The UPL’IIFT’ Series- spearheaded by the Media Committee, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, in collaboration with Inside IIM 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 students from the MBA (IB) Batch of 2021-23 give their tips on Last Mile Preparation for the IIFT exam. Following are the profiles of students who we interviewed.
Subham Singh - Educational Background: B.A, Economics and Political Science, (Maharishi Dayanand University) || Work Experience: Nil|| IIFT : Overall- 99.6 QA- 90.08 LRDI- 66.10 VARC- 99.95 GK- 79.58 |
Mohan Kumar Gajji - Educational Background: B.E, Electronics and Communication Engineering, (Osmania University) || Work Experience: 38 months as a Software Development Engineer at AMD|| IIFT: Overall- 99.398 QA- 99.43 LRDI- 97.64 VARC- 74.92 GK- 99.57 |
Chayanika Das - Educational Background: B Tech, Chemical Engineering (NIT Karnataka Surathkal) || Work Experience: Credit Risk Analyst, HSBC - 25 months || IIFT: Overall- 98.44 QA- 97.32 LRDI- 96.49 VARC- 81.79 GK- 95.63 |
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What was your schedule like during the last week before IIFT?
Subham Singh: During the last week of IIFT, my focus was only on topics that I was proficient in and I spent my time revising those topics with a proper schedule. I covered questions where I had faltered in mocks and I did not give any new mocks during this period.
Mohan Kumar Gajji: As I was preparing for CAT as well, I gave IIFT specific mocks only after my CAT was over. I gave one IIFT specific mock and was specifically revising on General Knowledge, as that was a section specific to IIFT. My day generally involved taking an IIFT specific mock, analyzing it, and going through questions that I could have approached better.
Chayanika Das: As Mohan mentioned, I was also preparing for CAT alongside IIFT and I gave IIFT specific mocks after my CAT. Apart from mocks and GK, I focussed on previous years' papers to understand areas that were tested more in IIFT than in CAT. This analysis helped me in also preparing a strategy specific to IIFT.
Chayanika, you mentioned that you had a specific D-Day strategy. Can you please elaborate on that?
The IIFT exam does not have sectional timings so it is important that we allocate time for each section according to our strengths. I considered Quants and Verbal to be my stronger areas and decided to give myself slightly lesser time for these two sections. General Knowledge was a section I devoted the least amount of time and this gave me ample time to attempt DILR. One piece of advice I would like to give to candidates is that the difficulty of sections will vary and what they need to remember is that they should not throw the towel in if they find a section too difficult as the cut-offs will reduce proportionately. Stay focussed throughout the exam and always keep an eye on the timer.
Subham, you had mentioned that you did not give any mocks during this period. Was there any reason for this particular approach?
It was very important for me to delink confidence with mock scores and I consciously decided against giving new mocks at this period of time. I had given IIFT specific mocks around CAT and I was fairly aware of the IIFT pattern. I decided to focus on individual areas that I had noted down from before and I also prepared for a few question types unique to IIFT (Input-Output, Statement-Assumption). I would like to leave the candidates with one final piece of advice, “Stay in the moment during the exam and trust your plan that had taken months to prepare”.
Mohan, you spoke on General Knowledge as a section that was of particular importance. What was your strategy for General Knowledge and D-Day in general?
General Knowledge was a section that I was comfortable with and I had decided to utilize this section to offset my weaker areas. As I was working, my hours of study were limited to 2-3 hours in a day and I spread these hours across the day instead of one sitting to avoid burnout. I stopped giving mocks during the last 3 days and ensured that I was fit mentally by sleeping for 7 hours and staying hydrated. One important piece of advice that I would like to tell the candidates is to stay away from social media websites for the last few days and not open any click-bait exam-related links. Trust your process and stay calm during the exam as that will be the difference between those who make it and those who don’t.
Final tips compiled on the basis of our conversation with IIFT toppers
- Ensure mental wellbeing by sleeping well and staying hydrated
- Allocate time for each section according to your strengths
- Have a formula book and use that for revision
- Plan your strategy for Exam Day
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