STRATEGIES AND THE BEST BOOK TO PREPARE FOR BCS VIVA-VOCE
BCS VIVA- 200 MARKS (PASS MARK- 50%)
1. Pre-Viva Preparation
- A) Checklist of required documents
- B) Dress code for viva
- C) Basic questions on Viva and how to deal with them
- D) How to handle a strange/unpleasant situation at Viva-board
- E) Language selection awareness for the viva-board
- F) How to prepare physically and mentally for the viva
- Dealing with Viva-Board
- A) Matters that will be verified on the Viva Board
- B) How the viva-board will be
- C) How to enter the viva board and take a seat
- D) Things to be done 40 minutes before getting to the Viva board
- E) How to adapt to the hostile environment of Viva Board
- F) The way to thank the board members and exit the room
STRATAGIES FOR PRE-VIVA PREPARATIONS
DRESS-CODE FOR VIVATEST
There is no specific official dress code for Republic employees. However, a republican employee may not wear anything that is inappropriate for a gentleman. Nowadays, in technology-based companies, there has been a revolutionary change in the attire of the candidates for the Viva Board where efficiency takes precedence over presentation. For a time, I worked for a telephone company where one could wear casual clothing of one’s choice once a week. In technical companies’ many job seekers show up to the viva boards wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and slacks and I’ve seen skilled technicians chosen in that outfit. Yet there are some common rules around the world for government employees to follow when it comes to clothing. Such as-
- Full-sleeved shirt with formal pants regardless of the season
- Shoes in a color that coordinates with the outfit
- In the winter, an elegantly colored and designed blazer or sweater can be worn over a full-sleeved shirt.
- Closed Coller or ‘tie’ is not synonymous with intelligence. If you are accustomed to wearing a tie, you may do so; otherwise, it is best to avoid it because your entire focus will be on it.
- Wearing bright or eye-catching colored clothing is not preferred
- Colors that are widely loved are black, white, sky blue, and off-white.
- Avoid using strong fragrances or perfumes
Men’s beards, mustaches, and spectacles:
As far as I know, keeping the beard for religious reasons is not a problem. You can wear pants and shirts if you have a beard, as well as pajamas and Punjabi. I saw a lot of such people who passed the viva and are now employed, so it wasn’t a problem.
It is unwise to attain the viva board with a fashionable beard or mustache.
It is preferable not to keep hair long. Again, there is no need to appear on the viva board with the military haircut. Don’t forget to fix your hair once, just a few minutes before entering the board.
People who wear glasses for vision impairment or other reasons may wear them during the viva board. However, for minor reasons, it is preferable to avoid wearing glasses.
When it comes to clothing for women, it is smart to choose exquisite Bengali attire. If you are not used to wearing a sari, you will feel uneasy wearing one for the first time. In this case, it is better to wear salwar-Kamis of elegant color. If one is used to wearing a hijab, there’s no need to worry about it on the viva board; just pay attention to the color scheme. When wearing a burqa, the color black is recommended to emphasize the severity of religion; nevertheless, keep in mind that covering your face with a garment will prevent your identity from being confirmed on the viva board.
The most common Viva inquiries and how to respond to them:
It’s tough to predict which question you will face in the viva board. Though the number of questions you were able to answer isn’t the most important factor; what matters is how you presented them.
‘It is not what you say, it’s how you say it- because personality always wins the day’
However, if you are unable to respond to critical questions, the board members will ask you a series of simple questions in order to rescue you from the predicament. Remember that there will be some basic questions to which you should respond by customizing it with something out of the box.
For example, in 90% of viva boards, you will be asked to define yourself or explain why you want to join the public service or change your previous employment. Before taking the Viva, you should have an answer to these questions prepared. You can remain ahead of the competition by answering these questions fluently.
By speaking to several BCS Cadres and drawing on my own five most successful Viva’s, as well as Internet research, I’ve uncovered the following most common Viva questions –
- Describe/introduce yourself (Prepare the answer both in English and Bangla)
- Tell us about your academic background
- Why do you want to join the public service? (With these three questions, one is first examined.)
