CDS GK Cut off?

Focus mainly on Science section, Indian Polity and Current affairs which can help you to score 20+ Marks in CDS GK paper.

6. Is Lucent’s GK Good for CDS exam?

No. It does not meet the current exam needs. It can be used only for 1 month strategy where you can try your luck with Lucent GK book.

7. What is the marking scheme of CDS ?

Total exam is of 300 marks with one third negative marking.

Subject Duration Marks Questions
English 2 hours 100 120
Mathematics 2 hours 100 100
General Knowledge 2 hours 100 120
8. Is CDS Exam very tough? 

No. It is not that tough. Just clearing sectional cutoff of GK paper is challenging which can be tackled with the help of above strategy.

9. What are some good books for GK in CDS?

NCERT Books, Reference books like M Laxmikanth, Mrunal Sir videos for Economy and The Hindu newspaper are some best sources for CDS GK.

10. Do CDS Repeat questions? 

Never. But the pattern and trend of questions asked in CDS paper can be predicted. (Especially Maths and English)

What do I expect from you?

I have a few expectations from you:

  • If you think this article on CDS GK paper strategy is helpful, share it with friends so that no Needy CDS aspirant is directionless in GK preparation.

  • I need your genuine reviews in the comment section. It will motivate me to guide you and improve stuff as per your needs.

  • Hopefully, my small contribution may help India get its future Defence Officers.

Waiting for your valuable comments. Each doubt will be answered within 24 hours.

52 COMMENTS

    • It will be ok even if you manage to revise once before exam. I will surely make a blog on how to revise effectively. Till then, keep hustling.

  1. This is gonna be a honest review.
    I really liked your strategy. The GS, English and maths part are just perfect. A very useful article indeed. Means a lot for your efforts sir.
    Thanks a lot. Keep working hard. Good luck to you too.

    • Your words motivate me to make such content for you. And it would be appreciated if you will suggest new ideas which can help all aspirants in their preparation. Jai hind

  2. Follow his strategy, he is a genius and due to his advice and support i was able to clear INET.
    so thank u sir/brother for ur support

    • Thanks a lot for your words. My aim is only to give you direction and best strategies..It depends on you how excellently you implement that strategy. So, keep working hard. And best luck for CDS 1 2020 Exam

  3. Best strategy for exam but now we have only 2-3 months and either we can study or we have to leave some subjects
    I was expecting important from for upcoming cds but u didn’t tell
    Koi na md tnx for this

  4. Best strategy for exam but now we have only 2-3 months and either we can study or we have to leave some subjects
    I was expecting important from history for upcoming cds but u didn’t tell
    Koi na md tnx for this

    • Your point is noted. I will make sure that important History chapters will also be added in the same article within 6-7 days. Thanks for review

  5. Was desperately waiting for it.
    1 suggestion: Daily MCQ practice and test series is must
    Thanks Sarkaari Service for CDS strategy

  6. thank you very much you have covered everything in detail, if possible can you create a playlist to all the topic related to this article , if not all atleast the 4 pillars, because for us buying all those NCERTS is very costly. once again Thank you for Your service

    • You comment motivates us to make such content for you. Your point is noted. But I will like you to focus on NCERT sources as it is basic and must for GS paper. And NCERT books are less costly being government sources. Will try to implement thing you told. Jai HIND

  7. Your posts have motivated me to clear CDS 1 2019 and CDS 2 2019. I hope they will continue to do so in future also. Thank you for all you efforts

    • Its the moto of this article. If you have any doubts, feel free to comment here. I will answer within 24 hours.

      And best luck for preparation

  8. scored 33 marks in my last attempt following this strategy i commited mistakes in solving wrong quation which affected my score i was able to correct many quation following this strategy this strategy works

  9. Can we skip spectrum morden history
    And plzz share with us if you know about any you tube educator of history that may cover history ofr cds

  10. hello sir!
    You are an amazing source of help for all those who want to clear cds and capf by self study.
    This is going to be my first attempt. your guidance has helped me a lot.
    Thank you

  11. I work as an IT professional as well as pursuing my MCA, I’m preparing for OTA and i can barely give 4hrs to study fr CDS, can i possibly crack this exam within 2-3 months of study with 4hrs per day?

    • 1. If you are a beginner in terms of preparation, aim for the next attempt and prepare in a detailed manner.
      2. Watch CDS OTA strategy on the website.
      3. And if your basics are clear, you can surely clear with 3-month preparation.
      4. You must participate in our free test series which will start from upcoming Sunday so that you can test yourself.

      Jai hind

  12. Jai hind sir!! Your this article will be very helpful for everybody who will follow this during their preparations and we appreciate your this much of hardwork for us. It’s really amazing article. Though my doubt is that from where to buy the books that you mentioned in the article like books of history,english and many other?? Is there any good video lectures material on YT for preparing for the subjects,in your eyes then please let me know.

    • Mam, first of all thanks for your genuine review. I will soon update the links of those books in the article itself. You can get these books from market or pdf copies from official NCERT website (free)

  13. In geography part, you involved something about mapping book and to watch the below video to effectively use it but there aren’t any video links provided below, can you please sort this out ? Mapping book ? Video link ?

  14. Thank You sir for sharing such valuable information. My doubt is that the information shared by you remains same for CDS 2 2020? Please help sir. Jai Hind!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here