How to Prepare for IIFT GK?

The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) conducts a test for admissions to its various MBA programs in Nov-Dec every year. Traditionally, the GK section in IIFT has been of higher level of difficulty as compared to SNAP, CMAT, MAT, etc. Due to this, a large number of applicants fail to clear the sectional cut-off of the GK section.

In this article, we will help you understand the type of questions from this section that can be expected in the IIFT test. Further, we will give you a methodical strategy to prepare for this section.

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The weightage of the GK section in the IIFT test is not fixed and in the past, has varied from 13-14 marks out of 118 total marks. Even though the weightage for GK is less, however, each and every mark counts in this exam. Thus, it is advisable that you do not take this section lightly.

Why is GK Important?

Better accuracy: GK based questions give you the opportunity to increase your accuracy. This is because, if you know the answer to a GK question, there is no scope for confusion!

Time efficiency: Further, the GK section is highly helpful in time management as there is no calculation-work and analysis involved. You can use this to your advantage by allocating more time to other sections of the examination. In the IIFT 2015 GK section, one could easily go through the 28 questions in less than minutes but IIFT 2016 GK Section was very exhaustive and difficult. For 2017, students found the GK section to be even more tough than the last year.

Good back up:  The additional GK section in the IIFT exam can also act as a good back up for you, especially if you feel you are weak in any of the traditional sections like Quant, Verbal, DI, Reasoning, etc.

  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Static 19 19 8 13 16 not defined
Current 9 9 18 15 9 not defined
Total 28 28 26 28 25 18
IIFT GK – Past Year Paper Analysis

Table 1 gives you an analysis of the IIFT GK sections. As you can see, there is no discernible pattern that emerges from the table above. Thus, your best bet is to spend appropriate time and energy on both, static and current GK. As you can see, where the IIFT GK 2015 section was more balanced in terms of Static and Current GK questions, IIFT GK 2016 was dominated by Static GK questions. In 2017 IIFT GK, there were mixtures of topics checking general awareness of the candidate across the all areas.

Level of Difficulty and Sectional cutoffs

As mentioned earlier, the GK section of IIFT Test is relatively more difficult. This is reflected (Table 2) in the low sectional cutoffs for the GK section in the past few years. 
Thus, you have to be careful in picking up questions and focus on clearing the cutoffs.

  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GK Sectional Cutoff* 1.67 (out of 14 marks) 1.80 (out of 14 marks) 4.50 (out of 13 marks) 1.8 (out of 14 marks) 1.5 (out of 12.5 marks) not defined
*figures are indicative as IIFT does not release official cutoff marks
IIFT 2015 GK: Selected Questions

Let us take a look at a few easy level questions from the IIFT 2015 test, to check your current level of preparation:

Q.  Which multilateral development bank has been set up by BRICS as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund?

1. The New Development Bank 2. The Asian Development Bank
3. The Bank for Emerging Nations 4. The Economic Cooperation Bank

Q. Who is acknowledged as the creator of Chandigarh's Rock Gardens?

1. E. Sridharan 2. Nek Chand Saini
3. Charles Correa 4. Geoffrey Bawa

Now, try and answer the following tougher questions

Q.The remains of which ancient civilization can be seen at the site of Machu Pichu in Peru?

1. Incas 2. Aztecs
3. Mayans 4. Indians

Q.The U.S. recently announced that its redesigned ten-dollar bill, to be issued in 2020, will include the

1. Face of a Lion 2. Face of an Elephant
3. Face of a Woman 4. Face of a Dragon

In the IIFT 2015 test, there were 6 “Match the Following” type questions. These types of questions are relatively easy to solve, with the help of the options. Some of them are given below:

Q.Match the name of the organization with the name of the city in which it is headquartered

Organization Headquarters
I. International Monetary Fund a. Lausanne
II. International Olympic Committee b. Geneva
III. International Labour Organization c. Washington
IV. International Chamber of Commerce d. Paris
1. I-d; II-c; III-a; IV-b
2. I-a; II-b; III-d; IV-c
3. I-c; II-a; III-b; IV-d
4. I-b; II-d; III-c; IV-a

Q.Given below are some popular stock indices of the world. Match the stock index with I the country and stock market it represents

Stock Index Stock Market
I. DAX a. Japan
II. Nikkei b. Brazil
III. KOSPI c. Germany
IV. Bovespa d. South Korea
1. I-d; II-b; III-a; IV-c
2. I-b; II-d; III-c; IV-a
3. I-a; II-c; III-b; IV-d
4. I-c; II-a; III-d; IV-b
Static GK

As the name suggests, Static GK consists of areas that do not change over time. You may expect questions from the following sub-topics in Static GK:

  • History
  • Geography Economy
  • Companies and Brands
  • Indian Political System & Constitution
  • Organizations
  • Science & Technology
  • Sports
  • Miscellaneous – This section includes questions on various awards and honors, important international dates, books and authors etc.
How to Prepare Static GK

While the syllabus for the Static GK section seems to be very vast, it can be completed effectively if you choose authentic and reliable sources to study from. “India 2016”, which is popularly known as “India Year Book” (by Publication Division, Government of India) is one such source. Further, you may also selectively refer to the following websites:

Current GK

In Current GK, you may expect questions from these broad areas:

  • Economy
  • Business & Corporate News
  • Indian Polity
  • Organizations
  • New Developments in Science & Technology
  • People in News
  • Sports
  • Miscellaneous

Questions from Current GK will focus on the important national and international events in the past 12 months in the areas mentioned above.

How to Prepare Current GK

The best source to prepare current GK is the newspaper. How to read the newspaper for MBA entrance examinations has been covered in a separate article. Besides newspapers, you may prepare current affairs of the last 12 months from any reputed competition specific magazine like Competition Success Review, Pratiyogita Darpan etc.

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Attempting the IIFT GK section

Ideally, you should not spend more than 10 minutes on the IIFT GK section. This will allow you to allocate more time to other time-consuming sections. Further, we advise you to follow a 2-cycle method of attempting this section:

Cycle 1
  • Identify the very easy questions and mark their answers
  • Identify the questions, which you think you can attempt i.e. you feel that if you spend more time on such questions, you may be able to guess the correct answer.
  • Identify the questions, which you think you CANNOT attempt i.e. questions about which you have no idea. These questions are best left untouched.
Cycle 2

In the second cycle, mark the answers of maximum possible questions that you have identified in Step (2) of Cycle 1 through intelligent guessing using option elimination. For instance, if you are confidently able to eliminate 2 options out of 4, we suggest that you go ahead and attempt the question.