Careers

Arm yourself to clear the CDS exam

Doff your caps: Officers greet one another at a passing-out parade at the Officers' Training Academy in Chennai.

Doff your caps: Officers greet one another at a passing-out parade at the Officers' Training Academy in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: A_Muralitharan

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The examination conducted twice a year is open to young graduates for entry to the Officers' Training Academy in Chennai and the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun.

The Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination has been a gateway to the Indian Defence forces, remaining an attraction for the youth. The examination is conducted for admission to the Officers' Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai and the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehra Dun in February/ March and August/September every year.

A career in the defence forces is a cause of pride and prestige, in addition to the status and security it offers. There are, of course, innumerable challenges, but there are also opportunities to explore your hidden potential, to hone your skills, and chisel your personality.

Nowadays, women of India are also taking up the examination enthusiastically and in the process breaking the stereotype of women as homemakers.

The CDS examination provides the biggest opportunity to science and non-science stream graduates in the 21-25 age group to join the Defence forces.

The examination for the OTA consists of two papers — test of English language and test of general knowledge/general awareness, including current affairs.

The examination for the IMA consists of one more paper — test of mathematical ability.

Qualifying in the English paper is compulsory in all competitive exams nowadays. Despite being capable and potential contenders, some students trail behind because of their poor English.

So here are some tips for tackling the English language section of the CDS examination.

The English language has two main components: vocabulary and grammar.

The vocabulary part starts with important words, their meanings, and usage, followed by synonyms and antonyms, which are necessary to make the writing impressive and interesting.

One should develop a fascination for vocabulary building. Vocabulary building also covers important idioms and phrases in order to impart the finishing touch to your language. Some special words signifying some specific occupations, professions, trades, phobias, and manias need to be mastered, which require repeated and regular practice. One cannot check one's level of competence in vocabulary building unless one undergoes rigorous practice of multiple-choice questions.

Basically, vocabulary building consists of 10 verticals: words and their meanings; their usage; synonyms; antonyms; idioms and phrases; one word substitution; word formation; specific words; spelling of words; and multiple-choice questions.

The grammar part again consists of 10 verticals: parts of speech (number/gender form of noun, degrees of comparison, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, and other cases); tenses; voice; narration; the right understanding of modals and determiners; and non-finites; knowledge of common errors; reading comprehension; sentence completion; and sentence correction.

To tackle the general knowledge segment, focus must be on history, polity, geography, science, general awareness, and current affairs. Reading of class X science textbooks, along with a monthly current affairs magazine to keep in touch with current affairs, will suffice.

The test of mathematical ability segment tests a candidate's intelligence-quotient level and speed. To crack this segment, one must able to use matriculation-level mathematical formulae, their applications, tricks and short cuts to solve problems in the given time.

Read the NCERT mathematics textbooks for the ninth and 10th standards.

Success tips

Brush up the fundamentals of English

Build up vocabulary

Prepare brief notes in general knowledge

For current affairs, read one monthly magazine

Practise answering MCQs

Solve previous years' question papers

Take mock tests

Author of Tata McGraw Hill's Study Package for CDS exam

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 1:16:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/careers/arm-yourself-to-clear-the-cds-exam/article2988150.ece

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