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 Umang Duggal from the Batch of 2020-22.
A snapshot of his profile and scores: Educational Background: B.Tech, Chemical Engineering (NIT Srinagar) || Work Experience: 1 year || IIFT: Overall- 99.26 QA- 97.66 LRDI- 78.18 VARC- 99.16 GK- 57.58
When did you start preparing for the IIFT exam?
I started preparing for the IIFT entrance exam in August 2019.
Could you walk us through your preparation strategy?
Since I was working when I thought of starting with the preparation, I realised that it would be difficult to keep up with a fixed routine so I quit my job in July. I went ahead with IMS’s comprehensive mock series. The extensive pool of resources which included sample tests, section tests, tips, and tricks along with great articles on blogs like ‘catwriter’ helped me improve a lot in the section of Quantitative Aptitude. That was one section where I underperformed in CAT, but I slightly tweaked my approach for the IIFT exam since it was clear that the question paper was more objective with greater emphasis on speed.
What I would recommend is practicing a balanced mix of questions, regular evaluation of mocks, and practice of LRDI problems from past year CAT and IIFT papers. For people who feel they are weak in VARC, the best tip, in addition to regular RC readings and solving questions from IMC RC 100, would be to attempt grammar questions on websites like Indiabix. Also, given the current scenario, the option of center-proctored tests might not be available, but if things do change, please attempt your mocks at the center, it gives you a feeling of the actual test day.
How many mocks did you take and what was your method of analysing your results?
I enrolled for only one mock test series (IMS) and attempted around 25 SIMCATS, 10 IIFT mocks, and 5 SIMXATs. My strategy was to maintain an excel sheet consisting of the scores, rank, section-wise points, especially the scores in my strong and weak areas. It helped me analyse certain topics where I could maximise my scores and identify areas where I needed improvement.
My mantra was: "Never attempt another mock before analysing and working on the learnings from the earlier ones". You may deviate from this in the beginning but eventually, through a fixed routine you will get adapted to this.
How was your online test-taking experience?
Once you enter the test room, the invigilator would be checking your passport-sized photograph, government ID and capturing your fingerprint and photograph. You will be given a writing pad and pen for rough work, which should be returned to the invigilator at the end of the examination. The test interface was pretty seamless, and the exam experience was smooth.
What other calls did you have, and why did you choose IIFT?
From the very start of MBA preparation, I had my eyes on IIFT due to the batch profile of the senior batch, and I felt that I would fit in perfectly here. I also had a strong interest in International Business, hence going for the MBA(IB) degree seemed to be a perfect choice. I had calls from most of the CAP colleges for their flagship PGDM as well as other courses.
I finally chose IIFT due to its strong industry connect, its reputation of being a college with a rigorous curriculum, and a holistic development environment. Also, the close ties with the government give opportunities to work on real-time policy-making decisions through managerial and entrepreneurial spirit.
Do you have any final tips for aspirants?
- Analyse your mocks thoroughly.
- When it comes to your preparation, plan one day at a time, not more, and not less than that.
- Watch what you eat, especially in the morning. Drink plenty of fluids, and keep some healthy snacks and fruits next to you.
- Be relaxed, be calm, and be positive on the day of the exam.
- Sleep well, stay safe, practice hygiene.
Looking forward to seeing you on campus next year!!