NDA vs CDS Know The Difference

Jan 12, 2023, 16:45 IST

The comparisons and differences made here will make understanding how the NDA and CDS differ easier. The best ways to join the Indian Defense Forces are through either of these tests. Applicants can join

  1. Indian Army
  2. Indian Navy
  3. Indian Air Force through these entries.

Read this article to know the difference between NDA and CDS exams. But before understanding the differences between these two, it is important to understand everything about NDA and CDS.

NDA vs CDS Know The Difference

Introduction to exam

NDA Exam

  • The training facility for the cadets of India's three defensive lines is called the National Defense Academy, or NDA (Army, Air Force, and Navy). Besides, the NDA exam serves as the basis for the entire selection process to find qualified applicants for the academy to train at. This exam, which includes both a written examination and an interview, is twice yearly.

CDS Exam

  • The exam for the Combined Defense Services is thus known as CDS. An annual national-level exam chooses qualified young people for India's many military forces. People who wish for a fantastic opportunity to serve their country by joining the military can do so by taking this exam.
  • The UPSC CDS exam is given to individuals who want to join the following armed forces:
  1. Army of India
  2. Navy of India
  3. Air Force of India
  4. Naval Academy
  5. Academy for Officers' Training

Differences between NDA and CDS

There are many similarities and differences between NDA and CDS as well as the opportunities they present. Defense aspirants should be aware of all the similarities and distinctions between the CDS exam and the NDA exam to make an informed choice. Every aspect of NDA vs. CDS in various situations has been covered below.

The National Defense Academy (NDA) of the Indian Armed Forces is a joint services academy. Before moving on to their respective service academies for added pre-commissioning training, the Army, Navy, and Air Force cadets undergo joint training. Candidates for the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy are chosen using the Combined Defense Services (CDS) test.

NDA VS CDS eligibility

  • Many factors go into figuring out a candidate's eligibility, including age, marital status, height, weight, and educational background. Applicants must understand the qualifying requirements for both the NDA and CDS Tests for both exams. The following list of varied factors decides whether a candidate is eligible for the NDA exam or the CDS exam. –

Educational requirements for the NDA and CDS exams

  • For both the NDA and CDS Exams, applicants must meet different minimum educational requirements. The elements that include information about the individual educational requirements for both exams are provided below.

For the NDA Exam

  • Candidates must have completed their senior secondary education from an accredited board or university to join the National Defense Academy's army branch.
  • Candidates must have completed senior secondary education in the science stream with physics and math as the required subjects, administered by a recognized institution or Board, to join Air Force and Naval wings through the NDA.

For the CDS Exam

  • Candidates who wish to enroll in the Indian Military Academy must hold a graduate degree from a recognized institution.
  • Candidates who wish to enroll in the Indian Naval Academy (INA) must hold a B. Tech. or BE degree from an accredited institution.
  • Candidates for the Air Force Academy must have a Bachelor of technology. Or B.E. degree and have completed their senior secondary schooling in the science stream (physics, chemistry, and math) for the NDA and CDS exams, the age restriction, and marital status.

The eligibility requirements for the NDA and CDS Exams differ in the marital status of their applicants. These are the factors that significantly affect the distinction between the NDA and CDS exams. The relevant points for each exam are shown below separately-

For the NDA exam

  • Female candidates and married candidates are both ineligible to take the NDA Exam.
  • The candidate's age ranges from 15.7 years old to 18.7 years old.
  • The applicant must ensure that the date of birth said on the application matches the date of birth listed on the matriculation or secondary school diploma.

For the CDS exam

  • Male candidates who wish to apply for admission to the Indian Military Academy must be single and unmarried.
  • In addition to being male and not married, applicants for the Naval Forces academy exam must meet these requirements.
  • Male applicants who pass this exam and qualify for admission to the Air Force Academy must be under 25 years old and unmarried. Candidates older than 25 are not allowed to live with their families inside the building or get family housing. Additionally, the candidate is not allowed to get married while under training.
  • Male candidates who meet the requirements for the Officers' Training Academy (SSC for Men) must be single before taking the exam.
  • Candidates must be single women, issueless divorcees with a divorce decree who have not remarried, or issueless widows who have not remarried to be eligible for the officers' Training Academy (SSC for women).

Physical requirements for the NDA and CDS Exams

  • The requirement for passing the physical standards for the NDA and CDS Exams since the UPSC Medical Board thoroughly evaluates the applicant to decide whether they will qualify to operate in the relevant sector. Therefore, individuals who meet the physical requirements set forth by UPSC will qualify.
  • There are specific considerations for each exam are presented below, including the following-


  • The minimum height requirement to apply for or take the NDA exam is 157 cm, while the minimum height requirement to join the Air Force through the NDA exam is 162.5 cm.
  • Candidates from the eastern part of the country, such as Kumaon, Garhwal, etc., should be 5 cm shorter than the minimum height that is considered acceptable.
  • On the UPSC website's official page, candidates can obtain the pertinent information (weight for various heights and ages) and instructions for learning about the weight and eligibility of these requirements.
  • A completely expanded chest must be at least 81 cm in length.
  • Additionally, it is suggested that the candidate review the policies on visual impairment.
  • Candidates are only allowed to get permanent tattoos on the back of their hands, from the inside of the elbow to the inside of the wrist. The individual will be disqualified if they have a permanent tattoo on any other part of their body.


  • To be effective in carrying out CDS tasks, the candidate must be free from any illness or disabilities.
  • The candidates having permanent tattoos on the reverse side of the palm, the inner side of the elbow to the wrist, can only fit the qualifying conditions. The individual will be disqualified if the tattoo is seen anywhere other than the areas listed above.
  • For a candidate to be considered, they must meet the requirements for their visual and auditory abilities. Candidates must review the requirements and applicable guidelines for the position they are looking for because the standards or criteria for various jobs or positions may differ.
  • The minimum height requirements for males are 157 cm for the Navy and 162.5 cm for the Air Force, while the minimum height requirement for women is 152 cm.
  • The applicant who has experienced a mental breakdown in the past will also get a chance of rejection.

  You can also check for Best preparation strategy for Airforce XY Group 


Many variables significantly build a distinction between the many sides of NDA and CDS. You can learn relevant information about both NDA and CDS with the aid of the material provided in this article. Additionally, the information and facts in this article should help the applicants keep up with the requirements and obligations related to both exams and understand the distinction between NDA and CDS.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How to Register for the NDA Exam?

Ans. From the official UPSC website or the direct URL supplied below, candidates can send an online application for the NDA exam. To upload in the online form, they need scanned copies of their picture, signature, and other supporting documents.

Q2. What posts come under CDS?

Ans. The starting point of an officer career in the Indian Armed Forces is the Lieutenant (Army), Sub Lieutenant (Navy), and Flying Officer (Airforce) upon passing the CDS.

Q3. NDA Training lasts how long?

Ans. For the impending duties and responsibilities, the NDA training helps the candidates develop and improve their skills. The Indian Military Academy is where the NDA training is conducted for three years.

Q4. How many tries are allowed for CDS 2023?

Ans. The eligibility age is 20 years old. Every time the notification is sent during that time, a candidate of the proper age who meets all the other requirements and is under the prescribed maximum age may apply. The UPSC CDS 2023 test application process allows for an unlimited number of attempts.

Q5. Which is easier NDA or CDS?

Ans. The CDS written exam is easier than the NDA written exam. But in the case of SSB, the recommendation of candidates is tougher in CDS as compared to NDA.

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