In exams like IIFT and SNAP, SPEED IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. You must move across and within sections swiftly. One who lingers is the one who loses. One who flows like a river is the one who remains in the race.
Following are my not-so-humble suggestions:
1. Read the instructions carefully since IIFT is notorious for its twisted instructions which are far from the blanket instructions one sees in CAT. For example, some questions may have higher weight while some may attract higher penalty when attempted incorrectly. I would be extra careful if the penalty for the wrong answer is half of the marks awarded for the right answer. Conversely, I would invariably mark some or the other option even if I am unsure, if there is no negative marking for it.
2. Begin with the GK section. In any exam that has a GK section, it should be where you start from, for it takes least time. Quickly mark the ones you know and leave the others without spending any time. Know that you are not coming back to this section. Usually each question here (in IIFT at least) carries .5 mark and negative marking is .17 i.e. one-third of the marks awarded for the correct choice. This is not a scoring section in IIFT and most exams where GK is tested, so do not over-attempt because you do not have to. All you need to do is clear the cut-off for this section which varies between .5 – 2 marks and for that all you need is 2-5 correct answers. While attempting last year’s IIFT paper with a student a few days back, I saw that each of the first 2 questions of the GK section were half-a-page long. I left the questions without even reading them! That is how fast one has to be here. For all other questions, keep it simple- if you know it, mark it…else leave it. Do not use your brains here. In most match-the-following type questions, you do not have to match all the pairs, but only 1-2 pairs that you are sure of and then eliminate the options. How to prepare for this section? If you have been rereading the front page of The Hindu, something that I stress upon in all my classes, then you do not have to prepare for it…you are good to go. If not, rely on the GK material shared with you by MBA Guru.
3. After GK section, attempt the remaining sections in order of your comfort i.e. begin with the section of your strength and so on. Know that from here on, you must attempt the paper in phases/rounds, something that I explained to you in detail during ENS 2 (eclectic reading) and in IIFT-specific session. Attempt the easy/doable ones in round 1 and keep leaving the ones that prima facie seem tough or lengthy. Attempt only the easy and doable ones in one section and swiftly move to the next section where too you must follow the same approach. This way try to attempt the entire IIFT paper as fast as you can. If you are able to reach the end of the last section this way, you can be sure that you will clear all the sectional cut-offs. On the other hand, even if you do exceptionally well in some sections but miss almost the entire last section (irrespective of which section it be), all your grand overall score counts for nothing since you would miss the sectional cut-off of the last section.
4. Once you have attempted the entire paper this way, see how much time remains at hand and which of the various sections you attempted (except GK) do you think has the most potential for enhancing your score. For example, if you feel that LRDI section has quite a few questions that you left in round 1 but can solve, go to that section and begin round 2. If a question seems excessively lengthy or difficult, leave it again. Likewise go to the next section with best potential. This round 2 will ensure that you clear overall cut-off of the paper and score as high as you can. DO NOT RE-ATTEMPT ANY QUESTION THAT YOU HAD ATTEMPTED IN ROUND 1.
5. For VA section- attempt non-RC questions like Vocabulary-based and grammar-based questions first, parajumbles and reasoning-based questions (if any) later and RC passages at the end.
For RCs, just read the question stems at the end of RCs twice and then quickly read the RCs to solve whatever questions you can and move to the next.
Understand that the RC passages you get in IIFT are lengthy but fact-based. You need not scan the passages the way we trained ourselves for CAT. Also, in RCs, first read questions and then simply read the RC passage at a relatively fast pace (NO SCANNING). Keep marking the answers to the questions that you come across while reading the passage. In short, for IIFT RC passages, begin with step 4 of the process we adopted for CAT passages. Also, if, on reading the questions at the end of RC, you feel that the questions are largely reasoning-based or require deliberation, then leave that passage for later (round 2) and move on.
6. Suggestion 5 assumes that the IIFT paper will have RC passages and other VA questions clubbed in one section. In case they decide to split them into 2 separate sections (as they did last year), then you must attempt at least 2 RC passages to ensure that you clear the cut-off for the RC section.
Remember, speed would determine the winner in IIFT. The 14 points I shared in another post before CAT are as relevant here too, so do give that a read. All the best!!
Disclaimer- The author has himself never taken IIFT but does go through the GK and VA sections of the paper each year and thus has a sound understanding of its content and nature.