Tips how to Beginners start WBCS preparation

WBCS 2021 Preparation tips for Beginners

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West Bengal Civil Service(WBCS) is the dream career of thousands of aspirants in the country. West Bengal State Public Service Commission (PSC) is the agency which takes care of the entire recruitment process.
For all the candidate who aspires to become West Bengal State Administrative Service Officers, Police Service Officers, Revenue Service Officers, etc. but confused and unsure of how to start their preparation or where to start from then to clear all their blockades, here we bring some vital and key information, which every aspirant should know that will give them an idea of how to start WBCS Exam Preparation.
Before starting their preparation every aspirant should know about the basic prerequisites that this exam needs and they are:

(i) A degree of a recognized University.
(ii) Ability to read, write, and speak in Bengali (not required for those candidates whose mother tongue is Nepali) – vide Finance Department’s Notification No.1243-F(P) dated 02.03.2016.
N.B. : The candidates must fulfill the requisite qualifications by the closing date of submission of application.

Not below 21 years but not more than 36 years on the 1st January of the year of examination for services and posts included in Group ‘A’ & ’C’. For the West Bengal Police Service only (i.e. Group ‘B’ Service) age not below 20 years but not more than 36 years on the 1st January of the year of examination. For services and posts included in Group ‘D’ the age should not be below 21 years and not more than 39 years on the 1st day of January of the year of the examination.
The upper age limit is relaxable for S.C., S.T. & B.C. (Non-Creamy Layer) candidates of West Bengal, by 5 years for S.C. & S.T. candidates and by 3 years for B.C. (Non-Creamy Layer) candidates. In the case of Persons with Disabilities (PWD), the upper age limit is relaxable up to 45 years. S.C./S.T./B.C. candidates of other States shall be treated as general candidates.

N.B. : Age, as recorded only in the Madhyamik or equivalent certificate, will be accepted. The age limits apply to all the candidates whether in Govt. service or not.

A candidate can appear in the WBCS exam as many times as he/she wants. There is no maximum number of attempts or limitations for attempts in WBCS Prelims, Mains, or Interview. He/she can fill-up the form for any number of times within the upper age limit.

Road Map to become a WBCS Officer

When to start the WBCS Exam preparation (for beginner)?

Ideally one should start the preparation during the final year of his/her degree.
But as we all know that the ideal situation does not exist for all the aspirants. So one should start the preparation from the moment the decision to appear in State Civil Service is finalized.

How to start the WBCS Exam preparation (for beginner)?

One should start with the basics which would help in building a strong foundation. One can start with the NCERTs or WB School Board Textbooks; try to inculcate the hobby of reading newspapers, reading books of famous people like Amartya Sen, Abhijit Banerjee, Raghuram Rajan, Romila Thapar, Ramachandra Guha, Ram Sharan Sharma, etc.
One should start with the subject in which he/she is more interested like polity, history, or geography, etc. Then gradually cover the basics of other subjects as well so as to get the larger picture and broad view. Finalize your optional subject and start the preparation.
It is always advised by most of the rankers that one should be prepared both prelims and main after completed basic books like NCERTs. Because both prelims and main syllabus are common in some general studies subjects. Preliminary exam is just a qualifying exam while Mains will decide whether you will be in the final list or not. So I strongly urge the beginners to prepared both prelims and main from the first day. For prelims four months of dedicated preparation with the right strategy is sufficient. So don’t be so obsessed with prelims (though day by day it is becoming dicey). But due respect must be given to prelims preparation.

How to choose an optional subject?

Optional selection is a very important decision because a good score in the optional subject increases your chances of getting selected for Group A and B services. So one should give due respect to various aspects before finalizing the optional subject.
Factors to be considered before taking the decision: –

  • Scoring potential (some people may disagree with me as I have given the highest weightage to this factor. But believe me, what really matters in the WBCS exam is marks. To clear this exam you need to score marks. There are so many people out there who have a great hold on the subject but unfortunately, their subjects are not giving good scores. It is total waste irrespective of your preparation level if the optional subject is not giving expected level of marks)
  • Interest in the subject (because sometimes the Civil Service preparation journey may take more years, in that situation one should lose interest in the subject).
  • Resources (both material and guidance/mentorship by teachers/rankers etc) availability.

Despite all your efforts if a particular optional is giving expected marks then be flexible and change the optional. Don’t get attached to the optional because our primary objective is to clear the exam and not to do research in a particular subject.

According to Rankers’ popular optional subjects:

  1. First priority – Anthropology, Sociology, Political science, and History. These optional have maintained decades of popularity. These optional can be opted by students from any educational background. Academic specialization is not required.
  2. Second priority –Psychology, Geography, Literature, and Philosophy. These are the optional which are quite famous among WBCS aspirants because of their subject interest.
  3. Third priority – Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science and Science &  Engineering Subject. These are the optional taken by aspirants who think that they have a special interest in these subjects and think that they can take up little extra efforts to master these subjects.

But if you have good in your graduate subject, then it should be taken.

How to prepare for Prelims?

One should start the dedicated preparation for prelims around four months before the prelims date.
West Bengal Public Service Commission is unpredictable hence normally they will NOT let any pattern set. Every year question patterns and difficulty changes and nobody knows what kind of questions would be asked. Do not leave any part unprepared.
But if you do a comprehensive preparation for prelims then it is not a big task to clear prelims. Comprehensive preparation means preparing the important topics of all subjects – Indian National Movement, Indian History, Geography of India and West Bengal, Indian Polity and Economy, General Science, General Mental Ability, General English and Current Affairs. You can also be known more  for Preliminary Examination:

How to prepare for Main?

