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IIFT: Last Five Years Paper Analysis

Last Updated - September 25, 2017

IIFT is counted among India's top sought after B schools. IIFT conducts the entrance exam for MBA in International Business (IB) and the scores are accepted by IIFT Delhi and IIFT Kolkata. Those aspiring for a career in Foreign Trade aspires to crack this exam. The exam is highly competitive in nature, because more than 50,000 students take the exam every year, and a total of 210 gets admission i.e. 150 in Delhi and 60 in Kolkata. 

IIFT comprises 4 sections- Quantitative Aptitude, Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation and General Knowledge. The exam pattern changes every year, not only in terms of the number of questions but also the difficulty level.

In the year 2015 and 2016, IIFT consisted of 124 and 123 questions respectively and the difficulty level of the question paper was moderate in the year 2016, while it ranged between moderate-difficult in 2015.

In comparison, in the year 2014, 2013 and 2012, the level of the IIFT exam was moderate with 128 questions in 2013 and 2012 while the number of questions declined to 118 in the year 2014, which proves the fact that IIFT keeps experimenting with its exam pattern.

IIFT entrance exam is a little different from the other exams as it has a General Knowledge section. Out of the total examinees, around 1000-1200 are given a GD/PI call. IIFT selection process consists of 3 rounds- Essay, Group Discussion and Personal Interview.

Let’s look at the last 5 years paper analysis (2016,2015,2014,2013 and 2012)


IIFT 2016 Paper Analysis

Total Number of Questions: 123

Difficulty Level: Moderate

IIFT Paper Analysis

The total number of questions that appeared in IIFT this year were 123 as compared to 124 the previous year. Quantitative Ability and General Awareness sections were stand-alone sections this year, similar to the last year. Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation) were clubbed together as one section as were Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (RC). 

In terms of pattern and structure, the exam was similar to IIFT-2015. Overall, there were four sections in the exam and two of these sections had two parts each. In terms of overall level of difficulty, the exam can be classified as an easy exam. But then again, the challenge with IIFT has always been managing time efficiently by keeping the negative marking of 1/3 in mind.

Overall, to manage the overall and sectional cut-offs was a challenge. The section wise analysis is examined below:

Quantitative Ability (QA)

Difficulty level of QA was similar to that of the last year’s paper with the only difference that relatively more number of questions were from Algebra and modern mathematics as compared to Arithmetic. It had a good mix of questions from diverse topics.

There were only about a couple of questions which could be classified as relatively difficult/lengthier ones. The remaining questions were comparatively easy to solve. If one did not spend much time in trying to solve the lengthier questions, he/she could have attempted the section in around 30-35 minutes. A positive point here is that the lengthier questions were not too many. A well-prepared student would have been able to attempt around 13-15 questions in QA. 

The Quantitative Ability was Easy-Moderate with an ideal attempt of 12 questions. Remember, the overall difficulty level of the questions was not too high but there was simply not enough time to solve all the questions in the exam.

Logical Reasoning

There were 22 LR questions, most of them were under easy–moderate category. Attempting about 13-15 would have been a good attempt with time spent about 22-25 minutes.

Also, Data Interpretation (DI) part had four sets - two were based on 'Tables' and the remaining two were on 'Bar Graphs'. Out of the four sets, one was relatively more calculation intensive, but the remaining three sets had simple calculations and were easy to solve. 

Overall, for LRDI, an average student could have attempted 10-12 questions in about 22-25 minutes with about 80% accuracy. 

This section was of Easy to Moderate difficulty level.

Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability

VARC section was tougher than the last year. This is not only due to the slightly longish passages but also due to the different question types that were present in Verbal Ability. Crossword and the vocabulary questions were not only new but were also time-consuming as one had to painstakingly match the words using the provided options. 

Questions on spelling errors were moderate in difficulty level and needed the student to have heard/known the word to be able to locate the error.  

RC passages were lengthy but the questions were mostly direct. A person with moderate reading skills should not have faced much of a problem in attempting the RC questions. The topics in the passages were from different areas.

Section 4: General Awareness (GA)

General Awareness, as it did last year, could prove to be the waterloo for many students. Questions were from topics ranging from Hollywood movies, DOB of Bollywood heroines, India's military exercises and Panama Canal expansion. That would mean that he students needed to have been extremely well prepared to get a good score in this paper to ace IIFT General Knowledge section.

