Monday, 14 January 2019

My Journey To Success - Moitrayee Moran - ACS 2018 (APSC 2016 – Rank 22)

Moitrayee Moran
Rank in Civil Services
Marital Status
Total attempts in CEE (including this one)           
Optional Subjects
Political Science & Education
Service preferences Top – 3 (ACS, APS, ALRS etc.)
Service Joined
Schooling Medium (English/Assamese/Hindi/Bengali)
College Medium (English/Assamese/Hindi/Bengali)
Medium chosen for Mains answers
Medium chosen for Interview
English and Assamese
Work-experience if any
5 years teaching experience in Disney Land High School


% in class 10
% in class 12
Graduation course and %
62% , BSc (Botany)
Name of college, city, passing out year
Arya Vidyapith College, Guwahati
67%, GU
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements
Reading ,watching movies, cooking ,scribbling


Daily hrs spent on online platforms for predicting cutoff / syllabus change / age-attempt limit change and other “peripheral-discussion“related to civil services.              
I stayed away from such discussions.
Daily hrs spent on WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram study groups
2 hours approx
Daily hrs spent on online for exam prep/mock test
No fixed time
Primary Device for online study: desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile  


Did you use highlighters / sketch pens in your answers?
Did you draw any diagram in any paper? (e.g. in Geography)If yes, Did you draw diagrams with pencil or pen?
Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand?
You wrote the answer in blue pen or black pen?


1.        Tell us something about yourself, your family, when and why did you enter in this field of competitive exams?

I belong to a middle class family. I have done my masters in Botany from Gauhati University. We are originally from Dibrugarh but are now settled in Guwahati. My father is a retired government servant. My mother is also a government employee. I have a younger sister who is currently pursuing her master degree from Gauhati University.
Civil service provides a dynamic and diverse platform that will help in my optimal growth as a person, do something for the people and at the same time be a part of the development process of the state. This is what inspired me and I decided to enter in this field. 

2.        In recent times, there is spur in electronic material- blogs, sites, pdfs, RSS-feeds. Many aspirants feel bogged down by this information overload. So, how do you balance this i.e. electronic material vs. paper material (Books, newspapers)

For my GS I mostly relied on electronic materials. But I limited my resources to a few sites like IAS Mania, Dailyinsights etc. So moderation is the key and both the materials should be judiciously used as per one’s need.

3.        Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional?

I made proper notes. It saved time during revision.

4.        What was your approach in the exam?

Every mark counts in the examination. The first thing I did in the examination was to read the whole question paper and mark the questions I was going to write. I tried to touch all the questions with at least a few relevant points. I first attempted the questions I was confident about and then moved on to the others. But if you don’t have the faintest of idea it is better to leave it.

5.        Did you write answers in bullet points or in paragraphs?        Did you follow the “introduction-body-conclusion” format?

I mostly wrote my answers in bullet points. For some I used both points and paragraphs. Headings and subheadings should be used where necessary.  It is good if one can maintain the introduction-body-conclusion format, but I didn’t follow it religiously. It hardly matters what format one uses as long as the answer is good, relevant and in sequence.

6.        What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else? If a new aspirant wants to pick your subject, would you advice for it or against it? First the essential book/resource list.

My optional subjects were Political Science and Education. In my previous attempt I chose Botany as one of my optional but I couldn’t get a good score and also found the syllabus very vast. So this time I opted for education in place of botany.
Selection of optional subjects is very important for getting a good score. A new aspirant should go through the syllabus minutely. This time the standard of the papers were more or less same. Still one should be very careful while selecting the subjects as it is us who have to study it in and out. Personal interest and preference should be kept in mind while making a selection.

7.        What are the books you studied doing your preparations and your list of recommended books?

General Studies:

For my GS I mostly relied on online materials. Apart from them I followed the following-
  •    Indian Polity- M. Laxmikant
  •    NCERT books  (downloaded online)
  •    IAS Mains GS paper 1,2,3 – Arihant
  •    Assam Year Book- Santanu Kaushik Baruah
  •    Environmental Science – Kaushik & Kaushik (GU degree book)
  •    Newspaper

Political Science:

  •  Indian Polity- M. Laxmikant
  • Introduction to the Constitution Of India- D.D. Basu
  • Select Constitution- K.K. Ghai
  • Political Thought From Plato to Marx-  Arora & Grover
  • Indian Political Thinkers- Sonatan Paul
  • An Introduction to Political Theory- O.P. Gauba
  • Political Theory – K.K. Ghai
  • Political Theory- Akhil Ranjan Dutta


  •  HS  Education Book- Jatin Baruah
  • Principles and Foundations of Education- Marami Goswami
  • Historical Perspective of Indian Education- Sunita Agarwalla
  • Guide Book- Sunita Agarwalla
  •  Online materials

8.        How many months did it take to finish the optional syllabus?

I cannot study for long hours. After CCE 2014 result was declared I slowly started with my preparation. By the time CCE 2016 prelims result was declared, almost 80% of my optional notes were ready. There is no particular time frame for this and it entirely depends on the individual.

