CDS Preparation: GS Paper

CDS Preparation For General Studies

This is a guest blog by Satyendra.

In this blog, I am going to talk about how an aspirant can make a good strategy to qualify the CDS exam. Often the new players make the mistake of spending too much time on current affairs, but majority of the paper is made up of static/theory topics only. Even in Economy and Polity while lot of current events take place but majority of the MCQs are centered on theory only.


In the market, there is no dearth of waste material with ready-made guides on CDS and mock tests and what not. Analyzing the past question papers reveals that you need to restrict yourself to below three sources for preparation.

  • NCERT Books
  • Indian Polity by Laxmikant
  • Current Affairs Monthly Notes By Vision IAS

First, we will see how to approach the static topics (History, Geography, Science, Polity and Economy), then we will focus on how to prepare for current affairs.

History & Culture

  • Before 2011, UPSC used to ask trivial GK question from kings, war timelines etc. Please do not waste your time in preparation of these questions & topics.
  • Nowadays majority of the questions are usually centered around culture or just ‘true/false/find correct statement; cause-effect-reasons’ type questions.
  • In Ancient period, the MCQs mostly come from 2 topics:
  1. Harappa Civilization & Mohenjo Daro Civilization
  2. Jainism & Buddhism

Modern India

NCERTs do not cover all MCQ worthy topics from within the Modern history / freedom struggle. Therefore you must do following:

  • Read GS manual multiple times for this section.
  • OR use Spectrum publication’s brief history of Modern India.
  • And then solve the Mock Questions.

Topics required to cover for preparation of modern India.

  • 1857 revolt and its impact
  • Mahatma Gandhi and his contribution in freedom struggle (cover in details)
  • Nationalist Movement
  • Framing the constitution


In both Civil service exam and CDS exam, polity MCQs form a significant portion. The cost: benefit ratio is quite good.

Don’t study the whole book. Instead focus on below topics:

  • President, Vice President & their powers. Role of Governors. Emergency Provisions.
  • PM, Cabinet, Cabinet Minister
  • Parliamentary system, State Legislative Assembly
  • Supreme Court and High Court
  • Attorney General, CAG, Advocate General
  • Election Commission, NITI Aayog

Focus more on

  • Citizenship, Fundamental Rights, Directive Principle of State Policy
  • UT, Panchayat Raj, Municipality
  • Major Amendments of Constitution

Science & Technology

UPSC generally asks questions on basic science and technology. If you are from science background and good at what you have studied then this section would be a cake walk for you. For non – science background students, I would suggest just cover important topics from NCERTs (upto class – X).

International Relations

Various International Summits, their locations & themes

Agreements between India & its neighbours for border & island issues.

Joint Military exercises

Various International Organizations such as NATO, WTO, ASEAN etc.

Election of PM & President of different nations.

Cover all of the above topics from current affairs only.(VISION IAS monthly current affairs notes).


  • Earth & its atmosphere
  • Earthquakes & oceans
  • Physical geography (rocks, mineral etc.)
  • River system of India

Don’t go deeper into it if you have less time.


Prepare this from current affairs only if you have less time.

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