IIFT 2016 Exam Analysis

SectionVA & RCLA & DIGAQA
Number of Questions36422520
Marks allotted for the Right Attempt1 for RC and .75 for VA.75 for LA and 1 for DA0.51
Difficulty LevelModerateEasy-ModerateDifficultEasy-Moderate
Ideal Attempt 10 from VA and 11 from RC13-15 (LA) and 10-12 (DI) questions8-9 questions12
Accuracy80%75%80%75%

IIFT 2015 Paper Analysis

Total Number of Questions: 124

Difficulty Level: Moderate-Difficult

IIFT Paper Analysis

The overall difficulty level was moderate to difficult. According to the experts, the difficulty level of the exam was easier than the previous year. There were 124 questions from 4 sections to be answered in 2 hours. Here is the section wise analysis of all the four sections.

Quantitative Ability

This section was given the maximum weightage with 22 marks. The difficulty level of this section was easy-moderate. The questions were dominated by modern mathematics and arithmetic with 8 and 7 questions respectively. The remaining questions were on geometry, algebra and numbers.

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

According to the IIFT 2015 analysis, this was one of the easy sections of the paper. The questions were easy-moderate in nature. The Data Interpretation sets were calculation intensive, hence time consuming.

Logical Ability area in this paper was truly a traditional LA paper! The paper had four sets, one each of Distribution, Linear Arrangement, Order Sequencing and Network & Routes. with five individual questions, direction sense, syllogism/deductions, Logical Connectives, Operator based question and a question on number series.
The LR part of the LRDI was definitely doable and most examinees would have attempted the LR part by giving a skip to the DI part. Only the Linear Arrangement set could be termed a bit average in difficulty while the rest were easy.

Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability

Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability was the easiest section. There were 4 lengthy RC passages but the questions were straight forward. Verbal Ability part was easy too. Verbal Ability section was dominated by sentence completion and vocabulary based questions. There was only 1 analogy based question and it was moderate. The sentence correction and grammar questions were easy to moderate.
Sentence rearrangement questions were easy to moderate. Overall this section was of easy to moderate.

General Awareness

The difficulty level of this section can be rated as moderate. There was a good mix of questions from static General Knowledge as well as current affairs. There were around 13 questions relating to trade.

The section was easier compared to the previous years. Out of 28 questions, 19 questions were on static GK and 9 were on current affairs. The current event questions pertaining to national events were quite difficult. The theme of the questions was mostly on business, science (related to invention), headquarters and appointments with a couple from Geography and History.

IIFT 2015 Exam Analysis

SectionVA & RCLA & DIGAQA
Number of Questions36382822
Marks allotted for the Right Attempt1 for RC and .75 for VA.75 for LA and 1 for DA0.51
Difficulty LevelEasy- ModerateEasy-ModerateModerateEasy-Moderate
Ideal Attempt 10-12 from VA and 12-13 from RC12 (LA) and 7-8 (DI) questions10-12 questions11-12
Accuracy80%75%80%75%

IIFT 2014 Paper Analysis

Total Number of Questions: 118

Difficulty Level: Moderate

IIFT Paper Analysis

IIFT 2014 paper consisted of 118 questions i.e. 10 questions lesser than the previous year. The difficulty level ranged between moderate and difficult which will result in lower cutoffs this time. Overall, it can be said that the heightened difficulty in the DI and LR sections undermines the advantage a student may have had due to the reduction in the overall number of questions. Let us look at the section wise paper analysis to get a clear analysis.

Data Interpretation

Of the three DI sets, the first one was easy to solve while the other 2 sets proved to be calculation-intensive. Since the cut-off applies to QA-DI section as a whole, sufficient attempt in QA should ensure that students don't miss the cut-off.

Quantitative Ability

Quantitative ability section didn't throw too many surprises though the level of some of the questions was definitely higher than the previous year. The questions in the QA section continue their legacy of being lengthy.
Overall, a well-prepared candidate would have been able to attempt around 6-7 questions in DI and 9-12 questions in QA with 80% accuracy. 

General Awareness

The section had a bias towards current affairs at the expense of static General Knowledge. We could expect the section to have a higher cut-off than the last year. Someone who is not preparing for a competitive exam with GK in it but who casually skims through everyday news in the newspapers or news and online articles could also answer 8-10 questions. 

Verbal Ability

Verbal Ability part was greatly dominant in vocabulary questions, as was last year's, with as many as ten questions of various types (Fill in the Blanks, Analogy, Odd one out, spellings and word formations). There were 6 grammar questions of three types. The other questions were the usual PFQs and idiom questions, two of each in number. 

