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Which exam is tougher: the CDS or the CAPF exam?


Which exam is tougher: the CDS or the CAPF exam?

Benefits of CDS and CAPF

After a candidate successfully attempts and passes the CDS and CAPF exams, there are a lot of perks and benefits. Along with the salary, the officers are given high regard in the society, different allowances for daily supplies and other benefits like support for medical insurance and child education funds. Another important aspect to be addressed is the part where you get to grow immensely in the organization. This also ensures a more luxurious and respectable life. 

To understand which paper is tougher, we need to look at the CDS Exam Pattern and CAPF Exam Pattern separately. Both the exam patterns are provided below. 


CAPF Exam Pattern

Paper  - 1

Subjects - General Ability & Intelligence

Maximum Marks - 250

Exam Type - Computer-based test (Objective).

Languages the exam will be conducted in - Hindi and English.

Time Allotted - 2 hours.

Negative Mark Scheme - You will lose 0.33 marks for every wrong answer. 

Paper - 2 

Subjects - General Studies, Essay, & Comprehension. 

Maximum Marks  - 200.

Exam Type - Descriptive. 


Physical Efficiency Test

100 Meters RaceComplete in 16 secondsComplete in 18 seconds
800 Meters RaceComplete in 3 minutes 45 secondsComplete in 4 minutes 45 seconds
Long Jump3.5 Meters (In 3 chances)3.0 Meters (In 3 chances)
Shot Put (7.26 kg)4.5 MetersN.A.


Interview & Personality Test

Maximum Marks - 150


Exam Pattern for CDS

The CDS Examination has 2 parts. The written exam and the interview process. 

CDS Written Exam Pattern For IMA, AFA, INA
Sl No.SubjectDuration / MarksTotal
1.English2 Hours / 100


6 hours / 300 Marks

2.General Knowledge 2 Hours / 100
3.Elementary Maths2 Hours / 100

For all incorrect answers in this area of the CDS exam, 0.33 marks will be deducted.


CDS OTA Written Exam
Sl No.SubjectDuration / MarksTotal
1.English2 hours / 1004 hours / 200 marks
2.General Knowledge2 hours / 100

For all incorrect answers in this area of the CDS exam, O.33 marks will be deducted.


The Interview process for the CDS Exam

Stage 1 and Stage 2 interviews will be done. After passing the stage 1 test, candidates will be invited to take the stage 2 exam.

Stage 1: It has OIR that is Officer Intelligence Rating, PP and DT tests.

Stage 2: The second stage includes Psychology assessments, Tasks, Interview, & Conference. This set of exams will be held over four days.


Which is tougher, the CDS paper or CAPF paper?

Now that you have a clear picture of what makes these exams different, let us discuss how and what are the characteristics of the CDS paper and CAPF paper. 


Unique Style

Both the CDS examination and the CAPF examination have a unique style. Both recruit candidates to similar fields. One difference between the CDS Exam and the CAPF examination is the fact that the CDS examination is held twice a year. Even though the CDS Examination is conducted twice a year, there are factors that we need to look at before coming to the decision as to which exam is tougher.



The competition levels for both exams are different. The probability to pass in the CAPF paper is lesser than in the CDS paper. The number of participants in the CAPF examination is lesser. This tips the scales in favour of the CDS exams a little but is not a complete analysis that the CDS Examination is easier in this context. 


Syllabus Difference

There is one major difference in the CAPF Syllabus compared to the CDS Syllabus. You can find that In the CDS syllabus, the subject logical reasoning is not there. But in the CAPF Exam syllabus, logical reasoning is there. Let us look at another aspect of the exams mentioned. 


Physical Tests

In the CDS examination, there is a compulsory medical fitness test that every candidate has to go through. But in the CAPF examination, the physical fitness test is also one of the major parts of the selection criteria. Candidates who are attempting the CAPF exams have to be aware of the performance in the 100 & 800 meters race, long jump and the shot put (7.26 Kgs). 


Difficulty Comparison

When referring to the difficulty level comparison of the CDS and CAPF examinations, we can understand one fact clearly. According to the experts, the toughness level of the CDS Examination is more than the CAPF Examination. This is a very important aspect concerning both the exams. Since the CDS provides entry to the IMA, Indian Navy and the Air force, the paper is set as such a way to select the most qualified and aligned candidates for the roles. 

To end the discussion, the CDS examination is a bit tougher than the CAPF Exam. We can say this because apart from one or two instances of difference, both the exams are almost identical. 


upGrad Jeet’s Courses for CDS and CAPF

upGrad Jeet has one of the best online study courses for both CDS and CAPF examinations. The course is strategically packed with the best study materials with respect to the CDS Exam Syllabus and the CAPF Exam Syllabus. It also will provide you with the best approach to crack the CDS Exam Paper and the CAPF exam paper. 

The coaching provided by upGrad Jeet includes the best mock exams, doubt and revision sessions after a detailed study of each topic mentioned in the syllabus. We wish all candidates success in their exam preparation.

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