Monday, 25 February 2019

My Journey To Success - Puja Baruah - Inspector of Taxes 2018 (APSC 2016)

Roll No.               
Marital Status
Total attempts in CEE (including this one)           
Optional Subjects
Anthropology and Education
Service Joined
Inspector Of Taxes
Schooling Medium 
College Medium
Medium chosen for Mains answers
Medium chosen for Interview
English and Assamese
Home town/city


% in class 10
% in class 12
Graduation course and %
BA in Anthropology; Best Graduate Arts; 83.3%
Name of college, city, passing out year
Cotton College (2013)
Anthropology; First Class First; Gold Medallist; 71.5%
Any other professional courses
Pursuing PhD
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements
Reading books, travelling etc


Daily hrs spent on online platforms for predicting cutoff / syllabus change / age-attempt limit change and other “peripheral-discussion“ related to civil services.              
It depends whether I am using it for some constructive purpose or leisure.
Daily hrs spent on WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram study groups
I have used internet a lot during my preparation.
Daily hrs spent on online for exam prep/mock test
1 hour
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?
Yes with pencil
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?
Blue pen


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

Ans: My name is Puja Baruah. I am from Guwahati. I live with my parents here and I have a brother who stays in Delhi. I have got Inspector of taxes in APSC (CCE) 2016. It is like a passion for me to serve the society.

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

Ans: It’s all about focus. One should always remember why he or she has started this journey.

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

Ans: Yes for few portions I do maintain notes but for me revision is the key. I read multiple times.

4.        What was your approach in the exam?

I always try to give my answers as clearly as possible because clarity is very much necessary.

5.        Did you write answers in bullet points or in paragraphs?       

Ans: Both bullet and paragraphs

6.        What’s your optional subject and why did you chose it and not something else

Ans: Anthropology is my graduation subject so this exam is just a revision for me and for Education I have used the book by L Das as my base book.

7.        What are the books you studied doing your preparations and your list of recommended books? How much of internet-research / current affairs is necessary for this optional? OR can one simply rely on the books and be done with this subject?

Ans:  I always believe that we should keep less books for all these competitive exams and revise what has already been read. Revision is the key

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

Ans: 3 months

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?

Ans: Yes I did. Every week.


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

And: This is basically a personality test so the key to success is remain faithful in the interview and speaking what is true and fair.

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?

Ans: Yes I did. It is not that necessary.

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

 Ans: Mekhla Chadar

4.        Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask you totally unexpected questions?  Was it a stress interview, did they ask any uncomfortable questions? If yes, how did you handle it? It was on expected lines. It was not a stress interview.

 Ans: Yes it was very much on the expected lines. But honesty is something which they want in the interview.

5.        Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?

Ans: Always carry a pen

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. (Earlier some toppers only tell me their question but not their answer. I would appreciate if you give both Question + your original answers)

My interview was about 20minutes. Basically they had asked about my PhD subject, Anthropology : westernisation, caste system, Syrian war, Ahom king suhungmung etc.
They asked me why you want to join civil service and not academics and I told them that academics can be done later also as Ihad already completed my masters and civil services provides  a broader prospect to serve the society.

The Miscellaneous Ones

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

Ans: I am pursuing PhD and I always believe that failure is the pillar to success.

2.        Many candidates prepare sincerely but constantly live under fear about ‘profile insecurity’. I’m not from a big college, I’m not from English medium, and I don’t have work-experience. What if they ask some stressful questions in the interview about this? Did you suffer from such insecurities? What is your message to these candidates?

Ans: Positive actions combined with positive thinking results in success. I am a very positive person and I always believe that hard work pays off sooner or later. So my message for all those candidates is that  sometimes things never go the way we expect them to but at that time one must not get distracted from the goal that he/she has set before. So, always believe in yourself and the rest will fall into place.

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?

Ans: Success breeds success. Getting gold medal in both Graduation and Post-graduation always motivate me to work harder every single day.

4.        Behind every topper are many people who stood by during those uncertain times when he/she was 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?

Ans: There are 3 person my mother, my father and my brother. My parents are my pillars of strength and my brother is someone I always looked up to.  He is my first friend and my second father.

Thank You for taking the effort to fill this questionnaire. Your effort will go a long way to guide someone in their preparations and fulfill their long cherished dream of becoming a civil servant.


Post a Comment