How IIFT Entrance Exam Is Different From CAT

Both the IIFT entrance exam as well as CAT (Common Admission Test) are similar in many respects, especially with respect to the amount and type of preparation that candidates put in before writing them. However, there exist quite a few differences between them. Let’s go through them, one by one:


Number of Questions

Over the past years, the general trend is that the IIFT entrance exam has more questions when compared with CAT. One has to attempt a total of 100 questions for CAT, whereas for IIFT, it has been quite variable – 124, 123 and 114 questions in IIFT 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.


Number of Sections

CAT has stuck to a fixed examination pattern of having three different sections over the past few years – VA/RC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension), LR/DI (Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation) and QA (Quantitative Aptitude). Till 2016, IIFT followed a four section pattern (with each of the four sections having a separate cut-off) comprising of (i) Quantitative Ability, (ii) (a) Analytical & Logical Reasoning (b) Data Interpretation, (iii) (a) Reading Comprehension (b) Verbal Ability and (iv) General Awareness. However, IIFT 2017 proved to be a surprise with six sections (each of them having a separate cut-off) comprising of (i) Data Interpretation, (ii) Logical Reasoning, (iii) Reading Comprehension, (iv) Verbal Ability, (v) Quantitative Ability and (vi) General Awareness.

A word of caution: The new exam pattern in IIFT 2017 took many students by surprise! Those who didn’t read the question paper carefully and attempted the sections as per the old pattern were in for a nasty surprise when they realized that they wouldn’t clear the new sectional cut-offs. It is best to read the instructions given in the question paper carefully as the pattern may vary from year to year.


Exam Duration

CAT is a three-hour examination, whereas the IIFT entrance examination lasts for two hours. As a result, CAT needs to be played more like a test cricket match, whereas IIFT can be likened to an ODI match.


Different Weightages

All questions, regardless of the section, carry the same weightage in CAT. However, in the IIFT entrance exam, questions from different sections carry different weightages. As a result, it becomes extremely important to pick and choose which sections to spend the most time on, so as to boost your overall score. At the same time, one must take care to ensure that the sectional cut-offs are cleared.


Mode of Examination

CAT is an online exam, whereas the IIFT entrance exam is conducted in pen and paper mode. This makes a huge difference when it comes to how you approach the paper. In CAT, you have to spend one hour on each section due to the online nature of the exam. In the IIFT entrance exam, you can switch between the different sections as and when you wish. This allows you the flexibility to spend more time on the sections that you are weak in, while breezing through your strong suits. A good deal of strategic planning in this regard will go a long way towards boosting your overall score in IIFT.


General Awareness Section

Another point of difference between CAT and IIFT entrance exam is the General Awareness section. Candidates will need to dedicate some time to prepare for this section. You can read my post on how to crack this section here.

All things said and done, hard work, dedication and self-confidence will go a long way towards cracking both CAT as well as the IIFT entrance exam! Good luck to all candidates!

Nikhil George

Nikhil is an MBA (IB) candidate at IIFT Delhi. He interned with Axis Bank and secured a PPO. He is an avid reader and quizzer. You can follow him on his blog,