Despite being a conventional paper pencil based exam, IIFT can be quite a challenge to crack owing to the lack of prior knowledge on a number of questions and marking scheme. But for Barkha Jain, who secured a percentile of 99.97 in IIFT 2015, these factors won’t be a hurdle to crack the test if you have done a systematic preparation for the test. Barkha suggests IIFT 2016 aspirants to focus on GK section, which distinguishes IIFT with CAT and be confident while attempting the test.


Barkha also shares how she tackled her weak areas, DI and GK by practicing Vedic Mathematics and reading newspapers and maintaining records on various topics. She has also shared the time management strategy for preparation and exam day. For her, managing time efficiently between all the sections is equally important along with maintaining accuracy since IIFT is generally a lengthy paper and carries sectional cutoff.


Read full interview below:


Careers360: What made you pursue MBA in International Business from IIFT?

Barkha Jain: I chose IIFT specifically because it is a 53-year-old institute established by the Government of India with a WTO Centre on campus, among other factors. IIFT’s legacy is great and it is different from other B-schools in many ways. The MBA (IB) course at IIFT covers subjects of domestic businesses as well as international. The batch size is small which, in my opinion, provides for more concentrated attention and a higher number of opportunities, and also for a more integrated campus life.


Careers360: Since when did you start preparing for IIFT, and what was your preparation strategy?

Barkha Jain: I started preparing from June. I felt that six months was enough to cover the syllabus. Initially, I just studied the concepts and practiced basic questions and my pace was casual, 1-2 hours a day. In the last month, I practiced lots of questions and took 2-3 mock tests. During this time, I studied for 6-8 hours a day. In the last two-three days before the exam, I didn’t study anything. This freshened up my mind for the exam.


Careers360: Do you think IIFT should bring some changes in its pattern in terms of sections, mode of conduct, use of calculator, along with defining a definitive set of questions and marks?

Barkha Jain: No, I don’t think IIFT should follow along the lines of CAT or any other management entrance test. IIFT has a GK section, which is very important for upcoming managers. Calculators should not be allowed in the exam. The questions and marks, too, should not be defined. Future managers should be able to handle some uncertainty.

However, going digital is one count where IIFT should also follow.



Careers360: Please share your IIFT sectional preparation strategy?

Barkha Jain: Maths and LRDI: I just studied the concepts and then practiced 1-2 questions of each topic.

Verbal: I used to read one book a week. The books I chose were classic literature, which has a better language than the modern novels. I made flash cards to learn difficult words. I practiced a few exercises in the last month.

GK: This is one area where I lacked preparation. It is an absolute must to read the newspaper every day, something which I wasn’t very diligent about. So, I feel that my GK wasn’t as strong as it could have been.


Careers360: What was your Time Management for IIFT; both during preparations and during the test?

Barkha Jain: I used to attend college while I was preparing for the exam. Initially, it wasn’t tough to manage as I gave only 1-2 hours in a day. However, near the exam, when I had to take out 6-8 hours, it was tough, especially because my college exams were overlapping as well. To manage both, I just had to study for even more hours. After studying for IIFT and other exams, I used to study for college as well. Also, it helps to save time when you can. Whenever I was travelling, I used to revise my flash cards, or revise my notes.


As soon as the test started, I hurried because I knew that time might be a constraint. I divided the time between the sections. First of all, I did the sections that I know I am fast at. I finished Verbal, GK and LR pretty fast. Then, I did the Maths and DI sections. I switched from one to the other after a while because I was afraid time would be less and there is a sectional cut off. But I was able to finish the other section and then come back and finish this one too. In the end, I had seven minutes left, during which I did the tough questions that I had skipped earlier.


Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you tackle your weak area in the test?

Barkha Jain: My strong areas are Verbal, Math’s and LR. I might call DI a tad bit weaker than these. My GK was quite weak.

I practiced a lot of DI and learnt Vedic Math tricks to make myself faster. For GK, I just studied the recent news, countries and capitals, rivers, books, major politicians, etc. Anything I could find in the newspaper, e.g. a Chief Minister’s name, I used to make a category out of it and studied it, i.e. I would study the Chief Ministers of major states.


Careers360: Your message for this year’s IIFT aspirants?

Barkha Jain: Read a lot, be clear on your basic concepts, it really isn’t as tough as they say. Just have fun with your preparation and be confident in your interview. And don’t forget to read the newspaper every day. Best of luck!

Appearing in CAT 2016 Ask Discuss here

Also Read:

IIFT Topper Interview

IIFT 2016


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Questions related to IIFT

Showing 180 out of 180 Questions

Hi mam i have 129 marks in iift i have got a call Sc Category Chances of final convert and composite score for Sc candidate as per previous trend?

Sampriti Student Expert 30th Jan, 2020
IIFT 2020 has released its shortlist and has a total of 420 seats in all the 3 campuses  combined. As per their reservation criteria 15 percent of the total seats are reserved for students falling in SC category. But your final conversion will depend on your performance in the written skill assessment, GD and PI rounds. Moreover you'll also be questioned on your CV from that the Institute requires you to fill once to get a call. If you perform well in those rounds you can easily get through.

Good Luck

I have been shortlisted for second round in iift. there is a mistake in my application .. for category general (bc creamy layer ) it is gen ews. i have sent queries regarding the issue and got no replies. can someone help me with this issue please?

Sampriti Student Expert 27th Jan, 2020
If you've got a call you must attend the selection process. Before they start the process they'll review all your documents as well as application form. So you can ask them there if you can attend the process. They usually let students appear for the process even if there's some mistake.
And in the interview you can try to convince them. If they find you as a desirable candidate there won't be any problem with that.

Good Luck

i got 39 and half marks in iift,so whats my percentile???

NAVNEET PANDEY 11th Jan, 2020

Hello Rinku

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 will have around 40 percentile according to previous year trends which is very low.

I hope it helps.


Which books can help for the CAT preparations and other management exams such as XAT, IIFT, SNAP, etc?

Khushi 5th Jan, 2020

Hi Pallav

These are some of the best books


  1. For Vocabulary: Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  2. For enhancing the reading speed, any novel and newspaper and anything you can read will be good enough.
  3. For Grammar: Normal Grammar Rules from Wren and Martin.


Books by Arun Sharma (TMH) and by Nishant Sinha (Pearson)


  1. Quantum CAT by Sarvesh K Verma
  2. Quantitative Aptitude by Arun Sharma

Hope this helps


Do we need mathematics subject in class 12. To do IIFT.

Saloni Singh 3rd Jan, 2020
Hello Himanshu,
Hope you are doing well.
No, there's nothing like you need to have mathematics in your 10+2 course as eligibility criteria for getting admission at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).
The only academic eligibility criteria for IIFT is a graduate degree with a minimum aggregate marks of 50%.
You can check more details about the institute at the link I am mentioning below.
Please check :
Hope it's helpful to you !
All the best.
Thankyou .
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