IIFT Exam Analysis – Previous cut-offs, Paper Pattern, Strategy and Resources

IIFT Exam Analysis – Previous cut-offs, Paper Pattern, Strategy and Resources

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IIFT entrance exam is conducted for admission into the flagship two-year MBA program of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).

IIFT Exam Pattern

The number of questions in the IIFT exam varies every year, with 114 MCQs in 2019 and 110 MCQs in 2020. As per the latest pattern, the exam will have the same 4 sections. The number of questions is expected to be 110. Below is the detailed exam structure and marking scheme:

  • Mode of exam: Online-Computer based
  • Time: 120 minutes, with no sectional time
  • Type of Ques: MCQ

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Section No. of Ques Marks / Ques Penalty / Ques Max marks
Quantitative Analysis 25 3 1 75
Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability 35 3 1 105
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 30 3 1 90
General Awareness 20 1.5 0.5 30
Overall 110 300

IIFT Exam Cut-off

Unlike other MBA entrance exams, the IIFT exam focuses more on scores than percentiles. There is both an overall score cut-off and a sectional cut-off. So, it is important to have a good number of attempts with high accuracy. The below table depicts the cut-offs in the past few years.


Year/Section IIFT 2020 IIFT 2019 IIFT 2018 IIFT 2017 IIFT 2016 IIFT 2015
QA 8 2.34 3.01 4.01 4.34 4.67
RC 19 2.34 2.69 9.67 8.75 6.5
VA 2.75 3.35
DI 13 1.01 0.25 8 8.68 4.34
LR 2.35 5.67
GA 5.5 1.14 0.82 1.99 0.82 2.49
Overall (General) 43.5* 32.25 35.5 48.5 48.5 38.5
Overall (SC) 15* 22.25 20.02 38.5 38.5 28.5
Overall (ST) 15* 20.26 22.69 27.17 38.5 28.5
Overall (PwD) 15* 22.25 23.69 28.85 38.5 28.5
Overall (OBC) 36* 27.25 30.5 43.5 43.5 33.5

*Includes profile score (See the section on ‘Selection Criteria’ below for details)


IIFT Exam Strategy | IIFT vs CAT Topics

IIFT exam is conducted usually a week after the CAT exam (except in 2020, when it was delayed due to the pandemic). While the preparation topics and strategy are roughly the same as CAT, there are a few things that the candidates can keep in mind specifically related to IIFT – after the CAT exam.


  1. There are no sectional timers for IIFT, but there is still a sectional cut-off. So, it is important to have a well-rounded attempt at the paper.
  2. Practice at least 5 IIFT mocks to be well equipped with the exam pattern.
  3. Two new topics are – Vocabulary and GK – which should be prepared intensely during the last one week. GK cut-offs have been known to make or break the admission criteria for students.
  4. Verbal (RCs) tends to be on a slightly easier side compared to the CAT exam.
  5. DI is calculation-intensive, while QA is lengthy and time-consuming.

Time management

  1. Clear sectional cut-off:
    • Spend the first half of the exam (60 mins) to attempt only the questions (with accuracy) which will help in clearing the sectional cut-offs.
    • GA should ideally be done first since it is straightforward and will take minimal time (Max 10 mins)
    • The remaining time after attempting GA should be divided equally among the remaining 3 sections.
  1. Maximizing overall score:
    • The second half of the exam (60 mins) should be spent on sections which is your strength – VARC, QA or LRDI
    • Select two among the above 3 sections and divide time accordingly
  2. Attempts vs Accuracy:
    • High accuracy with a medium-high number of attempts is ideal.

