DONOT apply for CDS exam, unless and until you’re certain that you fulfill all medical/physical requirements (Given @the bottom of this article). Because in past, many candidates have cleared the written exam, but failed in the medical test. The SSB interview tips given in a seperate article click me

  1. Topicwise Breakup:
  2. Grab the weapons (Booklist)
  3. 1: History & Culture
    1. Ancient
    2. Medieval
    3. Modern History
    4. Culture
  4. 2: Science
    1. Physics
    2. Chemistry
    3. Biology
  5. 3: Geography
    1. Physical Geography
      1. Universe
      2. Earth: Basics
      3. Rocks/Geology related
      4. Atmosphere and Climate related
      5. Ocean related
      6. Disaster related
    2. Indian Geography
    3. World, Human and Economic Geography
    4. Agriculture
  6. 4: Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)
  7. 5: Polity
  8. 6: Economy
  9. 7: International relations/events/diplomacy
  10. 8: Defense
  11. 9: Misc GK
  12. Conclusion / summary / final tips
  13. Appendix1: Download Links
    1. NCERT and NIOS (Essential/Core)
    2. History
    3. Science
    4. EnB
    5. Economy
    6. Geography
    7. India yearbook
    8. NCERT and NIOS (Peripheral)
  14. Appendix2: CDS notification, cutoffs, previous papers
    1. CDS(II) 2013 Notification
    2. Cutoffs 2011
    3. CDS Previous papers
  15. Appendix3: Physical Standards, Medical checkup rules for CDS
    1. Height
    2. Weight
    3. Weight: Females
    4. Eye standards
    5. Radial keratotomy
    6. Laser Surgery
    7. Visual Standards for Navy
    8. Pregnancy
    9. X-ray Exams
    10. Other physical criteria
    11. Physical Conditioning Test
    12. Airforce: Special tests
    13. Appeals after rejections

Topicwise Breakup:

CDS exam is held twice a year, so let’s see how were last three papers?
Chart CDS GK

Topic 2012(I) 2012(II) 2013(I)
Science 26 19 28
History n Culture 19 22 18
Geography 15 24 15
Economy 12 5 14
Polity 11 20 14
Misc.GK 7 6 14
IR 6 6 10
EnB 11 7 7
Defense 8 7 0
Agro 5 4 0

Often the new players make mistake of preparing too much current affairs, but as you can see in the table, majority of the paper is made up of static/theory topics only. Even in Economy and Polity while lot of current events take place but majority of the MCQS are centered on theory only.

Grab the weapons (Booklist)

In the market, there is no dearth of jholachhap publications with readymade guides on CDS and mock tests and what not. But Looking at the previous papers, all I can say is that you need only three sources to cover up majority of the syllabus:

  1. NCERT and NIOS textbooks (even here, you’ve to do very limited study of specific chapters, as explained in this article. free download links @bottom)
  2. Indian Polity by M.Laxmkanth (religiously mugup this book for ~10 marks in the exam.)
  3. General Studies Manual (for filling up the gaps/topics left in NCERTs + for practice of mock questions) you don’t need to buy latest edition, because static topics (history, geography, science) remain one and same in all edition. So grab second hand/used copy for a cheaper price or borrow it from a friend. Any publication will work: Unique, TMH, Spectrum etc.

First we’ll see how to approach static topics (history, geography, science, EnB, economy and polity.) then we’ll see how to approach the current affairs (for IR and Misc.GK)

1: History & Culture

Update Feb-24-2014:

for History/culture portion, use the Tamilnadu (TN) State education board books, they’re better than NCERTs. Click me for free download

–end of update-
can be sub-classified into following:

Ancient Harappa, Asoka etc.
Medieval Delhi sultanate, Mughals etc.
Modern British raj and freedom struggle.
Culture Music, painting, dance, religion, architecture, books etc. in above 3 periods.
World history update: in CDS(II)2013, UPSC did ask a few questions from World history. You may consult Lucent’s GK book + for this. more details soon.

Let’s see how much history was asked in last three papers?

Topic 2012(I) 2012(II) 2013(I)
Ancient 3 4 1
Medieval 0 2 1
Modern 12 6 5
Culture 4 10 11
total 19 22 18
% out of 120 15.83 18.33 15
  • In old times, UPSC used to ask trivial GK question from kings, war timelines etc. =waste of time in preparation.
  • But nowadays, questions usually centered around culture or just ‘true/false/find correct statement; cause-effect-reasons’ type questions.
  • I suggest you look at last 2-3 years papers by yourself (given in the appendix) and see it yourself.


