How to crack CDS exam in First Attempt?

How to crack CDS exam in first attempt

Hello guys, you may be thinking that how is it possible to clear CDS exam in first attempt? Because many aspirants take multiple attempts to clear CDS written exam and even multiple attempts to clear SSB interview. It is because they learn from their mistakes from previous attempt and go on improving every attempt. In this article, I will tell you a list of things you must do to clear CDS exam in first attempt.

These CDS exam tips are designed considering reviews and inputs of many aspirants who have cleared CDS exam with flying colours including All India Rank holder aspirants. We will learn from their mistakes and make “Our first attempt our last attempt”.

“Life is too short to make all mistakes on our own. So, we must learn from others mistakes”

These tips to clear CDS exam are much needed as you will get 4-5 attempts for CDS exam and actually 2-3 serious attempts. You need to prepare yourself mentally from today itself so that those 2-3 attempts are given with full zeal, enthusiasm and well prepared.

I will provide Tips to clear CDS exam in first attempt. I had already given a detailed CDS exam GK strategy, CDS exam Maths strategy and CDS exam English strategy in previous articles. These articles have 20 focused CDS exam tips that will guide you in this journey of clearing CDS exam in 1st attempt.

Keep patience till the end, so that you will know “How to crack CDS exam in first attempt” (With best government books to study)

Tips to crack CDS exam | 20 Life-changing tips

1. You must follow CDS exam detailed strategies for all three papers:

First thing first. You must know what are the best sources so that you can invest your time in studying from those sources. I have made dedicated CDS exam preparation strategies for CDS GK, CDS Maths and CDS English considering the previous trends, syllabus, common mistakes made by aspirants and tips by All India Ranking cadets. So, you can rely on these tips for CDS exam for your preparation.

Strategy 1:CDS GK preparation (50+)
Strategy 2: CDS Maths preparation (60+)
Strategy 3: CDS English preparation (65+)

After reading my strategy, you can customize it as per your preparation level, as per your strength and weakness, etc. But once the strategy is made, it must be followed rigorously for the next 6-7 crucial months till the actual CDS exam.

CDS GK preparation
CDS Exam preparation

2. Be mentally prepared to study 5-6 hours daily

To cover General Knowledge (especially-Current affairs), Maths and English syllabus as per detailed strategy, you must devote 5-6 quality hours for your preparation. And that too consistently for months till CDS exam date. We need to study from basics till advance

  • NCERT’s plus reference books (For GK)
  • CDS Special books for Maths and English.

which needs your time and 100% focus. So, be mentally prepared to study 5-6 hours a day.

3. Daily “The Hindu editorial reading” will help in CDS Written exam + SSB interview

The Hindu is treated as IAS material by many CDS aspirants. But using it smartly in UPSC CDS exam preparation can bring wonders. I will not only help you in the Current Affairs section of CDS GK paper but also develop your opinions about important issues happening around you. It will increase your English vocabulary and communication skills also. All these things are crucial at the time of SSB Interview (for Group discussion, Personal Interview, Story writing, etc)

And believe me, with practice you will develop the art of reading The Hindu newspaper editorials in 40-45 minutes. Initially, you have to take efforts, but results you will get out of it will be definitely worth it.

How to read The Hindu for CDS GK paper?

The Hindu reading

4. You have to score 65+ marks in Maths or English (As per your aptitude)

Cutoff for IMA is 125-130 marks, for AFA is 145+ marks, for OTA is 90+ (out of 200). These marks are out of 300 and scoring high in GK is not possible. I mean scoring around 35-45 is considered as a decent score. So, if your aim is to be ahead of cutoff by atleast 15-20 marks, you need to score very high in either English or Maths to reach that cutoff mark.

And I have selected Maths/ English because it is possible to score high in these 2 papers if you follow detailed strategies given by sarkaari service. CDS exam Pattern and types of questions asked in these 2 papers are almost the same in every attempt.

Decide a subject in which you are extremely strong, work more on that subject and try to score 65+ marks.

Real-Life Example: Suppose your score in English is 40 marks, in GK is 30 marks and in Maths is 40 marks (These marks are considered as decent score, not bad) your total will be 110 marks but still you will not be able to clear cutoff for IMA, OTA, AFA and INA. Or in the worst case, you could clear cutoff for INA. And even if you clear written, your chances of getting merit out are high.

So, it is recommended to score high in 1 subject in which you are more confident. (If you are from Engineering background, Maths must be your target, and if Humanity Background, English must be your target.)

5. One single book for CDS exam: Those days are gone

CDS exam is changing day by day and becoming dynamic. Current affairs section and even other static subjects questions are of a higher level which need good study from NCERT’s and some reference books (as told in strategy). So, it’s better to be aware and learn from other’s mistakes and save your attempt and time.

