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Ronit Banerjea without dismissing his preconceptions with the change in number of sections of IIFT 2020, bagged 99.98 overall percentile in IIFT 2020. Despite his commitment in the college and being an active member of various societies, Ronit cracked the exam by scoring a high percentile. Overcoming his weaknesses while preparing for the entrance exam, IIFT 2020 topper Ronit shares the tips that one needs to follow to overcome their shortcomings. In his interview with Careers360, IIFT Topper Ronit highlighted the importance of the mock tests and how he used social media to his own advantage. Ronit, who is IIFT 2020 topper is gearing up for the next round of the selection process. He is building his horizons on all spheres of social, political and business awareness in order to clear the selection rounds of IIFT and of other coveted entrance examinations that he has appeared for and will be appearing for. Read this full interview of IIFT 2020 topper Ronit Banerjea with Careers360 to know about his sectional score, preparation strategy, suggestions for IIFT aspirants and much more.
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Careers360: Congratulations on cracking IIFT 2020 entrance. Please share your overall and sectional scores and percentile.
Ronit Banerjea: Thank you for the wishes! My scorecard reads as follows -
Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
Careers360: What was your section-wise strategy for the exam? Did you follow any specific preparation strategy for IIFT?
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Ronit Banerjea: I did develop a strategy based on the exam structure observed in the years preceding this, and had solved mocks keeping this plan in mind. However, with IIFT being computerised for the first time, there was a complete overhaul of this structure, which forced aspirants to dismiss all their preconceptions and develop a new strategy to tackle the exam on the fly. I'll share my renewed approach in a later question.
Careers360: What is your take on the National Testing Agency (NTA) conducting the exam. Since it is the first time that NTA has conducted it how were the questions. Was there any major change in the exam pattern or marking scheme.
Ronit Banerjea: Yes, the paper presented this year had little to no resemblance to any previously set by the institute, which took everyone by surprise. For starters, instead of the traditional 6 sections with their respective cutoffs (QA, VA, RC, LR, DI, GK), we had 4 sections (with VA-RC and DI-LR being clubbed together) and no sectional cutoffs explicitly mentioned. This was a relief for the students, as they now had to worry about clearing the cutoffs (if any, there has been no official word on this yet) for only 4 sections instead of 6, and could use the aforementioned clubbing of sections to stick to their strengths and spend less time on their specific shortcomings. The number of questions remained very similar to last year, despite the time being reduced from 3 hours to 2. The marking scheme also observed a multiplicative factor of 3, with the first 3 sections having a marking scheme of (+3, 0, -1) while GA had (+1.5, 0, -0.5) for (R, U/A, W) respectively. There were a few disputed questions in all 3 major sections, owing to incorrect phrasing of the questions and absent or multiple options as answers. This led to an unprecedented jump in final scores for all the students, post release of the final answer key.
The questions were not too different from the years before. VARC was a big relief for the students, as the passages were short with reasonably easy questions and the VA section was easy with no mention of foreign words or theoretical grammar. QA was on the tougher side, LRDI was par for the course, and GA tested one's general awareness across multiple spheres of knowledge.
The interface itself greatly resembled CAT19, although an unnecessarily excessive zooming on the question statements and RC passages led to a constant need for sideways-scrolling to view the entire line. Besides that, there were no technical glitches and the exam went off smoothly.
Careers360: Mention section-wise books and study materials you referred during your preparation.
Ronit Banerjea: I'm enrolled in the TIME Classroom Programme, so I focused on completing all the study material provided with them while also covering the sectional and overall mocks that came along with the package. Besides that, I spent a lot of time trawling through Facebook groups like iQuanta, ElitesGrid and Quantifiers, solving tricky questions posted by students enrolled in other programs. As for GA in particular, I depended solely on a GK Marathon conducted by iQuanta in the days between CAT and IIFT, as college commitments restricted the amount of time I could spend on maxing this section.
