careerwill app careerwill app NDA CDS WHICH IS BETTTER NDA OR CDS

Difference Between NDA & CDS – Which to choose and why ?

Both NDA and CDS provide a golden opportunity for students to be in the armed forces of India. NDA stands for National Defense Academy, and CDS is the Combined Defense Service Examination.

Now when the question of choosing the better one from these two is asked, there are several confusions and debates because both provide a great opportunity for a successful career. To know which is better, we must first learn the differences between NDA and CDS.

Today in this article, we will discuss the different parameters to clarify the queries.

Checkout : Difference between AFCAT and CDS Exam

Let’s begin with the difference between NDA and CDS exams.

NDA – Introduction 

Let’s discuss the eligibility criteria and other parameters of the NDA exam.

NDA is an entrance exam that allows entry to  eligible candidates for the Army, Navy, and Air Force wings of the National Defense Academy. The exam takes place in two phases.NDA-1 official notification is released in the last week of December, and the exam takes place in April, whereas for NDA-2 it is in May, and the exam takes place in September.

NDA- Age Limit 

There are certain differences in the age limit for NDA and CDS exams. Here is the age limit for the NDA.

  • Minimum Age – 16.5 years 
  • Maximum Age – 19.5 years

Both Male & Female Candidates can apply.

NDA- Educational Qualifications 

  • Students appearing in class 12 can apply for NDA.
  • Students who have passed class 12 can apply for NDA.

Educational Qualification for Army Wing: 

  • To apply for Army wing, one must have passed senior secondary school.

For Air Force and Naval Wings: 

  • Students must have passed class 12th with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry to be eligible for Air Force and Naval wings.

NDA- Training Period & Centers

NDA and CDS have the same selection process- written exam and SSB Interview. After the selection process, candidates must go for training at their respective academies. Here is the training period for different wings –

  • The total duration for NDA training is around four to four and a half years.
  • The training period for NDA is three years and IMA is one year for army cadets.
  • The training period for Naval Cadets is three years at Naval Academy and one year at the Naval Defense Academy.
  • The training period for AF cadets is three years and one and half years in AFA Hyderabad.

Training Center- 

  • National Defense Academy, Khandelwal, Pune
  • Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
  • Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala 
  • Hyderabad’s Indian Air Force Academy

NDA- Degree After Training 

  • The Army Cadet will receive a  Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Science (Computer)/Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science (Computer)/Bachelor of Science (Computer)/Bachelor of Science (Com
  • Naval Cadets: Bachelor of Technology
  • The Candidates of Air Force receive  degree of  Bachelor of Technology .NDA – Exam Pattern
Total Number of PapersGeneral Ability Test (GAT)Mathematics
Exam duration2.5 hours each paper
Number of QuestionsGAT: 150Mathematics: 120
Total MarksWritten Exam: 900SSB Interview: 900

CDS- Introduction

CDS is a combined Defense Service to get selection for the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy.

CDS- Age Limit 

Age limit criteria are different or different sectors in the CDS exam.  Female candidates can only apply for OTA through CDS entry. Here are the age limit criteria for different sectors- 

  • IMA:19 to 25 Years
  • AFA: 19-23 Years
  • INA: 19-22 Years 
  • OTA: 19-25 Years

CDS: Education Qualification

The educational Qualification for the different department is different. Here is the information for the same – 

  •  IMA and OTA require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • For INA, the candidate must have an engineering degree from a recognized University.
  • For Air Force Academy (AFA) candidate must have a Graduation degree (with Physics and Mathematics at Class 12) or Bachelor of Engineering.

CDS: Training Period 

  • The duration for CDS training is around 18 months.
  • Navy officers can expect to be on duty for 37 to 40 months.
  • The training for Officers in the Air Force lasts for 74 weeks.

CDS- Centers

  • Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun for Army cadets
  • Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala for Navy cadets,
  • Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai,
  • Indian Air Force Academy in Hyderabad for Air Force Officers.

CDS- Degree after training 

  • The candidates of IMA Army Cadets will receive a degree of  PG Diploma “Military and Defense Management. 
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Defense Management and Strategic Studies, OTA Chennai

CDS: Exam Pattern 

Total Number of PapersIMA, AFA, and INA: Elementary Mathematics, English and General Knowledge
Exam duration2 hours for each paper.
Number of QuestionsMath: 100English: 120General Knowledge: 120
Total MarksFor IMA, INA, and AFA: – 300OTA: 200SSB Interview AFA, IMA, INA -300 marks each OTA – 200 marks 

Which is better – NDA or CDS?

NDA and CDS are excellent opportunities to have a successful career. The CDS exam is more straightforward than the NDA, but the recommendation of candidates for SSB is more stringent in CDS than in NDA. 

Now coming back to the question of which is better, NDA or CDS; so, it depends on the candidate.

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference Between NDA and CDS

Q1- What rank does a cadet get after completion of training through NDA or CDS?

 A1- In both the entries, candidates get the same rank of Lieutenant. The difference lies in the training period of both the entries. The training duration of NDA is around 4-4.5 years whereas in CDS it’s around 18 months.

Q2- Which is easier NDA or CDS?

A2-On comparison of both the exams – CDS exam is quite challenging than NDA exam. The level of NDA exam is of school level while that of CDS is graduate level. Also, CDS exam is administered by UPSC and that’s why it is more complicated.

Q3- What is the pay scale of NDA and CDS?

A3- The stipend of NDA candidates is around INR 56, 100 per month during their training period and CDS commissioned officers are paid INR 56,100 to 2,25,000 depending upon their ranks.

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