Daniel Sinha, IIFT 2020 All India topper (99.9971 percentile),IIFT Delhi convert is a Computer Engineering Graduate from IIIT Jabalpur and a 2019 pass out He belongs to the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan. He did his schooling from MMPS, Udaipur till class 10th before moving to SBS High School, Jaipur from where he did his 12th. Presently, he is working for an IT Firm in Pune as a software engineer and have a work experience of 10 months as on date. He also scored 98.4 percentile in CAT and secured calls from MDI G, IIM Shillong and all new and baby IIMs.
He will be joining IIFT Delhi soon. We talked to him to know how he attained the feat of rank 1 in IIFT exam and this is what he has to say-:
What was your preparation strategy for IIFT? When did you start preparing for MBA entrance exams?
I came back to my home town from college in the month of May last year and to be very honest, it was around this time that I began the preparation in full swing. I had my joining in August and those three months were really crucial for me in getting on the right track and also for developing a sense of attempting papers. After I started working, sometimes I found it really difficult to find time to study but I utilized the after office hours and weekends. Optimal management of the available time has been one of the major attributes of my success. CAT and IIFT are examinations where I believe that preparation is mostly about plugging the loopholes. Just keep identifying your grey areas, rectify them, practice and move ahead. And it is this for this reason why I always say that mocks test were the most important part of my preparation. Full length mocks would help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and also develop a sense of time management which is so crucial in such examinations.
How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Which one do you think is better?
In my pre-final year of engineering I took classroom coaching from TIME Jabalpur. Last year while preparing for CAT 19 after my college, I went for Online Coaching from different sources. For QA I took Iquanta’s course and for LRDI I took a course from Elites Grid. I also took mock tests from TIME and IMS
I have been asked this question on several occasions about the debate on Self study vs Coaching and even on the Online vs Offline coaching and believe me there is no definite answer. It depends on a lot of factors and varies from person to person. One must assess his situation and his learning curve and then decide on which mode of study or coaching will suit him the most. Here, let me add that any coaching will just be a helping hand be it online or classroom. It is the student and his efforts and strategy that will eventually decide his performance.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
For the students who are preparing, one most important message from my side is to BE REGULAR. Exam preparation gets tough, particularly when there are so many deserving candidates and when every single mark counts in the exam. But just stick to your goals and targets. Planning is very important while preparation. You of course cannot set a daily roster and even if you set it sometimes it gets too difficult to stick to it. But make a weekly or fortnightly plan for topics- and review and analyze your pace and performance.
Also, identify your strengths and weaknesses and work accordingly- not just during your preparation phase but also while attempting the paper. Be your own critic and judge yourself strictly. Be alert and aware of what is happening around you but don’t let these things get over your mind. Don’t get boggled by what other aspirants are doing or the progress that they have made. Of course, try to learn from them but take these things very positively.
What are the best study materials for IIFT?
Follow any standard material for CAT to clear the basic concepts of all the sections. For the minor differences between CAT and IIFT, one can take mock tests and also refer to past IIFT papers. The QA in IIFT is really lengthy and time consuming. The DI section is also highly calculation based. So refer to any material that provides practice of quick calculation based problems. For VA’s vocabulary part, one can refer to Word Power Made Easy and also go through editorials of English dailies like the Hindu to find commonly used words.
How is IIFT different from CAT? Do you think that competition is less in IIFT as fewer aspirants as compared to CAT take IIFT?
IIFT is almost similar to CAT. However, the differnce is created by special focus on GK and vocabulary. DI tends to be more on calculation side rather than logical side. However, the RCs are easy to comprehend in IIFT than in CAT in my opinion
If you go by plain numbers, then obviously the competition in IIFT is much less as compared to CAT. But here we need to understand that exams like IIFT and XAT are mostly taken by serious aspirants only. Taking that into perspective, the cream of the students in both exams is mostly overlapping and the number of serious competitors in both exams is comparable, if not equal. Also, consider the fact that there are more than 30000 aspirants in IIFT fighting it out for just 500 odd seats and you would get an idea of the tough competition.
What all sources and test series did you use for preparation for IIFT?
I did not follow any specific material for IIFT as the course content for CAT and IIFT is almost the same. The module from TIME and the additional materials provided by IQuanta and EG were quite sufficient for covering all the areas. For GK the aspirants can refer to some standard GK books like Manorama Year Book (certain parts) and Lucent GK. Business GK forms an important part of IIFT GK section so that has to be taken care of particularly well. Certain websites for UPSC and Bank Exam Preparation can also be of a great help for preparing Current Affairs. In the final lap of preparation, I took a few IIFT based mock tests to get myself familiar with the format and level of difficulty of IIFT exam.
What advice would you like to give to IIFT 2021 aspirants?
Life is not always a test of how well you know your subjects. It is rather a test of how well you know about yourself. And this is precisely what all these management entrance examinations also assess. The most important lesson that I learnt from the entire admission process is that the key to success lies in clarity and confidence. When you are confident you feel more energized and motivated to work. I did well in exams because somewhere deep in my heart I knew that I could do well. I was clear about the things I was good at and also about certain things that I needed to work on. I was clear about how I would maintain a balance between work and preparation. Just like any other aspirant, I got low (sometimes very low) scores in mocks but I was confident that I could improve by the time of the actual test date. I didn’t give up and in spite of a few difficulties was able to do it successfully in the end.
I would wish all the best to all the aspirants for their future endeavours. Be consistent, focused and clear about your objectives and targets. Spend time with your family and friends. Pursue your hobbies and interests. Do not allow exam preparation to take a toll on your emotional and social well being. Always stay confident, bright and cheerful and success will surely follow. Best wishes!