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Strategy to Crack IIFT

Propel your score in the IIFT Written Test by going through this in-depth analysis, which gives you expert tips on all aspects of the Exam!

Do you think MBA entrance exams like IIFT, CAT, SNAP, XAT, etc only check your subject knowledge? Well, sorry to burst the bubble but MBA entrance exams, especially IIFT, also check your time management skills, performance under pressure and analytical abilities. You need a different MBA preparation strategy to crack IIFT Entrance Exam. In this article you will get detailed and comprehensive plan to devise a winning strategy to crack IIFT.

The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade conducts the IIFT exam every year for admissions in its two-year MBA in International Business which is offered at its campuses in New Delhi and Kolkata. This written test is followed by an Essay Writing task, a Group Discussion and a Personal Interview. Before going to the section wise strategy for IIFT, let's analyze how IIFT pattern has been over the past few years.

IIFT Exam Pattern

The IIFT written test is historically conducted in the month of November of the preceding year of the commencement of the program. It is a multiple choice objective type test of two hours and the test areas over the last few years have been Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Reading Comprehension, Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning and General Awareness. The test has been experimenting with the number of sections & the number of questions, as is reflected in the table below, which gives the pattern of the test for the last few years:-

Total Marks100100100100100100
Number of Questions124118128135122150
Number of Sections444444
Marks per QuestionDifferentialDifferentialDifferentialDifferentialDifferentialDifferential
Negative Marking1/31/31/31/31/31/3

In fact, it is one of the rare management entrance exams that has differential marking for different sections, as well as for different questions of the same section. In 2010 and 2014, differential marks were allotted even between the two sub-sections of the Verbal Ability section.

IIFT 2015 featured 124 questions structured into four sections- Section 1 was Quantitative Ability(22 Questions, 1 mark each); Section 2 was in two parts, one on Data Interpretation (18 Questions, 1 mark each) and the other on Analytical and Logical Reasoning (20 Questions, 0.75 mark each); Section 3 was in two parts, one on Reading Comprehension (16 Questions, 1 mark each), the other on Verbal Ability (20 Questions, 0.75 marks each);Section 4 was on General Awareness with 28 Questions, 0.5 mark per each. The cut off for short listing students for GD-PI round was 48.5 in 2015

IIFT 2014 featured 118 questions structured into four sections- Section 1 was in two parts, one on Data Interpretation (15 Questions, 1 mark each) and the other on Quantitative Ability (20 Questions, 1 mark each); Section 2 was on General Awareness with 26 Questions, 0.5 mark per each; Section 3 was in two parts, one on Reading Comprehension (17 Questions, 1 mark each), the other on Verbal Ability (20 Questions, 0.75 marks each); Section 4 was on Logical Reasoning, with 20 Questions, 1 mark each. An overall attempt of around 50 plus questions, with 40-45 marks was good enough for the GD-PI shortlisting!

The takeaway for the test-taker is to be cautious and not approach the test with pre-conceived notions. For example, if you go for the test with over-dependence on Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, you may be disillusioned to find more weight given to Verbal Ability questions and vice versa. The attempt has to be judiciously planned while taking the test itself. However, this should not keep you at bay from practicing across different formats of the test. On the contrary, you will evolve as a strategic test taker only after going through a rigor of simulated tests.

Preparation Strategy for IIFT

The paper can be split into three parts: concept-driven, practice-intensive and environment-sensitive.

Quantitative Ability & select areas of Verbal ability are concept driven, which means that the questions depend heavily on core concepts. For example, a question featuring a term like "cyclic quadrilateral" is virtually impossible to attempt unless the corresponding concept is known. It is therefore suggested that you prepare the key concepts of Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry & Modern Math in the Quantitative Ability sections in a thorough manner.

To tackle the Verbal Ability section, one has to focus on improving one's reading speed because the paper typically features 3-4 Reading comprehensions. Also, you should prepare the basics of grammar in order to solve sentence correction questions. Practice is required to solve usage-based questions like analogy, fill in the blanks etc. A good vocabulary proves to be an asset while solving different kinds of vocabulary questions that feature in the exam.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning are practice-intensive, practice-intensive, which means that familiarity respect to similar questions is a key determinant here. It is advisable to practice different Data Interpretation question types like pie charts, bar graphs, data tables, line charts & combinations thereof, for the DI section. For Logical Reasoning, you need to practice questions on arrangements, family trees, complex data situations etc for the LR section

General Awareness is an environment-sensitive area and requires familiarity with both static and current components of the environment. For static GK one should focus on topics like history, geography, economics, political system etc. For current GK, you can refer to our GK junction section and use our various current affairs related sections.

  • Overall, the IIFT test can be best managed if you follow a three-pronged approach - ensuring concept familiarity, developing application orientation and sharpening test-taking strategies.
  • While familiarity with previous test patterns and cut-offs helps, too much scrutiny of trend analysis may be digressing at times.
  • You need to evolve as a test taker on that day, approach it with an open mind and go with the flow!

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