CDS™ Exam Structure

How Long Does the CDS Exam Last?

Structure: The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions to be completed in 3-hour sessions.

Time Management Preparation for CDS

Timing: On average, you should allow approximately 60 seconds for each multiple choice question. You may need more or less time, depending on the question and how well you understand the topic.

How to Study for the CDS™

Set Aside Enough Time to Study for the CDS Exam

The CDS Program enables candidates to customize their preparation to match individual needs and circumstances. Following are some numbers to consider in planning a study strategy for the CDS exam.

  • The average successful candidate reported spending 200 hours studying for the exam.
  • Since studying for the CDS exam is self-paced, candidates will spend varying amounts of time preparing for the exam depending on how long they have until their exam date. For example, if a candidate spent a year preparing for the CDS exam, the candidate would have needed to study about 25 hours per month.
  • Successful candidates report spending about 200 hours studying for each level.

Familiarize Yourself with CDS Exam Topics

The CDS Program curriculum is focused on the knowledge and comprehension of data science. The exam covers the following 10 topic areas:


Probability Theory, Statistics and Linear Algebra

Data Engineering and Databases

 Exploratory Data Analysis

Supervised Learning and Unsupervised Learning

Neural Networks and Deep Learning

Natural Language Processing

Computer Vision

Deployment and Model management

Python and R

Business and data science

Exam Weight











Practice with CDS Exam Sample Questions

Are you ready for the CDS exam? This sample exam for CDS provides a broad selection of the types of questions you’ll see on the exam.
If you are interested in taking the CDS exam, review the CDS Exam Requirements to see if you are ready to enroll. Once you are certain you meet the enrollment criteria, you can register for the CDS Exam.

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