- Tell about your preferred cadre choice
- why have you opted for this cadre (prefer cadre list-1,2,3)?
- Tell about the subject in which you have graduated and why?
- What distinguishes you from the thousands of other candidates, and why should we choose you?
- Describe your personality’s strengths and weaknesses.
- what are your career goals?
- Which aspect of your abilities would you like to improve?
- What was the most recent book you read?
- Tell about two recent national events that were reported in today’s/ the following week’s newspaper.
- What is your own district/sub-district famous for?
- Who is the MP of your subdistrict?
- Name some prominent person of your district.
- During the liberation war, which sector did your district belong to, and who was the sector commander?
- What are the area, literacy rate, and population of your district?
Though these are frequent inquiries, they are also quite descriptive. You’ll get ordinary marks if you give the conventional answer. So, the responses to those questions must be presented in a distinctive way. For this, you need practice, practice, and practice.
Perhaps your responses to these common questions will help you stand out as a distinctive candidate to the board members.
How to deal with the viva board’s odd situation:
On the viva board, you will be confronted with a variety of awkward and unusual questions and scenarios. Many boards may include members who are highly contentious. They will test your patience, current intelligence, and temper management ability to handle problems by embarrassing you in various ways. As a result, you must mentally prepare for any event or question in advance.
Below are some weird questions and examples of embarrassing situations of the BCS viva board:
Example of awkward question and situation:
- Board member: Have you ever sang the national anthem?
Candidate: yes, Sir I have.
Board member: Hope you wouldn’t mind singing the national anthem for us with a little melody.
(If you hesitate to sing because you have a terrible voice or start singing while sitting on your chair, you are in danger!)
- Board member: In your life, how many romantic relationships did you have? Or have you ever held the hands of your beloved?
- Board member: well, you’re a student of the marketing department. Assume, this pen cap is a product of your firm; now persuade us to purchase it.
- Board member: After all, you’re a student of journalism and mass communication. Assume you’ve received a report claiming about board members’ corruption and nepotism in the selection of candidates. Now, interview us to get a report on this.
- Board member: Why did you choose to wear a tie to the viva board? None of us had worn anything! Why are you wearing?
- Board member: Which type of girl or family would you like to marry after you get this job? (Be cautious, because your responses to these types of inquiries expose your genuine character and personality.)
- Board member: Your height is 6-foot-1 inch, and such tall guys are not permitted to work in the civil service. Someone quickly takes him out of the room.
You will see that some questions have been asked solely to embarrass you, to see if you become upset or anxious. Maintain a serene demeanor, as Gautam Buddha did. Even the most humiliating conditions and stress should not bother you in the least.
Answer in a natural and concise manner. Keep a natural smile on your face all the time. Remember that the board member won’t outplay you or put you behind the bars. Even without BCS, a meritorious and ambitious student can have a decent life working in other respectable jobs. So, instead of being nervous, enjoy the viva.
It’s possible that you’ll be asked some minor inquiries. With a smile, respond to these kinds of questions casually. When replying, don’t smile too much. Remember that these types of questions are used to assess your personality.
Big corporate leaders from all around the world have weird queries about their company’s recruitment interviews. Such as-
- The company Google in the year 2012 while interviewing asked the question: How many cows are in Canada?
- Brain and Co. Asked: How will you estimate the number of windows in New York?
- Source: Fobes.com, article by Jacquelyn Smith
Language selection caution in the viva Board:
There are many such candidates who unnecessarily try to express themselves in English, pretending to be an English scholar. keep in mind, If the answer to the question posed by the viva board in Bengali does not contain the correct Bengali word/term of the content, only then the English term can be used. Remember that you must respond in Bengali to questions asked in Bengali, and English to questions given in English.
