IIFT 2015 – Last minute tips

The first test of the 2016-17 MBA Admissions season is here – the #IIFT2015 entrance test. This test is the gateway to IIFT Delhi and IIFT Kolkata, B-Schools that are counted amongst the top B-schools in India. So, if you have applied to take this test on 22nd November, read on for some last minute tips and strategies and improve your chances of getting a call for the next round of the selection process, i.e. GD & PI.

  1. Be Positive – Whatever be your level of preparation you need to give it your best shot
  2. Reach the test centre on time – carry all documents as instructed in your admit card.
  3. The IIFT test has always had a very peculiar structure may it be in terms of number of questions per section or the marking system or the areas that are generally clubbed together in a section. The test structure last year was as follows:
# Questions Marks per Q Marks
Quant & DI 35 (20+15) 1 35
General Awareness 26 0.5 13
VA & RC 37 (20+17) 0.75-VA; 1- RC 32
Logical Reasoning 20 1 20
Overall 118 100

So, be prepared for some changes in the structure this year as well – but remember this should not affect your performance in the test.

  1. If you have solved past IIFT papers (at least the last 3 years), you would have realised that the nature of questions asked in the test has more or less remained the same over the years.
    1. Quant questions are usually lengthy and quite often interlink math concepts with real-life situations. However, a bit of patient reading and application of basic concepts should help you solve a decent number of questions from this area.
    2. DI sets have generally been calculation intensive over the years –I am sure you would wish you were provided the calculator for this exam:(
    3. Vocabulary usually dominates the Verbal Ability section but you will also find a decent number of grammar questions here..
    4. RCs are characterised by a mix of short, long and very long passages – with a majority of questions being direct in nature. So, ensure that you attempt the short passages for sure and the longer passages if things don’t go too well in the other areas.
    5. The reasoning section has a mix of Logical reasoning and verbal reasoning questions
    6. General Awareness questions were mostly based on current affairs. Most of the times students have no clue about how to prepare for this section as the ‘syllabus’ has no bounds. But for #IIFT2015, if you do a quick round-up of the various news and events over the last 1 year then you should not find it difficult to clear the cut-off for this section.
  2. As soon as you get the question booklet – draw up a plan based on the sectional breakup that is usually given as a part of the instruction page. This plan should comprise:
    • Time that you will allot to each of the sections/areas: Allot time to each area based on its weightage and expected time to solve the questions. Have some buffer time assigned to take care of any contingencies. There are no sectional time-limits – but ensure that you do not overspend time in one section at the cost of another. Be in control of the time – try and stick to the pre-decided time limits for each area/section. My time distribution for last year’s paper would be something like this: VA-10 min; GK – 10 min; Quant – 30 min; DI-  15 min; LR – 25 min; RC – 20 min; Buffer – 10 min.
    • Order in which you will solve the sections/areas: It would be a good     idea to first solve the areas where you are stronger or where you are likely to take lesser time. My preferred sequence would be VA-GK-Quant-LR-DI-RC.
  1. While solving a section, do not think about other sections. While solving a question do not think about other questions. The key is to focussing on the job in hand.
  2. Do not overspend time on any question – and fall prey to the “I will conquer Russia” syndrome. Move on – you may find easier questions ahead.
  3. The test has negative marking – so do not indulge in wild guessing even if you believe you are not doing too well. At the same time, do not get over-cautious and under-attempt.
  4. The test has sectional cut-offs – so ensure that you solve a minimum number of questions in each of the sections based on the expected cut-offs. Do not get stuck in a particular section. Do not get demotivated if you don’t do well in a particular section- maybe it has been difficult for everyone.
  5. Expected Cut-offs: The cut-offs for IIFT have generally been in the range of 30 to 40 marks overall depending on the level of difficulty of the test. The test also has sectional cut-offs, however these are generally on the lower side and should ideally not make a difference to someone scoring 40 or more overall without performing very badly in any of the sections. The cut-offs last year were as follows:
# Questions Marks per Q Cut-offs Minimum Questions to be solved (80% accuracy)
Quant & DI 35 (20+15) 1 4.67 6
General Awareness 26 0.5 2.49 7
VA & RC 37 (20+17) 0.75-VA; 1- RC 6.5 10
Logical Reasoning 20 1 4.34 6
Overall 118 38.5 52

The last column in the table above indicates the number of questions that you should have solved in each of the areas to have achieved the cut-offs. The moral of the story is that it is OK to have a low attempt in some of the areas (enough to meet the corresponding cut-off) as long as you cover it up with a brilliant performance in your strong areas so that you meet the overall cut-off.

Watch out the IMS website for an in-depth analysis of the IIFT 2015 paper immediately after the test on the test day.

So, All the best for IIFT 2015!!



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