Understanding the IIFT Exam Pattern

Among various MBA entrance exams in India, IIFT has the most challenging and interesting exam format. Some of the stand-out features of the exam are: a unique marking scheme accompanied with differential marking, multiple sections divided into sub-sections, and a variable number of total questions in the exam. The unique nature of the exam also means that it gives a lot of jitters to numerous students. Understanding the pattern of the exam is of paramount importance as it will help you in formulating a winning strategy to tackle the exam.


First of all, take a look at the format of last year’s IIFT:

Section Sections No. of Questions Marks per Questions Total-Marks
(A) (B) (C) (D) (E)=(C)*(D)
Section -1 Quantitative Ability 20 1.00 20
Section -2 (Part-1) Analytical & Logical Reasoning 22 0.75 16.5
  (Part -2) Data Interpretation 20 1.00 20
Section -3 (Part -1) Reading Comprehension 16 1.00 16
  (Part -2) Verbal Ability 20 0.75 15
Section -4 General Awareness 25 0.50 12.5
  Total 123 100.00  

This table clearly highlights the fact that differential marking plays an important role in IIFT and you should allocate time as per the weightage of each question.

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Download IIFT Previous Year Papers

Following are some more details about IIFT based on previous year papers:

Number of Sections 4 (With Sub Sections)
Marks Per Question Differential, for 2016 paper it was (0.5 for G.K, 0.75 for Verbal Ability, 1 for RC, 1 for DI and Quant and 0.75 for Analytical and Logical Reasoning)
Negative Marking 1/3rd of the marks allotted to the question
Duration 2 hours
Number of questions Variable. In 2011 there were 122 questions, 135 in 2012, 128 in 2013, 118 in 2014, 124 in 2015 and 123 in 2016
Total Marks 100
Sectional cut off Yes
Mode Paper Based Test. Students need to mark answers on OMR sheet using pencil
Number of sets Four (A,B,C,D)
Further Reading :
Check in-depth expert analysis of IFT 2016 for the IIFT Exam

While IIFT has not specified the syllabus for the exam, generally the areas tested in the exam are: English Usage/Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and General Knowledge. The major takeaways based on the above analysis are as follows:

  • Give equal importance to all the 4 sections as clearing sectional cut- off is the gateway to move ahead.
  • Keep a proper tab on the time management as there is differential marking scheme with 120-200 questions in 120 minutes.
  • 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.
  • For Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: you should keep in mind that you can comfortably attempt 10-12 questions in quant, 10-12 questions in reasoning, and 8-10 questions in DI section.
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Watch our Achievers' Classroom Series videos of crucial Topics for the IIFT Exam
  • The Verbal section is a mix of Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Grammar based questions. Reading Comprehension questions have more weightage than the English usage questions and the English Usage section consists heavily of vocabulary based questions.
  • Generally, GK sections have very low cut-offs, so you need not attempt a large number of questions. Also, this section features 'Match the following questions' type of questions. Make sure you go through these as even if you know some of the correct matches it might help you solve the question.

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