A candidate’s rank in the West Bengal Civil Service Exam depends only on the mark scored in Main and Interview. The main exam has 1600 marks for Group A and B Services and 1200 marks for Group C and D Services while the interview has 200 marks for Group A and B Service, 150 Marks for Group C Service, and 100 Marks for Group D Services.
We strongly urge the beginners to prepared both prelims and main from the first day for general studies paper because both prelims and main syllabus are common in some general studies subjects. And a candidate must be completed, his / her optional subject syllabus before preliminary examination.
Generally, there will be a 4-5 month gap between the WBCS prelims and mains exam i.e., around 120 to 150 days to prepare for mains within which candidates have to study for six compulsory papers and one optional paper. Paper wise preparation strategy for the main examination:
1. Paper-I (Bengali) [Update soon]
2. Paper-II (English) [Update soon]
3. Paper-III (GS-I: Indian History and Geography of India & West Bengal)
4. Paper-IV (GS-II: Science & Technology, Environment, General Knowledge and Current Affairs)
5. Paper-V (Indian Constitution and Indian Economy)
6. Paper-VI (Arithmetic and Test of Reasoning)
7. Selected Optional Subject [Update soon]
You can check our recommended books for main examination and previous year question papers:

How to prepare an optional?

As per your optional, you should refer to the strategies given by toppers, teachers or an online platform like YouTube channels.
We will prepare general guidelines soon.

How to prepare for Interview?

Interview (or personality test) the final stage of the West Bengal Civil Service exam and it is the most crucial phase. The interview will play the deciding role in the final merit list, candidates can score good marks in interview and secure Executive(BDO), Police(DSP), or Joint BDO cadre and at times it may backfire them. So, the interview makes or breaks in the whole WBCS exam. The 20-40 minutes of your time may change the candidate’s life.

WBCS interview is not a knowledge testing session. WB PSC has already tested the knowledge of a candidate in the preliminary and the main examination. They don’t want to test knowledge again in the personality test. It is not a grilling session in which the board members want to humiliate the candidate over his lack of knowledge and experience. And is also not a rapid-fire question and answer session.
WBCS Interview is a friendly discussion session having a cordial and healthy environment. It is a calm and composed session where the members are willing to listen to what the candidate speaks. They don’t show signs of impatience and irritation over the answers of the candidate. It is a session to test the ethics, values, integrity, and coherence in the views of a candidate. And interview session to extract the views of the candidate on vital issues. It is aimed at testing the candidate on aspects known to him/her rather than on aspects unknown to him/her.

Whether Coaching is mandatory?

For beginners, coaching may be helpful to get the right direction. Because in the initial period of preparation many aspirants don’t have any clarity about what to read, what not to read, how to read etc. This coaching can be helpful.
But if someone asks me whether it is mandatory to join coaching for West Bengal Civil Service exam preparation. Then the answer is NO. You can prepare on your own provided that someone (i.e. any topper/mentor/seniors who have written mains or appeared to the interview/close friend etc) is guiding you about the preparation.

Ultimately you want to be an officer so the entire onus lies on you. You have to work hard and prepare honestly. Coaching from anyone will be helpful only if you are putting some efforts on your part.

Whether one should join test series for Prelims, Mains? If yes, which is the best test series?

It is said that Practice makes a man perfect. It applies to all the three stages of the WBCS exam i.e. prelims, mains, and personality test.
As far as prelims is concerned one should do sufficient practice before appearing for the actual exam. For this writing, test series plays an important role. Even if you have not joined any test series that’s ok but you should practice those papers on your own. There is no alternative for practice because only through practice one comes to know the common mistakes one is committing, time constraints, which areas are relatively weak, and which areas need revision, etc.
Again there is No One-size-fits-for-all approach. Some people manage to clear all the three stages without any practice. But such people are exceptional. They have God-gifted qualities. But that is not the case for normal aspirants.
Best Test Series: –

  1. To be honest with you all there is not even a single test series that can match the level of the WBCS exam. So the best guide for you is the previous year’s question papers of WBCS Prelims and Main. Try to solve at least 5-7 years of question papers.
  2. But still, you can refer to any two famous publisher practices set books like Academic Association, Oriental Publication, Mondal Publication, etc. 
  3. Also, you can join our Online Test Series for both Prelims and Main. 

How to make Notes?

Notes making skills is an important aspect of Preparation. It will help you with a short time revision. Here are some inputs from my side:

  1. Make precise notes. Quick revision based on the Notes is very helpful to maximize the score.
  2. Make it in a Good flowchart and tabular format.
  3. Arrange Notes Topic wise. Well organized Content is essential.

Medium of examination and handwriting?

You can write the main exam (optional paper) in English or Bengali or Nepali (some paper). There is no bar on this in Mains as well as an Interview. Language is just a medium to convey your answer. WB PSC checks the logical reasoning, depth of understanding about the topic, critical, and analytical ability of the candidate. In whichever language you can express your thoughts in a better way; you should go with that medium.
But factors like the availability of study material, test series, and guidance (of mentors/rankers/friends, etc) should be checked.
Handwriting should be legible. If you have good handwriting it adds value to your presentation.

How to keep yourself Motivated and manage stress and anxiety during this journey?

One should be very clear about why the West Bengal Civil Service?

  • Do talk to your family members at least for five minutes because family is the biggest source of inspiration for most of us. It will also help to reduce your stress and anxiety.
  • You can watch motivational videos, read struggling stories of people who have succeeded despite many odds, also read success stories of people who have cleared Civil Service examination.
  • Believe in your potential.
  • Always be in the company of people with a positive attitude.
  • Stress and anxiety:
    1. Do some physical exercise for 15-20 minutes.
    2. Yoga and meditation.
  • Think about your achievements in the past.
    • Watch videos.
    • Once in a week take a half-day break from preparation.

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