CATKing Resources | Overall | Mocks | Past Papers | Alumni meet-up

1. Overall

Section Topics CATKing Dashboard resources
VARC Reading Comprehension ·         1000 Reading Comprehension book

·         Video lectures

·         CATKing e-books

Vocabulary ·         Norman Lewis Word Power Made Easy video lectures by Sumit Sir
DILR DI & LR ·         Actual IIFT past paper video solutions by IIFT Toppers (2015-2020)

·         Video lectures, Shortcuts, Topic tests

·         CATKing e-books

QA QA ·         Video lectures, Shortcuts, Topic tests

·         CATKing e-books

GA GA ·         IIFT Specific General Awareness mocks (5)

·         GK Zone –

o   Static GK compendiums

o   Monthly GK compendiums

o   Daily current affairs video lessons

o   GK concept videos

o   Static GK tests (5)

Get Access to all the above IIFT Resources

2. Mocks

  • IIFT full-length mocks (2)
  • IIFT General Awareness mocks (5)

3. Past Papers & Revision test

  • Download IIFT 2011-2020 exam paper to practice in an exam-fashion – online/offline
  • Revise IIFT specific questions directly in the dashboard through the ‘Revise’ section

IIFT GK / IIFT General Awareness sources (2018-2020)

2018 2019 2020
Shell companies ISRO mission Index published
Trophies and sports Ramon Magsaysay award Qs related to science (Magnetic poles)
Autobiographies Founders of Companies Index and publisher
Geographical terms Seaport and countries Autobiographies (by businessman)
Telecom CA Terms in sports Brand name and derivation
WTO UN Reports CA Indian origin people CA
Trade CA Brand and name derivation Union like ASIAN
Tax Co. and recent transactions Terms in sports
Export general knowledge of India Science breakthroughs CA Organ discoveries CA
Seaports Space research Big Organisation founders
Union like BIMSTEC CA Science Country and leaders
Indexes of Industries in India Festivals and states Sports CA
Logo and Co. identification Identifying founders, CEOs Technology CA
India’s investments into ports CA Protests Company and person-related
Businessman info Brand and name derivation Sportsperson and sports
Currency and countries Geography of countries Defence exercises
Business deals CA Olympics Climate agreements
Technology CA Biopics Country and currencies
Company and products Country and info(labour forces, etc)
Unions like BIMSTEC

IIFT Admission / Selection Criteria

IIFT admission process takes place in two steps –

  1. Shortlisting for GD/WAT PI round
  2. Final shortlisting after GD/WAT PI


  1. Shortlisting for GD/WAT PI round

The shortlisting for the GD/WAT PI round concentrates on both IIFT exam scores (73%) and profile scores (27%) of the candidate.

Overall score = Profile scores out of 27 + (IIFT score/Total marks) * 73

Parameters Max Score Details
IIFT marks 73 IIFT score / Total marks
Marks obtained in Class X 10
% Marks Rating score
<=55 1
>55 and <=60 2
>60 and <=70 3
>70 and <=80 5
>80 and <=90 8
>90 10


Marks obtained in Class XII 10
Academic diversity 5 Up to 5 marks awarded for non-engineers
Gender diversity 2 2 extra marks for female candidates
Total 100


In 2020, the cut-offs for second round based on the above table was:

Parameters 2020 Cut-off (min. score)
General 43.5
General – EWS/OBC-NCL 36
SC/ST/PwD/Kashmiri Migrants/Non-Migrants 15


  1. Final shortlisting after GD/WAT PI rounds

After the group discussion, written ability tests and personal interview rounds, the candidates are shortlisted for final admission, based on the below parameters:


Parameters Score Details
IIFT score 45 IIFT score / Total marks
Written Ability Test 10
Group Discussion 10
Personal Interview 20
Gender Diversity 2 Rating same as above
Academic Diversity 2 Rating same as above, proportionally scaled to 2
Work experience 3
% Marks Rating score
<12 months 0
>=12 and <=24 months 2
>24 and <=36 months 3
>36 and <=48 months 2
>48 and <=60 months 1
>60 months 0

Final Score of Work Experience = (Score based on above table) * (Score given by faculty in interview panel on 10 point Likert scale) / 10

Academic consistency (10th) 4 Rating same as above, proportionally scaled to 4
Academic consistency (12th) 4
Total 100

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All the best!

Also Read: Strategy for IIFT

To know more about IIFT placements, click here

Also Read: Tips to crack IIFT

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