Barring a few vocabulary questions and a couple of grammar questions, which were time consuming, the section, overall, was easy to solve, when compared to the Reading Comprehension part. Most questions could be answered with just quick thinking.

Reading Comprehension

In the RC part, the four passages were very easy to read and the questions were all direct. They were such that one needed just to go back to the passages and 'locate' the answers. The flip side, though, was that the passages were very long, with some of them as long as three pages. Also, some of the questions needed relatively more time than the others, as the answer options had to be 'dealt with' with subtlety. 
Overall, a good test taker could have easily attempted around 7-8 questions in RC of the section and around 10-12 in VA part. 

Logical Reasoning

Logical Reasoning section had a good mix of selection-based problems, puzzles, input-output problems and other questions that are known to appear frequently in IIFT. The questions in the section are more difficult compared to the previous year with a couple of sets in the section were very lengthy and time-consuming.
With the acumen for choosing the right kind of questions, a well-prepared student (who had practiced previous years question) could have solved around 9-11 questions, by leaving the lengthy sets. 

IIFT 2014 Exam Analysis

SectionVA & RCLA & DIGAQA
Number of Questions37352620
Marks allotted for the Right Attempt1 for RC and .75 for VA1 for LA and 1 for DA0.51
Difficulty LevelEasy- ModerateModerate-DifficultModerateModerate-Difficult
Ideal Attempt7-8 from VA and 10-12 from RC11 (LA) and 6-7 (DI) questions8-10 questions9-12
Accuracy75%70%75%80%

IIFT 2013 Paper Analysis

Total Number of Questions: 128

Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate

IIFT Paper Analysis

The exam was easier as compared to the previous year IIFT question paper. Sectional cutoff was there and total number of questions were 128 (same as the previous year). All the sections were simple to solve except the Quantitative Aptitude, which was time consuming and questions were conceptual with long calculations.
Below mentioned is the section wise IIFT 2013 paper analysis:

Data Interpretation

DI was similar to the earlier tests in terms of the quantum of calculations required. However, the questions were direct and with concentration, one could have dealt with almost all the questions. Sone questions can be classified as difficult on account of the calculations needed.
Most of the examinees would have attempted at least 15-16 questions in the section and would expect to get at least 80% of them correct. 

Logical Reasoning

LR questions were easy-moderate in difficulty. The data was inadequate to arrive at a definite arrangement and therefore some may have spent a little extra time trying. However, going with the spirit of the section, one could have marked answers even without getting an exact configuration.
The average number of attempts in the section should be in the range of 15-17 with 80-85% accuracy. 

General Awareness

Questions were easy and the students who were well prepared and had prior knowledge about the current affairs could easily clear the sectional cutoff. Considering the familiarity of the questions, it would be reasonable to expect 15-18 attempts in the section with at least 75% accuracy. 

Verbal Ability

VA section was a good mix of vocabulary based questions, idioms, grammatical and paragraph formation questions. There has been a larger emphasis on Vocabulary based questions than the other two testing areas. However, some of these questions could be answered just by elimination.
Overall, a student should be able to attempt 12-15 questions with 75% accuracy. 

Reading Comprehension

The passages looked long but they were not very tricky. There were four passages with four questions in each of the passage. Most of the questions were based on a direct reference. A student should not have spent more than 20 minutes to solve the section with 75% accuracy as there were no questions that required extensive analysis.

Quantitative Ability

The section was the most difficult out of all the sections. The performance in QA will possibly be the differentiator in the overall test. A few questions were particularly tedious.
Several questions were very similar to the questions solved by one during CAT preparation eg. smallest value of the expression, path inside a rectangle etc.
Another comforting element in the section was that the answer choices were not very close and therefore one could have saved on unforced mistakes. One could have attempted around 15-17 questions in the section with 80% accuracy.

IIFT 2013 Exam Analysis

SectionVA & RCLA & DIGAQA
Number of Questions36392825
Marks allotted for the Right Attempt.75.75 for LA and 1 for DA0.51
Difficulty LevelEasyEasy-ModerateModerateDifficult
Ideal Attempt12-14 from VA and 12-14 from RC15-17 (LA) and 15-16 (DI) questions15-18 questions15-17
Accuracy75%80%75%80%

IIFT 2012 Paper Analysis

Total Number of Questions: 128

Difficulty Level: Moderate

IIFT 2012 had 4 sections and there was the presence of sectional cut-offs in this year's process. This is likely to have shaken those aspirants who were expecting 6 sections and no sectional cut-offs that the institute went along with last year (2011). The ambiguity present in a few questions and the presence of sectional cut-offs may see an overall cut-off in the range 45-47. But the good news is that the level of difficulty was slightly lower than the last year.

