Monday, 8 February 2021

My Journey to Success - Parineeta Chakraborty ACS 2020 (APSC CCE 2018- Rank 4)




Parineeta Chakraborty 

Rank in Civil Services


Roll No.




Marital Status


Total attempts in CEE (including this one)


Optional Subjects

Chemistry(for Prelims and Mains) and Education (for Mains)

Service Joined


Medium chosen for Mains answers


Medium chosen for Interview

Assamese and English 

Home town/city



Co-founder of Ujjeevit Foundation 




% in class 10


% in class 12


Graduation course and %

BSc. with honours in Chemistry; 89%

Name of college, city, passing out year

Cotton College, Guwahati,2015


MSc. with specialisation in Organic Chemistry, passed in 2017, CGPA-8.37

Hobbies & Extracurricular achievements

Gardening, Baking, Cooking, Designing clothes, Singing, Dancing, etc.




Daily hrs spent on online platforms for predicting cutoff / syllabus change / age-attempt limit change and other “peripheral-discussion“ related to civil services.

Not too much. I usually kept away from browsing through such matters.

Daily hrs spent on WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram study groups

No fixed time as such but usage was relatively lesser during preparation days.

Daily hrs spent on online for exam prep/mock test

I did not attend any mock exam but relied mostly on online sources during my preparation. My laptop was always open whenever I sat down to study.

Primary Device for online study: desktop, laptop, tablet, mobiles

Laptop and my mobile phone.




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. I did draw diagrams as and where I felt the necessity. I drew the diagrams with pen .

Did you use ruler to draw the lines in diagram? Or did you just make it by hand?

Used ruler 

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 Parineeta Chakraborty. I’ve been born and brought up in Guwahati where I live with my parents and my younger brother. My parents are working and my brother is currently pursuing his Bachelors with honours in Economics. 

The desire to become a civil servant shaped up during high school days because this career field provides an individual with ample opportunities to work for the public and address and resolve various issues pertaining to the society and the public.

2. In recent times, there is spur in electronic material- blogs, sites, pdfs, RSS-feeds. Many aspirants feel bogged down by this information overload.

Ans:  The main essence of preparation is to keep one’s sources to a minimum and do multiple revisions of the topics. As I did not take any coaching, so I did a thorough analysis of the sources before beginning with my preparation and studied accordingly. I did use the Internet  but e-sources cannot be the sole reliance. One needs to read and revise the topics from the standard subject related books.


3. Do you maintain self-notes for revision of optional? In which format- electronic or paper? What is your style of preparation and notes making?

Ans: I did keep self-notes,especially for topics pertaining to current affairs. I used to keep those saved on my phone or laptop and the rest I used to read and revise directly from the text books.


4. What was your approach in the exam?

Ans: Except for leaving a 4 marker question in my Chemistry Paper 1 Optional, I attempted every question in all other papers. Regard the quality of the answers, I maintained a uniformity throughout the paper. My answers were in line with the question and within the given word limit.


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

Ans:  I remember attempting most of the questions where I had the opportunity to write in bullet points. I began my answer with a short one-liner introduction and ended with an optimistic conclusion.


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?

Ans: My optionals were Chemistry and Education. I chose Chemistry because I did my post-graduation in Chemistry and Education because the subject is interesting, practical and the syllabus is quite concise. But the new syllabus of APSC CCE has excluded Education as an optional paper. Regarding Chemistry as an optional, any Chemistry graduate or post-graduate who is very thorough with their degree and masters topics can definitely opt for it as their Optional. 


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

Ans: The book sources for Chemistry are same as the ones that are usually read in BSc and MSc honours courses. Current affairs related to Chemistry are not generally asked in the optional paper but such questions might be posed in the GS paper under Science and Technology.


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

Ans: It took me a month to finish Chemistry and around 2 months for Education.


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: No, I did not attend any mock test for mains.  I cannot say that they are indispensable but as we know “Practice makes a man perfect,” so attending mocks can surely improve one’s answer writing skills. As far as answer writing is concerned, I did not do much of it. I did not do practice papers before the exam as well. By saying so, I do not encourage upcoming aspirants to do the same. I’ve had the habit of creative writing since school which , I think, have helped me in framing answers directly in the exam papers.


