BCS Preparation : How to Start from Scratch and Ace the Exam? The Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) exam is undoubtedly the most prestigious and competitive exam in Bangladesh. With only around 2,000 vacancies against over 2 million applicants every year, the exam has an acceptance rate lower than Ivy League universities like Harvard and Stanford.
Clearing the BCS exam opens the doors to a secure and respectable government job. BCS officers hold key positions across ministries and shape policies that impact millions of lives. It’s no wonder that the exam attracts the best and brightest minds in the country.
However, cracking the BCS Preparation is no cakewalk. It requires diligent preparation over several years. Aspirants usually start gearing up during their undergraduate college years. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start BCS preparation from scratch and develop a winning strategy:
Step 1: Get the Basic Info Clear Understand the exam pattern and syllabus in detail. The BCS exam consists of three stages:
- Preliminary MCQ Test
- Written Exam (9 papers)
- Viva Voce
The preliminary test has 200 multiple choice questions from a wide range of topics like Bangladesh affairs, international affairs, analytical reasoning, math, English etc. It acts as a screening tool to shortlist candidates for the main exam.
The written exam covers major subjects like Bangla, English, General Science, General Knowledge, International Affairs, Computer Science etc. There are about 900 marks divided across 9 compulsory papers.
Finally, the viva voce round checks your personality and depth of knowledge. The interview panel asks about your background, interests, social issues, and Bangladesh’s history and culture.
Understanding the syllabus will help you plan your studies accordingly. The BPSC website contains previous years’ questions and is a good resource.
Step 2: Read Bangla and English Newspapers Daily Newspapers offer the best preparation for the Preliminary MCQ round. Stay updated on current affairs, national and international news, technology, economy, sports etc. by reading leading Bangla and English newspapers every day.
Jot down and revise important points from news articles. This will build your general knowledge and help answer MCQ questions quickly.
Step 3: Pay Special Attention to Bangladesh Affairs Bangladesh history, geography, culture, literature and current affairs get emphasis in all BCS exam stages.
Thoroughly study school textbooks like Bangladesher Itihas, Bangladesh Studies, and higher secondary level books. Read books on the Liberation War, biography of Bangabandhu (Unfinished Memoirs), and classic Bangla literature (required reading lists).
Brush up your knowledge on Bangladesh’s major rivers, cities, tourist spots, festivals, traditional art forms, cuisine, tribal population etc. Stay updated on the latest government policies, Five Year Plan goals, ministries etc.
Step 4: Improve English and Bangla Language Skills Proficiency in the Bangla and English language is critical for the written exam and interview. For Bangla, read novels, poetry and essays by acclaimed authors. Watch plays and listen to speeches of experts to build vocabulary.
For English, expand your reading – news articles, editorials, novels, short stories etc. Watch English news channels, talk shows, and movies. Practice writing formal letters and essays in English.
Step 5: Cover the Academic Subjects History, economics, sociology, physics, chemistry, math, biology, geography, computer science etc. form a major chunk of the written exam syllabus.
Make subject-wise notes from NCERT textbooks which are recommended by BCS toppers. Read additional books and reference guides for in-depth study.
Solve previous years’ BCS questions to understand the paper pattern and important topics. Master commonly asked topics and analyses why certain questions are repeated.
Step 6: Give Mock Tests to Assess Readiness Take mock tests every few months based on the BCS preliminary exam pattern. This will help assess your MCQ solving speed, accuracy and identify knowledge gaps.
Later in your preparation, take mock written tests covering all subjects. Analyze your performance to know which subjects need more attention.
Keep revising mock tests of past years’ prelims and written papers in the final few months before the exam.
Step 7: Don’t Neglect Physical Fitness Cracking the BCS requires mental as well as physical fitness. Follow a disciplined routine with sufficient sleep, regular exercise, healthy diet and recreation.
Yoga, walking, cycling, gymming etc. will help beat stress and keep energy levels high during long study hours. Stay positive and believe in yourself.
Step 8: Start Early, Study Systematically BCS preparation demands consistent effort over 4-5 years. The earlier you start, the better.
Make a realistic timetable that covers all subjects. Study 5-6 hours on weekdays and longer on weekends. But don’t overstress yourself. Take breaks to prevent burnout.
Solve previous years’ papers and mock tests alongside regular studies to track progress. Clear all doubts and identify improvement areas.
Step 9: Join Test Series in Final Year Join reputed test series like BCS Preli Test Series, BCS Special, BCS Written in your final preparation year. These provide quality mock MCQ tests and written exam practice.
Review test performance, analyze where you went wrong, and improve those topics. Use test scores to know your rank potential.
Step 10: Attempt Practice Interviews Practice with mock boards for the viva voce round. Speak confidently about your background, interests, and opinions on social issues. Brush up facts about Bangladesh’s history, culture, geography, and governance.
Listen carefully to the panelists’ questions and frame logical and coherent answers. Explain concepts clearly using examples. Thank the board members before leaving.
BCS Preparation Tips from Toppers
Alongside a structured study plan, keep these tips from BCS achievers in mind:
- Be sincere and avoid distractions during preparation time. Self-motivation is key.
- Follow a balanced routine. Don’t sacrifice sleep, health and recreation.
- Stay calm on exam day. Revise formulas, facts, quotes before the test.
- For MCQs, first skip difficult questions. Solve the easier ones and then return later.
- In descriptive writing, stick to word limits. Write legibly and present ideas logically.
- In interviews, make eye contact with board members. Speak clearly and confidently.
The BCS exam rewards consistency, hard work and an analytical mind. Proper planning, quality study resources and self-belief are vital. By following proven strategies even from scratch, you can conquer the BCS Preparation challenge. Stay determined and success will be yours!
Frequently Asked Questions on BCS Preparation
- When should I start BCS preparation?
It’s ideal to start BCS prep during the first year of your undergraduate program. This gives you 4-5 years for systematic preparation. However, even if you couldn’t start early, cover the core syllabus consistently in 2-3 years.
- How many hours should I study per day for BCS?
Aim for at least 5-6 dedicated study hours on weekdays and 8-10 hours on weekends. Take short breaks to remain focused. Remember that regularity is more important than long sporadic hours.
- How much time should I devote to each BCS subject?
Allocate time based on the written exam mark distribution. For instance, give more time to Bangla, English, Bangladesh Affairs since they have high weightage. Prioritize your weak areas.
- Which books and resources are best for BCS preparation?
NCERT textbooks, previous years’ papers, test series question banks and online mock tests are excellent resources. Refer books by reputed BCS publishers and toppers.
- What is the pass mark for BCS Preliminary exam?
The preliminary exam pass mark varies based on the performance of candidates. Generally, 35-40% score (around 70-80 marks out of 200) is sufficient to get through. Focus on speed and accuracy.
- How can I effectively revise before the BCS exam?
Make short revision notes on formulas, key concepts, quotes etc. Revise previous years’ papers. Take mock tests. Stay calm and get adequate sleep. Revise, don’t try to learn new topics at the end.
- How to prepare for the BCS viva voice?
Practice with mock interviews on likely topics – your background, interests, current affairs, history, culture, governance issues etc. Prepare honest and logical answers and speak confidently.
So start your BCS journey today! Be focused, determined and success will be yours.