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

If you are preparing for any of the test be it CDS or CAPF you must know that both of examinations have its own difficulty level. Although the syllabu

If you are preparing for any of the test be it CDS or CAPF you must know that both of examinations have its own difficulty level. Although the syllabus is same for both of the tests but the number levels vary for each test. Let us see which test is tougher  CDS or capf and which one is easier to crack

CDS Viz a viz CAPF

UPSC conducts CDS examination twice a year. It has two parts majorly the first written exam and the other ssb. After one clears both, you get an air force or navy tag and bag the job. On the other hand CAPF is conducted only once every year by UPSC. There are three stages in which CAPF examination is conducted. The first part includes an essay type test that requires one to write an essay. The second stage is a physical efficiency test also known as PET and the third and final stage is a personal interview. After you clear all the stages you undergo a training and once that training is completed you are posted as an assistant commandant in your respective force. 

Type of the exams

let us see the type in which these two examinations take place. CAPF exam consist of both objective and subjective type and includes two papers. Paper 1 is comparatively easy with small objective type question. Only when you clear paper 1 your paper 2 will be assessed. Paper 2 on the other hand is difficult as it consists of total 200 marks and the total time given to complete paper 2 is 3 hours. In a span of 3 hours you need to complete 4 essays of 300 words each along with 2 argument topics, one comprehension, 2 report writing, one precise writing and one grammar question. So you have a lot to complete in paper 2 in just 3 hours. On the other hand CDS only consists of objective type question, either you answer it or you don’t. CDS checks your math and a major portion of the test has math questions. In case you are not good with math you will not clear this part of the test. 

Marks cut off

In CDS total marks to be scored for military academy, naval academy and air force academy is 300 marks whereas for OTA the minimum cut off is 200 marks. SSB is conducted later on after clearing the first round. 

CAPF cut off

Category Tier 1 cut off Tier 2 cut off
general 100-105 160-170
OBC 94-99 158-165
SC 81-86 145-152
ST 78-83 138-144


Number of attempts

There are no specified number of attempts for both of these tests. You can reappear multiple times till you attain 25 years of age. After 25 years of age you will not be able to appear for either CDS or CAPF.


To conclude, although both the examinations will judge you and your ability to be in the forces CDS is till comparatively easier than CAPF. Reasons being, CDS has objective questions in the test which includes topics like quants, maths and English. While CAPF consists of descriptive questions which one need to answer in a specific time limit and also the allotted time limit is less. Although CAPF sounds difficult due to its subjective pattern but to clear the second round of CDS that is SSB is also difficult. When one clears the first round of CDS then SSB is conducted which has a higher difficulty level. And in CAPF when you clear the first round then only your paper 2 is checked. So overall both of the exams have its own set of difficulties.

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