APSC ACS – 57th Rank Dr. Puja Punam Gogoi Talks with Students

Name Dr. Puja Punam Gogoi

Dr. Puja Punam Gogoi
Dr. Puja Punam Gogoi
Age (at the time of clearing) 29
Year of Clearing 2016
Post ACS
Rank 57
Total no of Attempts 2
Optional for Prelims INDIAN HISTORY
Optionals for Mains HISTORY,EDUCATION
Medium of Exam ENGLISH
Other exams success/failure NONE
Service Preference APSC ACS,ALRS,ARCS,ST,Labour officer,APS,Inspector of Tax,Labour Inspector…….

2. Educational background


Class 10 %, Year, School 80%,2005,Christ Jyoti School,Nagaon
Class 12%, Year, Institution 61%,2007,Nowgong College
Degree %, Year, College 62%,Govt Ayurvedic College and Hospital,Jalukbari
Hobbies Reading,Writing(Poetries and Short stories)
Job Experience 1.Worked as a Resident Medical Officer at Sunvalley Hospital,Guwahati

2.Working as a Medical Officer (Ayur) under NHM ASSAM.






  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.I am Dr.Puja Punam Gogoi,a graduate in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery , currently working as a Medical Officer (Ayur) at Dhing BPHC,Nagaon.This was my second attempt(first serious attempt) and am happy to have been selected for the Assam Civil Services(ACS).Speaking of my family ,we are a  family of three members ,my mother who is a home-maker,my younger brother who is pursuing his LLB and me.My father who was an Accounts Officer under Government of Assam passed away in 2014.

Joining the Civil Services has been a childhood dream(the DC residence in Nagaon being the first attraction) though I never talked to my parents about it till my second year of graduation.Once I did,though my mother was a bit skeptical in the beginning and wanted me to pursue higher studies  ,my father completely supported my decision and asked me to prepare for ACS examinations after my Graduations.At that time I had a vague idea of the services which with time became clearer and my passion for the services grew every single day.Also ,the limitations I come across at times in serving people while working as a doctor pushed me more to work really hard to have a better platform for doing what I really want to do .



  1. When did you start the preparation for APSC?

Ans. I started my serious preparations since May 2016.


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

Ans: I think it varies from person to person . But in general, one year should be enough .


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

Ans: For Prelims I studied for 2 to 3 hours a day till notifications were out(which was somewhere around January,2017).After notifications were out till one month for the exams I studied for around 5-6 hours daily and the last one month I devoted not less than 8 hours a day.

For Mains : I started preparing for Mains after two months of Prelims though I knew that I was going to crack the Prelims. So, to compensate the lost time I had to work really hard.Inspite of duty I maintained a daily study hour of not less than 9-10 hours since mid-september and it went on increasing as the exams approached with 15-16 hours  in the last 20 days.


  1. Do you think coaching is necessary for APSC?

Ans: I don’t think its necessary as I managed without coaching.



  1. What was your strategy for prelims?

Ans: For Prelims there was no strategy as such.I tried to have a proper base in the beginning and studied all the subjects thoroughly.And then repeated revision was the key.


  1. How did you choose your optional for prelims?

Ans: As a student of Ayurveda I have always been fascinated  by our past and it was this interest in history which made me choose it as an optional.


  1. Book List for Prelims GS
History Ancient India:India’s Ancient Past by R.S Sharma

Medieval:Satish Chandra

Modern:Bipan Chandra

Polity Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
Geography Certificate Physical and Human Geography by G.C Leong
Economy Ramesh Singh
Science Did not study
Assam Related Assam Year Book, Priyam Goswami
Maths Did not do
Reasoning Did not do
Current Affairs Newspaper(The Assam Tribune ) and Internet


  1. Booklist for Prelims Optional







  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: I don’t think language to be a barrier though basic knowledge of English is necessary.

For Prelims I studied from the Assam Year Book and also gave a reading of Priyam Goswami’s Assam History.I religiously followed The Assam Tribune which did help me immensely in the Mains.



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

Ans: Right after Prelims I was in a state of panic and depression(if I may say so) seeing the syllabus of Mains and I decided not to take the Exams. It was after two months that I realized  that I couldn’t give up on my dreams come what may.The first thing I did was I took out the syllabus ,had an idea of the questions asked in the previous years and started preparing notes for every topic mentioned in the syllabus and kept on revising at frequent intervals. I gave more stress on the Optionals as there was 800 marks allotted to the two Optionals together. For G.S I made sure I did not miss out on any static topic mentioned in the syllabus.For the dynamic part I followed the newspapers.

There was no strategy as such in applying the order of preference.It was just that I wanted to make it to the list.


  1. Did you make notes or prepare answers?

Ans: I did take an idea of what questions could be asked on a particular topic and made notes accordingly.


  1. Did you practice answer writing?

Ans: No.I did not have time for practicing answer writing .


  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: Time management is very important in Mains Examinations considering the pattern of the Questions.The strategy for me was to simply keep writing without a pause.Having never attempted 300 marks in 3 hours before I somehow managed to complete the  G.S paper and the last three answers were indeed not satisfactory because of lack of time. However for the other papers I got extra careful and by God’s grace managed to complete all of them properly on or before time.

Optionals should be chosen in accordance with one’s interest .

Repeated Revision was the key from the very beginning. I kept revising everything I used to study at frequent intervals.And in the last 20 days  I had stopped studying anything new.It was all about revisions and more revisions.


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

Ans: I attempted all .


  1. How did you prepare for General English Paper?

Ans: I never really prepared for General English as I could not manage time for it.It was just the day before the Exam that I went through the previous years’ grammar portions.