Physical and Mental preparation for the Viva
- Physical Preparation:
Perhaps the title, physical preparation for the job has caught your attention. Yes, you read that correctly. If you are not physically fit, you will not be hired. Even if you don’t believe you have any long-term physical issues, a brief setback could affect your viva. Due to physical illness or poor performance, at least two of my acquaintances were unable to pass the test. One of them arrived from Chottogram the night before the viva and got food poisoning after eating Dhakiya biriyani for dinner, and was admitted to hospital the next day. As a result, he was unable to fulfill his ambition of becoming a BCS cadre! Other of them sometimes suffered from back pain- especially when he lifted heavy objects. He had to lift heavy furniture from his house two to three days before the viva, which caused him severe back pain. He couldn’t even sit for two minutes due to the circumstances and was forced to spend a week in bed. And thus, failed to attain the viva.
So be cautious. At least a month before the viva, start following the physical instructions below:
Try best not to be infected with any type of influenza virus. Ice cream and cold water should be avoided. To avoid spreading of virus or getting a cold, don’t touch your face, nose, or mouth without washing your hands with soap. Avoid using any substance that has been used by someone who has been contaminated.
- Mental Preparation:
- Simply avoid the assumption that a job in the BCS cadre is the finest job. There’s no reason to believe your life will be ruined if you don’t get this job. Even if it is a good job, I am warning you that there are numerous constraints in this position.
- According to the Government Service Rules, every cadre member is an employee of the Republic, exactly like any other government employee. Servant of the Common people. They do not rise to the position of king by serving as cadres.
- There are a variety of other careers that may be more suitable for your lifestyle. As a result, don’t think your life will come to an end if you don’t get this job.
- Remember that no matter what work you do in Bangladesh, you will face economic difficulties. It is irrational to believe that you would live a lavish life being a cadre.
- You will have no way unless you qualify in these BCS—this is completely illogical. Bangladesh has a wide range of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Have faith that if you have the potential, you can make a name for yourself in this developing country. A small business may produce far more money with the same amount of labor and hard work that a student puts in for BCS. ‘You should get a government job,’ is a common middle-class belief in our nation. If you are BCS qualified, you will have a good life; however, if you are not, you can have a better life as an independent entrepreneur. So, relax!
Facing Viva Board:
- A) factors to be judged in the Viva board:
- The viva board is not the same as the selection board for Bengali film actors and actresses, where your glamour, height, and weight are all crucial factors. In my experience, I have found many candidates who are overly concerned with their physical appearance, height, and weight.
- The subjects that are considered in the viva board are wonderfully represented in one of the writings of ‘Sushant Paul’ (30th BCS Customs cadre officer): ‘ Positive attitude, mental maturity, ready wit, thought-clarity, decent appearance, attitude, common sense, cool temperament.’ In addition, I’m adding two new subjects to the combination: fast decision-making and self-assurance. Below are some examples, for the people who could not grasp the depth of the above criteria to be considered in the Viva board:
A positive attitude is defined as seeing and doing something positive rather than being a pessimist. To avoid something’s negative aspects and focus on its positive aspects. Suppose, the viva board at the end of the viva informed you- “your personality and performance are not up to the mark. Sorry, we don’t count you as a qualified candidate!’’
Hearing this, you may have become depressed, remembering how hard you worked and how well you did on the written exam! This type of look should not be seen on your face. Maintain your composure. If you have the opportunity, let them know that this experience will help you to go further and you expect to see them at the next viva. This is a positive attitude. This positive mindset could help you earn good grades. Board members were actually testing how you handle defeat.
Remember what Charles F. Glassman said- Believing in negative thoughts is the single obstruction to success.
Assume, the viva board informed you about your failure in the viva. In this situation don’t get to explain yourself citing about your personal and family problems or some other excuse for which you couldn’t prepare yourself well for the viva. The board never expects such excuses from any candidate interviewing for the post of a cadre. These infantile excuses, on the other hand, will reveal your immature thinking. Any personal or familial issues are not expected to affect a candidate’s performance.