And if you still think that you can clear exam with single Book study, you can proceed at your risk.

Also read: CDS preparation with Pathfinder Book (130+ marks)

6. Analyze the types of questions asked in each CDS paper (for last 5-6 attempts)

Whatever you will study for 10-12 months will be tested by UPSC in the form of questions you answer in the CDS written exam. (No one will listen to what knowledge you have) If “questions” is the only source of showing the knowledge you have, you need to be thorough with the types of questions asked in question and also try solving similar types of questions before giving actual exam so that you are familiar with the exam pattern.

I have given subject-wise and topic-wise analysis of each and every paper of CDS exam in respective detailed strategies.

Check it here: CDS GK topic-wise weightage

CDS GK paper

7. Stick to CDS Syllabus and types of questions asked in exam

Don’t be emotional while studying. I have given important books to study and even important chapters to study in a detailed CDS GK strategy. So, stick to those sources only. Always remember that you are reading these sources to solve questions based on it.

So, be exam-oriented and stick to CDS syllabus and types of questions asked in CDS exam. (Many aspirants keep on reading sources just because they are generating interest in that subject and miss other important chapters from exam point of view)

You have limited time, you need to read important sources and revise, so be exam-oriented !!

8. Focus on scoring 40-45 in CDS GK, not just clearing CDS cutoff marks

I receive messages from hundreds of aspirants that they failed to clear CDS written exam as their score was 19/100 or even less than that. The reason for this situation is that your focus is to only clear the CDS cut off marks of GK, that is, 20 marks. I will urge you to aim 40-45 marks in GK paper to be on a safer side. And you are lucky enough today as I have made a detailed CDS GK strategy which can help you score around 50 marks if you follow it rigorously for upcoming attempt.

9. Focus on next CDS exam for which you have aleast 8-10 months of preparation time

If you are a beginner, don’t hurry to clear CDS written exam. It will take some time and dedicated efforts. And when you aim to clear CDS written exam in short period of time, you end up reading shortcut material which will land you nowhere in this CDS preparation. So, its better to take some time in Good preparation for CDS GK, CDS Maths and CDS English paper so that you can clear CDS written exam with good marks.

I will recommend you to focus on the upcoming CDS attempt which is roughly 8-10 months away from the day you start preparation. You can give other CDS exams coming in between, but the main aim must be to clear the targeted attempt of CDS exam.

10. Focus only on “One Exam at a time”

I will explain this point with a simple real-life example. Suppose these are the dates of few exams in a particular year:

February CDS Exam
April Banking Exam
September CDS Exam
December AFCAT Exam

I have given dates of some common exams aspirants focus during preparation. If you will prepare for even 3 exams out of these, you will not get more than 2-3 months for each exam. You will prepare for all the exams but will be prepared for none of them. You will waste a year plus even after 1 year, you will not be prepared for any of these exams. (Believe me, many aspirants fall in this situation)

So, be aware that you prepare for 1 exam full-heartedly for at least one year (2 Attempts). Once your whole syllabus is completed in detail manner, you can focus on other similar exams. Hopefully, this simple example is sufficient to convey my message.

11. Don’t treat SSB as an exam, take it as a way of life

If you think that you will clear CDS written exam and then focus on SSB interview preparation, then this is the wrong approach. SSB interview is a test of individual personality and officer like qualities which you need to develop over a period of time. Try to implement officer like qualities in your day to day activities so that those qualities will be imbibed in you and are reflected in stories you write and other tasks in SSB.

Understand the whole SSB process and try to practice those things on daily basis. Along with the preparation of written exam and SSB interview, focus on being physically fit which will add a feather in the cap at the time of Interview.

Also check: SSB medical tests (Major reasons of rejection in SSB medical and physical tests)

12. CDS English and CDS Maths pattern is the same in every attempt. So utilize it !!

If you will take the example of other exams conducted by UPSC, that is, UPSC CAPF exam and UPSC IAS exam, drastic change in pattern is seen every attempt. Only constant in those exams is CHANGE. So, being a CDS aspirant, you must be thankful that in CDS English paper and CDS Maths paper questions asked are predictable and pattern doesn’t change drastically. CDS GK paper is undergoing change every attempt, but those marks can be compensated in English and Maths paper. (And Maths and English are highly scoring)

(For confirmation you can ask UPSC CAPF Aspirants and IAS exam aspirants)

13. Science weightage of CDS GK paper is always high

Many aspirants always complain about CDS GK paper, and I agree with the changing pattern of CDS GK paper. But if you will see the last 4-5 years papers (10 attempts) questions asked from Science and Technology (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) have maintained the same weightage. I mean major chunk of questions are asked from Physics, Chemistry and Biology (Difficulty will increase, and it’s obvious)

So, if you will read important chapters from NCERT of Physics, Chemistry and Maths (As told in CDS GK detailed strategy) and supplement it with Science and tech page (Every Thursday) of The Hindu Newspaper, no one can stop you in scoring around 15-20 marks in Science section alone.

