What is BCS Cadre? Why and How to Start Preparation? The Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) is the prestigious civil service of Bangladesh that oversees the government operations and administration of the country. It is considered one of the most coveted career paths in Bangladesh due to the respect, authority, salary, and social status that comes with being a BCS cadre.
In the contemporary socio-cultural context of Bangladesh, marrying a BCS cadre is seen as highly desirable for women due to the security and comfortable lifestyle it can provide. According to a recent report in The Daily Star, many parents actively seek out BCS cadres as potential husbands for their daughters. BCS grooms are in high demand and often have their pick of marriage proposals. A BCS cadre’s social status also means they are given importance at community events and gatherings.
The allure of the BCS is such that it has become the most sought after career choice for young Bangladeshis completing their university education. With ultra-competitive entry examinations, it is estimated that only 1 in 200 applicants secure a position. The Dhaka Tribune reports that around 90% of honors graduates immediately start preparing for the BCS exams after finishing university.
In recent years, encouraged by growing rates of female participation in higher education and the workplace, more and more women are also aspiring to join the BCS. As per government data, female representation in the BCS has gone up from 10-15% in the 1990s to over 30% today. Besides household responsibilities, women are playing important roles in the country’s civil service and governance through the BCS.
What is BCS Cadre?
BCS stands for Bangladesh Civil Service. It is the most prestigious and competitive examination in Bangladesh to recruit candidates into the civil service. Clearing the BCS exam allows one to start a career as a government gazette officer in one of the 27 cadres of the civil service.
The BCS examination is conducted by the Bangladesh Public Service Commission (BPSC) to select suitable candidates for the civil service. It involves a rigorous selection process consisting of a preliminary exam, written exam and viva-voce. Only the top performers in each stage are selected to move to the next stage.
Why is BCS Cadre so Popular?
The BCS is highly coveted among graduates in Bangladesh because of the power, prestige and job security it offers. Here are some key reasons why BCS is so popular:
- Permanent Government Job: BCS officers enjoy lifetime job security. It is very difficult to dismiss a BCS cadre officer once appointed.
- Power and Authority: BCS officers hold influential decision-making authority in their domains. They can impact policies and lives of citizens.
- Prestige and Status: BCS officers command immense respect in society. A BCS groom is highly valued in marriage.
- Higher Salary: BCS officers draw relatively high salary as per government pay scales along with perks and allowances.
- Career Growth: Opportunities for promotion to higher ranks and senior administrative positions.
- Job Satisfaction: Opportunity to implement policies, serve the nation and make a difference.
- Pension and Benefits: Lucrative pension, medical benefits, children’s education allowance etc.
Due to these attractions, the BCS exam witnesses very high competition with lakhs of applicants for a few hundred vacancies. The rigorous selection process ensures that only the best and brightest get recruited into this elite service.
BCS Cadre List
There are 27 cadres or functional services under the BCS:
- Bangladesh Administrative Service
- Police Service
- Foreign Service
- Taxation Cadre
- Audit and Accounts Cadre
- Customs, Excise and VAT Cadre
- Ansar and VDP Cadre
- Education Cadre
- Health Cadre
- Agriculture Cadre
- Food Cadre
- Cooperatives Cadre
- Statistics Cadre
- Public Works (Civil) Cadre
- Public Works (Mechanical) Cadre
- Postal Cadre
- Railway Cadre (Civil)
- Railway Cadre (Mechanical)
- Roads and Highways Cadre
- Environment Cadre
- Fisheries Cadre
- Livestock Cadre
- Social Welfare Cadre
- Information Cadre
- Bangladesh Secretariat Cadre
- Armed Forces Division Cadre
- Office Management and Secretarial Cadre
Based on their academic background and aptitude, BCS recruits can opt for cadres of their choice during the selection process. The top rank holders usually get appointed to elite cadres like Administrative Service, Foreign Service, Police Service etc.
How to Prepare for BCS Cadre
Preparing for the BCS demands rigorous, systematic and consistent effort over 1-2 years. Here are some key tips for BCS preparation:
- Start early: Begin preparation during graduation or just after. The earlier you start, the better.
- Know the syllabus: Thoroughly understand the detailed BCS syllabus and exam pattern.
- Strengthen basics: Sharpen your knowledge of core subjects like Bangla, English, Math, Logical Reasoning etc.
- Read newspapers: Develop the habit of reading newspapers daily to improve GK, vocab and writing.
- Take coaching: Enroll in a good BCS coaching center for expert guidance.
- Solve past papers: Practice with previous years’ question papers to understand the level.
- Write practice essays: Writing skills are tested in the exams. Practice essay writing.
- Group study: Form study groups with serious aspirants for discussion and mock tests.
- Current affairs: Stay updated on the latest national and international current affairs.
- Time management: Learn to manage time efficiently during the exams.
- Test series: Appear for mock tests to assess preparation level and improve speed.
- Maintain health: Don’t neglect health in the preparation. Take care of fitness and diet.
With meticulous planning, diligence and time management, it is possible to succeed in this highly competitive exam. Consistent effort over 1-2 years is the key.
BCS Exam Pattern
The BCS selection process involves 3 stages:
- BCS Preliminary Examination: This is an MCQ based screening test of 200 marks with 100 questions from 10 topics. Each question carries 2 marks. Qualifying this test makes one eligible for the written exam.