Standard ready wit is really important for any candidate expecting a job. The ability to turn an unfavorable situation in favor is what ready wit is.
- A true story:
The board president noticed one of the candidates’ height as soon as he entered the Viva board and exclaimed, “Hey you, don’t sit, how tall are you?”
Candidate: 6-foot, sir.
Board President: “6-foot! We don’t qualify candidates of such tall height. Hey, who is there someone take him out.”
Think what should a candidate do after hearing this (Actually, the president of the board cracked a joke with a serious attitude)
In this situation, the approach and the physical action to be taken by the candidate is “ready wit”. But remember, one must not overdo while showcasing one’s ready wit.
- Thought clarity:
Hope it’s clear from the title that your thought should be precise and concise. Don’t say something you don’t understand. It is also a part of mental clarity to organize your thoughts in the right manner. When giving an answer, be simple and definite, and address the point concisely.
- Decent appearance: (Read from pre-viva preparation)
- Etiquette & Commonsense:
Besides etiquette, one must also know the manner. These two aren’t the same thing.
- Etiquette- the rules of correct behavior in a society.
- Manner- the behavior that is considered to be polite in a particular society or culture.
Etiquette is usually regarded as courtesy around the world. It is equally applicable to all societies.
Manner is some essential sense of politeness to be followed in every culture and society all-round the world. It differs depending on the country, religion, and culture.
Flaws in etiquette and mannerism are taken seriously in viva board. In fact, good manners and etiquette are essential to survive in today’s competitive society. Here are some situations based on etiquette on viva board:
- While chatting, sneezing or coughing might occur due to variety of reasons. While coughing, cover your face and say “sorry, sir!” or “pardon me, sir!”. But it’s a matter of great sorrow that 95% of the graduates of our country doesn’t know the correct etiquette of coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t interrupt the board members while they’re speaking. Be an attentive listener. Don’t interrupt if the board members are talking to themselves, even if they are talking about you. Only respond to the questions that have been asked to you.
- Don’t interrupt, even if the board members are making fun of you or criticizing you.
- While answering the questions, don’t raise your hand or make any impolite gestures. keep your hands on your knees while speaking.
- Don’t give any extra facial expressions if you don’t know any answer to the question asked to you.
- When you’re sitting, keep your backbone straight. Despite the fact that it is a part of basic etiquette, the majority of folks in our country do not follow this sitting etiquette. So, pay attention to how you sit.
- Eye contact is an important etiquette while communicating. Maintain eye contact while answering the questions.
- Many people have the habit to cough a bit to clear their throat before starting any conversation. It is thought to be impolite. This type of activity should be avoided.
- Seeking permission and expressing gratitude are equally important aspects of etiquette. You will be observed while returning your certificates and leaving the room. Remember to thank them as you leave and if, the door was closed previously, close it when you leave the room.
- To wear appropriate attire is also a part of personal etiquette. (Go through pre-viva about outfit)
- Don’t act over smart. Be yourself. Present yourself in a smart way.
- If you’re questioned about your background, be open and honest. Tell the truth about your father if asked, even if he is a rickshaw puller. If you tell an emotive story about your hardships to seek sympathy, it will come out as hilarious. It’s also part of proper etiquette.
- If you’re asked a question concerning politics, give a technical response. Keep in mind the present ruling political parties. If you have any political experience or background, it’s best not to disclose it.
- If you’re asked about a current issue involving the current government, respond technically and thoughtfully. Your statement must not be stereotyped by any particular religion, caste, or race.
How the viva board will be:
Two specialists will work under the supervision of a PSC member. There may be 3-4 board members in the viva, including the board president.
How to enter and take a seat:
- If the door remains close while entering, close the door after getting permission to enter.
- When you enter the boardroom, greet everyone according to your religion, and before you take a seat, ask the board chairman for permission.
