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IIFT difficulty level
April 12 2024

IIFT difficulty level and how to ace it

IIFT exam is the written admission test for a two-year Management course at The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. It comes under the umbrella of leading business schools in India. The institute has gathered fame for its International Business and Management courses. IIFT doesn’t accept CAT scores but rather prefers to conduct a separate entrance test for selecting its candidates. IIFT difficulty level is pretty much the same every year. After clearing the first round based on marks obtained in the written test, the candidates are further called for the next level which is comprised of essay writing, group discussions, and interviews. The additional General awareness section is something that makes the IIFT exam more difficult to crack. But if you are well aware of the IIFT difficulty level, you can ace the IIFT exam.


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IIFT difficulty level: Is it easy or difficult?

The IIFT difficulty level is usually easy to moderately difficult. The level of questions is certainly low as compared to the cat. The questions are mixed. There are always basic sitter questions that you can solve in 10 to 15 seconds. Your calculation speed matters a lot when it comes to IIFT. You might come across some calculation intensive questions that end up taking a lot of time. Such types of questions are mostly found in data interpretation. Sometimes in reading comprehension, there is one such passage always present that is meant to be solved in the end because it is lengthy and difficult to interpret. This makes the passage a lot of time-consuming. You will develop a nack of recognizing the difficulty level of a particular question the more and more you practice. It is highly advisable for you to solve the exam in 2 rounds. In round 1 you attempt all the easy level questions and in the second round, you solve the remaining ones. This strategy will ensure that you don't miss out on questions that are direct and formula-based. This strategy, is applicable to all the sections.



The pattern of the IIFT admission exam is as follows:

The IIFT examination typically presents a moderate to challenging level of difficulty, comparable to the difficulty level of the IIM’s CAT exam. The intake for the full-time MBA programs comprises approximately 728 candidates. However, for the forthcoming 2024-25 session, the selection of candidates will hinge on their CAT 2023 score. The volume of applicants for the IIFT entrance exam averages around 30,000. Refer to the provided table for significant highlights pertaining to the IIFT entrance exam in 2024.

IIFT Exam Pattern Details
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  • General Awareness
Duration 2 hours
Type of Questions MCQ's
Total number of questions 110
Marks per question
  • 3 marks for each right question in section 1, 2 and 3.
  • 1.5 marks for each right answer in Section 4.
Total marks



  • The IIFT exam doesn't impose a sectional time limit, allowing candidates to tackle sections in any order they prefer.
  • Success in the IIFT exam hinges on strategic preparation, given its reputed difficulty level.
  • Meeting the sectional cut-off in each section is crucial for securing calls for further admission processes.
  • The IIFT paper is often considered more challenging than the CAT exam, emphasizing the importance of time management skills and extensive practice in solving multiple-choice questions.
  • Achieving maximum standard questions in less than 8 seconds per question is deemed an effective strategy for excellence.
  • The exam often includes questions inspired by the CAT exam. Read: Tips to Crack IIFT
  • The IIFT exam primarily covers five areas: Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability, and General Knowledge.
  • Negative marking applies, with 1/3rd of the marks deducted for incorrect answers.



The details of the IIFT exam is as follows:

Quantitative Aptitude

  • Arithmetic: Ratio Proportion, Percentages, Average
  • Other topics like Time speed distance, time and work, mixture allegation, profit and loss
  • Geometry
  • Mensuration
  • Geometric Mean
  • Harmonic Mean
  • Mean
  • Median
  • Mode
  • Standard Deviation

In the IIFT difficulty level of the quantitative ability, the section is easy to moderately difficult. In order to prepare for the quantitative ability section, you first need to get through with your basics. Once you are thorough with the concepts, you can start with solving the basics from the study material of any coaching classes. If you don't have it the best resource to start with would be RS Aggarwal or Arun Sharma. You don't need to solve the level of difficulty -3 of the Arun Sharma book. Be fluent with the questions from the level of difficulty 2 and you are ready to ace the quantitative ability section of the IIFT exam. You need to keep revising the old topics when you solve the new ones or you might lose touch. The best way to keep up with all the topics of the quantitative ability section is to attempt topic wise tests daily. Nonengineers usually tend to have a difficult time while solving questions from the quantitative ability. If they follow this particular strategy they should not have a problem. Read: How to crack quants

