A Winning Strategy for IIFT 2016

The management exam season is kicking off with the IIFT exam on the 27th of November this year. Technically though NMAT has started in October itself, the exam on Sunday starts off the entrance exam season and lasts till Maharashtra CET in March!

Before attempting any exam, it is imperative that one knows the pattern of the same over the years. We can see the same depicted below.



2015 2014 2013
Areas #Qns Marks Total Marks Section #Qns Marks Total Section #Qns Marks Total Section
VA 20 0.75 15 31 20 0.75 15 32 20 0.75 15 27
RC 16 1 16 17 1 17 16 0.75 12
QA 22 1 22 22 20 1 20 35 25 1 25 25
DI 18 1 18 33 15 1 15 19 1 19 34
LR 20 0.75 15 20 1 20 20 20 0.75 15
GK 28 0.5 14 14 26 0.5 13 13 28 0.5 14 14
Total 124     100 118     100 128     100

VA – Verbal Ability ; RC – Reading Comprehension ; QA – Quantitative Aptitude ;

DI – Data Interpretation ; LR – Logical Reasoning ; GK – General Knowledge

As can be seen in the above pattern, broadly, the paper has not changed much. The DI area has been given both with QA as well as LR.

There has been hardly any change of pattern worth the name. However, what is worth noting is the cutoffs in the paper over the years.

Individual Sectional Cutoffs & Overall Cutoffs of IIFT 2015 and IIFT 2014

Individual Sectional Cutoffs

Section IIFT 2015 IIFT 2014
VARC 8.75 6.5
QA 4.34 4.67*
DI LR 8.68 4.34*
Gk 0.82 2.49

* In 2014, DI was with QA and LR was a separate section

Overall Cutoffs

Category IIFT 2015 IIFT 2014
General 48.5 38.5
OBC 43.5 33.5
SC/ST/PH 38.5 28.5


As can be from the individual sectional cutoffs and the overall cutoffs, the overall cutoff is more than twice the sum of the individual sectional cutoffs.  This clearly means that one has to have a strategy which NOT only clears the cutoffs of the individual sections but ensures that the overall marks are high!


Exam Strategy for the IIFT

The IIFT exam is for 120 minutes.

The best strategy for IIFT would be a Two-Pronged Strategy

  1. CUTOFF: Spend about 100 minutes to 105 minutes across all the four sections and ensure that one attempts enough questions to clear the cutoff
  2. MAXIMISE SCORE: Utilise the remaining 20 to 15 minutes in giving time to ONE or TWO sections which are easy (in the paper/easy to the student i.e.) .

A detailed way in the same can be depicted is given below.


Suggested Strategy for IIFT 2016

Sno Section # Questions Time allocated Desired Attempts
1 VARC 36-37 25/30 30+
2 QA 22-25 25/30 15+
3 DILR 35-39 30/35 20+
4 GK 25-28 10 20+
Total 120-130 100/105* 85+

As one can see, the total time available is 120 minutes whereas, in the above time allocation, we have allocated only for 100 to 105 minutes.


Buffer Time and Maximising Marks: The remaining 15 to 20 minutes should be used as a buffer and one should return to that section which is the easiest in the paper so as to maximise marks in at least one section. This will ensure that the overall score would be higher.

All competitive exams require the student to be mentally prepared for any eventuality and quickly adjust to the number of questions and time available for the same.

Sticking to a basic strategy would ensure that one goes through every question in the paper and hence gets a chance to maximise the score in the paper!

All the very best!

VistaMind will bring you the most comprehensive analysis of IIFT on the exam day. Please return to this on 27th Nov, Sunday!




About The Author:

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the CEO of VistaMind Education. VistaMind is the only National Level Training institute, which prepares students for CAT through LIVE ONLINE CLASSES. For more information, write to info@vistamind.com OR Visit cat.vistamind.com

ARKS Srinivas

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the National Head for MBA Prep at Career Launcher.