9.        Did you attend any ‘mock tests’? Do you think they’re necessary for success? How many days/ weeks before the exam, you started answer writing practice papers?

No, I didn’t attend any mock test. But I believe it’s important for self assessment. A few mock test before the main exam would have enhanced my writing speed. This I realized during my GS paper. So if you get the opportunity then go for it.

10.    If you are made the UPSC/APSC chairman, what other reforms would you initiate for the civil service exam?


1.        How did you prepare for the interview? – (for college grad, hobbies, place of origin, current affairs at national and international level)

For interview I didn’t prepare much. I just went through the basics of my optional subjects. I started reading The Assam Tribune regularly after declaration of mains result.

2.        Did you attend any mock interviews by coaching classes? How were they similar / different than official interview? Do you believe it is necessary to attend such mock interviews?

Yes, I attended a mock interview to get away with my nervousness. The feedback that I got helped me a lot. I feel it’s necessary for an aspirant to attend one or two such sessions as it will help in the long run and one can truly know where they stand and how much improvement is needed.

3.        Who was the chairman of you interview board? How long was the interview? Why do you want to join civil service?

The chairman of my board was Mukti Gogoi Sir. There were two more members. The board was very cordial and we had a normal discussion that lasted for about 25 minutes.

4.        Describe the formal-dress worn by you on the day of your interview.

I wore a plain ghicha saree and a pair of comfortable heels for my interview with minimal makeup.

5.        Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask you totally unexpected questions? 

The major parts of the interview were on expected lines. There were some unexpected questions but I was calm and composed throughout. Overall it was a friendly board and they didn’t make me feel uncomfortable.

6.        Please narrate your entire interview- what questions did they ask and what did you reply and other pleasant or uncomfortable experiences during the interview

Questions were asked related to my background, my positive and negative qualities, WW1, October Revolution, Naxalism, insurgency, Assam Agitation, NRC, Citizenship Amendment Bill, classical dances etc.

The Miscellaneous Ones

1.        If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?When were you going to “execute” that backup plan

I would have given it another shot. I didn’t had any such backup plan.

2.        Many candidates prepare sincerely but constantly live under fear about ‘profile

Profile insecurity is a myth. Though I am from an English medium background my speaking skill is poor. I lack confidence. This is where mock interview came to my rescue. Most people have insecurities and it is nothing to be ashamed of. We need to identify our own issues and work on it.

3.        People, most of them lack consistency in their preparation. So, how do you keep study momentum going on? How do you fight against the mood swings and distractions?

The 3 P’s- passion, patience and perseverance will help one to sail through. At the same time one has to stay calm and focused towards the goal. Mood swings and distractions are common. But when you want something desperately you always find a way. Taking short breaks from study, staying connected with family and friends worked for me.

4.        Through this struggle and success, what have your learned? What is the wisdom of life and competition?

Struggle, success, failure are a part of life. Things that might work-out for someone may not work for me. I too have faced rejections and have seen failures in life. And I feel it is those days that made me stronger. Preparing for civil services is a rollercoaster ride and it’s quite normal to feel frustrated and depressed. Take a break, self analyse your strategy and tactics, motivate yourself and start afresh. You have everything that is needed to be a civil servant. Don’t give up on your dreams.

5.        Behind every topper are many people who stood by during those uncertain times when you were merely an ‘aspirant’. Would you like to tell the world, who were those people in your case? Any specific incidence that you would like to share with the readers?

As a child I always wanted to be a doctor and since that never happened I was lost and aimless. After completing my studies it took me 4 years to realize what I want in life and another 4 years to make it a reality. It’s my parents, my sister and a few close friends that believed in my dream and stood by me. And I am really thankful to them for tolerating me and my tantrums throughout.

Maitrayee Moran, daughter of Sobharam Moran and Bhanita Medhi Moran of Titadimaru village, Moran Chuk of Lahowal in Dibrugarh district is the first woman from the Moran tribe of the State to be selected for the civil service.