In Ancient period, the MCQs mostly come from 2 topics:

  1. Harappa
  2. Jainism-Buddism (includes Asoka etc.)- Although this can be classified under culture.

I’ve already uploaded the NCERTs according to topics (and not according to standards/classes), so just download from appendix and start reading. If you already have downloaded NCERTs from any other source, then prepare in following sequence:

*subject*, *class*,*chapter no.*, *chapter name*

  1. History6_1_What, Where, How And When
  2. History6_2_On The Trail Of The Earliest People
  3. History6_3_From Gathering To Growing Food
  4. History6_4_In The Earliest Cities
  5. History6_5_What Books And Burials Tell Us
  6. History6_6_Kingdoms, Kings And An Early Republic
  7. History6_7_New Questions And Ideas
  8. History6_8_Ashoka, The Emperor Who Gave Up War
  9. History6_9_Vital Villages, Thriving Towns
  10. History6_10_Traders, Kings And Pilgrims
  11. History6_11_New Empires And Kingdoms
  12. History6_12_Buildings, Paintings And Books
  13. History12_1_Bricks Beads and Stones_Harappa
  14. History12_2_King farmer towns
  15. History12_3_Kinship Caste Class
  16. History12_4_Thinkers, Beliefs and Buildings

After that: GS Manual and finally mock questions.


If you’re willing to take the risk (or running out of time), you can even skip this topic (kings, wars, dynasties etc.). Because rarely 1-2 question come from medieval portion nowadays. But do prepare culture related things from medieval period.

  1. Hist7_1_Tracing Changes Through A Thousand Years
  2. Hist7_2_New Kings And Kingdoms
  3. Hist7_3_The Delhi Sultans
  4. Hist7_4_The Mughal Empire
  5. Hist7_5_Rulers And Buildings
  6. Hist7_6_Towns, Traders And Craftspersons
  7. Hist7_7_Tribes, Nomads And Settled Communities
  8. Hist7_8_Devotional Paths To The Divine
  9. Hist7_9_The Making Of Regional Cultures
  10. Hist7_10_Eighteenth-Century Political Formations
  11. History12_1_Foreign Travelers to India
  12. History12_2_Bhakti -Sufi Traditions
  13. History12_3_Vijayanagara-An Imperial Capital
  14. History12_4_Mughal Empire and Agrarian Society
  15. History12_5_Mughal Courts

After that: Read the Medieval history section in your GS Manual and finally mock questions. But keep in mind: GS manuals contain truckload of kings and timelines in the medieval period, don’t waste time mugging them up.

Modern History

Important: NCERTs don’t cover all MCQ worthy topics from within the Modern history / freedom struggle. Therefore you must do following

  • Read GS manual multiple times for this section.
  • OR use Spectrum publication’s brief history of Modern India.
  • And then solve the Mock Questions given in the GS Manual.

here is the list of NCERT chapters:

  1. History8_1_How When and Where
  2. History8_2_From Trade to Territory
  3. History8_3_The Company Establishes Power
  4. History8_4_Ruling the Countryside
  5. History8_5_Tribals Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age
  6. History8_6_1857 and After When people rebel
  7. History12_1_Colonialism Official Archives
  8. History12_2_1857 Revolt And Its Representations
  9. History12_3_Colonial Cities Urbanisation, Planning And Architecture
  10. History12_4_Mahatma Gandhi And The Nationalist Movement
  11. History12_5_Understanding Partition
  12. History12_6_Framing The Constitution


While reading above NCERTs, you’ll come across lot of culture related topics (in painting, literature, dance, music, religion etc.) however for better and consolidated preparation, I suggest you also go through the NIOS study material for Culture. (Free download links @bottom)

2: Science

@Arts/commerce students

yeh mujse nahi hoga / science is not my cup of tea” = this is loser talk. You want to pass CDS or SSC, then science has to be prepared, whether you like it or not. Besides, NCERT textbooks explain the science in very lucid, layman friendly manner, so science is that not difficult, just read and revise often.

@Science/Engineer/Medical students

don’t live in some overconfidence that “Just because I’m M.Sc (Botany) so I don’t need to read these stupid class7 NCERT science textbooks. I know everything!

Because, you may be good at the technical and latest things happening in your graduation field, but UPSC asks from basic principles and theories that might have evaporated from your head after you left highschool years ago. Therefore, no matter what your academic qualification is, always start with NCERTs.

anyways, continuing on…Science can be further divided into

Science subtopic Comment
  1. This is to be prepared from NCERTs, then General Studies (GS) Manual and finally mock questions at the end of GS Manual.
  2. (optional): you may also read NIOS material on Geography for additional grip over the subject. Free download links @bottom.
  3. Please note: in GS Manuals, they often go into very minute details, like chemical formulas of hormones etc. don’t waste that much time. You just need basic  science concepts, principles and their day-to-day application clear.
Current affairs, biotech, nanotech, computer IT, space etc. You can ignore this if you’re running out time. otherwise

  • Go through
  • goto library, read whatever competitive magazine you get (CST, Pratiyoigta, Chronicle, Wizard) and note down important things from science-tech pages.

