What was your mode of preparation– Self-study or Coaching? Which one according to you is better?
I joined T.I.M.E. in my third year of engineering. Coaching does give one the required direction and guidance. However, it is only as effective as the efforts the student decides to put in. Also, if time is a constraint, I think systematic self-study along with joining any test series would work equally well.
How did you manage your time while studying for IIFT exam alongside the academic rigor of college?
I had to prioritize between the various activities in college, lectures, preparing for my final placements and for the competitive exams. I used to pay attention in the class so that my concepts remained clear and I didn’t have to put in too much effort during college exams. During the peak placement season, I made sure I dedicated at least an hour daily to my preparations so I did not lose touch. Once placements were done with, I focused all my efforts into the competitive exams.
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When did you start your preparation? Kindly share your detailed preparation plan for IIFT.
I had started preparing from the second half of my third year of graduation. I started my preparation by focusing on getting my concepts right. I solved the material provided by my coaching center.
Once clear with the concepts, I started taking full-length mock tests. This helped me identify my weak areas, I devoted extra time to these areas and worked on attaining speed and accuracy. One month before the exam, I only took mock tests and revised my notes. I did not start any new topic or refer to any new material.
According to you, what is the most significant part of preparation?
I think the most important thing is to not lose focus at any point during the preparation. The early days of preparation are very crucial for concept-building. I devoted a certain time to my preparation even at the time of placements and final semester exams. This helped maintain my level of preparation. It is very important to take mocks but even more important is the analysis as it helps one to identify the weak areas.
How did you prepare for the various sections? Can you please share section-wise strategy adopted by you?
As the DI section of the exam can be quite calculation intensive, I worked on making my mental calculations faster by practicing the techniques taught in the coaching center and also referred to the material available online. For Quant and Logical Reasoning, I went through the material provided by the coaching institute and took sectional tests. I solved the Reading Comprehensions by setting a timer to gain speed and accuracy in RCs. Reading the newspaper daily helped me not only in the GK section but in the VA section also.
What was your D-day strategy in terms of time management, accuracy, question selection, and sectional attempts/cut-offs?
I solved the question paper in rounds. In the first round, I allotted a specific time to each section and solved a certain number of questions which I thought would help me clear the individual cut-offs of each section. This, however, depends on the judgment of the candidate. Solving an adequate number of mocks and previous years’ question papers helps one to have a good judgment. After this, I solved questions from the sections which I was most comfortable in namely, Verbal and LR to maximize my overall score.
Do you think being a fresher, you were at a slight disadvantage in GD/PI rounds?
I don’t think the interviewers adhere to such biases. I never felt disadvantaged because of being a fresher. One should feel confident about themselves as long as they are abreast of current affairs, have their own opinion about the events happening in the society and have a clear idea on why they want to pursue an MBA.
What is your message for future IIFT aspirants?
Give equal importance to all the sections, identify your weak areas and work on them and do not neglect the GK section. Also, indulge in a hobby that helps you keep stress at bay. For me, it was listening to music. Maintain your cool because as the exam gets closer, you might start underestimating yourself. Keep talking to your friends and family as it provides much positivity.
We would like to thank Sharmishtha for sharing her suggestions with the aspirants.
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