Things to be done 40 min before entering the viva board:
- Have an idea about the board members:
If your roll number is in the middle or at the end, attempt to get an idea of the board members from the candidates who have already left the board room. Get some idea about their personality, style, questioning pattern, and topics. In the viva board, a PSC member sits in the president’s chair. So, chewing gum may help in soothing your facial muscles and clearing your throat. a month before the viva, get some information about their profile from prior candidates who appeared on the viva board or from any other source. This will aid in mental preparation for the interview. For the latest update of PSC and PSC members, you may visit the website- www.bpsc.gov.bd
- Go to the restroom and freshen up at least 30min before your serial. It may relieve you from anxieties and fatigue while waiting.
- Chewing gums can be chewed to alleviate anxiety. It will aid in the relaxation of your mind and brain. Furthermore, chewing gum may help in the relaxation of facial muscles and the cleaning of the throat.
- Drink 200ml of water a few minutes before entering the viva room. Water has a surprising ability to remove mental pressure. But don’t drink too much water.
- If you are a religious believer, say dua according to your religion for mental peace. Even the famous footballers and cricketers also have some beliefs or superstitions. For example, some cricketers wear old gloves or bands while batting on the field while some football players wear specific colored underwear. This kind of superstition may psychologically help the performer to give his or her best.
How to bring a favorable environment in the viva board:
The environment of the viva board more or less depends on the mood of the board members. Usually for 3 reasons the environment of the viva board may go against you:
- A member may be irritated or angry with a candidate who has gone before you, which could affect the viva’s atmosphere.
- A member may be irritated due to personal or physical illness.
- They may be annoyed by your failure to respond to some basic questions or by any of your activities.
If you are sure that the reason for their irritation is not your performance or your behavior then you need to neutralize this awkward situation.
Things can be done:
- Smile a bit if you get the opportunity. A perfect smile can neutralize a sultry environment.
- Try to respond with a mix of politeness and subtle humor. However, answering simply is preferable to adding unnecessary spice to the response. Don’t do something that doesn’t go with your personality.
- Don’t worsen the situation by acting over smart or pretending to be a scholar.
- When responding to the questions, use basic and clear language. Accept your limitations without making any excuses.
- Demonstrate that you are a good listener. Allow the board member to talk and demonstrate their knowledge. These will contribute to the creation of a positive environment.
If the board members are irritated for reason no. 3 of the above that is for your failure to answer the questions asked by the board members than do the followings:
- Tactically bring the board members to the place of your strengths.
- There are some questions like-
- A) What qualities do you possess that other candidates lack?
- B) What extracurricular skills do you possess that other lack?
Take advantage of this type of question. Showcase if you have any qualities like singing, poem recitation or other outstanding qualifications. Perform if you are asked to.
- C) Another prevalent feature of a BCS viva or any other job viva is that if you are unable to answer any of the questions, they will ask you about your graduation course’s subject.
Therefore, to have basic knowledge of the subjects of graduation/ master’s is a must.
Introductory or general questions from the preferred cadre which are usually asked at the beginning of the viva should be addressed in a unique way, going beyond the usual responses. It will help you to develop a strong personality at the very beginning of the interview. As a result, even if you can’t correctly respond to questions, the members will be kind to you and will make every effort to save you.
Way to thank the board members and exit the room:
- When your senior extends his hand for a handshake, only then you should extend your hand. It is impolite to extend your hand first to the board members. A junior cannot always extend his hand for a handshake to his senior. It is an official of etiquette.
- While giving thanks, give a glance to all three members and while leaving the room opening the door you must close it again. It is an important etiquette.
Translated by Nabil Islam Shairy
Source: The Cadre
Md. Zahid Hasan is a BCS Cadre officer and the founder-writer of BCSExam.com . He joined Bangladesh Civil Service in 2011 being the 27th in the merit-list under his cadre-post of 29th BCS exam. He started writing on the tricks and tips of BCS exam preparation being requested by his senior students. He is an ardent researcher and experimenter of BCS exam preparation. If you are serious about becoming a BCS cadre officer, then Read More…