Science: Internal breakup in last 3 CDS

Topic 2012(I) 2012(II) 2013(I)
Physics 8 7 6
Chemistry 5 5 10
Biology 6 4 11
Sci-Tech 7 3 1*
total 26 19 28
% of out 120 22% 16% 23%

* (one Qs on Chemistry noble prize 2012)

here is the list of NCERT chapters to be prepared:


  1. Sci10_13_Magnet
  2. Sci10_12_electricity
  3. Sci10_10_light
  4. Sci9_12_Sound
  5. Sci9_11_Work And Energy
  6. Sci9_10_Gravitation
  7. Sci9_9_Force And Laws Of Motion
  8. Sci9_8_Motion
  9. Sci8_16_Light
  10. Sci8_14_Chemical Effects Of Electriccurrent
  11. Sci8_13_Sound
  12. Sci8_12_Friction
  13. Sci8_11_Force And Pressure
  14. Sci7_15_Light
  15. Sci7_14_Electric Current and its Effects
  16. Sci7_13_Motion and Time
  17. Sci7_4_Heat
  18. Physics11_1_What is Physics


  1. Sci7_5_Acids,Bases andSalts
  2. Sci7_6_Physical and Chemical Changes
  3. Sci8_3_Synthetic Fibres And Plastics
  4. Sci8_4_Materials Metals And Non-Metals
  5. Sci8_5_Coal And petroleum
  6. Sci8_6_Combustion And Flame
  7. Sci9_1_Matter In Our Surroundings
  8. Sci9_2_Is Matter Around Us Pure
  9. Sci9_3_Atoms And Molecules
  10. Sci9_4_Structure Of The Atom
  11. Sci10_1_Chemical Reactions and Equations
  12. Sci10_2_Acids, Bases and Salts
  13. Sci10_3_Metals and Non-metals
  14. Sci10_4_Carbon and its Compounds
  15. Sci10_5_Periodic Classification of Elements


  1. Sci7_1_Nutrition in Plants
  2. Sci7_2_Nutrition inAnimals
  3. Sci7_10_Respiration in Organisms
  4. Sci7_11_Transportation in Animals and Plants
  5. Sci7_12_Reproduction inPlants
  6. Sci8_2_Microorganisms Friend And foe
  7. Sci8_8_Cell Structure And Functions
  8. Sci8_9_Reproduction In Animals
  9. Sci8_10_Reaching Theage Of Adolescence
  10. Sci9_5_The Fundamental Unit Of life
  11. Sci9_6_Tissues
  12. Sci9_7_Diversity In Living Organisms
  13. Sci9_13_Why Do We Fall ill
  14. Sci10_6_Life Processes
  15. Sci10_7_Control and Coordination
  16. Sci10_8_reproduction
  17. Sci10_9_evolution
  18. Sci10_11_human eye
  19. Biology12_11_Biotechnology Principle and Processes
  20. Biology12_12_Biotechnology and its Applications

3: Geography

Geography can be further classified into

Physical Universe, earth, atmosphere, weather, climate etc.
Indian Topics related to India (e.g. industry, drainage etc.)
World Again not much asked from this.

Geography + Agro: Internal breakup

Topic 2012(I) 2012(II) 2013(I)
Physical 9 12 8
Indian 3 10 7
World 3 2 0
Agro 5 4 0
Total 20 28 15
% out of 120 17% 23% 13%
  • Earlier geography used to encompass Environment biodiversity (EnB) + agriculture, but now both of them have grown up and getting more ‘special’ attention from UPSC Examiners. (Although in 2013’s CDS-1, the agro MCQs were conspicuously absent.)
  • Again, our approach is NCERT => GS Manual => Mock questions.
  • (optional): you may also read NIOS material on Geography for additional grip over the subject. Free download links @bottom.
  • Note: In GS manual, they sometimes go in very minor details e.g. state where particular breed of goat/pig/cow/buffalo is found. don’t waste time in such details. Even for Indian geography, you should know broad things. If you try to prepare every detail, you’ll be stuck there forever.

Physical Geography


When you go to universe, there is no dearth of GK regarding relative size, color, distance of various planets etc. but again keep the time factor in mind.

  1. Sci8_17_Stars And The solar system
  2. Geo6_1_The Earth in the Solar System
  3. Geo11_2_The Origin and Evolution of the Earth

Earth: Basics

From earth basics, UPSC usually asks a few questions on

  1. Latitudes, Longitudes and timezones (perhaps to test the level of the wanna be navy officers.)
  2. oceanography
  3. atmosphere, climate, weather phenomenon related

Anyways, here is the list of NCERT chapters

  1. Geo6_2_Globe  Latitudes and Longitudes
  2. Geo6_3_Motions of the Earth
  3. Geo6_4_Maps
  4. Geo6_5_Major Domains of the Earth
  5. Geo6_6_Major Landforms of the Earth
  6. Geo11_1_Geography as a Discipline (although doesn’t fit in this classification!)
  7. Geo11_3_Interior of the Earth
  8. Geo11_4_Distribution of Oceans and Continents

Rocks/Geology related

  1. Geo11_5_Minerals and Rocks (after that, immediacy read the Indian geography chapters related to distribution of mines and minerals in India)
  2. Geo11_6_Geomorphic Processes
  3. Geo11_7_Landforms and their Evolution.