  1. Booklist for Mains GS
History Same with Prelims + Modern India by Rajiv Ahir(Spectrum Publications)
Polity Same with Prelims
Geography Same with Prelims
Economy Same with Prelims
Science Did not study
Assam Related Same with Prelims + parts from Edward Gait
Current Affairs Same with Prelims



  1. Booklist for Mains Optional 1


Indian History Same with G.S
World History K.L Khurana and Internet


  1. Booklist for Mains Optional 2
PAPER 1 PART 1 Foundation of Education by Phunu Das
                PART 2 Educational Psychology by Dr.Sunita Agarwala
PAPER 2 Development of Education In India by Dr.Sunita Agarwala


  1. How did you prepare for the Interview?

Ans:  I Revised all that I had studied for Mains .Read newspapers (The Assam Tribune and The Hindu) giving more emphasis on editorials .


  1. What did you wear for the interview?

Ans: Muga Mekhela and Eri-Muga Sador.


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

Ans: My board was of the APSC chairman himself,Deepak Sharma sir and the other members were Hazoary Sir and Krishna Gohain ma’am.The duration was 15-20 mins.


  1. What were the questions asked during your interview?

Ans: Right after introduction the first question Deepak Sharma sir asked was the meaning of my name.Then there were questions on Ayurveda and very surprisingly he had a very good knowledge of Ayurveda.Then he asked me the reason I wanted to be an ACS Officer.I answered and there were counter questions which I feel I answered satisfactorily.Then Krishna Gohain ma’am asked me the reasons I am proud to be a girl from Nagaon and from Assam. Deepak Sharma sir again went back to my professional background and asked me names of Ayurvedic medicines prescribed by allopathic doctors. I named a few and he told me that they were the products of the same company and asked me to name products by other companies.I was indeed pleasantly surprised by his knowledge of Ayurveda.Then I was  asked to name two teachers from my School(Christ Jyoti).I instantly replied and immediately I was asked to name 4 classmates from the first standard though on taking the first name itself he stopped me asked for her phone number which I said I did not remember .The next question was  on my role model .My answer was A.P.J Abdul Kalam and there were counter questions as to why ,what lessons do you take from his life and the last one being an important program under him.My answer was Pokhran II and I could feel he was happy.He then asked me why they ‘must’ select me for ACS as my prefence of service was ACS.I don’t know how far my answer convinced them but the next question was for how many times I have sat for APSC.I told them that this is my second attempt and in the first attempt I did not even clear Prelims.To this Deepak Sharma sir responded with a smile and said, “ so this time you have cleared both together” and Hazoary sir added that this time I must have worked hard. The last and the only question from Hazoary sir was on the basics of Ayurveda.He asked me to explain the concept of Vata,Pitta and Kapha.I did and he seemed convinced and the interview came to an end.All I Can say about the interview is that it is and will remain an experience of a life time.


  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: During preparations I did not think much about success .All I wanted to do was to complete the syllabus and keep revising.

Yes, I was stressed at times. I did talk to my  mother whenever I was stressed.She was very sure of my success and always maintained that I will do extremely well and that altogether boosted my confidence to a different level.I also used to talk to my friend Dr.Dipankar Nath,ACS 2017 Batch who  showed immense faith in me and  guided  me  to stay positive all through.


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

Ans: As I have mentioned earlier, I am a working medical professional.


  1. What was your Career Back up plan?

Ans: There was no back up plan . I would have definitely continued with my current job. But my passion for the services is such that I would have taken the exams again and again till I succeeded.

  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: Yes, being in a job and not having enough time for preparations was always a hurdle.Other than that nothing really mattered.I have always believed that problems ,be in any form , are integral part of everyone’s life and success lies in handling them patiently and overcoming them.


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

Ans: My family has always been very supportive.My mother constantly encouraged me to keep working hard and tried to keep me away from all forms of negativity around.She undoubtedly is the biggest support system I have and unquestionably the most important person behind my success.My brother was so concerned about my preparations and about not disturbing me that not even a single day during my preparations for the Mains  he switched on the Television .Talking of friends ,I feel blessed to have been surrounded by four great friends (the only people I was in touch with other than my family during my preparations for Mains);Punam Gogoi,ACS Rank 10(my best friend), Dr. Anup Jyoti Bora,APS Rank1 and Hemanta Das da(my partners of preparations)  and Dr.Dipankar Nath.I must also mention my friend Dr.Sabina Akhtabun Hoque who helped me revise the Ayurvedic part for interview.I am grateful to each one of them for always being  there whenever I needed them.The journey wouldn’t have been this amazing without them.Also ,I am thankful to friends and family who understood my reasons of not being social or not keeping in contact with them all this while and have always wished well for me .


  1. Dos and Don’ts for APSC.

Ans: Dos: Believe in the process and keep working hard.

Don’ts: Don’t belive in any rumour about the Exams and everything is a rumour unless it appears on the APSC website.


  1. Your observations on APSC exam.

Ans: APSC Exams is indeed the most competitive exam in the state and rightly so as it recruits the officials for the most important Offices of the Sate Government.It tests not only your knowledge, writing skills or your general awareness but also your patience and perseverance ,your decision making abilities together with your capacities of handling stressful situations.


  1. Finally your golden tips for upcoming aspirants.

Ans: The first thing I would like to say is, be sure of what you are doing and why .Have faith in the Almighty.Believe in yourselves and go for intelligent and smart hardwork as demanded by the Exams.The journey ahead is beautiful and not to forget ‘ it’s the JOURNEY that matters more than the results’.