Steps To Synchronize CAT And IIFT Entrance Prep

One of the major headaches or roadblocks for CAT aspirants is how do they cope with different exams and alter their exam preparation accordingly as each exam tests a different skill of the aspirant. The mega exam is obviously The CAT but it has exams centered around it. Aspirants have a single-minded focus for CAT and in case of a bad performance in the CAT since it is so ambiguous they are unable to adapt to the other exams and hence have nothing to show for their hard work at the end of the year. Hence preparation needs to be altered accordingly to fit everything.

Aspirants might have already negated NMAT. The real test before the CAT is IIFT. IIFT and CAT are totally different ball game exams since they test your different abilities. While CAT is not high on speed and precision, IIFT, on the contrary, is very heavy on it. Also, IIFT has a whole new section in GK which cannot be neglected as it is generally the make or break section as aspirants bank on this section to increase their score. IIFT also has sectional cut off so one cannot neglect GK thinking I’ll cover it in the other sections.

How can one prepare both these exams simultaneously and differences in preparation of the two :

  • The main matter remains the same for both the tests. So first things first, it is imperative to have strong concepts. So make sure you have clear concepts.
  • Practice a mock or two for IIFT every week. Preferable to do it during exam timings. Gives a feel of the during test taking conditions.
  • One glaring difference while solving verbal in IIFT and CAT is, never read the whole Reading Comprehension and then solve the questions in IIFT. Comprehensions in IIFT are generally unnecessary long with the only motive so as the aspirants waste their time. Questions are generally direct for the same. So read the question and then find the answer in IIFT. In CAT, such a strategy is generally avoided as questions aren’t as direct as in IIFT and involve comprehending skills.
  • In IIFT, time and speed are sacrosanct. Make sure you don’t spend extra time on a particular section as decided by you before. Here the discretion is upto you on how you want to split your time as there is no sectional timings. Generally, the breakup that is followed is 10-30-40-40  minutes for GK, Verbal, Quant and DI/LR respectively.
  • With speed and accuracy, One needs extreme awareness in IIFT. One of the reasons for that is because IIFT has a differential marking for questions hence you need to also judge whether a question worth 0.5 or 0.75 marks is worth your time as compared to a question carrying 1 mark. So it is important to read the instructions and mark the questions in different mark slabs.
  • One thing that one needs to realize for either of the exams is that you don’t need to attempt all the questions but most questions correctly as there is negative marking. One needs to read carefully to identify the easy questions. For example, there will be 30-40% easy questions in either of the exams. One needs to target them first and then selectively attempt whatever one knows.
  • One Tip for GK in IIFT: Generally the number of attempts for students in IIFT GK section is low and at the end, they feel sad seeing the low number of attempts and end up randomly shooting arrows in the dark. DON’T DO THIS. This has an implication on your overall marks. Keep in mind the cut off for GK is in general low and you don’t need many attempts for the same. GK can be divided into static or dynamic GK. You know or you don’t know here. There is no middle ground. So  please refrain from “attempting tukkas” as it will have an implication on your final marks. (Saying this by my personal experience as I missed on IIFT cut off by 0.5 marks once.)

At the end, one needs to maneuver and alter his preparation according to the circumstances and the examination. In case, of any doubts or queries feel free to comment below.

Until then, Happy Studying.



About the Author:

Saket Banka is a serial CAT taker having taken the exam 4 times. A Biotech Engineer by degree,  a marketing enthusiast by profession and he has a keen interest in Politics and the happenings around the world. A die-hard football fan, in his free time he enjoys watching football and reading books.


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