Gautam Puri, co-founder, Career Launcher
The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Entrance test 2012, presented a few surprises to all those who attempted the paper today. Unlike the past two years, the test instructions clearly stated that sectional cut-offs would be levied this year. The paper also veered away from its traditionally difficult Data Interpretation and Reading Comprehension sections. I would consider the paper to be a simple feat for anyone with a good level of preparation. However, before attempting the paper, a candidate hopefully has scaned it for 5 minutes in order to pick up the right questions to attempt.
Another change this year was that instead of six sections, the exam was divided into four sections- General Awareness, Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability (Reading Comprehension and English Usage) and Quantitative Ability. With a total of 128 questions, the paper was for 100 marks.
Keeping up with the tradition, IIFT did not miss giving 'wrong' options (for the questions) this year too. There were a total of four cases (LR=2, DI=1 and Verbal=1), where the options did not match up to the content in the questions. Data Interpretation was easier than the traditional IIFT difficulty level in the section, I would still consider it more difficult than the same section in the Common Admission Test (CAT). Apart from this, I found the Verbal Ability section to be the easiest this time.
Verbal Ability: (suggested time: 30 minutes)
English Usage: 20 questions, 0.75 marks each, 15 marks
Questions were posed across topics including analogy, antonyms, spelling errors, odd word out, match the word & meaning, fill in the blanks, figures of speech and parajumbles. Unlike last year, there were no questions on sentence jumbles or word jumbles in this section.
Out of the four grammar questions, in one, none of the options posed a correct answer to the question. Amongst the remaining three, two had lengthy sentences in the options. This made them slightly more difficult than the rest because they required a careful scrutinisation. A candidate with a good command over vocabulary would have been able to crack around 15 questions in 10 minutes. Keeping in mind the sectional cut-offs for this year, I would say that 12-14 attempts with 90% accuracy (7-8 marks) would serve as an adequate total in this section.
Reading Comprehension: 16 questions, 0.75 marks each, 12 marks
Traditionally, the RC passages in the IIFT paper are in the format of case studies, presenting data and requiring analysis. This time, the RC passages came as a surprise, since not only were they narrative and descriptive, but they were also from diverse topics. All four passages had four questions each.
The first passage discussed the purpose of an organisation, defying its main aim pre-supposed as making profits. Based on reasoning, it derived the conclusion that unless there is 'no want,' there can be no demand, market or a customer. The passage had four questions, all direct. Looking at the question items would have helped the students attempt them with ease in less than 5 minutes.
Written in the first person, the second passage was narrative and contained incidents from a writer's life in school. This was a lengthy passage, that would take a candidate around 7-8 minutes. If a candidate was pressed for time, this was one passage that could have been avoided.
Based on the famous Indian television quiz show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, the third passage stood out as the easiest of the lot. Based on a subject familiar to many, the topic of the passage ensured a quick reading and understanding of the same. This was a must-attempt passage for all.
The final passage presented a historical anecdote. It was a third person narrative, presenting a scene between Babur and Humayun. Although this passage was slightly lengthy, the topic itself was interesting. Those with good english skills would have been able to crack the questions, since they were extremely direct and simple. Overall, all candidates with quick reading ability should have been able to solve at least 2 passages. I would say that scoring 5-6 marks, which would require candidates to have made a minimum attempt of 8 questions with 90% accuracy in the section should be enough.
Quantitative Aptitude: 25 questions, 1 mark each, 25 marks (Expected time: 35 minutes)
The Quant section was slightly more difficult than last year. Candidates needed to analyse the questions thoroughly before choosing their possible attempts as five questions from Probability and Permutation & Combination could have been easily avoided. These questions had a lot of data, making them time consuming. The rest of the questions were from probability, mensuration, ratio and proportion and were extremely easy. All candidates with sufficient practice should have been able to solve the questions.
Candidates should have been able to make at least 17-18 possible attempts with a minimum score of around 13-14 for this section.
Logical Reasoning: 20 marks, 0.75 each, 15 marks (Expected time: 20 minutes)
This section presented a lot of surprises for the candidates. Compared to last year, the one major difference was a less signifant presence of questions from the verbal reasoning section. In addition, the paper had two questions from the input-output topic, which are ideally asked in the Bank Probationary Exam. Finally, the section had two questions which did not seem 'right.'. The other questions covered a variety of topics including coding-decoding, directions, number series and syllogisms.
The overall difficulty level of the section was moderate and candidates should have been able to make a minimum of 12-13 attempts, scoring at least 10-11 marks in the section.
Data Interpretation: 19 questions, 1 mark each, 19 marks (Expected time: 15 mins)
The data interpretation section is traditionally regarded as the most difficult part of the test. However, this year, the section was easier as compared to last year. I would say this becaus ethere were less calculation intensive questions this year. There were a total of 5 sets. Out of these, 1 question on the double pie chart set was wrong. Two sets, one each on bar graph & line chart and tabular data was easy. The final two sets were from histogram and tabular data and could have been avoided by the candidates. A candidate should have ideally spent around 15 minutes on the section, with a minimum of 8-9 attempts with a 75% accuracy rate. I would predict that a candidate needs to score a minimum of 5-6 marks in the section.
General Awareness, 28 questions, 0.5 marks, 14 marks (Expected time: 15 minutes)
The General Knowledge section always manages to surprise the students. The matching of the three parameter questions, which are considered to be quite difficult, were brought down from 3 last year to 1 this year. The paper had 13 static general knowledge questions. This might have posed difficulty to all those candidates who had passed on reading the Manorama General Knowledge book in favour of catching up with current news. These questions covered a variety of topics including politics, geography and history. The rest were current affairs questions that should have been easy for all those who have been reading a newspaper daily for the past year or so. Gauging the level of difficulty of the questions in the section, a candidate should have been able to mark at least 10 questions, scoring a minimum of 4-5 marks in this section.
Since the overall difficulty level of the paper was low, I would expect the cumulative cutoff to rise by around 1-2 marks this year, raising the expected cumulative cut off to 47-48.
I wish all of you all the best for your final results.
Gautam Puri is the co-founder of Career Launcher, a leading edu corp in the country. He is an Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore alumnus who has been a reknowned aptitude trainer for over two decades.