Atmosphere and Climate related

  1. Geo11_8_Composition and Structure of Atmosphere
  2. Geo11_9_Solar Radiation, Heat Balance and Temperature
  3. Geo11_10_Atmospheric Circulation and Weather Systems
  4. Geo11_11_Water in the Atmosphere
  5. Geo11_12_World Climate and Climate Change

Ocean related

  1. Geo11_13_Water (Oceans)
  2. Geo11_14_Movements of Ocean Water

Disaster related

  1. Geo11_7_India_Natural Hazards and Disasters
  2. Sci7_8_Winds, Storms and Cyclones
  3. Sci8_15_Some Natural Phenomena lightening earthquakes


  1. Geo11_1_Geography as a Discipline
  2. Geo11_Glossary

Indian Geography

Here UPSC often asks questions on rivers-tributaries. but then again, no point in mugging up beyond a level. Apart from NCERT, also read chapter 30 from India Yearbook (free download link @bottom).

India: Physical Geography

  1. Geo6_7_Our Country India
  2. Geo9_1_size and location
  3. Geo9_2_physical
  4. Geo9_4_CLIMATE
  5. Geo11_1_India_Location
  6. Geo11_2_India_Structure and Physiography

India: rivers

  1. Geo9_3_drainage
  2. Geo10_3-water resources
  3. Geo11_3_India_Drainage System
  4. Geo12_India_6_Water Resources

India: Economic geography

  1. Geo10_1_resources & Development
  2. Geo10_5-mines & ENERGY RESOURCES
  3. Geo10_6-industries
  4. Geo10_7-transport
  5. Geo12_India_7_Mineral and Energy Resources
  6. Geo12_India_8_Manufacturing Industries
  7. Geo12_India_9_Planning and Sustainable Development  in Indian Context
  8. Geo12_India_10_Transport and Communication
  9. Geo12_India_11_International Trade
  10. Geo12_India_12_Geographical Perspective on Selected  Issues and  Problems

India: Human geography

  1. Geo9_6_Population
  2. Geo12_India_1_Population – Distribution, Density, Growth and Composition
  3. Geo12_India_2_Migration – Types, Causes and Consequences
  4. Geo12_India_3_Human Development
  5. Geo12_India_4_Human Settlements

World, Human and Economic Geography

  1. Geo7_7_transport
  2. Geo7_8_Life in tropical areas
  3. Geo7_9_life in Grasslands
  4. Geo7_10_life in Deserts
  5. Geo8_1_Resources
  6. Geo8_3_minerals and energy
  7. Geo8_5_industries_steel_IT
  8. Geo8_6_Human Resources
  9. Geo12_1_Nature n Scope
  10. Geo12_2_The World Population Distribution, Density and Growth
  11. Geo12_3_Population Composition
  12. Geo12_4_Human Development
  13. Geo12_6_Secondary Activities
  14. Geo12_7_Tertiary and Quaternary Activities
  15. Geo12_8_Transport and Communication
  16. Geo12_9_International Trade
  17. Geo12_10_Human Settlements


Agriculture MCQs are slowly getting more attention in both CSE and CDS exams. Here is the list of NCERT chapters that should be specifically read and revised. More emphasis on soil-types, crops and cropping technologies.

  1. Geo8_4_agri
  2. Geo10_4-agriculture
  3. Geo11_6_India_Soils
  4. Geo12_5_Primary Activities
  5. Geo12_India_5_Land Resources  and Agriculture
  6. Sci7_3_Fibre to Fabric
  7. Sci7_9_Soil
  8. Sci8_1_Crop Production And Management
  9. Sci9_15_Improvement In Food Resources

4: Environment and Biodiversity (EnB)

  • As far as CDS is concerned, majority of EnB questions are centered around static/theory portion.
  • For EnB, the foundation /base material is NIOS (free download links @bottom).
  • Go through the articles posted on

Besides, certain chapters of NCERT Geography and Science textbooks also help in EnB. Here is the list:

  1. Biology12_13_Organisms and Populations
  2. Biology12_14_Ecosystem
  4. Biology12_16_Environmental Issues
  7. Geo6_8_India  Climate, Vegetation and Wildlife
  8. Geo7_1_environment
  9. Geo7_2_rocks
  10. Geo7_3_Rivers
  11. Geo7_4_Air
  12. Geo7_5_water
  13. Geo7_6_Jungle
  14. Geo8_2_Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation and Wildlife Resource
  15. Geo9_5_forest and wildlife
  16. Geo10_2-forest & wildlife resources
  17. Geo11_4_India_Climate
  18. Geo11_5_India_Natural Vegetation
  19. Geo11_15_Life on the Earth
  20. Geo11_16_Biodiversity and Conservation
  21. Sci7_7_Weather, Climate and Adaptations of Animals to Climate
  22. Sci7_16_Water A Precious Resource
  23. Sci7_17_Forests Our Lifeline
  24. Sci7_18_Waste water Story
  25. Sci8_7_Conservation Of Plants And animals
  26. Sci8_18_Pollution Of Air And Water
  27. Sci9_14_Natural Resources carbon cycle
  28. Sci10_14_Source of energy
  29. Sci10_15_environment_food chain
  30. Sci10_16_ Management of natural resources

(You’ll find their download link @the Bottom of this article)

5: Polity

In both Civil service exam and CDS exam, polity MCQs form a signification portion. The cost: benefit ratio is quite good.