- BCS Written Examination: This consists of 9 compulsory papers of 100 marks each, totaling 900 marks. Candidates have to get minimum qualifying marks in each paper as well as aggregate to pass this stage.
- Viva-Voce: Candidates who pass the written test appear for a personality test of 200 marks. This oral interview assesses general suitability for the civil service.
Some key subject areas covered in the BCS exams are:
- General Knowledge and Current Affairs
- Bangladesh Affairs
- International Affairs
- Mental Ability
- English Composition
- Bangla Composition
- basics of Science and Technology
- History and Culture of Bangladesh
- ICT and Governance
Proper understanding of the syllabus, exam pattern and level of questions is crucial in the BCS preparation process.
Why is BCS Cadre Considered Tough?
With lakhs of candidates competing for a few hundred vacancies, the success rate in BCS exams is very low, around 1-3%. Here are some factors that make this exam highly competitive and challenging:
- Huge Competition: Very high candidate to vacancy ratio results in extreme competition.
- Comprehensive Syllabus: The wide BCS syllabus requires understanding of diverse topics.
- Subject Matter Expertise Needed: Questions assess in-depth knowledge of history, polity, economics, science etc. General awareness is not enough.
- Analytical Ability Tested: Candidates must have strong analytical skills, problem solving capability and logical reasoning ability.
- Proficiency in Bangla & English: Good linguistic skills, vocabulary and composition ability required.
- Current Affairs Knowledge: Staying updated on latest national and international affairs a must.
- Mental Alertness: Presence of mind, ability to think precisely and respond quickly critical.
Due to these factors, thorough preparation over 1-2 years is vital to crack the BCS exam. Only the most diligent and talented candidates are able to make through this highly competitive selection process.
BCS Cadre Preparation Tips
Here are some useful preparation strategies and tips for the BCS exam:
- Analyze the syllabus deeply and make notes topic-wise
- Build your fundamentals in math, reasoning, Bangla and English
- Read newspapers, magazines, journals to improve GK and vocab
- Take help of previous years’ question papers to understand the level
- Practice writing essays, reports, letters etc. regularly
- Enhance your mental ability with puzzles, logical reasoning tests
- Subscribe to GK quiz apps and current affairs magazines
- Join online communities and forums for BCS aspirants
- Follow toppers and expert guidance for motivation
- Take mock tests periodically to assess your progress
- Maintain healthy diet and exercise routine to beat stress
- Believe in yourself and be determined to succeed despite odds
With meticulous planning, rigorous practice and determined efforts, it is possible to clear this highly competitive exam. Consistency and commitment are vital.
BCS Cadre Career Prospects
Once selected into the prestigious BCS, candidates can look forward to a rewarding and fulfilling career.
As BCS officers, they become a part of the policy-making machinery of the government. They are given key responsibilities in various ministries, departments and field agencies.
BCS officers implement government policies and programs at the grassroots level. They have the opportunity to interact with multiple stakeholders and bring positive changes.
Based on their cadre and performance, BCS officers can rise up to senior positions like Deputy Commissioner, Police Superintendent, Secretaries of ministries etc. They can contribute to nation building throughout their career span.
Besides job satisfaction, the BCS career path offers:
- High job security and low risk of unemployment
- salary, perks and allowances as per government pay scales
- Excellent promotion avenues and scope to reach top posts
- Retirement benefits like pension and post-retirement job offers
- Opportunities for higher education and foreign postings
In summary, a successful BCS career enables one to wield significant authority, earn well, find job satisfaction and retire gracefully. The prestigious BCS tag can open doors throughout one’s professional life.
Frequently Asked Questions on BCS Cadre Exam
How tough is it to crack the BCS exam?
- The BCS exam is highly competitive, with success ratio of 1-3% only. Extensive preparation over 1-2 years is must to succeed.
What is the age limit for BCS exam?
- The lower age limit is 21 years and upper limit is 30 years as on January 1 of the year of advertisement. There are relaxations for certain groups.
How many attempts can one take for BCS?
- General candidates get 3 attempts, Scheduled Castes get 5 attempts. Attempts are counted from the first time a candidate sits for the Prelims.
What is the pass mark in BCS written test?
- Minimum qualifying marks in each compulsory paper is 40. Overall pass marks in written exam is 50% aggregate.
What happens after passing the BCS written examination?
- Candidates who pass the written test are called for viva voce interview worth 200 marks. The total of written and viva marks gives the final merit list.
How long does the entire BCS exam process take?
- From Preliminary exam to final result publication generally takes 12-18 months. The written exam is held around 6 months after Prelims.
What is the age relaxation for government job holders?
- BCS upper age limit is relaxed by maximum 5 years for govt. job holders depending on years of service.
What subjects are covered in the BCS preliminary exam?
- The MCQ based BCS preliminary exam covers – Bangla, English, Math, Mental Ability, GK, Governance, ICT, Bangladesh Affairs etc.
Does BCS exam have negative marking?
- Yes, there is negative marking in the MCQ based BCS preliminary exam. 1/4 mark is deducted for every wrong answer.
How to apply for the BCS examination?
- Candidates have to apply online at the BPSC website when BCS advertisement is published. Hard copy of forms and fees also submitted.
So in summary, the BCS offers an unparalleled opportunity for graduates in Bangladesh to join the prestigious civil service and serve the nation. With the right guidance and dedicated preparation, it is possible to overcome the competition and succeed in this career-defining examination.