Wing Commander Pooja Thakur leading the Guard of Honour for US President Barack Obama during last month’s VIP visit made Indians proud. The officer later said that being in the armed forces was not just a job, it was a way of life.
So, what does it take to join the forces? For those interested, the first step is clearing the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) twice a year to recruit officers for the Army, Navy and Air Force, followed by an interview with the Services Selection Board (SSB). The SSB uses various methods like interview, group testing and psychological tests to assess a candidate.
While appearing for the CDS exam, you may opt for regular or short service entry courses. A final merit, based on written marks and performance in the SSB, is prepared and selected potential officers are then put through rigorous training at the Indian Military Academy, the Indian Naval Academy or the Air Force Academy and the Officers Training Academy (OTA).
All about CDS exam
There are three papers (English, general knowledge and math) of 100 marks each for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. Candidates have to clear two papers (English and general knowledge) for admission to the OTA.
Talking about the exam pattern, Colonel DJS Chahal, who has served the armed forces for about 25 years, says, “Candidates must pay particular attention to fundamental terms and concepts that describe important events. Use the process of elimination while attempting the paper. Practice sample questions from 2009 to 2013 of NCERT books.”
“For getting a permanent ­commission in any service, the candidate has to appear in all three papers whereas for getting entry as a short service officer in army the candidate has to clear only first two papers. Books such as CDSE pathfinder from Arihant publications and English grammar from Wren and Martin will help,” says Tejinder Singh Sidhu, who cleared CDS in 2014.
What it takes
# Candidates are judged on abilities such as reasoning, confidence, stamina, expression (written and oral) ability to influence others with their logical arguments, etc
# Sense of responsibility, ability to work in a team and self discipline are also essential