Primary source
  1. Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth (click to buy from flipkart, pay on delivery)
  2. India Yearbook chapter number 3 and 20. (you don’t need to specifically buy the latest edition for CDS, just use India 2011, Free download link @bottom)
  1. Depending on your time and mood, the NCERT, NIOS political science and sociology textbooks. (again free download @bottom).

Here are some tips on how to Laxmikanth’s book efficiently and get a good grip over the polity within a short period of time?

Don’t study the book in a linear fashion (that is chapter 1,2,3,4…sequence)

Instead I suggest you read the book in following direction:

  1. First you read the chapter on President, Vice President and immediately move to the chapter on governor. Then read on Emergency provisions.
  2. Read chapter on PM and cabinet, then move to CM and state council of Ministers.
  3. Chapter on “Parliamentary system” and then directly to parliament, but after budget topic is done pause this chapter and move to on CAG. Then come back and resume the chapter on parliament.
  4. Once parliament is finished, move to State legislative assembly.
  5. Supreme Court and then High court, tribunals.
  6. Attorney Gen =>Advocate General
  7. UPSC  =>State PSC
  8. Finance Commission =>Planning Commission=>Nat.Development council
  9. Now Centre State relation and Interstate relations.
  10. Election Commission=> chapter on election, Anti-defection
  11. All the National Commissions on Women, SC, ST,OBC, CVC, Lokpal and so on.

Once ^this is done. Move to

  1. Citizenship, Fundamental rights, DPSP, duties.
  2. Amendment of Constitution=> preamble
  3. Jammu Kashmir => Scheduled and Tribal Areas.
  4. UT, Panchayati Raj, municipalities

After ^this is done. Read whatever chapters are remaining. Ultimately

  • Appendix for union-state-concurrent list, table of precedence etc.
  • the mock MCQ questions given in Laxmikant + also in your General studies manual.

Note: the short explanations given in appendix of every chapter= should be read.

Single time reading of Laxmikanth= useless. Revise his book, minimum 3 times.

An allied topic of Polity is “rights-issue” for example women rights, children rights, SC/ST/OBC/PH/Minorities and various schemes meant for that. Although not much is asked from It and Most of that stuff is already covered under my economic survey chapter summaries and

6: Economy

Don’t waste your time in mugging up stupid numbers (like IIP in xyz month, how much sharemarket went up or down etc.). In CDS/IAS exam the Economy MCQs are mostly static/theory based. To prepare Economy use following resources

  1. NCERT class 11 and 12. (free download link @bottom.)
  2. NIOS material for economy (free download link @bottom)
  4. Finally GS Manual Mock questions for practice.

You don’t need to specifically buy “Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh” for CDS exam, but if you have it (or can borrow from a friend) then do read it.

7: International relations/events/diplomacy

  • until now we saw how to prepare the static / theory areas viz. history, geography, science, polity, EnB and economy. Now comes a ‘current-affairs-oriented’ topic: International events.
  • What separates CDS exam from CSE (IAS/IPS) exam is the specific attention paid to IR and defense MCQs. So, what type of questions are asked in International events and from where to prepare their answers?
  1. Various international summits, their locations, themes
Goto library, read whatever competitive magazine you get (CST, Pratiyoigta, Chronicle, Wizard) and note down important things from diary of international events + Person in news.
  1. Agreements and dispute between countries for some border, island etc.
  1. Joint military exercises (although I count them under “Defense” topic.)
  1. Election of President / PM and which party does he belong to. (Although I count them under “Misc.GK=>Person in New (PIN)).
  1. Basic things about international organizations such as UN, UNESCO, WTO, ASEAN, NATO etc.
you’ll find them covered under your GS Manual + in sociology/political science related NCERTs

8: Defense

  • The questions about various missiles, DRDO technology, joint-military exercises with other countries.
  • although 2013’s CDS(I) did not contain any specific questions from Defense but 2012’s both CDS (I & II) had questions from defense.
  • A lot of topics that happened from 2012 upto March 2013, are already compiled in the following article

  • beyond that, again Goto library, read whatever competitive magazine you get (CST, Pratiyoigta, Chronicle, Wizard) and note down important things from diary of international events + Person in news.
  • for basics about army, navy, airforce: organization, recruitment, training etc. read Chapter 9 “Defense” From India Yearbook. (You don’t need to specifically buy India 2013, just refer the India 2011 free PDF given at bottom of this article. Because that chapter remains almost one and same in all editions of India yearbook.)

9: Misc GK

It involve sports, awards, books-authors, persons in news and all other stupid infinite trivial database.