Careers360: Please share your preparation journey. How did you strike a balance between your academic life and preparation for an entrance exam?
Ronit Banerjea: I've always had an inclination for maths, so my journey started with joining a couple of the most prominent Facebook groups I mentioned, in September 2018, and going through all the questions and solutions posted by previous year's aspirants. I spent a lot of time analysing the shortcuts mentioned, and rigorously dissecting their mathematical robustness. The 2-3 months I spent re-introducing myself to mathematical concepts untouched since my JEE days were crucial to my eventual confidence and consistency in this particular section.
I joined TIME in December, and began working on the material provided by them - both to practice methods understood and retained from the months prior, as well as to learn newer and more efficient approaches and enhance my speed. I was also regular with my attendance of scheduled mocks and attempting of sectional mocks, which help boost my performances in all 3 sections. I had an edge in VARC owing to my general comfort in the language, but a constant fear of the LRDI section ensured I was regular with my practice.
Due to my constant commitment to college activities, I knew I wouldn't have more than 2-3 hours to spare for preparation on the weekdays, so I attempted to account for that by starting my preparation more than a year in advance and being regular with my studies on a daily basis. Consistency and an adequate headstart helped me keep both of my academic pursuits under complete control.
Careers360: How was your IIFT exam day experience? How many questions did you attempt from each section?
Ronit Banerjea: The exam day was rather smooth on the whole. The crowd was well streamlined and managed by the security staff hired, and no incidents of lost or misplaced personal effects were heard at my centre. The guidelines were more lenient than for CAT the previous week, so aspirants were allowed to enter with shoes and belts on. The management and conduction of the exam itself was identical to CAT, and the organisers managed their duties well. From a personal standpoint, I ended up seated 45 minutes before the commencement of the exam, so I had plenty of time to calm my nerves and ready myself for a 2 hour sprint!
My sectional attempts were -
Careers360: How did you manage time during exam day? Was the duration sufficient for you?
Ronit Banerjea: The sea-change in the exam pattern forced me to rethink my approach. I decided to spend the first 7-8 minutes on the GA section and ensure a net score of at least 6 before moving on. I then spent the rest of the first 30 minutes on the VARC section. Of the ensuing 90 minutes, I spent around 40 minutes on QA (being my strength, I decided to maximise my performance in this section) and 35 minutes on DILR, before finally returning to the RC section till the end of the exam.
As for the time provided, the intention was never to see if the students could complete the entire paper, the issue would always be relative performance and accuracy. Thus, even with just 74 attempts I could still bag the 6th position out of 35435 examinees.
Careers360: Have you started preparing for the next round of selection procedure?
Ronit Banerjea: I have just started now. Even in the presence of sectional cutoffs I'm reasonably secure in being shortlisted, so I'm working on building my horizons on all spheres of social, political and business awareness in the weeks building up to stage 2 of selections.
Careers360: How did you maintain balance in preparation between IIFT and other entrances?
Ronit Banerjea: IIFT doesn't test concepts or perspectives particularly different from any other major exams. In fact, the only major difference between CAT 2019 and IIFT 2020 is the inclusion of the GA section, which I only prepared for the week before IIFT. On the whole, I would say that my CAT preparation itself formed the backbone of my IIFT performance, especially as the mocks I gave before the exam proved to be inconsequential besides pushing me to work fast and pay attention to the clock.
Careers360: Which other MBA entrances have you taken? What are your percentiles for those?
Ronit Banerjea: CAT is the only other exam I've taken, in which I have a raw score of 183 (slot 2). According to the consensus of all the predictors I've had access to, this would qualify as a performance in the range of 99.65 - 99.85%ile. I hope to improve upon this in my final exam for this season, XAT.
Careers360: Which B-schools have you received interview calls from?
Ronit Banerjea: As a consequence of the exams I've chosen to take, so far I haven't received any. Although I hope for that counter to rise in the first couple of weeks of 2020!
