In today’s interview, we have Tarika Rastogi from the Batch of 2021-23, a 100 percentiler who is here to share some of her tips and tricks that helped her achieve this feat. A snapshot of her profile and scores: Educational Background: B.A, Political Science (Gargi College, DU) || Work Experience: 34 months || IIFT: Overall- 100%ile, QA- 99.07%ile, LRDI- 100%ile, VARC- 99.97%ile and GK- 99.98%ile. Read on!
The UPL’IIFT’ Series- spearheaded by the Media Committee, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, in collaboration with InsideIIM is an initiative to help aspirants understand and prepare for the IIFT Entrance Exam with strategies exercised by some of the top performers.
When did you start your preparation for the IIFT exam and can you walk us through your preparation strategy?
I started preparing for IIFT about a year before the exam. As I was working during the course of my studies, I ensured to set aside 3-4 hours a day for preparation and gradually increased it to 5 hours. I was preparing specifically for IIFT, so I referred to CareerLauncher, StudyBuzz, and TIME for their material. Apart from material from coaching institutes, I read The Hindu and The Economic Times often to keep myself abreast of current affairs for the General Knowledge section and they also served as practice for Reading Comprehension. I believe that peer learning was an important aspect of my preparation and I received help from my uncle, an MBA graduate, specifically with regards to improving scores in my weakest sections. I made it a point to attempt previous years’ papers and focussed on such similar questions, as this gave me a fair idea on what to expect. Due to the pandemic, I could not take any centre-proctored mocks and it was challenging for me to not be distracted while taking mocks at home. However, overcoming the challenges of taking the mock at home enabled me to be prepared for the worst on the day of the exam. If things do change, I would advise aspirants to attempt their mocks at the centre as it would give them a feeling of the actual test day.
How many mocks did you take and what was your method of analysing your results?
I enthusiastically took a mock right at the beginning of my preparation to know where I stand and after seeing the score, I realized that I had to brush up on certain sections. I enrolled for IIFT mocks with TIME, CareerLauncher, and Studybuzz. I also reached out to my friends and obtained previous years’ IIFT papers and mocks. I then started attempting sectional tests and only after I was confident of all the sections, I moved on to attempting full mocks. I attempted 2 mocks a week and gradually increased the frequency to around 2-3 mocks a day. To complete all the mocks that were offered by the coaching institutes, I decided to attempt only the section that needed the most focus. I ended up attempting close to 50 mocks by the time exam day approached. Initially, while analysing my mock scores, I noticed that my marks were fluctuating. I realized that this was because of me trying to attempt every question. Post that, I zeroed in on my strategy to only attempt questions that I was 100% sure of.
What other calls did you have, and why did you choose IIFT?
I was very focused on securing admission in IIFT as I wanted to expand my father’s business internationally and with IIFT offering their flagship MBA program with a specific focus on International Business, it was a no-brainer for me to only prepare for IIFT.
As I was very clear on what field I wanted to pursue my MBA in, I was able to devote my full preparation towards IIFT. Similarly, I would suggest aspirants to identify their interests and focus primarily on examinations that would help them in securing admission to that particular institute. Other Institutes with similar examinations can be considered as safe back-up options.
Do you have any final tips for aspirants?
- Practice a wide variety of questions based on previous year papers
- Attend only questions that you are 200% sure of
- Find a mentor who you can lean on for support and encouragement
- Never doubt yourself throughout the process irrespective of the challenges you come across
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