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CDS Selection Process: Written Test and SSB Interview

SSB Interview process

In this article we will be discussing about the CDS selection process 2022. Before starting your preparation for UPSC CDS its important to checkout the selection process and the stages involved in CDS Exam. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the “Combined Defence Services” (CDS) Examination twice a year (UPSC CDS 1 & UPSC CDS 2) for recruiting candidates for the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy. The Notification is usually released in the months of October/ November and June/ July, and the examination is generally conducted in February and November respectively. Candidates can check CDS 01/2022 Notification for detailed information about the upcoming CDS Exam. Check the CDS exam selection process given below:

Conducting body

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Official Website


Mode of Exam


Stages of Exam

1. Written Exam

2. SSB Interview



Candidates can read CDS Eligibility Criteria here in detail before applying. 

CDS Selection Stages

CDS Selection is a two-stage process wherein, the first stage is a written exam to check your knowledge regarding English, General Knowledge, and elementary mathematics (Not applicable for OTA candidates). Whereas, stage 2 is the SSB Interview where the aspirant’s mental and psychological aspects are checked. Let us learn these stages one after the other  

Stage 1

  1. CDS written exam will be objective in nature, time allotment for each paper is of 2 hours.
  2. A candidate who will qualify for the written test will be eligible for the second stage of CDS i.e. SSB Interview.
  3. For admission in Indian Military, Naval, and Air Force Academy separate written tests for three papers – English, General Knowledge, and Elementary Mathematics are conducted in the first stage of the CDS 2022 selection process.
  4. For admission to OTA (Officers’ Training Academy), only two papers are conducted – English and General Knowledge.

Stage 2

  1. Services Selection Board (SSB) Interview is the second stage in the CDS Selection Process.
  2. CDS SSB Interview is a 5-day process where an aspirant’s personality is checked by various tests that are conducted in these 5 days. Candidates are judged physically, mentally, and psychologically as well.
  3. On day one, prospects have to undergo Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) & Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT), before undergoing stage 2.  Candidates are scrutinized for their verbal and non-verbal abilities 1-day program. Details of day 1 and the interview schedule thereafter are given in successive paragraphs.

Officer Intelligence Rating

The Officer Intelligence Rating test is the first part of the Stage 2  selection process in the SSB Interview process. It comprises two sections – Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning. In this test, around 55 to 60 questions will be asked from both sections combined together.

Verbal Reasoning Section: The total number of questions asked in the Verbal Ability Reasoning section in the Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) test is 50. In this test, candidates will be given 30 minutes to complete the test and thereafter candidates have to write the Non-Verbal Reasoning Section.

Non-Verbal Reasoning Section: In this section candidates are given a  time period of 25 to 30 minutes to attempt 50 questions of Non-verbal reasoning questions in this SSB CDS Interview Stage 2.

After the students are done with this test, the second set of the test is given to the applicants, i.e., Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT).

Picture Perception and Description Test

After aspirants complete their OIR test, then they have to undergo a PPDT test. This is a quite challenging test since it examines a candidate’s memory retention along with the ability to comprehend the situations. The candidate is given only 30 seconds to observe a hazy picture and expound on it within 3 minutes. Within this limited period, candidates have to focus upon seven basic parameters and write a short story. Basic parameters on which this test lies  

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Mood
  • Character
  • Past (what happened in the picture situation just before the click)
  • Present (what events currently take place)
  • Future (what will happen next in the picture)

CDS Day-wise Interview Schedule

Day 1 – Reporting, Filling of forms, Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT)

Day 2 – Psychological Test- This includes TAT (Thematic Appreciation Test), WAT (Word Association Test), SRT (Situation Reaction Test). SD (Self- Description)

Day 3 – The most important leg of the CDS Interview is Group Tasks wherein candidates have to prove their physical as well as mental prowess. Also, Officer Like Qualities is judged on the basis of these tasks. The tasks allotted to candidates include Group Discussion, Military Planning Exercise, Progressive Group Task, Group Obstacle Race, Half Group Task

Day4 – Individual Obstacle Task (IOT), Command Task, Final Group Task (FGT), Personal Interview, and Individual Lecturette

Day 5 – Conference and Document Verification

Postponing SSB interview

  • Requests for postponing the SSB interview will only be considered only for very genuine circumstances. It will be considered if it is convenient for which Army headquarters /Air Headquarter /Naval HQ will be the sole deciding authority. Such kinds of requests should be sent to the Selection Centre/ from where the call for interview has been received.

Note: In case a qualified candidate does not get the interview call letter before the date then candidates should write to-

Army HQ/Rtg. (CDSE Entry/ SSC Women Entry for Officers Training Academy)

175, West Block-III,

Ramakrishnapuram, New Delhi- 110066

OR contact on telephone No. 011-26176028

For similar query by the Navy/Air Force candidates, having first choice should write to Naval HQ or Air HQ (in case of non-receipt of call letter).

After CDS Interview

What is the process after CDS Interview?

After the interview process of CDS is completed, the candidate’s verification takes place which includes the document verification. Candidates who qualify the interview will have to present their required set of original documents along with the two self-attested copies at SSC (Services Selection Center) after the interview.

List of documents required

Given below is the list of documents that have are needed at the time of the selection process.

(Original certificates will be returned after the verification. Note – Certified true copies or Photostat copies of the certificates will not be accepted in any case.)

  • Qualification Certificates
  • Proof of Identity (Pan Card, Aadhar Card, Voter ID, etc.)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport Size Photographs
  • Category Certificate for the Reserved Category Candidates
  • Proof of Residence

Medical Examination

Medical Examination is the last but very important step. This step is held to verify that the selected aspirant is physically fit for the officer cadre or not. This verification is a must. For final recruitment, you have to clear all the verification formalities.

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