Come Sunday, 27th November 2016, the written test for the flagship program Master of Business Administration in International Business (MBA-IB) of IIFT will be held between 10.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon. Nearly 40000 thousand aspirants will slog it out for 360 seats in two coveted IIFT campus (Delhi campus has 220 and in the Kolkata campus has 140).
Though the students have started preparing for this coveted entrance test well ahead in time, last minute preparation usually helps serious students significantly. IIFT is one of the few mainline exams, which has different marks for different sections or even different questions. Knowing the paper pattern well will definitely help in making an objective exam day strategy, as, in a competitive exam, leaving a doubtful question is as important as attempting a do-able question.
The examination pattern for IIFT normally remains same. The question paper will be divided into 4 sections comprising approximately 128 MCQ type questions. The sections are as given below-
- Verbal Ability
- Quantitative Ability
- Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension & General Awareness
There is a separate marking scheme for each section and may change every year by examination authority. There will be a penalty of 1/3rd of the allotted marks for every wrong answer. The section-wise number of questions are as follows:
|Section||No. of Questions||Marking Scheme|
You must remember that usually there is sectional cut-off in IIFT. Hence, dividing the time among all sections proportionally is important. Knowledge of the cut-off marks helps you prioritize. The section that has higher cut-off marks should definitely be given more time and more importance. But that doesn’t mean the one having lesser cut-off marks should be taken lightly. The table given below takes you through the cut-off marks section-wise for the last four years:
- It is obvious that EU-RC and DI-LR sections have relatively higher cut-offs
- Also note that EU-RC questions have less mark than those of DI-LR, which means more number of questions, are to be attempted in the EU-RC section as compared to DI-LR
- On the other hand, the cut-off for GA is very less
- The same for QA is somewhat moderate
Considering the number of questions in each section and the cut-off marks, we can strategize our exam day. This list of the cut-offs implies that the relative difficulty in the EU-RC and DI-LR is less and students could score high. On the other hand, the relative difficulty in QA and GA is high and most of the students could get lesser number of questions correct.
Every aspirant should maximize the last week of the preparation. The duration of the paper, exam pattern, and the number of questions you must attempt in a given span of time is not something you will be able to pick up on the day of the examination. Time management should be the primary focus. IIFT is known to cover a vast array of topics and the variety is its USP. Hence, solving past five years paper is a must - you will get an idea of the types of questions. You must have a clear idea in your mind as to how many questions you must attempt in each section to clear the cut-off mark. Once the minimum number of questions is attempted, you should switch to other sections. This strategy will help you do justice in each section. Remember that doing very well in one or two sections at the expense of another will defeat the purpose.
Just a few things at the last moment can catapult your preparation.
Focus on concept clarity
IIFT is known to cover a large number of topics. Try to have a clear idea of the concepts and formulae rather than rote learning of things for the papers. Make sure that you revise the basic concepts from school books, if required.
Segregate relevant notes and arm yourself with more teeth
Make small notes and a comprehensive list of formulas on each topic and chapter covered in last five years, which will come in handy at the time of revision and surely make things easier at the time of revision.
Go to a mentor and seek guidance
It is not possible for you to know every type of questions that is expected in the exam, at least not at this time; it is advisable that you seek guidance from your mentor or faculty under whose guidance you have prepared. It is necessary that you clear your doubts at this point of time and don’t prolong things for long.
Keep a pile of sample papers and write mock tests
It is important that you practice on the sample and previous years question papers to know the pattern and have a fair idea of the type of questions to expect in the paper along with the time constraint. Writing a few Mock tests will not only help you check your abilities but also help you build speed and confident to face the exam as it provides a similar feel of real exams.
The IIFT entrance examination will have negative marking and everyone would suggest you stay clear of questions you are not sure about. But if you are not sure whether you have attempted the minimum number of questions to clear the cut-off or not, you should answer the questions in which you are confused between an option or two because you have to take the chance of answering the maximum number of attempted paper.
Having said that I must prod you to have belief in you and your strategy. Keep your cool and follow the basics.