The preparation of WBCS (Mains) should start before or at least concurrent with WBCS (Prelims). aspirants never get enough time after the declaration of WBCS (Prelims) results. Further, while WBCS (Prelims) is only a screening test, it is on the basis of their performance in WBCS (Mains), on which mainly depends the final outcome of their efforts. Strategically, therefore, the preparation for the WBCS examination should start about one year in advance and aspirants should think about appearing in the WBCS (Prelims) only when they have had a strong grip over the WBCS ( Mains) subject matter. WBCS aspirants should be mentally fully prepared to bear the strain of this one-year-long exam; and second, candidate should have (or develop) a sound expression (written as well as verbal) in the medium (language) they want to appear with. Once they have obtained these two qualifications, other issues regarding preparation for the exam can be handled better and easily.
- One Indian Language Paper (100 marks)
- One English Essay, Composition etc. Paper (100 marks)
- One General Knowledge paper (100 marks)
- One Constitution, Five Year Plan papers (100 marks)
- One Arithmetic, Test of Reasoning Paper ( 100 marks)
- Four Optional subjects papers (100 marks each)
While studying for the prelims, one should study the “general studies” really well! If one do this, he can use the same knowledge to give the mains exam. It will reduce your study load for the mains exam a lot! When studying for the mains exam, and a lot of the “General Knowledge paper” and “Constitution, Five Year Plan papers”syllabus will be covered!
How to choose the first optional subject?
On the first thought of appearing in the WBCS examination, the first issue is the selection of optional subjects. In a way, selection of right optional subjects is the most crucial step. Post-graduates in any discipline, generally prefer taking up their parent subject for optional. Though such selection is quite logical, aspirants with any science discipline as their base subject must ponder over the issue more seriously. Maths, Physics, Chemistry etc., optionals for main must be opted for, only if one is out and out thorough with the subject. Aspirants with a science subject must judge themselves correctly regarding their own capability. Some of the social sciences (e.g. History, Economics , Public Administration) opted by quite a significant majority can, however, be a much safer bet, particularly for those (ordinary science graduates) who do not have any specific parent subject or for those who are not able to develop confidence in their parental subject. In either case, the formal preparation must start from the basic fundamentals, even if a person is already a post-graduate in that subject.
How to choose the second optional subject?
To select the second optional subject, one must decide on basis of two factors:
- The availability of study material/books etc. on the subject you select.
- The amount of interest the aspirant has in that subject!
Study material is generally a problem! So one should keep a look out for good books etc. that cover the syllabus of the optional subjects he selects. The second optional subject could be something like “history” or “geography” or “Anthropology” etc. if he can mug-up a lot of facts! On the other hand, if one have interest in some other subject and he can find enough study material on it, he should definitely go for that subject.
Here is the link to the mains syllabus of these subjects!Please Note: There are many languages listed about as optional subjects. In case of these languages, the syllabus consists of literature etc. that is written in that language. You can check out the syllabuses here.
It is also important to remember that the level of questions asked is of the Masters level examination. The questions have an added spin in order to bring out the grasp of the candidate with regard to the basic concepts of the subject. Hence, if one chooses subjects in which he does not have a basic grounding, it would be advisable to start from simple books. After getting the grasp of the basic concepts, start with higher level study material. Here again, reflections on basic concepts and their application in real life is important. For best preparation and a success plan, it is suggested that the candidate make a habit of beginning his study by writing answers to two questions each day, one each from two optional subjects. Questions should be chosen from previous years' papers and the answer writing should be preceded by study on the subject.
What is the “Indian Language paper” all about?
However, if aspirants are from a non-English medium school, they have on thing in their favor. The “Qualifying Indian Language paper” will be easy for them!This paper is just like the English language paper. It is designed to prove that the aspirants have a good command over some Indian language. One can give this paper in one of the following Indian languages:
- Essay writing.
- Precis Writing.
- Translation from English to the Indian language.
What is “English Essay etc.” paper? What do they ask in that paper?
The paper will consist of:
- Essay writing.
- Precis Writing.
- Translation from the Indian language to English.
If they have not studied in an English language school they will have to take some effort to master the English language. They can do this by reading a lot. They need to read and try to properly understand what they read. Keep a dictionary and English grammar book with them always. Keep referring to in with any new word they come across. Interact with fluent English speakers. All this will give them control over the language.
In this paper, one will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of topic will be given. They should keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange theirr ideas in orderly fashion, and to concisely!
Just to give an idea, here are the topics of the 2008 English Essay type paper.
Write an essay on ANY ONE of the following topics: ( The candidates are expected to keep closely to what is strictly relevant to the topic in question and write to in an organized way. Credits will be given to precision and exactness of expression)
- Global warming as a threat of civilization.
- Secularism and India
- Impact of globalization on India.
- Panchayeti Raj as implemented in India.
- The role of poets in a traditional society.
So, how to tackle the essay type paper?Read a lot of essays. Read as many essays as one can get his hands on. One good source of high-quality essays, are the essays published in the Competition Success Review or Employment News. Try to get a hold of these magazines. It is full of useful information!
Make sure read only “great” essays by “top” authors! This will give a feel of how essays are written. Also try to get a good book on writing Précis. There will be many available in local book store. There is pattern or way in which you Précis must be structured. All this can be learnt from a good book on writing Précis.
Finally, practice! Write essays and Précis on challenging topics and get them read by friends and colleagues or teachers who have a degree in the English language. They may be able to give some good pointers to improve presentation on performance.
What is the “Composition and Translation from Bengali / Hindi / Urdu /Nepali into English ” all about?
The section of the paper is designed to prove that the aspirants have a good command over the English language.
What is the “General Knowledge and Currents Affairs paper” and “The Constitution of India and the Five-year Plans”all about?
For the main examination, the study should be done in more detail.
To study current affairs, it is essential to read one national newspaper and the Competition Success Review. When he is studying the round up of national and international affairs, efforts should not be merely taking up the information but also to understand the issues involved. Go into the background of events.
With regard to Constitution of India and Five-years Plans the books published by the NCERT are the best source of study. Take up the text-books for classes IX, X standards. The reference books of Sen, Sen & Mukherjee are also good source of study.One important aspect of the WBCS (Mains) Exam is that the questions do not ask for mere information as a reply, but seek analysis backed with arguments from the candidates. . Usually, one gets the impression that one knows everything but thoughts do not flow out naturally as one puts pen to paper. Hence, writing down the answers is an important aspect of the preparation. Another thing is that the candidate must carefully read the questions in order to make out what the examiner is asking. Having done that, it is important to organise one's thoughts before writing and the sequence of the answer should be from the most important/potent aspect to less important aspects.
With regard to the General Knowledge, the books published by the NCERT are the best source of study. Take up the text-books for classes IX, X standards. India year book and the Manorama Year Book are also good sources of study.
What is the “Arithmetic and Test of Reasoning” all about?
With regard to the Arithmatic, the books published by the NCERT and books duly approved by WB Board of Secondary Education are the best source of study. Take up the text-books for classes IX, X standards. Practice problems repeatedly is only solution to get marks from this paper.
This section- Test of Reasoning – tests the person’s logical faculty. This faculty includes understanding, insight, sensing and perceiving the underlying principle or pattern that is concealed in the questions of different kind. With regard to the Test of Reasoning, the book written by R.S.Agarwal is one of the best sources of study.
Back to Top....