Careers360: Why do you want to join IIFT Delhi? What are your other dream B-schools apart from IIFT?
Ronit Banerjea: IIFT, being under the purview of MHRD, is known for its transparency and accountability - which is why the information published by the institute regarding its performances in research and placements are least likely to be inflated or doctored. The performance of the institute in the job market as a whole has been remarkable in recent years, with the top 50%ile bagging an average package of around 24LPA in 2019. Furthermore, they offer an MBA (IB) program, which opens up opportunities of work on international soil as well, a feature for which they stand in a league of their own.
Besides IIFT, I'm also hoping to convert at least one of IIM A/B/C/L, FMS and XLRI.
Careers360: Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary for aspirants to bag the top rank?
Ronit Banerjea: Yes, I was part of the TIME Classroom Programme and also enrolled with Career Launcher for their mock test series.
No, having not attended a single class myself due to college commitments (we got the classroom programme at a heavy discount owing to a tie-up between TIME and my college, IIT Kharagpur), I would definitely not agree with that sentiment. However, I do believe it's important to gain access to study materials provided by at least one of TIME/IMS/CL to help streamline your preparation and eliminate diversions due to inadequate knowledge on the part of the aspirant themself. I also feel that interacting with fellow aspirants on online platforms can motivate one to study hard and perform consistently. The mocks and their subsequent analysis form the backbone of one's preparation, so I would say it's very important to join at least 1 if not 2 different test series - to test your relative performance across a variety of different kinds of papers, and critically analyse them to perfect your concepts and exam strategy.
Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for Group Discussion, Writing Ability Test and Personal Interview? Any other element in the selection process you want to share?
Ronit Banerjea: As of now I'm spending time acquainting myself with issues of social, political and business importance on both national and international stages through a routine exploration of the GWPI briefcase provided by TIME, and will be joining a GD-PI preparation programme too once the results are officially announced and I'm in a better position to ascertain my chances of landing certain converted calls.
Careers360: Apart from the preparation schedule, what activities did you involve yourself for recreation purpose? What are your hobbies?
Ronit Banerjea: I enjoy any time I can spend away from studies, really! I'm a senior member of the college dramatics club, so I enjoy being on stage. I enjoy debating, and like to invest time in a little poetry when inspiration strikes. I also kill time watching sitcoms and action or horror movies, and surfing YouTube channels to entertain myself with both humour and scientific exploration.
Careers360: What is your suggestion for IIFT aspirants who will write the test next year?
Ronit Banerjea: A constant request I make to all my co-aspirants as well as future aspirants is to start your preparation as early as possible, and spend a lot of time developing a strong and unimpeachable mathematical foundation for the QA section. Many aspirants panic because of the limited number of months they leave themselves with, and are forced to memorize certain algorithms or shortcuts to solve specific questions. However, this approach backfired heavily in CAT 2018 and never works for tougher exams like XAT and IIFT. Thus, spend a couple of months just building up your mathematical foundation before completely immersing yourself into rigorous preparation.
Keep attempting mocks and sectional mocks, and analysing your performances and lacunae the entire way. Keep tinkering with your strategy so you can hit upon a winning combination, especially in exams like XAT and IIFT - where there are no sectional time limits, and one has to focus on maximising both attempts and performance in the stronger sections at the expense of the weaker ones.
Lastly, develop a concrete idea of your strengths and weaknesses but remain completely flexible to any systemic alterations to the actual question paper. Your flexibility, self-understanding and calmness under duress will determine your eventual performance during this entire competitive season.
All the best to you!
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You need atleast more than 105+ marks to get a good percentile and almost 138 to secure a call from any good college taking part in IIFT entrance test.you will have around 40 percentile according to previous year trends which is very low.
I hope it helps.
These are some of the best books
Books by Arun Sharma (TMH) and by Nishant Sinha (Pearson)
Hope this helps
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