Data Interpretation

  • Line
  • Bar
  • Pie graphs
  • Tables
  • Number problems

Read: Brilliant speed calculation techniques

Analytical/Logical Reasoning

  • Decision Making
  • Data Structures
  • Series
  • Coding-Decoding
  • Blood relations
  • Alphabetical Series
  • Verbal Logic
  • Syllogisms

The Logical reasoning section in the IIFT is also said to be easy to moderately difficult. The syllabus is entirely different for the cat so you have to prepare separately for the logical section. This section also carries a perfect blend of easy and difficult questions.

Read: Tips to improve logical reasoning

Verbal Ability

  • Grammar
  • Para-Jumbles
  • Vocabulary-based Questions
  • Reading Comprehension

The Verbal sections are divided into two major parts; Reading Comprehension and English Usage. The RC has good weightage so, this can make or break your scores in the verbal section. Vocabulary is very important since if your vocab is not strong, you would fail to quickly answer some of the easy questions. IIFT has 4-5 questions on vocabulary. If you prepare well for it, you get 4 to 5 marks in your pocket straight away.

Read: How to prepare for verbal ability section  


General Knowledge/Current Awareness:

General Knowledge (GK) Section Overview:

  • Carries approximately 15% weightage of the total score.
  • No outlined syllabus for GK.
  • Preparation involves regularly following top news stories, General Awareness questions, and editorials.
  • Recent trends show a focus on current affairs over static GK topics.
  • Expected topics in the GK section include:
    • Politics
    • Business
    • Society
    • Economics
    • Banking
    • History
    • Dramatics backgrounds
  • Candidates can refer to various applications available on the Play Store that provide regular updates on current affairs.

The study material for the IIFT exam:

  • Study Material Phases for MBA Entrance Exams:
    1. Basic Phase:
      • Foundation-building books focusing on fundamental concepts.
    2. Advance Phase:
      • Books containing advanced-level questions to test deeper understanding and application of concepts.
    3. Intensive Phase:
      • Materials comprising actual exam-level questions to simulate test conditions and enhance preparation.
  • Once proficient with basic concepts, progress to solving questions from advanced-level books.
  • Finally, tackle intensive-level materials to hone skills and readiness for the exam.
  • Thorough preparation with these materials ensures readiness to tackle questions of any difficulty level.
  • No dedicated study material specifically for the IIFT exam.
  • Preparation for other competitive exams like CAT, NMAT, and SNAP generally covers the syllabus for the IIFT exam, excluding the GK section.
  • Syllabus and sections for the IIFT exam are similar to other MBA entrance exams, except for the GK section.


A large majority of us believe that IIFT is an expansion of CAT which is right in a way in light of the fact that both the entrance exams are for Management admissions and syllabus for both is the same. All in all, where the distinction lies? Both the exams change when we take a gander at CAT and IIFT Exam Pattern, number of questions and length, and furthermore as far as difficulty. There is an advantage in the event of IIFT in light of the fact that it's a pen-paper based test so you can get an outline and idea regarding the difficulty level ahead of time. We should broadly expound and take a gander at the section-wise difficulty level analysis.


To summarize the overall difficulty level of the IIFT exam, Data Interpretation is calculation-intensive and has huge tables that take up a lot of time. Secondly, Logical reasoning and Verbal Ability are moderately difficult while the questions are easier as compared to CAT. Thirdly, When it comes to reading comprehension in the IIFT exam, it is observed that the passages are from specific genres, like political science. They are tedious and questions are related to fact-finding. Moreover, Time constraints are present and also require logic. The passages are time-consuming as the language in the passages is of a high level and takes time to interpret. It mainly consists of heavy words. If you do not know the meaning of a certain word, you might get stuck. But if you are someone who is an avid reader and with a strong vocabulary, you can comfortably ace the IIFT exam. GK focuses on business awareness with a few static questions and general awareness questions. I hope you like this article and it helps you gain some insights regarding the difficulty. All the best!

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Rahul Singh

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