Topic 2012(I) 2012(II) 2013(I)
Awards 2 2 2
Books-authors 1 0 3
PIN (Persons in News) 3 2 6
Sports 1 2 3
total 7 6 14
% ouf of 120 6% 5% 12%

I’ve published compilation from 2012 to March 2013 click me after that, goto library, read whatever competitive magazine you get (CST, Pratiyoigta, Chronicle, Wizard) and note down important names/details. Following areas to concentrate

  1. Within sports: lawn tennis
  2. Within PIN: international personas (PM, President, chiefs of various organization etc.)
  3. Books: award-winners or someone who recently died.

Conclusion / summary / final tips

  • Revision is essential. Whatever you read in NCERT, NIOS or Laxmikanth, keep a target of revising it multiple times. Otherwise, you won’t be able to recall the exact details in the exam and UPSC’s MCQs are very tricky.
  • If you’ve applied for this exam, then focus on your studies only. Don’t underestimate the level of competition. Don’t waste time in day-dreaming, facebook, orkut, random net surfing, chatting, TV, cricket, weddings of distant relatives etc. Time-pass activities will always be there, but once you cross the age-limit, there is no restart button. (This rule applies to all competitive exams.)
  • When you get bored reading General studies, then solve maths / English question. when you get bored with maths/english, resume your General studies preparation.
  • Don’t go in the exam-hall with a ‘cutoff’ mindset. Don’t push luck in negative marking. Don’t tick answers based on guesswork.
  • maths, english strategy will be posted soon.

Appendix1: Download Links

  1. Foxit PDF reader (necessary prerequisite for using Mrunal’s autonotemaker) click me to download
  2. Almost all of these PDF files provides direct copying of text. => That means you can use Mrunal’s autonotemaker to quickly make notes and mindmaps out of it, just use mouse cursor to highlight a particular line /phrase and my software will copy its text in a separate file. for more instructions click me

NCERT and NIOS (Essential/Core)

TN State edu Books (for History)

NIOS (for Culture)

NCERT files: topicwise:

You’ll find the material organized in various folders. Click on individual folder and download zip files. Here is the description about the contents of individual folder:

Folder Comment


  • Contains NCERT history chapters from class 7 to 12, in three zip files: ancient, medieval and Modern
  • +NIOS Culture material


  • Contains class 7 to 10 NCERT Science in three zips: physics, chemistry, biology.
  • +NIOS Science material. (although there will be lot of overlapping)
  • Class 11, 12 Science books given in the peripheral section below.


  • Contains selective chapters from class 6 to 12 from science and geography textbooks that are relevant for Environment and biodiversity.
  • +NIOS material for environment and biodiversity EnB.


  • Contains NCERT class 11 + NCERT 12 Macro economics
  • +NIOS economy material.
  • Class 12 Micro-economics not included because not worth the time for CDS. although download link in the peripheral section below.


  • Contains NCERT class 6 to 12 in five zip folders: physical, India, World, Agro and glossary.
  • +NIOS material on geography (although lot of overlapping)

India yearbook

  • earlier government used to upload free PDF files for India yearbook (e.g. India 2010, India 2011 etc.)
  • But since 2012, they stopped. However, for CDS you don’t need a latest edition and you don’t need to refer all chapters.
  • just download the India 2011 edition click me

And read chapter following chapters

  • 1.Land and the People
  • 2.National Symbols
  • 3.The Polity (for polity)
  • 9. Defense
  • 20 Justice and Law (for polity segment)
  • 30. State and UT (for geography related questions)

NCERT and NIOS (Peripheral)

read these if depending on your time and mood.

NIOS Single folder contains many courses from NIOS: sociology, political science etc. download as per your time, mood and requirement. Download


Biology 12 Biology Download
Chemistry 12 Chemistry 1 Download
Chemistry 12 Chemistry 2 Download
Economics 12 Introductory Microeconomics Download
Economics 10 Understanding Economic Development Class X Social Science Download
Economics 9 Economics for Class 9 Download
Physics 12 Physics 1 Download
Physics 12 Physics 2 Download
Political Science 12 Contemporary World Politics Political Science Class 12 Download
Political Science 12 Political Science 2 for Class 12 Download
Political Science 11 Political Theory Political Science Class 11 Download
Political Science 11 Indian Constitution at Work Political Science Class 11 Download
Political Science 7 Social and Political Life Part 2 – Class 7 Download
Political Science 8 Social and Political Life – Class 8 Download
Social sci. 10 Democratic Politics Part 2 for Class X Social Science Download
Sociology 12 Sociology Indian Society Download
Sociology 12 Sociology Social Change and Development in India for Download
Sociology 11 Introducing Sociology Class 11 Download
Sociology 11 Understanding Society Sociology Class 11 Download
World history 9 India and Contemporary World 1 for Class 9 Download
World history 10 India and the Contemporary World 2 Class X Social Science Download

Appendix2: CDS notification, cutoffs, previous papers

CDS(II) 2013 Notification

Official notification PDF uploaded here: click me

Cutoffs 2011

As per earlier R.T.I:

