All about IIFT: All you need to know about IIFT

Started in 1963, IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) counts among the top B-schools of India. The institute is renowned for its excellent research and training programmes. Its MBA programmes are designed to prepare budding managers in the field of international trade and business. IIFT has conducted several research studies in alliance with global organizations like WTO, UNCTAD, etc.
On the basis of an autonomous entrance test (IIFT), the institute admits candidates into its Global MBA/ MBA (International Business), the flagship programme of the institute. IIFT has four campuses, including Delhi, Kolkata, and Kakinada campus in India and Dar-es-Salaam campus in Tanzania. It also takes part in international collaborations and student exchange programmes.
In this article, you will get complete details and information about IIFT exam.
What is IIFT?
IIFT is a national-level exam conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) on behalf of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. The exam is held in an online mode across 60-70 cities of India. Generally, it is taken by around 40,000 candidates every year. The difficulty level of IIFT is comparable to that of CAT and XAT.
Note: In the case of NRIs and foreign nationals, the admission is based on GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test). In other words, they do not need to appear in IIFT exam in order to seek admission to MBA (IB).
When is IIFT held?
IIFT exam is generally conducted in the first week of December. The official notification of the exam is released in August/September every year. The latest IIFT exam is scheduled for 5 December, 2021 (10 am to 12 pm). Its registrations begin from the first week of September and continue till mid-October.
To apply for the exam, the candidates have to register at: While filling the IIFT application form, candidates are required to indicate four preferred test cities out of the given choices. A few weeks prior to the exam date, admit cards are released on the aforementioned official site.
The question paper and answer keys are made available on the website within a month of the exam. It is important to note that these answer keys (and recorded responses) can be viewed for three days only. Finally, IIFT result is declared at the end of December or January.
For the foreign/NRI applicants, a separate online window opens in January and continues till March.
What is the structure of IIFT?
IIFT is an objective test composed of four major sections. Each section contains a different number of questions, and thus, a different weightage in the exam. From 2019, it is being held in computer-based mode. The exam is scheduled for a single session of 2 hours. Over the years, the number of questions in IIFT has varied from 110 to 130. However, since the last two years, the exam has maintained the total number of questions at 110. IIFT is essentially a blend of moderate and difficult questions. The following table gives an overview of the expected exam format and marking scheme of IIFT 2021:
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IIFT Exam Pattern 2021
No. of Questions
Quantitative Analysis
Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation
General Awareness
Listed below are the crucial features of IIFT 2021:
  • In the first three sections (QA, RCVA, and LRDI), each correct answer is allowed 3 marks. And 1 mark is deducted for each incorrect answer.
  • In the General Awareness section, each correct answer is awarded 1.5 marks, whereas 0.5 marks are deducted for every wrong answer.
  • There is no pre-fixed order of answering questions. So, you can choose any order of attempting different sections.
  • There are no sectional time limits in IIFT. So, you can divide the total time duration among different sections, as per your convenience and abilities. However, remember that the institute also considers the sectional cut-offs, apart from the overall one.
Further, as the name suggests, Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability section are segregated into two sub-sections. The same goes for the Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation section.
Syllabus for IIFT 2021
Similar to other entrance tests, there is no standard syllabus prescribed for IIFT exam. Nevertheless, we have listed down the important areas for different sections, based on the pattern followed by the previous years' IIFT papers. While the first three sections of IIFT hold similarities with the other MBA entrances like CAT and XAT, the last section (General Awareness) is found in only a few entrance tests. Glance through the critical areas of all sections of IIFT 2021:
  • Quantitative Analysis: Questions in QA section are fetched from a vast variety of topics, mainly based on areas like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, modern mathematics, and commercial mathematics. Some of the quant questions involve the use of a combination of the concepts related to the above-stated areas.
  • Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability: This section comprises questions that check your grammar, vocabulary, and understanding of the given passages. Nearly half of the questions are asked from 4-5 RC passages, while the remaining are in the form of one-word substitution, jumbled paragraphs, etc.
  • Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation: Unlike other sections, LRDI doesn’t follow any fixed rules or formulae. Here, the questions accompany sets of data, with the reasoning part focusing on topics like arrangements, coding, puzzles, directions, etc., and the DI segment based on graphs, pie charts, and tabular forms of data. You are required to interpret the given information and answer the associated questions accordingly.
  • General Awareness: This section features questions from static GK as well as current affairs. These questions test your knowledge of business, economy, eminent personalities, brands, currencies, capitals, etc. Questions from current affairs are usually based on the national and international events of the past 10 months.
Who can appear for IIFT?
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade offers admission to Indian nationals and foreign nationals/NRIs on the basis of IIFT exam and GMAT respectively. Below are the common eligibility requirements for both categories of candidates:
  • The candidate must have a recognized bachelor's degree of atleast 3 years duration in any stream.
  • The candidate must have secured atleast 50% marks in their bachelor's degree (45% in case of SC/SC/PWD).
  • Final year students can also apply for IIFT exam.
However, after getting shortlisted by the institute, the admission remains provisional until the candidate submits the required documents by the stated date. Further, the candidate is not considered under the ‘foreign nationals’ category if he/she has appeared in any MBA entrance of India like CAT, XAT, IIFT, etc.
