APSC ACS – 51st Rank Bibhash Pathak Talks with Students

Name Bibhash Pathak

Bibhash Pathak
Bibhash Pathak
Age (at the time of clearing) 24
Year of Clearing 2018
Post ACS
Rank 51
Total no of Attempts 1
Optional for Prelims Geography
Optionals for Mains Political Science & Education
Medium of Exam English
Other exams success/failure Attempted UPSC
Service Preference APSC ACS, ALRS, APS, ARCS……
  1. Educational background
Class 10 %, Year, School 92.5 %   (2010)  Disney Land School
Class 12%, Year, Institution 93.6 %   (2012)  Army Public School
Degree %, Year, College 76 %      (2016)  NIT Silchar
Post-Graduation None
Hobbies Quizzing, Playing & Watching football
Job Experience None
  1. Many hearty congratulations on your success. Tell us something about yourself and your family and why did you choose Civil Services as a career?

Ans:  Thank you so much.

Hello everyone. I am Bibhash Pathak from Guwahati. I have done my matriculation from Disneyland High School, Guwahati and then completed my 12th from Army Public School, Narangi and my graduation from NIT Silchar. I come from a nuclear family consisting of my father, mother & sister. My father is a retd Govt. employee. My mother is a homemaker and my sister is a banker.

In the year 2010 when I was in class 10, my father exposed me to the spectrum of Civil Services. Later during engineering, I got to know the details of this service. I got to realise how a civil servant can bring about positive impact in the society. This is how I grew an affinity towards Civil Service as a career.


  1. When did you start the preparation for APSC?

Ans: I started my preparation for APSC from late 2016.


  1. How much time do you think is required to prepare for this exam?

Ans: With comprehensive study & smart work, I think one year is a good amount of time for this exam.


  1. How many hours on an average did you devote to studies?

Ans: I devoted around 5-6 hours a day.


  1. Do you think coaching is necessary for APSC?

Ans: It is not necessary. However I did coaching & gave few mocks before actual exams.



  1. What was your strategy for prelims?

Ans:  For Prelims, I did objective-oriented study. I tried to cover the syllabus. The USP of my Prelims preparation was solving a lot of MCQs.


  1. How did you choose your optional for prelims?

Ans: It was a pragmatic choice.

  1. Book List for Prelims GS
History NCERT
Polity Laxmikanth
Geography NCERT , Majid Hussain
Economy Sanjiv Verma
Science None
Assam Related Assam Year Book
Maths None
Reasoning None
Current Affairs Assam Tribune, Internet Sources.


  1. Booklist for Prelims Optional
Majid Hussain  







  1. Is language a barrier in the preparation for APSC? (Since many books/materials are not available in Assamese), and how you prepared the various sections related to the ASSAM and NORTH EAST?

Ans: Language can never be a barrier in the preparation. However there may be bottlenecks as some materials are not available in Assamese.

For the Assam and North- East, I followed Assam Year Book & The Assam Tribune.



  1. What was your strategy for mains? And strategy in applying the order of preferences for various posts?

Ans:  For mains, I followed the syllabus and studied it meticulously. I also went through the previous year papers & gave mocks too.

I followed the conventional order of preferences.


  1. Did you make notes or prepare answers?

Ans: I made notes only for Political Science.


  1. Did you practice answer writing?

Ans: Yes, I did.


  1. What was your strategy for time management during mains exam? How to wisely choose optional for the mains? How you revised all the three sections (GS, Current Affairs, and Optional)?

Ans: Competition Care Mains Test Series was very beneficial. Mock was the only strategy I applied for time management. I chose Political Science as its Polity section overlapped with G.S paper. I made few notes of Political Science and revised them before exam. I just went through the current affairs which I collected from the Internet.


  1. How many questions/marks did you attempt in GS and Optional?

Ans: I attempted around 290 in GS and attempted all in Optionals.


  1. How did you prepare for General English Paper?

Ans: I prepared grammar from Wren and Martin English book and practiced previous years papers. I also referred to an Essay book to go through few essays.


  1. Booklist for Mains GS
History Same as Prelims
Polity -do-
Geography -do-
Economy -do-
Science -do-
Assam Related -do-
Current Affairs -do-



  1. Booklist for Mains Optional 1


Political Science O.P Gauba, Subhra Ranjan notes, Laxmikanth, Chandra Prakash book.


  1. Booklist for Mains Optional 2
Education Sunita Agarwal, Lakshyahira Das


  1. How did you prepare for the Interview?

Ans:   I prepared my Bio-Data well. I brushed up my optionals and kept myself updated to  current affairs. I gave mock interviews in Competition Care & another institute.


  1. What did you wear for the interview?

Ans:  I wore a white shirt, blue neck-tie, dark blue pants and black formal shoes for the interview.


  1. What was the name of the board and what was the duration of the interview?

Ans: My Board was chaired by Prafulla Hazoari Sir, Ajanta Nath and another person I don’t recognise. The interview was around 20-25 mins.


  1. What were the questions asked during your interview?

Ans:   1. MPs and MLAs of few constituencies and Silchar too.

  1. Questions arising out of my place & college.
  2. Smart City.
  3. Questions from BTAD areas.
  4. Recent judgements from SC.
  5. Few questions from Optionals.
  6. Contribution of Assamese people in Freedom Struggle.
  7. Why Civil Service ?


  1. How confident were you of your success or were you nervous or de-motivated/doubtful at times? How did you keep yourself motivated during the preparation process? (Your stress management techniques)

Ans: I used to get nervous and demotivated at times. But I got beautiful support from my family members and my significant other. Also I used to talk to my friends. I used to manage my stress by listening to Zubeen Daa’s songs and watching football matches in TV. I would also like to mention about Anshuman Gogoi Sir who really motivated me through his talks.


  1. Were you engaged in any other activity (job, studies) or giving full time to preparation?

Ans: Full Time.


  1. What was your Career Back up plan?

Ans: No career back up plan. Gave all my time & efforts to this exam.

  1. There are a lot of pressures/obligations/obstacles in an individual’s life which tend to affect their preparation. Did pressures like ‘completing Post Graduation’, ‘getting a job first then prepare’, ‘hectic job’, ‘getting married’ or any other come in your way?

Ans: Fortunately I did not face such obstacles.


  1. What was the role of your family, friends, and spouse etc behind your success?

Ans: As mentioned above, My family & significant other played an important role. They stood like stanchions. Also my friends motivated me whenever I used to call/meet them.


  1. Dos and Don’ts for APSC.

Ans: Do : Work  hard + smart , Stay positive.


  1. Your observations on APSC exam.

Ans: This exam demands your dedication & patience. GS paper demands your writing speed too as the paper is lengthy. Overall I had a great experience in this exam as I learnt many things during this journey.


  1. Finally your golden tips for upcoming aspirants.

Ans:  “ If you want to shine like a sun, First burn like a sun.”—APJ Abdul Kalam

Be passionate. Work hard + smart. Follow the syllabus & study accordingly. All the best to all future aspirants.