GA, LA and VA sections had questions which were neither lengthy to read nor difficult to answer. This helped because the other 3 sections i.e. Quant, DI and RC required more time and weightage was higher. With the proper time management ability and efficiency, one could easily clear the cutoffs. A good time allocation strategy would have been to give GA and VA around 10-12 minutes each, 15-18 min for RC, 25 min each for LR and DI, and around 30 min for QA. 

The penalty is a stringent 1/3rd of the marks per question, so making wild guesses would be detrimental to the aspirant’s chances of clearing the exam. 

Quantitative Ability (QA)

QA section, like last year was of moderate difficulty. Leaving a couple of questions which needed deep calculations, most of the other questions were simple to solve. Attempt of around 17-18 questions can be considered as a good attempt. The questions were not much conceptual, questions on Ratio, Time & Distance and Time & Work are a good example of this. 
The possible cut off in this section would be at around 12-14. A good time allocation strategy for this section would be around 30-35 minutes.

Logical Ability (LA)

The section had a lot of simple questions which should not have taken more than 40 seconds to solve. 

The easy questions were from the areas of seating, comparisons and linear word formation which is a new question type that made an entry this year. Deductions were probably the only set of questions which would have tested the examinees. 
14-16 attempts can be considered decent. 

Data Interpretation 

DI section continued to be tedious in terms of time consuming calculations and the similarity of the provided options. A good time allocation strategy for this section would be around 20 minutes. Attempts in the range of 10-11 should be considered to be very good. 

The first set included the questions on import/export with few tricky questions with difficult calculations. The remaining questions were seemingly difficult but were easier of the lot. 

The second set questions were based on the production of major minerals and metals which were simpler to solve.

The third set was on Foreign tourists which required calculation skills

The next set in which questions were asked on import and export of various types of TVs, required the students to understand the meaning of external trade as against net import or net export and also that the differences would need to be calculated per TV type rather than on the total. The questions were quite easy and could be attempted easily. 

The last set on the percentage contribution of various car models was easy and this set could definitely have been attempted. 

Verbal Ability

Verbal ability this year was the first part of the English Language section. It had the usual miscellaneous question based on vocabulary, grammar and verbal reasoning.
All the questions could be attempted by a well-prepared student. As this part and RC were not separate sections which means there was a combined sectional cut-off, devoting maximum time to this section would have easily allowed an examinee to clear the sectional cutoff.

The ideal number of attempts would be 14 although the average number could be 11-12. Above 18 would be excellent. 

Reading Comprehension

There were 4 passages in RC, which were long especially the first paragraph. Except the first passage (the motive of business), which was difficult to read and interpret, the other paragraphs were easy to read and narrative in style. The main deterring factor was the time availability.
Those who tried at least two passages and attempted 7 questions would have a major advantage over those who ignored this RC part. 

General Awareness 

GA section became important for the aspirants this year on two counts – the number of questions saw a jump from 20 to 28 and secondly because of the sectional cut-offs this year. 

The questions themselves had a mix of sitters and really tough ones, but a well-prepared student should find this paper quite easy. The questions which required matching could be solved easily be elimination method.

Attempts in the range of 14-18 should be considered to be very good. 

IIFT 2012 Exam Analysis

SectionVA & RCLA & DIGAQA
Number of Questions36392825
Marks allotted for the Right Attempt.75.75 for LA and 1 for DA0.51
Difficulty LevelEasy-ModerateEasy-ModerateModerate-Difficultmoderate difficulty
Time Allocation Strategy (minutes)10-12 (for VA) and 15-18 (for RC)25 for LA and DI each10-1230
TopicsIdentifying Grammatically correct sentences, prepositions/phrases, Analogy, Correct matching of words-meanings, Antonyms, speech. areas of seating, comparisons and linear word formation, deduction in LA and Percentage point difference, production calculation, percentage contributionStatistics based questions and current events & affairsQuestions on Ratios, Time & Distance, Time & Work
Ideal Attempt14 from VA and 7 from RC14-16 (LA) and 10-11 (DI) questions16-17 questions17-18

So, by looking at the last 5 years trend, it can be concluded that paper level was not that difficult, all that mattered was the time-management skills and efficient working. Also, one must keep in mind the negative marking of 1/3 to ace IIFT entrance exam to get admission in top B-schools.


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