IIFT is an important exam which is scheduled to take place on 22nd November ‘15. If you have prepared well for the CAT then IIFT exam requires a slight tweak in your approach and strategy.
Here, I am going to discuss how I would spend 120 minutes inside the examination hall. But before doing that, let me tell you about my strengths and weaknesses (pertaining to the IIFT exam) as a student, so that you can understand the logic behind my course of action.

• I am not strong at any particular section but neither am I weak at any. I prefer going for Verbal, Logical Reasoning, DI, RC, Maths & GK in that order.
• IIFT being a speed oriented test, my order of attempt would differ from my preference order. The usual attempt vs. accuracy trade-off has to be kept in mind. I always pick attempt over accuracy.
• Although it is unclear if IIFT will have sectional cut off (which it had in last year), I will attempt each section with equally intensity so that I clear the sectional cutoffs. Fortunately or unfortunately, lack of super competence in any section permits me to do that.
• I go with the mindset that if I am finding a test/section difficult then at least 99% of the crowd would be finding it difficult.

Now, I would talk about each section in the order I would attempt them in the paper.

1st Section to Attempt – GK: The cut-off for this section is usually low, as low as 1.5-2 marks. The good part is that there are match the following questions in GK, so even if I can find two correct matches just by working through options, even then I can get to the right answers. I aim to attempt 10 -12 questions in 6- 8 minutes with an accuracy of around 60%. To prepare for GK, I suggest going through the happenings of the past 3 months.

2nd Section to Attempt – Verbal: Like it or not, IIFT is a speed test and those who are good in English will always do well in a speed test. The verbal section has good mix of vocab, PJ, grammar & other regulars. I go for a kill in this section attempting all the questions in 15 minutes. The aim is to achieve 75% accuracy.

3rd Section to Attempt – LR: This section is lengthy and has a mix of easy and difficult questions. If there are any questions on Syllogisms and Logical Deductions I attempt them first. My idea in this section would be to attempt 3 caselets. I attempt series completion & coding decoding question only if I am left with sufficient time. I devote 25 minutes to this section and my aim is to achieve 90% accuracy.

4th Section to Attempt- RC: Unlike CAT RCs, IIFT RCs do not require to read each and every word. IIFT RC’s are lengthy and tiring but the questions are direct. There are few questions which are based on the factual data (which can be easily traced in the passage) and few questions with match the following construct. My aim is to attempt all such questions, without reading any RC completely. I consciously read quickly and my aim is to attempt at least 8-10 questions across all the RCs in 20 minutes.

5th Section to Attempt –DI: IIFT DI is usually calculation intensive. Rather than focusing on 1-2 caselets, I scan all the caselets and attempt those questions which are less time consuming. My aim is to attempt 8-10 questions in this section in 25 minutes.

6th Section to Attempt – Quant: IIFT Quant questions are usually 4-5 liners and I avoid such questions. I read those few two liner questions in round 1. In the remaining time, I first pick questions from Arithmetic and then from the other topics. I aim to attempt 7-8 questions in this section in 25 minutes with 100% accuracy.

Few Suggestions:
• In a speed test you need to fix the order of attempts and time allotted to each section. You should follow the time allotment rigidly.
• For attempts, you can only intend to reach a particular number, if you are unable to reach that number of attempts in a particular section in the time you have allotted to that section then do not panic, move to next section. Remember, that the section could be difficult than expected.

Siddharth Mehta
XLRI Alumnus