What was your preparation strategy? Please share section-wise strategy in detail.
My preparation strategy was to work on my strengths. English and LR were strong points. I focused more on them, at the same time I tried to work on DI and quant. I used to have a flashcards app for English words, which I used to go through whenever I could get time.
I started preparing for the last 2 months due to my office schedule. Most of my preliminary preparation was done last year, my primary task had been to revise and practice in whatever time I had. I used to solve previous question papers and mock tests to gain a foothold before the arrival of the D-Day. Funny thing that helped was, this year CAT was held a week before IIFT. Giving exams back to back is something that dissolves you of your exam fear.
My main strategy was to maximize my strong areas and clear the cut off in my weak ones. I first attempted RC and LR. The other sections I attempted as much as time permitted me.
How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Which one do you think is better?
I personally went for self-study, as I couldn’t manage my schedule due to office works. I set my preparation schedule at my convenience. I started taking mocks in the last few weeks. It was mostly once in 3 days. After the exam, one thing I did religiously is to sit down and analyze where I went wrong and what can I do to make it right.
Choosing between Self-study or Coaching is a call one needs to take based on his/her circumstances.
How did you balance your preparation with your job?
In a 9-5 job, one gets tired easily at the end of the day. Gathering yourself and pushing for that extra one hour to be used for preparation is what sets you apart from others. The same applies to studies also. Managing that one hour was a bit challenging for me. So I tried to ensure that I get at least 7 hours of preparation every week.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
The one thing I did consistently during my preparation was to consistently stick to it. The main important aspect of any preparation is the discipline and the willingness to follow the journey to the end.
What are the best study materials for IIFT?
Like any MBA aspirant, my first choice of books was Arun Sharma series which is considered a must by many. As for the test series, I followed hitsbulleye for their robust preparation strategies during the course of the examination.
What is the difference between IIFT and other management entrance exams such as CAT or XAT?
IIFT has two main differentiation parameters. One sectional cut off and the other one is GK section. The pattern of the sections varies from year to year, along with differential marking from the questions.
How should one with non-English background prepare him/herself for the exam as the mode of the exam is only English?
One needs to start fighting out with the fear that one can’t overpower English. Once that is done, they could start a two-pronged strategy – One by Reading & Writing, Another one is by speaking. Start reading newspapers, start speaking to your friends in English, start writing it down. All these action-plans needs to be done simultaneously to gain a significant hold over the language and master it eventually.
Preparing for IIFT or any entrance exam is a long and tiring process. How do you suggest one should keep his/her calm and confidence?
Not being hard on oneself is the key here. The harder you be on yourself, the more you lose your calm. Keep Calm and follow your Heart with discipline. When everything is right, it ought to go right.