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

Ans: The interview is the most unpredictable stage in the whole exam. We all know that it is primarily a test of one’s personality, so we need to answer with honesty . It’s always better to say “Sorry,I do not know the answer.” than to just beat around the bush if we are unsure of anything that the interviewer asks. All I did before the interview was to go throughout facts relating to my hometown,hobbies, educational background and optionals.


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: I did attend a mock interview; the environment in the mock interview was almost like the official interview, though the questions were different. It’s upto one’s own discretion whether he/she wants to attend a mock interview.


3. Where did you stay for the interview?

Ans: As I am from Guwahati, so I went from home for the interview. I did not carry any book or material alongwith me. I kept myself calm and positive and patiently waited for my turn.


4. Who was the chairman of you interview board? How long was the interview?

Ans: I interview board was chaired by Sanjib Gohain Baruah Sir. It went on for about half an hour.


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

Ans: I wore an Uka Muga mekhela and a Muga and Khadi blended sador with a maroon coloured blouse. I accessorised my outfit with my grandmother’s heirloom earrings and a simple rose gold watch.


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

Ans: It wasn’t completely on expected lines because at times, I was thrown upon a lot of counter questions. But it was overall, a pleasant conversation. The panelists were extremely cordial and there was nothing to be stressed about inside the interview room.


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

Ans: It is always better to carry a pen.


8. Please narrate your entire interview.

Ans: My interview started with questions relating to the organisation that I am a part of (Ujjeevit Foundation) post which they asked me questions relating to Assamese literature, Fokora Jojona,etc . I was also asked a few questions on Chemistry (eg: what is cascading effect in water treatment process, pH scale etc) as well as a few Educational policies (as my second optional was Education). There were also a few situational and miscellaneous questions.


The Miscellaneous Ones

1. If you were not selected, what was your career backup plan?

Ans: It’s always good to have a backup plan but I had none. I gave my entire time and energy to this examination. Had I not been selected this time, I would’ve definitely tried once again because “Failures are the pillars of 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? What is your message to these candidates?

Ans:  These aren’t even issues to be bothered about while preparing for this examination. It hardly matters which school or college an aspirant is from. All that matters is how sincere,hardworking and passionate an individual is towards fulfilling his/her vision. So I would like to request all the upcoming aspirants to keep all their insecurities at bay and continue preparing with a positive mindset.

3. People, most of them lack consistency in their preparation. So, how do you keep study momentum going on?

Ans: If the reason / driving force to become a civil servant is strong, one will never be derailed from their path. There were , of course ,moments when I felt anxious and worried about the uncertain future but I was always surrounded with a bunch of amazing friends and family who cheered me up during my gloomy days and motivated me to remain focused on my preparation.

4. Through this struggle and success, what have your learned? What is your message to the new aspirants? Many hardworking candidates have failed in Mains/Interview. They’re feeling cynical, hopeless and depressed- what is your message to them?

Ans: Our life is all about facing the struggles that are posed upon us at different stages in life. In the end, this is just an exam and it can never be larger than life. Failures do bring in disappointment but certain things are beyond our control, eg our destiny. So we should focus on what lies in our hands; if a candidate failed to get through this time, he/she shall analyse their respective loopholes, start rectifying them and start afresh on an optimistic note.

6. 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?

Ans: Behind every successful individual,there stands an army of supporters. I,too, had my army who believed in me more than I believed in myself. My parents to whom I owe every little achievement of mine, my brother ,teachers,friends, neighbours and relatives filled in my surroundings with positivity. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank one of my strongest support systems, Madhurjya Buragohain(Asst. Commisioner and EM, Sadiya) who stood by me whenever I felt low, took great care of my mental well-being and also provided me with valuable guidance to boost my preparation. Last but never the least, I dedicate this fulfilment of mine to my deceased grandmother whose last wish was to see me as a public servant.

A part of this interview is also published in the Assam Tribune Campus Buzz dated 8th Feb, 2021