There is no provision for reservation (category wise) in CDS examination however, course-wise cut-off marks of written examination are as under

CDSE(I)-2011 90 111 45 72
CDSE(II)-2011 93 126 78 68

CDS Previous papers

  1. 2013’s CDS (I) GK paper uploaded here: click me
  2. other earlier papers available on UPSC’s official site: click me
  3. if you want topicwise solved papers, then use Arihant’s book: click me to buy from flipkart

Appendix3: Physical Standards, Medical checkup rules for CDS

  • In your own interest you are advised to undergo a preliminary medical check up for wax in ears, refractory error of eyes, fungal infection of skin and also gynaecomasties  etc for female candidates before reporting for the interview.
  • The Medical standards for candidates of Naval Aviation Branch will be the same as for flying duties of Air Force.
  • Detection of any disability in the course of a special test carried out prescribed for one service, may render the candidate unfit for any other service(s), if so considered as disqualifying by Medical Board.


  1. The candidate must be in good physical and mental health and free from any disease / disability which is likely to interfere with the efficient performance of duties.
  2. There should be no evidence of weak constitution, bodily defects or over weight.
  3. The minimum acceptable height for male candidates is 157.5 cms. ( 157 cms for Navy and 162.5 cms for Air Force ).
  4. For Women candidates minimum acceptable height is 152 cms.
  5. For Gorkhas and individuals belonging to hills of North Eastern region of India, Garhwali and Kumaon, the Minimum acceptable height will be 5 cms less.
  6. In case of candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum acceptable height can be reduced by 2 cms.
  7. These concessions are not applicable for Navy and Air Force. Height and weight standards are given below for Army and Navy only.
  8. Interpolation for weights against height not mentioned may be done.


Height in Centimetres ( Without shoes ) Weight in Kgs.
18 years 20 years 22 years
152 44* 46 47
155 46 48@ 49
157 47 49 50
160 48 50 51
162 50 52 52
165 52 53 55
168 53 55 57
170 55 57 58
173 57 59 60
175 59 61 62
178 60 62 63
180 63 64 65
183 65 67 67
185 67 69 70
188 70 71 72
190 72 73 74
193 74 76 77
195 77 78 78
  • *45 for Navy @ 47 for Navy
  • ± 10% ( for Navy ) departure from the average weight given in the Table above is to be considered within normal limit.
  • However, in individuals with heavy bones and broad built as well as individuals with thin built but otherwise healthy this may be relaxed to some extent on merit.
  • The acceptable weight for Air Force candidates will be + 10% of the average weight given above.

Weight: Females

Height in Centimetres (Without shoes) Weight in Kgs.
20 years 25 years 30 years
148 39 41 43
150 40 42 43.5
153 42 43.5 45
155 43 44 46
158 45 46 48
160 46 47 49
163 47 49 51
165 49 51 53
168 50 52 54

Eye standards

  • A candidate should be able to read 6/6 in a distant vision chart with each eye with or without glasses (For navy and Air Force without glasses only)
  • Myopia should not be more than 3.5D and hypermetropia not more than 3.5D including Astigmatism.
  • For women candidates the minimum acceptable visual acuity are : Distant vision (corrected)  better eye 6/6 worse 6/18,  Myopia of not more than minus 5.5 including Astogination.
  • Internal examination of the eye will be done by means of ophthalmoscope to rule out any disease of the eye.
  • A candidate must have good binocular vision. The colour vision standard will be CP-III for Army.
  •  For Navy it will be CP-I for Executive Branch and CP-II for the rest..  A candidate should be able to recognise red and green colours.

Radial keratotomy

  • Candidates who have undergone or have the evidence of having undergone Radial Keratotomy, to improve the visual acuity, will be permanently rejected for all the three services.
  • In order to detect PRK/LASIK all the candidates at SMB will be subjected to the measurement of Axial length by A-Scan biometer.

Laser Surgery

Candidates who have undergone Laser Surgery for correction of refractive error will be considered for commission in Army if they fulfill following criteria :-

  1. Age more than 20 years.
  2. Uncomplicated stable LASIK/Excimer (PRK) laser procedure done for Myopia or Hypermetropia, with stable refraction for a period of six months after the procedure.
  3. A healthy retina.
  4. Corrected vision should be 6/6 in better eye and 6/9 in worse eye, with maximum residual refraction of +  1.50 in any meridian for myopia or hypermetropia.
  5. Axial length within permissible limits.

Notes : The candidates will be asked to declare at the time of medical examination that  he has undergone LASER procedure as above. He will be subjected to a thorough corneal and retinal evaluation by the ophthalmologist. However, he will be declared unfit at the SMB and those found to be within the acceptable limits for approval as above will be advised to undergo an Appeal Med. Board. During AMB he will be subjected to a thorough corneal and retinal evaluation as also scrutiny of the records by a Senior Adviser in Ophthalmology.

