Best Books for CDS Exam 2023 (GS, Mathematics & English)

Best CDS Books for GS, Mathematics & English

Every year over 2 lakh students apply for CDS examination. Out of which less than ten thousand clear written examinations and below 1000 or sometimes 500 students clear SSB. 

The toughness of examination can be concluded from the same. However, as an aspirant, you have to keep trying with more effort each time.

Well, no matter whether you are giving the exam for the first time or have given a couple of times before, books always play an important role while preparing for the examination.

And, in this post we are here with some of the best books for the cds examination.

After reading this post, you will get to know:

  • A bit about the CDS exam
  • The complete exam pattern & 
  • Some of the best books you can choose for preparation.

Let’s dive right in.

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About CDS Examination

CDS stands for Combined Defense Services. It is conducted by UPSC twice a year for the recruitment of Indian military academy (IMA), Indian naval academy (INA), Air force academy (AFA) & Officers training academy (OTA).

Out of the above courses, girls are only allowed in Officers training academy. The exam is conducted every year in the month of February & November.

Let’s have a look at the examination pattern of CDS.

CDS Exam Pattern

The syllabus of IMA, INA and AFA consists of English, General Awareness & Elementary Mathematics.On the other hand the syllabus of OTA (Officers Training Academy) comprises only English & General Awareness.

A time span of 2hr is given for each part & the maximum marks allotted to each section is 100. Below is a bit more information about the examination.

  • Medium of Examination: Hindi & English
  • Time Span: 2 hrs (for each section)
  • Exam Mode: Offline 
  • Question Type: MCQs (Objective Type)

Subject-wise Best Books for CDS Exam

I have listed some of the best books for the CDS examination below. These books include study material, practice sets & previous year papers for each section.

Best English Books for CDS

Let’s have a look at the best books for preparation for the CDS exam.

  1. English Improvement Course (DGP)

One of the best books for the preparation of English. English Improvement Course is a complete book by Dhillon Group Of Publications.

It’s not an English-speaking coursebook but made for you to improve your Grammar, vocabulary, writing & much more.

Competitive exam question papers are also given at the end of this book which is quite helpful for CDS examination.

English Improvement Course: #1 Best Books for CDS Exam

Publication: DGP (Dhillon Group Of Publications)

2. English Grammar & Composition (by S.C. Gupta)

Another awesome book for preparation of various competitive examinations including CDS. 

Divided into 69 chapters, this book covers every aspect of grammar that includes spelling rules, formation of words, spotting the error, word power, idioms & phrases, palindromes, synonyms, antonyms, and much more.

It also comes with more than 7000-word knowledge & 550 solved exercises.

English Grammar & Composition by Arihant

Publication: Arihant

Best GK Books for CDS

I think the below infographic regards to the blueprint of GK for CDS might help you.

gs blueprint cds

Image Source: Defence Direct Education

Let’s dive right into the best GK books for the CDS exam.

1. General Knowledge (by Manohar Pandey)

We usually suggest students read the latest newspapers instead of any book for General Knowledge. However, you can also purchase the latest edition of this book.

This book covers all current events along with History, Geography, Polity, Economics, and General awareness.

It is one of the best you can purchase for the preparation of competitive examinations.

Note: Always buy the latest edition of GK books so as to get the latest knowledge (e.g. General Knowledge)

image 1

Publisher: Arihant

2. 14000+ Objective GK Questions (by Manohar Pandey)

Another book from the same author Manohar Pandey for CDS exam practice. This book comprises more than 14000 questions based on General Knowledge.

Questions from the following topics are included in this book: Indian History and culture, India & World Geography, Polity, Economy, General Science, GK & Current Affairs. 

You can use the first book to study the concepts & the second for practice problems based on them. Also, make sure to purchase the latest edition.

image 2

Publisher: Arihant

Best Mathematics Book for CDS

The complete list of best Mathematics books for CDS is given below:

1. Mathematics for CDS Entrance by R.S. Aggarwal

One of the best mathematics books for the CDS exam by R.S. Aggarwal & the only one with a lot of solved MCQ problems.

The best thing about it is, this book is specially made for CDS students & covers almost all topics of arithmetic, mensuration, algebra, trigonometry, geometry & statistics.

Along with that previous year papers of mathematics is also available in this book for better practice.

Mathematics book for CDS exam

Publication: S. Chand

2. Pathfinder CDS Examination

Pathfinder for CDS is only & one of its kind. It is the complete book for the CDS examination with all the three sections covered, English, Maths & General Awareness.

In this book, you will find more than 800 MCQ problems that can help you quickly revise the overall topic.

Along with that previous year’s papers (usually last 5 years) are also given at the start of this book.

Make sure you have purchased the latest edition of this book for updated previous year’s papers.

image 3

Publisher: Arihant

Solved Paper for CDS Examination

If you are looking for solved papers for CDS, then you can choose from the below books.

1. CDS: Chapterwise Solved Papers (2007-19)

Previous year’s questions are really important for any exam as they give a brief idea of how questions are asked in the exam.

This book consists of chapterwise solved papers for the last 13 years which I think is more than enough for overall practice.

This book consists of solved papers for all three sections, i.e. English, GA, and Mathematics. You can buy it from Amazon or Flipkart using the link below.

Last 13 Years CDS Solved Papers

Author: GKP

2. CDS Solved Paper Chapter-wise & Section Wise (Arihant)

Arihant is also one of the best publishers & in this book they have provided the last 5 year solved papers. 

Same as the above books, this one also provides chapter-wise solutions to previous year’s questions so as to make it quite easy for you to practice each chapter individually.

If we compare this with the above GKP book, then the above one is a clear winner as they have provided solved papers for the last 13 years.

However, if you don’t want to go much deeper then you can surely try this book. It also comes with all three sections, Maths, GA, and English.

CDS Solved Papers by Arihant

Publisher: Arihant

Related Readings:


I have shared more than 6 books for the preparation of the CDS examination & I think these are more than enough.

Also, you can use the below techniques to ace your exam:

  • Read some of the best newspapers continuously. Some of them are The Hindu, Indian Express & Times of India.
  • Follow YouTube channels for current affairs.
  • Join Whatsapp group related to CDS for latest updates.

I hope you love these techniques.

Do you use any other book for your CDS exam preparation? (Share in comments)


How much time is allotted for each section in the exam?

A time span of 2 hr is given for each part & the maximum mark allotted for each section is 100.

Which NCERT book to read for CDS?

The major part of history & geography in the CDS exam is usually asked from NCERT books. So you should go through History & Geography books up to class X.

Which is the best book for the preparation of current affairs?

We usually suggest students read the latest newspapers instead of any book for current affairs. However, If you’re looking for a specific book, then you can go for the latest edition of General Knowledge by Manohar Pandey.

Are these books also applicable for CDS OTA?

Yes of course. The syllabus of OTA comprises only English & General Awareness. So the same English & GA books are applicable for OTA.

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