Which Institutes accept IIFT exam scores?
IIFT exam scores are accepted by all three campuses in India, namely:
  • IIFT Delhi
  • IIFT Kolkata
  • IIFT Kakinada
Apart from the above-mentioned, a few other institutes of India may also offer admission based on IIFT scores.
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Admission Process at IIFT
IIFT exam serves as the first screening stage of selection for MBA (IB). Once the candidates are shortlisted as per their IIFT scores, they are called for further rounds such as Group Discussion., Writing Skills Assessment, and Interview. These are usually held in March/ April at Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai. Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Lucknow.
For the foreign nationals/NRI candidates, personal interviews are conducted at the IIFT campus. 
After all the admission rounds are complete, composite scores are prepared. Then the final admission list is declared by the institute, and the selected students are informed via email.
Courses Offered at IIFT
Established with an aim to professionalize the country’s trade management, IIFT's portfolio of long-term programmes is quite diverse and caters to both the aspiring International Business executives and mid-career professionals alike. Listed below are the major management courses offered at IIFT campuses:
  • Two-Year MBA (IB) - Full Time at all campuses
  • Two-Year Six Months MBA(IB)- Weekends at IIFT, Delhi
  • Executive Post Graduate Diploma inInternational business (EPGDIB) –online/ on-campus at IIFT, Delhi
  • Certificate Program In Export Import Management – Weekends at IIFT, Delhi
  • PG Certificate in International Business and Finance – Online
  • Executive Development Program in Strategies for International Business – Online
  • Executive Development Program in Global Supply Chain Management – Online
  • Management at IIFT, Delhi
It is important to note that except MBA (IB), other courses at IIFT do not require you to clear the IIFT entrance exam. Further, MBA (IB) at IIFT, Dar-es-Salaam is a result of the institute’s collaboration with the IFM (Institute of Finance Management), Dar-es-Salaam. In addition to the above-listed programmes, IIFT also extends corporate training and management development programmes. For more information on the same, you can check out the institute’s official site:
ROI of MBA Offered at IIFT
Prior to seeking admission to any B-school, you must be aware of the ROI of its MBA programmes. MBA, being one of the most popular postgraduate courses, is also the one to fetch the highest salary packages. In this respect, IIFT is known for its consistently high placement records. Glimpse through some of the amazing facts about the recent placements at IIFT:
  • For 2019-21 batch, IIFT campus was visited by more than 100 companies from various sectors.
  • In terms of domains, most of the hiring was made in Sales & Marketing, Consulting, and Finance, followed by IT/Analytics, General Management & Strategy, and Trade & Operations.
  • The average CTC stood at Rs. 21.08 lpa, while the highest package went upto Rs. 46.45 lpa.
  • Further, the average CTC of the top 10% students was Rs. 29.14.
  • Some of the top recruiters at IIFT were Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Amway, Google, Tata Steel, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, Capgemini, Wipro, etc.
Preparation Tips for IIFT 2021
Once you are thorough with the syllabus and exam pattern of IIFT exam, you must prepare a proper study schedule for IIFT 2021 preparation. Most candidates start preparing 3-6 months prior to the exam. Here are some expert tips to help you ace all sections of IIFT:
  • To begin with, strengthen your basics. While you must be already familiar with the fundamental topics of mathematics, reasoning, and grammar, you will need to gain a better foothold to ace the exam.
  • Develop a regular habit of reading newspapers, magazines, and similar sources. This will arm you with the required skills for verbal section and brush up your knowledge for GK section.
  • After going through the important mathematical formulae and rules of grammar, start practicing the topic-wise tests of the related sections.
  • DI and reasoning questions follow no particular rules, yet are comparatively complex to solve. So, it is always a good idea to try these questions from previous year papers and sample tests. You must attempt a variety of LR and DI questions, as they appear in different forms in the exam.
  • Once you are well-versed with all the essential areas of IIFT syllabus, study the previous year papers for frequently asked question types and related topics.
  • Finally, start taking full-length online mock tests to test your preparation. Make sure you practice shortcut techniques and other smart methods for faster calculations. As you practice more and more tests, you will be able to work out the strategy that suits you the best.
FAQs Regarding IIFT
  1. What is the validity of IIFT score?
  2. IIFT score is valid for one year.
  3. What is a good score in IIFT?
  4. All three campuses of IIFT have a different cut-off criterion. It generally ranges between 110 to 130. Considering this, it would be wise to target a score of 130 and above.
  5. Is there any age bar for appearing in IIFT?
  6. There are no age restrictions for appearing in IIFT.
  7. Can I challenge the answer key released on the official site?
  8. Yes, the candidates are allowed to challenge the answer key online. The fee for each challenged question is Rs. 200. However, note that no re-evaluation is done after the result declaration.
  9. How many times can I take IIFT?
  10. There is no limit on the number of attempts for IIFT. However, since the exam is held only once a year, you can take one attempt annually.
  11. What is the fee for IIFT application?
  12. IIFT registration fee is Rs. 2500 for general category candidates and Rs. 1000 for SC/ST candidates.
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