We are almost to the end of the CAT testing window and most of you would have already done with it. One major advantage a B-School aspirant gains while preparing for CAT is that he covers a wide range of topics which helps him in all the other management entrances too. Though in recent times CAT has replaced many exams like JMET and FMS, there are some prestigious B-Schools which feel, conducting their own exam with their own selection matrix is the way to go. One such premier institute is Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).
IIFT conducts its own entrance exam for admission into MBA-IB (International Business). It has two campus one in Delhi (120 intake) and another in Kolkata (60-intake). The exam this year is being held on the 25th of November.
Over the years we have observed that many students who are able to clock a 95+ percentiles in CAT miss out on the exams such as IIFT mainly because of the lack of familiarity with the pattern and type of questions asked. Every student who is attempting CAT writes many mock CATs and develops a particular strategy to approach the exam. But when it comes to exams such as IIFT they end up working on a strategy in the nth hour making things further difficult.
Though in all the exams the areas tested remain the same, there are subtle differences in the way the questions are asked and the areas where the candidate is tested. And as we know, every exam follows a particular pattern.
So here comes an analysis of IIFT papers from the year 2006-2011, for you to get a clear cut idea about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the exam. Three things that come to my mind when I talk about IIFT is: Time crunch, Lengthy papers and Variable Marking.
One common feature among all the IIFT papers is that the numbers of questions keep changing. It has been as high as 150 questions in 2007 to 120 questions in 2011, but the total number of marks and the time for the exam has always remained the same i.e. 100 marks and 120 minutes respectively. The marks per question changes according to the section but the negative marking still remains 1/3rd of the marks allotted to that particular question. IIFT tests students in four areas (there may be sub-sections is each area)
1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension,
2. Logical reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI),
3. Quantitative Aptitude (QA),
4. General Knowledge (G.K).
Let’s look at each section in detail.
Quantitative aptitude (QA): This area can catch you off guard with questions from Complex Numbers, Surds, BODMAS applications and Trigonometric Identities. But apart from those, some not so regular topics that you need to focus on are Progressions, Heights & Distances and Trigonometric Identities. Questions from these topics are being repeated over and over again in the past few years. This section tends to be very calculative and lengthy. If you are attempting around 10 questions, it must be good enough to get you through safely.
Number of Questions: 25-35
Marks Per Question: 0.70-1.00
Areas to Focus: Trigonometry, Heights & Distances, Logarithms
Surprise Areas: Higher Maths, Surds, BODMAS
Logical reasoning (LR): Logical reasoning is one of the easiest and less time consuming sections compared to the other sections. In other words LR can be called as one of the scoring sections in IIFT. Questions from some basic concepts such as Blood relations, basic selection questions, critical reasoning- Syllogisms, series and Sequences are also asked. Most questions look like carbon copy of CAT arrangement puzzles. Questions based on Input and output or Sequential output tracing may spring a surprise.
Number of Questions: 15-36
Marks Per Question: 0.64-1.00
Areas to Focus: Basic Puzzle solving problems, Syllogisms
Surprise Areas: Sequential Output tracing
Data Interpretation (DI): Over the years this area has been one of the most difficult and tedious areas of the IIFT exam. Large amount of data, lengthy calculations are a common feature. There is no escaping from this section, just be prepared for this kind of section. Question selection becomes very important in this section. Select the right questions and spend your time wisely especially in this section.
Number of Questions: 16-26
Marks Per Question: 0.79-1.00
Areas to Focus: Tabular Problems containing large amount of data
Surprise Areas: Easy questions
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA and RC): The Verbal ability area is less time consuming than the Reading comprehension. However, a good of share of RC questions are explicit which can be solved by skim & scan. Right question/passage selection, elimination of incorrect options are of paramount importance. The verbal ability area gives importance to vocabulary based questions like synonym antonyms, analogies, sentence completion. It also tests on Grammar and Parajumble.
The Verbal ability area is less time consuming than the Reading comprehension. However, a good of share of RC questions are explicit which can be solved by skim & scan. Right question/passage selection, elimination of incorrect options are of paramount importance. The verbal ability area gives importance to vocabulary based questions like synonym antonyms, analogies, sentence completion. It also tests on Grammar and Parajumble.
Number of Questions: VA 22-25; RC 12-15
Marks per Question: VA 0.5-0.75; RC 0.60 -1
Surprise Areas: Tricky and close options
General Knowledge: In IIFT GK, Questions based on current affairs and business GK has not been more than 9-10 every year. But the maximum number of questions came from Static GK. Static GK consists of Acronyms, Book and Authors, Sobriquets Dance and State. But there has also been focus on current events happening around the world. Questions based on London Olympics can be expected this time. In case students are trying to make an intelligent guess it’s good to go with elimination technique.
Number of Questions: 20 -30
Marks per Question: 0.3 -0.5
Areas to Focus: Business and Current Affairs
Surprise Areas: Matching Multiple Columns
So approach the test with confidence but just be aware of the surprising possibilities discussed above. But remember, at the end of the day, it is just another exam. All the best!