It means that your fear of clearing CDS cut off of CDS GK paper will definitely be reduced. (20 marks is individual cutoff for GK)

14. Minimum 10 papers solving of English paper before CDS Exam

You will study for CDS English paper as per detailed strategy, agreed, but solving 10 papers of CDS English in the last month of preparation can be very helpful.

For example if CDS exam is on 3rd of February, then you must take 10 serious test from 10th of January to 20th January (Daily 1 test) and I guarantee you will see improvement of 8-10 marks in every test. And it will open a way for you to score 65+ marks in CDS English.

(Important Note: You need not buy any test series for taking tests of English. Just Xerox the previous 5 year question papers (10 attempts) which you will get from official website. Only needed is dedication to execute it accurately in given time frame and exam like environment.

Do you know that we conduct FREE of cost test series for CDS exam which is conducted every Sunday in exam like conditions?

Check here: CDS Free Mock test for CDS 2 2022 Exam

CDS Test series

You can give all tests from beginning right now!!

15. No need of Paid coaching at all: But self-preparation must

You are mentally coded by many coaching institutes that Paid Coaching is a must. But if you are dedicated enough to follow detailed strategies and give CDS Mock test, no one can stop you. I am here to guide you and you will get 1000’s of successful aspirants to guide you if you are willing to get the guidance. Be self enlightened. This era is the digital era. Utilize technology in your CDS exam preparation (As you are using it now!)

16. Please don’t underestimate CDS exam over CAPF exam and IAS exam

If you will underestimate the CDS exam and use shortcut methods, definitely CDS exam will prove you wrong by wasting your attempt and a year. Analyze the previous year’s question papers and you automatically will understand the level of CDS paper.

We are above 20 years of age and mature enough to understand these things.

17. Working professionals can also clear if they can give 5 hours daily

You may be a student, graduate who has taken a gap of 1 year, working professional or even businessman, you can clear CDS exam if you can manage 5-6 hours of quality study a day from best available sources of CDS exam.

(And Of course, you must be within the age limit of CDS exam)

18. Stay away from social media during the preparation period (Isolation)

Instead of saying stay away from internet or social media, I will say utilize it for your better studies. If you will waste time in checking profiles of your friends, if you will take interest in knowing life updates of friends and relatives, you will keep doing the same for years and fail to clear the CDS exam.

Some social media platforms like Youtube, Telegram and Instagram are best if you utilize it in that way. They can help in your studies as well as motivate you in your preparation. And you are mature enough to understand what’s good or bad for you.

19. Focus more on revision than using multiple sources

I have told this thing many times in various articles and will tell you again. You can recall data in CDS exam which you have read 7-8 months ago only because of revision. Limit resources and revise at least 2-3 times to store data in your mind. Some sources like M Laxmikanth for Indian Polity, NCERT’s of 10th and 11th, Current affairs Notes, Geography NCERT are nothing if you don’t revise them.

20. You must believe you can!!

Along with hard work and study, you also must be optimistic about future that you will make it. This will increase your confidence and eventually help you in your CDS preparation. And don’t worry about guidance and help, I am here to guide you in your whole preparation.

How to crack CDS exam in short period?

In order to clear any exam conducted by UPSC like Combined Defence Services, you will need detailed preparation. Moreover,

So, it’s recommended to have a long term plan. If someone wants to do CDS preparation in 3 months to clear Cutoff, follow the article on CDS preparation with Pathfinder book.

How to crack CDS exam in one month?

If you came to know about CDS exam recently and want to give CDS exam in 30 days, you can try an article on how to clear CDS exam in one month which can help you to be somewhere around CDS cutoff.


How to crack CDS exam in first attempt?

You need to follow all 20 CDS exam tips given in this article if you want to crack CDS exam in first attempt!

You have all 3 paper strategies of CDS Exam with you, I will be there to guide you in this journey, now it’s your time to take responsibility on your shoulder. These 20 points must be implemented if you want to be an officer in Armed Forces.

And if you still have any doubts regarding how to crack CDS exam in first attempt, let us know in the comment section below. We will answer within 24 hours.

Waiting for your genuine reviews so that we can improve our content.

Jai hind Aspirants.


  1. My english is not so good but I can understand everything …
    I must follow your all tips and give you good results Thank you for motivate again anda again

  2. Sir i have just passed my 12 class and wanted to prepare for the cds exam how should i prepare to clear it in 1st attempt. I have more thanx 24 months…


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