IIFT Exam Tips And Tricks By Mohit Sharma – IIFT Delhi – 99.98%ile
Mohit Sharma is a student of IIFT-D of 2016-18 batch. He is an electronics and Communication Engineer from Nagpur University and also has experience as a Software Engineer in Accenture and Persistent Systems Limited. He scored 69.34 marks out of 100 in IIFT exam, 2015 and secured 99.98%ile. Through this interview, he tells us about the strategies he used to ace the exam and the subsequent rounds.
Did your educational background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (WAT-GD-PI)?
I am an Electronics and Communication Engineer of 2013 batch. Engineering instilled in me a deductive and logical thinking methodology. We also had Mathematics till our 4th semester which definitely kept us in touch with some key aspects of quantitative aptitude section. But, I personally believe that these advantages are not absolute and they can be compensated with some reconfiguration of your strategies.
Also, I worked as a Software Engineer post my engineering which gave me exposure to advanced communication skills and they held me to great stride in my GD and PI.
What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test taking strategy?
I was strong in verbal and general knowledge section but lagged behind in Quant.
To remedy the situation, I devoted majority of time during the early phases of my preparation to brushing up my quant basics and deciding on which topic to focus and which topics to leave altogether. I picked up high scoring and formula based topics like geometry, probability, etc.
What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant/Verbal/Data Interpretation/General Awareness/Reading Comprehension)?
IIFT exam is one of the few exams which includes this section in its entrance exam. This section is one of the most feared by aspirants but if one dedicates some time to it, General Awareness can help in maximizing your score and also save a couple of minutes for lengthier questions in other sections.
Business and economics always corner the most questions in this section. I personally referred to Career Launcher’s and Bankers’ Adda’s compendium to brush up my knowledge and I found them helpful.
I also read The Hindu every day and it helped me in getting through a few questions too.
There are a few questions related to history, geography, arts, etc. too but they are highly subjective and reading a lot about them might not be the best use of your time.
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
The Logical Reasoning subsection is similar to most other related competitive exams. There are multiple sets and regular practice must be done. Previous years’ question paper should be solved so as to increase your confidence level and competency.
But, apart from the sets, IIFT exam also has questions relating to blood relation, syllogism, series, etc.
Any good book will suffice for the logical reasoning part and I preferred Arun Sharma’s book on the subject matter as it included ample problems and solutions.
As far as data interpretation is concerned, practice is the key. Pie Chart and Line Chart are the most common types but sufficient practice should be done of other type of figures.
Practicing frequently will help the aspirant get a hang of the type of questions asked and will be instrumental in saving valuable time in exam. It is imperative to be very well acquainted with shortcuts like decimal to fraction conversion and vice versa, tables up to 25, etc. to ease the calculation part.
Quantitative Ability is normally dominated by questions from arithmetic area. Last year, as much as 11 questions out of 22 found their way into the question paper. I always enjoyed Algebra and Probability related questions and solved them first but that will differ from person to person. So, my advice will to be very clear with the fundas of arithmetic and it will definitely see you through.
I referred ‘Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT’ by Arihant and was thoroughly satisfied with the content and level of questions given.
Verbal Ability is divided into two sub-parts – English Usage and Reading Comprehension. Reading Comprehensions are known to be very lengthy in IIFT exam but the trick is to skim through the passages and find key words of question in the passages and find your answer therein. RCs could end up taking a lot of time, so it is advisable to keep an eye on the watch. Again, comprehensive practice should be done at home to make you acquainted with the type of questions.
The second section English Usage has high focus on vocabulary so it is advisable to read word lists (I read the Barron’s word list and found it to be more than enough). Basic grammar rules should be read from any primer and it will come in handy in the exam.
What do you think you did right during test prep? What was it that you did right on Test Day?
The thing I did right during my test prep was my focus on giving as many mock tests as possible. My studies revolved around the mocks. I had a big chart above my study table which tracked my scores in different mocks. That way, I was able to track my progress and modify and refine my strategies on run time basis. When I saw the graph rising in consecutive weeks, I felt confident of my strategies and when otherwise, I took time out to modify my plan accordingly.
On the test day, I took care not to get bogged down by difficult questions and tried to find and attack questions of easy and moderate difficulty.
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?
Last 3 months: I started my preparation earnestly at this time. I found out my areas of strength and weaknesses and started focussing on them. I made a list of very important sub-topics on whom I intended to focus. I also tried compiling my notes from different sources and solved questions of all the type of difficulties – easy moderate and difficult.
I also gave a few diagnostic tests to gauge my level of preparation and determine the areas requiring my maximum focus and time.
Last month: At this time, I started focusing on fine tuning my preparation and gave mocks every alternate day and analysed the results religiously and gave it the majority of my time at hand.
Also, I started revising the various concepts and specific problem types I had earmarked for this time.
Last 15 days: I stopped giving mocks at this time and just analysed the previous mock results in which I had done pretty poorly. I started formulating my strategy for D-Day and dedicated my efforts to shortcut tricks and mathematical formula. I also revised the word lists at this time.
What was your strategy for the D-Day and what do you think you executed the Best on the D- Day?
My strategy on the exam day was to start the test with my area of strength which was Verbal Reasoning. Thankfully, I was able to perform as per my expectations here. After verbal, I went on to the General Awareness section because I figured that it will not take much time to complete this section and might be a score augmenter for me.
Till this time, I was finished with two sections and I had comfortable time at hand which was a morale booster. And thus, I started with LR&DI and quant sections.
Focusing on your area of strength first can help in obtaining a substantial portion of score that you are going to get in the least possible time. This will help you in dedicating maximum time for sections in which you are comparatively weak.
How did you prepare for the group discussion? What was the topic and how did you tackle the GD round?
I enrolled with HR Mentors in Nagpur to help me prepare with GD and PI. I got opportunity for enough mock GDs there and got timely feedback to remove the chink from my armour and that was the totality of my formal preparation for it. But, reading newspaper is one of the most important thing you can do for your preparation.
Group Discussions in IIFT are one of the longest you will ever face. Everybody gets enough time to elucidate his or her point. The topic allotted to us was ‘Euthanasia’. Knowing the subject matter is most important in such cases. I made sure that I spoke only to the point and refrained from entering the fish market when such situations arose. I made some 3-4 entries in the GD and kept mum for the rest of the time concentrating on listening what others had to say.
What resources you used to refer while preparing for the essay writing? (Please mention the topic)
My essay topic was ‘Public-Private partnerships: a boon or bane’. I first introduced the subject and mentioned some of the latest happenings in the field that might have triggered this topic. I then went on to enunciate the benefits of PPP by giving examples. I also mentioned some of the projects that were not able to achieve the desired results and concluded by mentioning how PPP were the way to go and though there are still some creases, it will not be beneficial to term PPP as a bane.
The important thing will writing the essay is to make sure that your sentences are coherent and your change of paragraphs are smooth and flawless.
How was the interview experience like? What was your preparation strategy and how did the interview turn out to be?
My interview was mostly centered on my hobby which is reading and I was able to comfortably answer most of the questions they asked. Interviewers were keen to make me feel comfortable and started up with the basic HR questions and they mostly allowed me to guide the interview.
During my preparation, I gave a few mock interviews at HR mentors in Nagpur and worked on the feedback provided to me. I also met a few students who had given IIFT interviews before and their help was indispensable in my preparation.