Cracking the mystery of BCS exams

School textbooks can be of great help

Farah Naz Aditi | Published: March 06, 2019 21:09:53 | Updated: March 28, 2019 11:48:59

Today's graduates aim to be bureaucrats -FE file photo

As Bangladesh continues to experience a crunch in the employment market, the dreams of thousands of youths in the country have now become to crack the mystery of the BCS (Bangladesh Civil Service) examination. Not very long ago, government service was not a favourite option to many talented students. Private sector jobs offered by multinational companies (MNCs) were top on the list of favourites. However, with the current revamp in the salary structure and benefits package, government service turned to be the apple of the youth's eyes in a short time. In addition, let us not forget, being a government servant is not only about the benefits; it is one good way to serve the country, its people, its systems. It is one of the best ways to bring change, to be part of the change a person wants to see.

What lies ahead

BCS exam is a competitive test for the selection of government officials in different cadres. It is one of the most important exams in the country given its impossibly low acceptance rates. The entire process until final selection may take two years. The exam is designed for two different types of roles -- general cadres and technical cadres. The exam pattern varies for the two different kinds of cadres. The exam takes place in three stages. First, there is a preliminary screening of candidates through an MCQ test based on ten different subjects. Candidates who qualify for the second stage have to sit for a written examination, which requires detailed and elaborate knowledge on the subjects. For the general cadres, the exam is based on the fundamental subjects of Bangla, English, Mathematics, General Knowledge, General Science etc., whereas for the technical cadres, the General Science portion is substituted by their respective subject of the application. Candidates who pass through this stage finally appear a viva voce, which puts their analytical and communication skills to test. Candidates are selected and allocated different cadres based on their cumulative scores in the written and viva voce exam.

Little things that may help

Everybody has a unique way of studying and preparing. For some, it is not that difficult as it sounds. To some, success is what they get after years of perseverance. There is no formula for preparation for the BCS exam. What worked for somebody else is not bound to work for others. However, a quick review of some to do-s can help one gear up.

The first question while starting the preparation is -- when to start? The answer is as soon as one decides that he/she is going to sit for the test. The syllabus is vast and can take even years to know by heart. Thus, the earlier one starts, the better chance one will have to crack the exam.  However, a lot of us often cannot decide whether we want to take the test until the very last moment. Hence, a right approach can be to prepare in such a way that when the time comes, one does not feel the pressure of studying hard.

Next, comes the question -- how  will the aspirants prepare themselves for the exam? Now, just as in school, there was a saying that there is no alternative to textbooks; the same can apply even here. There are numerous guidebooks available in the market, but maybe it will be smarter to depend on one's strengths and start by revising what one already knows. The preliminary exam questions are often based on English or Bangla grammar textbooks, General Science, Social Science and General Mathematics books of National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) for class six to ten. A quick review of such textbooks can be handy. Another useful way is to tutor school students so that the content is familiar to examinees. Having a thorough review of both Bangla and English newspapers can help one in increasing knowledge of current affairs, world politics as well as language. Such small steps can help one prepare steadily in course of time, and even though one may not sit for the test, such skills are essential for the recruitment test of any job.

Once one has decided to appear in the exam, one can attend any coaching centre to attend tests there and evaluate oneself based on peer performance. For finding books that fit one's style of studying, visiting a market like Nilkhet of Dhaka will help. For once in your life, forget social media and do not be a social bee jumping on every other social gathering. Coaching classes and  lecture sheets are going to take someone far in this respect. Investing time in such a coordinated way is the best strategy. It is wise to be dedicated towards all the efforts.

The writer is currently doing her internship at IDLC Finance Limited. She can be reached at farahaditi9@gmail.com

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