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.
In today’s interview, we have Jeevan Santhosh Sandaka from the Batch of 2020-22.
A snapshot of his profile: Educational Background: B.Tech in Civil Engineering || Work Experience: 2.75 years || IIFT: Overall- 99.29 QA- 54.16 LRDI- 98.91 VARC- 99.16 GK-86.48
When did you start preparing for the IIFT exam?
I had given IIFT 2018 and scored 95.97%ile, but I was not able to convert in the second round of admission. For IIFT 2019, I started intense preparation in June 2019 and made sure that I completed the entire syllabus by the end of August. My working hours were from 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and so I left my job in September 2019 to give a fully focused attempt.
What was your preparation strategy and how did you approach the IIFT entrance exam?
I prepared for all the MBA entrance exams as a whole and that gave me a holistic preparation. I kept my preparation simple, I ensured strong conceptual knowledge and then followed general happenings in the world to cover the GK part. I also started practicing IIFT mocks a month before the actual exam.
From June onwards, I allotted 2 hours per subject section (VARC, LRDI & Quants). Being a working professional, this was tough initially. However, I managed it and also made sure to read at least one editorial article or GD topic online every day. I attempted questions of each subject section daily according to my strengths and weaknesses, starting with the weakest subjects first.
The biggest success mantra for cracking IIFT is not the preparation alone, but the exam strategy in time management. My secret to cracking IIFT 2018 & 2019 exams is the perfect execution of time allotments that I kept for each section in the exam. I started with GK with a time frame of 5 to 7 minutes to cover those 20 questions. I would then devote 1 minute per question in each section and aim to attempt sure shot questions to cross the cut-offs. Having said that, it is always advisable to be flexible since sectional difficulties could vary each year. Though my strength is quants, I scored more in the rest during IIFT mocks and thus I gave more time to the other sections and maximised my scores there.
How many mocks did you take and how did you analyse your results?
I had taken around five IIFT mocks and attempted the last two years papers in offline mode keeping the 2 hours’ time frame. The simulated offline exam experience helped me a lot to crack the main exam as the IIFT 2017 offline paper was tough and doing it gave me the real-time exam experience in strategizing the time management among different sections.
Having attempted both offline and online IIFT exams in 2018 and 2019 respectively, how was your experience with the online mode of the exam?
2019 was the first time the IIFT exam went online, and it was a very smooth experience. Since almost all other exams are online as well, it did not feel like anything new or tricky.
Must Read: "Never Attempt A New Mock Without Analysing The Previous Ones" - Umang Duggal, IIFT 99.26%iler || UPL’IIFT’ Series #1
What other calls did you have and why did you choose IIFT?
Apart from IIFT, I had calls from CAP IIMs and SCMHRD. International Business has always interested me, and the strong alumni base and legacy which IIFT possesses made me choose IIFT over other colleges.
Do you have any final tips for aspirants?
I would advise all aspirants to practice and analyse the past 5-7 years of IIFT entrance exam question papers. Since there are no sectional time limits, have a clear idea as to how you will manage time between sections. Initially, focus on crossing the sectional cut-offs and then focus on scoring high in your strength areas. Most importantly, attempt the exam with a relaxed mind. All the best.