Visual Standards for Navy

(a)Uncorrected without glass 6/12
(b)Corrected with glass 6/6
(c)Limits of Myopia -3.5
(d)Limits of Hypermetropia +2.5
(e)Binocular vision III
(f)Limits of Colour Perception I


For women candidates if pregnancy is detected at any stage, after selection at SSB or during training will debar the candidates from grant of commission.

X-ray Exams

The following conditions detected on  X-ray examination will be disqualifying for entry to Armed Forces.

  1. Granulomatous disease of Spine.
  2. Arthritis/spondylosis.
  3. Scoliosis more than 15 degree as measured by Cobb’s Method (10 degree for Army)
  4. More than mild Kyphosis/Lordosis
  5. Spondylolisthesis/Spondylosis.
  6. Herniated nucleus pulposes.
  7. Compression fracture of Vertebra.
  8. Sacaralisation Disease.
  9. Cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological or Circulatory deficit.
  10. Presence of Schmorl’s node at more than one level.
  11. Atlanto-occipital, and atlantoaxial anomalies.
  12. Incomplete Sacaralisation Unilateral or Bilateral.
  13. Spinabifida other than SV1 and LV5
  14. Any other abnormality, if so considered by specialist.

Other physical criteria

  • Chest should be healthy. The minimum range of expansion after full inspiration should be 5 cms. In recording the measurements, fraction of less than 0.5 cm  will be ignored, 0.5 cm will be recorded as such and 0.6 cm and above will be recorded as 1 cm. X-Ray of the chest is compulsory and will be taken to rule out any disease of the chest.
  • There should be no disease of bones and joints of the body.
  • A candidate should have no past history of mental breakdown or fits.
  • The hearing should be normal. A candidate should be able to hear a forced whisper with each ear at a distance of 610 cms. in a quiet room. There should be no evidence of present or past disease of the ear, nose and throat.
  • There should be no sign of functional or organic disease of the heart and blood vessel. Blood pressure should be normal.
  • The muscles of abdomen should be well developed and there should be no enlargement of liver or spleen. Any evidence of disease of internal  organs of the abdomen will be  a cause for rejection.
  • Un-operated hernias will make a  candidate unfit. If operated, this should have been done at least 1 year prior to the present examination and healing is completed.
  • There should be no hydrocele, varicocele or piles.
  • Urine examination will be done and any abnormality, if detected will be a cause for rejection.
  • Any disease of the skin which is likely to cause disability or disfigurement will also be a cause for rejection.

Physical Conditioning Test

Prospective candidates are advised to keep themselves in good physical condition by following the under mentioned routine :-

  • Running : 2 to 4 Km. in 15 minutes
  • Skipping
  • Pushups & situps: Minimum 20 each
  • Chin ups : Minimum 08
  • Rope Climbing : 3 to 4 meters.

Airforce: Special tests

In addition to the above, the following medical standards will be applicable in respect of Air force candidates only :

  1. Anthropometric measurements acceptable for Air Force are as follows :
Height 162.5 cms
Leg Length Min. 99 cms. & Max. 120 cms.
Thigh Length Max. 64 cms.
Sitting Height Min. 81.5 cms. &   Max 96 cms.
  1. X-Ray of Chest is compulsory.
  2. Vision
    1. Distant Vision 6/6, in one eye and 6/9 Correctable to 6/6 Near Vision N-5 each eye Colour Vision CP-1 (MLT)
    2. Manifest Hypermetropia must not exceed +2.00 DCYL ‘Myopia-NIL’ & +0.75 DCYL.
  3. Ocular Muscle Balance
    1. Hetrophoria with the Maddox Rod Test must not exceed :
    2. at 6 metres Exophoria 6 prism dioptres Esophoria 6 prism dioptres Hypo-phoria/Hyperphoria 1 Prism Dioptres.
    3. at 33 cm Exophoria 16 prism dioptres. Esophoria 6 prism dioptres; Hypophoria/Hyperphoria 1 prism Dioptres.
  4. Binocular Vision-Must possess good binocular vision (fusion and stereposis with good amplitude and depth)
  5. Hearing Standards
    1. Speech test : Whispered hearing 610 cms. each ear.
    2. Audiometric Test : Audiometric loss should not exceed + 20 db in frequencies between 250 Hz and 4000 Hz.
  6. Routine ECG and EEG should be within normal limits.

Appeals after rejections

  1. Candidates who are unfit may apply for Appeal Medical Board (AMB) to be completed within 42 days of SMB and may request for Review Medical Board (RMB) within one day of completion of Appeal Medical Board.
  2. Candidates declared unfit by AMB will be intimated by the President AMB about procedure of challenging the findings of AMB.
  3. The candidates will also be intimated that holding Review Medical Board (RMB) will be granted at the discretion of DGAFMS based on the merit of the case and that RMB is not a matter of right.
  4. The candidate should request for RMB if he/she so desires to ADG Rtg. (CDSE) Army Hq., West Block-III, RK Puram, New Delhi.-110066 and a copy of the same is handed over to the President of AMB.  The O/o the DGAFMS will inform the date and place (Delhi and Pune only) where the candidate will appear for RMB.