UPSC CDS 2022: Here Are Past 5 Year Cut Offs To Set Your Goal, And 2 Week Tips To Achieve That Target


The UPSC CDS 1 2022 is scheduled to be conducted on April 10, 2022. The admit card has already been released by the commission on its recruitment portal at –, Through the CDS exam, the commission recruits candidates to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA).

Now that only half a month’s time remains for the UPSC CDS exam, candidates must start working on revision and a conclusive strategy. Candidates can, additionally, check out previous year cut-offs to determine the level of competitiveness of this national-level exam. They are advised to keep reading to find general and subject-specific tips to achieve that target and guarantee success.


Year 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
IMA 268 250 258 242 249
INA 260 242 242 233 241
AFA 281 274 272 264 268
OTA (Main) 189 173 176 160 163
OTA (Women) 191 177 179 162 164

From the above-given table, it can be determined that over the years the cut-offs have shown an upward trajectory. This implies that despite factors including a steady decrease in the number of vacancies, an overwhelming increase in the number of applicants has also been observed and made it even more difficult to qualify. Candidates should, however, not be wary of this assertion and instead, start focusing on the consolidation of whatever preparation they have done over time. In addition, candidates should go through the below-given compilation of topper-suggested tips and strategies to ace the UPSC CDS exam.

UPSC CDS 1 – 2 Week Preparation Plan

With the CDS 1 exam approaching in nearly 2 weeks, it is crucial for candidates to follow last-minute tips that will aid them in acing each section in the paper. These have been carefully curated with inputs from previous year toppers and various educators to guarantee success in all sections of the papers.

General Tips

  • Candidates are advised to focus on weaker topics and not spend excess time on their strengths while preparing.
  • As per various educators, candidates should make sure they are using subject knowledge from their high school and college streams in the CDS sections, for instance: candidates from a humanities/arts background should make sure they are using their existing knowledge of history, politics, geography in the exam.
  • Several toppers claim a minimum of 7-8 hours daily should be allocated towards CDS preparation in the last month, out of which 1 hour should purely be for revision.
  • Candidates are advised to learn topics as a whole and then revise them, rather than learning them in bits and pieces.
  • Even if aspirants are unable to cover a large portion of concepts, limited content should be revised to the maximum.
  • Previous year papers, mock question tests, sample questions especially MCQ and objective based should regularly be attempted by candidates.

Subject-Wise Tips

, english

  • Toppers advise candidates to revise basic concepts like Nouns, Active-Passive Voice, Synonyms, Antonyms, etc in order to understand the questions more clearly and answer better.
  • Often asked concepts in english include Grammar rules, Error in statements, Comprehension based questions.
  • Candidates are also advised to practice comprehension and writing skills under a strict timer to test their speed and accuracy.
  • Rather than focussing on technical and complex language, candidates should prioritize their answers to be legible and not fancy.
  • Toppers advise aspirants not to overlook english over general studies, since it is scoring and can easily advance your overall percentage.

, General Knowledge

Often repeated concepts under General Knowledge include:


  • Soil, Ocean Currents, Map Related Questions, Diseases, Physics numericals.
  • Usually up to Grade 10 level.
  • Toppers advise candidates to focus on topics as a whole and not in bits and pieces.


  • Peasantry, independence, important dates and events in India, defense related events and dates.


  • Important government schemes and bills passed, union budgets, knowledge of cabinet ministers, 5 year plans introduced, importance on both micro and macroeconomic concepts.
  • Candidates who have not previously studied Economics are advised not to spend excess time studying it.


  • Presidents, state power, fundamental rights, important bills, and legislations passed, important active laws.

, Elementary Mathematics

  • List down all relevant formulas and diagrams and revise them thoroughly till the paper.
  • Revise data interpretation through the formulation of graphs, charts, tables, etc.
  • Practice mock question papers, sample questions, and objective-based questions under a strict timer.

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