How to Manage Time in the CDS Exam?

The Combined Defense Service exam commonly known as CDS exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. CDS exam is conducted twice in a year, CDS I in February and CDS II in September. 

Lakhs of aspirants appear for this National Level Defense Entrance exam to get admission in the various Defense training academies-

  • Indian Military Academy (IMA) – Dehradun
  • Indian Naval Academy (INA) – Ezhimala
  • Air Force Academy (AFA) –  Hyderabad
  • Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) – Chennai

Successfully taking the Combined Defence Services exam is a skill that generally requires a great deal of practice. Scoring high is not just about revoking everything you have learned in CDS syllabus throughout the preparation. Equal importance lies on the time management skills during the exam. 

The CDS Selection Process is divided into two stages:

  1. Written examination
  2. SSB Interview

For IMA, INA and AFA the written test comprises of three sections i.e. English, General Knowledge and Elementary Mathematics. For OTA there are only two sections in the written exam i.e. English and General Knowledge. Total marks for the written exam is 500 (100 each section) and the time duration allowed to complete the exam is 2 hours for each section. Interested candidates can go through the CDS Exam details on the linked page. 

Learning to manage the pace adequately so that ample time to work on each part of the exam is left at hand is imperative. Effective time management can help ensure that candidates complete the whole syllabus within time and do well in the Combined Defence Services Exam. 

Through this article we will walk you through some realistic and important time management tips that can help you in the final face off of the CDS exam. 

Tips for Time Management in UPSC CDS 

  1. Knowing the syllabus and Exam format: Whether it is a CDS exam or any other competitive exam, candidates must always keep abreast with the latest format of the exam pattern and syllabus. Knowing the syllabus and exam pattern beforehand helps to strategize and give ideas about how to approach the study materials. 
  2. Study Schedule is a must: it is important to create a timetable for diligent preparation. The study schedule should be realistic and should suit the daily routine of candidates to which they can commit to. Following a set time schedule for each subject or topics of syllabus ensures that enough time is allocated to studying and establishes a pattern for study for candidates. Study schedules also help to hone skills of time management for the actual exam.
  3. Work on the weak points: Devoting extra time to work on your weak areas helps in a few ways. It lets you be better prepared for questions that aren’t your strong suit. This will allow you to spend much less time worrying about the questions when you encounter them on the exam paper. Additionally, it will help develop strategies for dealing with such questions efficiently and quickly.
  4. Read every question carefully: When you get the exam paper it is advised that you go through each and every line of the question paper. Skimming through the question paper helps find important information related to the examination that might be tucked away and you will also figure out which questions are easy or you would answer, if given a choice. 
  5. Take up the easy questions at first: A sound time-management strategy says that during the exam one should answer the easy questions first. The idea behind it is that you allow yourself extra time to work on the difficult sections. You will do such questions quickly, probably quicker than you had thought for while preparing for the CDS exam. This way, you will never skip any question thinking that it is difficult and will not run the risk of never returning to the question you have skipped.
  6. Prioritize questions of worth: To save time, focus on the questions that are worth the most points but only after you are done with all easy questions. Once done with easy questions, take up the questions that carry more points. This way you will spend a little less time but definitely will bag more marks. Take an example, doing one question of 20 marks is worth more time than spending time on 10 questions for 10 points.
  7. Keep an eye on the Clock: Most importantly, to keep a check on time management, see to it that you take your own watch and keep track of it continuously. There may not be a clock in the examination hall and of course, you are not allowed to take cell phones inside. Therefore, to stick to the time you alloted to yourself, it is important to take your own watch without fail. 

You might feel a little anxious while taking the Combined Defence Services exam and might want to hurry up and get over with the test, but pacing yourself is what you call time management. So, pace adequately and no need to hurry as you might make a critical mistake. 

Candidates interested in preparing for the CDS exam can go through the CDS Notification on the given link, the Union Public Service Commission has recently announced the CDS 1 2021 notification.