IIFT Exam Tips And Tricks By Akanksha – IIFT Delhi
Akanksha is a good orator, an avid swimmer and a voracious reader with a penchant for writing. A volunteer at the each one teach one project, education of the underprivileged is a cause very close to my heart.
Did your educational background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (WAT-GD-PI)?
I attribute my strong quantitative abilities to my background in Electronics and Communication Engineering. This helped me during the first written round. However it was not of any help to me in the subsequent rounds since the WAT-GD-PI rounds judges a candidate on his/her general awareness and presence of mind. The entire selection process has been designed in a way that lays emphasis on the overall calibre of a person and in my view is agnostic to the previous educational background of the candidate.
What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test taking strategy?
My strong area is Verbal and I find DI a bit challenging as compared to the other sections. Since the LR and DI sections are clubbed in one, I always attempted the LR questions first and kept the DI sets for the last. This ensured that I cleared the cutoff of the section and used the DI sets to only browse through in order to maximize my overall score
During the test, I made it a point to set aside 40 minutes each for the QA and the LR DI sections. Since VA&RC is my strong point, I have always managed to attempt it in under 30 minutes. GK generally took 5-7 minutes in total. More often than not, I was left with some extra time at hand during the end in which I tried to solve a DI set in order to answer the allied questions and maximize my score in the minimum possible time.
What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant/Verbal/Data Interpretation/General Awareness/Reading Comprehension)?
For the LR&DI section, my strategy was to practice solving difficult sets in the shortest possible time. For quant, I regularly revised the fundamentals and brushed upon the vedic mathematics concepts at hand. Since verbal is my strong point, I ensured that I left no question unattempted in this section. For GK, I regularly read about business daily. Overall I always followed a time bound approach during the preparation. Since it is difficult to attempt all the questions, I also honed my judgement skills of evaluating the difficulty level of a particular question and moving to the next in order to optimize time.
What do you think you did right during test prep? What was it that you did right on Test Day?
I believe that starting early helped me a lot. I had only set my eyes on attempting CAT, XAT and the IIFT entrances and this ensured I kept in touch with all 3 test formats throughout the year. I attempted all the previous year papers as well as any mock IIFT test I could lay my hands on. On the test day, my speed and judgement helped me ace it. My speed helped me in browsing through the entire test while solving what I could in around 100 minutes. This ensured I cleared all sectional cutoffs comfortably. I was left with some extra time in the end which I used in revisiting some questions and this helped me in maximizing my score.
What was your test prep strategy over the few months leading to IIFT? (Last 3 months, last month, last 15 days). Was it a test series inclined one or a chapter by chapter strategy?
I sat for the test in November, 2015 and had started preparing for it a year in advance. I found the basic format and the difficulty level of the entrance to be the same as that of CAT and hence apart from the GK section, I did not prepare any differently for the entrance. However all throughout my preparation year, I ensured that I stay in touch with the pencil-paper way of solving questions and I kept a very keen eye on national and international current affairs. But the test is dynamic in its format since the number of questions per section and in total change every year. Also each section has a different marking scheme. Such minor changes ensure that the candidates keep a strong presence of mind and astutely manage the time at hand. Therefore I also made sure to attempt all the mock tests and the previous year papers in a time bound manner around the final test date.
What was your strategy for the D-Day and what do you think you executed the Best on the D- Day?
The essay writing, GD and PI format requires a candidate to develop a perspective on the socio-economic happenings across the globe. I read a business daily and extensively read up on all critical issues online. Participating in mock GDs with fellow aspirants also helped me a lot. I also got in touch with a few alumni to hear about their interview experiences. On the D-day, I believe I was able to showcase a clarity of thought in my essay as well as in my group discussion. The PI panel discussed my views on various current happenings and I could structure my thought on any opinion that I carried.
How did you prepare for the group discussion? What was the topic and how did you tackle the GD round?
For the group discussion, I participated in mock GDs with fellow aspirants. Since the discussion happens in a time bound manner amongst 8-10 candidates, the airtime per person is considerably low. Keeping this very fact in mind I tried incorporating preciseness in my verbal communication months before preparing for the final round. My topic was on the feasibility of the Mall Culture in India. I was the first to start the discussion. This gave me a head start and also ensured that it set the tone of the group in a favourable direction. I believe my concise interventions, structured thought process and an extensive coverage of the topic from both the business and the consumer standpoint helped my selection.
What resources you used to refer while preparing for the essay writing? (Please mention the topic)
I ensured I read about business daily and browsed the internet to develop a perspective on the major happenings globally. I got into the habit of penning down any thought that I had in the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action and Result). This helped me in structuring and presenting my opinions.
My essay topic was on how technical education should be industry based rather than just classroom based. I structured my write up in 3 parts- The first part carried statistics on the rapidly changing face of technology and how prestigious educational institutes across the globe were coping with the change. In the second part, I mentioned some key problems that the industries were facing owing to the gap in the skill set of fresh graduates. I also remember citing a few examples of how the IT industry has to re-train their new joinees and set aside a huge portion of their budget in such interventions only because classroom training taught obsolete concepts. The third and the last leg of my essay carried a few suggestions and innovative models of industry institute partnerships and the benefits that it carried for all the stakeholders involved in this ecosystem.
How was the interview experience like? What was your preparation strategy and how did the interview turn out to be?
The interview experience was an interesting one since it evaluates the candidate in a holistic framework. I had put in a lot of hard work in the form that had to be filled for the selection round. The same was being referred to by the interview panel. It had an exhaustive list of my extra-curricular activities and achievements. One such achievement was my extensive participation in various state and national level MUNs (Model United Nations) This, clubbed with the fact that the panel had an intensive discussion with me on the current dynamics of the UN General Assembly and my know how of international geo-politics played a vital role in my selection.