IIFT Exam Strategy

What is the IIFT exam?

Every year, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade conducts the IIFT exam for admissions to its two-year MBA in International Business program in New Delhi and Kolkata. A written test is followed by an essay writing task, a group discussion, and a personal interview. Although the IIFT exam was previously written-based, it has now been computer-based, and the entire pattern has changed from the previous one.

The IIFT is a very unique exam, the only one that has a differential marking scheme and no set number of questions. Your speed and time management skills are highly important, which is why conceptual clarity coupled with the right strategy is key to clearing the cutoffs.

IIFT Exam pattern

IIFT exam pattern changed due to the shift from written to computer based examination. There used to be six sections of the exam, but now there are only four: Verbal Ability, English Reading Comprehension, General Knowledge & Awareness, Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation, and Quantitative Analysis. The IIFT exam also has a negative marking scheme. Below is the IIFT exam pattern, sectional cutoffs, and number of questions for each section:


Total questions

Mark awarded for each correct answer

Max sectional marks out of 300

Sectional cutoffs

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension





Quantitative Analysis





Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning





General Awareness (GK











IIFT Exam Strategy

Quantitative Ability

Quantitative ability questions, as well as some verbal questions, are based on proper concepts. Pure logic alone will not be enough to solve them. Topics like Algebra, Geometry, and Modern Mathematics contain many terms and concepts. The same will be incorporated into many questions. Therefore, familiarize yourself with the different concepts that you encounter during your preparation. Develop the skill of selecting only those QA questions you can answer with 100% accuracy in IIFT exam. There is negative marking in the IIFT exam. Practice mock tests and sample questions to help you with this.

General Knowledge

Preparation for this section should not be taken lightly. A good score in GK can boost your overall score. Keep studying and, more importantly, keep revising what you learn. It is a good idea to stay up-to-date on current affairs at least a month before the exam. Therefore, keep reading that newspaper every day.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

Data interpretation questions are pretty challenging. There will be long tables and complex data sets, as well as questions requiring lengthy calculations. The ones involving lengthy calculations are usually fairly straightforward. Make sure you are familiar with these questions so you won’t feel panicked or frustrated on the day of the test. You can reduce the time it takes to answer each question by increasing your calculation speed. As well, this applies to lengthy calculations in certain Quantitative ability questions. Logic-based questions will also be included in this section. Review your concepts and formulas thoroughly and analyze your mocks thoroughly. Practice from previous years’ IIFT question papers and mock tests. As a result, you will be exposed to a variety of LRDI questions – tough, tricky, lengthy, and easy.

Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability

For IIFT, it is highly recommended that you read the questions before solving the passage. This will save you a lot of time and give you extra time for other questions. Additionally, you can save time by increasing your reading speed simultaneously.  You can sail through the sentence correction questions if you keep your grammar basics intact. It is also undoubtedly crucial that you have a good vocabulary to be able to answer most of the questions successfully. It would be a good idea to focus on improving your vocabulary. In order to improve your Verbal Ability, you should review the grammar and vocabulary you revised in school. The best way to prepare for the IIFT exam is to solve sectional mocks or full-length mocks.

How to Practice mocks for IIFT exam

Mock exams are an essential part of MBA Exam preparation. In order to prepare for an exam, students should attempt mock tests. Make yourself familiar with the IIFT paper pattern by giving mocks and previous years’ papers on a regular basis. Initially, a mock a week would be ideal. Give at least three to four mocks in the final week before D-Day. By doing this, you will be able to perform your best on exam day.

The ratio between the time taken to answer a question and the accuracy of your answer is extremely important when trying to crack IIFT. The longer you spend on a question, the higher your accuracy will be, but the slower your speed will be. Your score will be lowered if you make hasty approximations or attempts. Giving more mocks will help you increase your time and accuracy ratio. The easiest questions should be tackled first when practising mocks. Accuracy increases with easier questions.

Also, such questions can be solved quickly. So, in a way, it will increase your time & accuracy ratio significantly.

The preparation process is now complete, so let’s get started. Maximize your scores with these tips. Emerge a winner!

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