IIFT 2019 analysis

IIFT 2019 was conducted today (1st Dec 2019) for admission to the prestigious Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) located in Delhi, Kolkata, and Kakinada (AP). The test was conducted across various centers in the country from 10 AM to 12 Noon in the CBT (computer-based test) format. The duration of the exam was two hours with no sectional time limit. With there being only four sections this year as against six last year, most of the students would have heaved a sigh of relief. While there was no mention of sectional cut-offs in the paper, going by the previous track record of IIFT, we have good reason to believe that there could be sectional cutoffs this year too. The exam interface which was different from that of the mock test shared by NTA involved a lot of horizontal and vertical scrolling which would affect a test taker’s experience. However, it could have been mitigated by just viewing the paper in the question paper mode or by hiding the question palette.


There were four sections this year.

Area No of Questions Marks per question Total Negative marks per question
Section A (Quantitative Reasoning) 25 3 75 1
Section B (Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability) 35 3 105 1
Section C (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning) 30 3 90 1
Section D (General Awareness) 20 1.5 30 0.5
Total 110 - 300 -

A detailed analysis of the sections of the paper is given below:

Section A (Quantitative Reasoning)

The difficulty level of this section was higher as compared to that of last year on account of lengthier and tougher questions. This section had questions from diverse topics, though arithmetic appeared to rule the roost. Test takers would have noticed a huge surge in the number of questions from arithmetic like Percentages, SI-CI, Time & Work, Time & Distance etc. As compared to last year, when there were only five questions from arithmetic (out of 20 questions in the Quant section), this year there were 12 arithmetic questions in the section. This increase came at the cost of algebra which is underrepresented this year. The distribution is as given below:

Area No. of Questions
Algebra 2
Pure Maths 2
Arithmetic 12
Geometry 7
Numbers 1
Venn Diagram 1
Total 25

The section had some really difficult questions from geometry, mensuration, SI-CI (the one on EMIs as well as the one on Mudra loan) and Time & Work. Test takers also felt that apart from being lengthy, quite a few questions in this section also had additional information which was not necessary to answer the question.

There were only about three questions that could be classified as relatively easy – one from Venn Diagrams, one from Clocks (Time & Distance), and one from Numbers. The remaining questions were either moderate or difficult to handle during the test. A good candidate would have been able to attempt around 6-8 questions in QA. The cut-off in this section is expected to be 14-16 marks.

Section B (Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability)

This section consisted of 16 questions on RCs and 19 on Verbal Ability with a total of 35 questions.

There were four RC passages with four questions each. Most of the questions were inference based or specific detail based. There was only one question on the Title of the passage in the passage about Negotiation and Bargaining Personalities. Following is a brief description:

Passage 1 Sustaining Innovation versus Disruptive Innovation
Passage 2 Negotiation and Bargaining Personalities
Passage 3 Political System for Economic Growth
Passage 4 Japan’s Culture of Collaboration

Passage 1 was fairly lengthy, and the choices were also rather close. Passages 2, 3, and 4 were shorter and reader-friendly. The answers were mostly direct. Test-takers with due diligence would have found the IIFT RC section eminently do-able.

The questions in the Verbal Ability segment were an assorted mix predominantly on vocabulary, with grammar and para jumbles following suit. A test taker with comprehensive command over vocabulary would have attempted all word-based questions successfully.

Vocabulary questions were split into matching words with meanings (1 question), crossword (1 question), analogies (4 questions), and fill-in-the-blanks (2 questions) and one question based on the meaning of a phrase.

Grammar questions were limited to two questions on phrasal verbs, two questions on idioms, and one question on error identification. All could be considered elementary. Choices were not close either.

Of the three parajumble questions, two were moderate and one was tricky.

On the whole, test takers would have found VARC to be the most scoring section.

Section C (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning)

The distribution and level of difficulty of questions in the Data Interpretatiom & Logical Reasoning section are as follows:

Description of the Set Difficulty Level No of Questions
Food spent/Style spent Moderate 4
Products and their purchase pattern Difficult 4
Chennai and Kanpur plants Difficult 4
Number of T-shirts sold Easy-Moderate 4
Circular arrangement & blood relations Difficult 4
Linear arrangement- 9 people standing in a row Moderate 3
Input-Output Moderate-Difficult 2
12 Floor building with 2 lifts Moderate 2
Number series Easy 1
Venn Diagram (Marketing, Finance and HRM) Easy-Moderate 2

The set on food spent/style spent had easier questions and the calculations were also not very rigorous. It should have been attempted without fail. The set based on product purchasing patterns wasn’t straight forward and test-takers would have struggled with the interpretation of the language of the caselet. While a couple of questions seemed do-able, this was a set better left out. The set based on Chennai and Kanpur plants was very heavy on data but once the data was tabulated, it would have been a relatively easy affair. The set on ‘T-shirts’ was a must-do set as it involved simpler calculations and an option-based approach would have saved precious time.

The questions on Circular arrangement & Blood relations were time-consuming and tricky in nature. The questions on Input-output also needed a good amount of concentration. The questions based on the linear arrangement and 12-floor building were relatively easy to solve. The missing number question might have seemed slightly trickier at first glance, however, it was rather pretty straight forward. The case-let on Venn Diagrams was moderately difficult. The overall difficulty level of this section can be classified as moderate-difficult. The cut-off is expected to be around 18 to 20 marks.

Section D (General Awareness)

This year the GK section was easier than that of the last few years. Students who avidly read the Newspapers would have been able to handle this section with some ease. The questions were from diverse topics like Personalities, Sports, Brands, Geography, Space science, Awards, Corporate entities, Government Schemes etc. Unlike previous years, the questions were not lengthy in nature. This would have enabled students to attempt the section in 5-10 minutes. Some difficult questions like the one on ‘Afghanistan neighbours’ and ‘Hongkong protests’ would have baffled many students. Historically, the sectional cutoff for this section has been very low however this year there could be a northward movement.

The cut-off in this section is expected to be around 6 to 7.5 marks.


This year, the sectional cut-offs are expected to be as below

14-16 30-32 18-20 6-7.5

The overall cut-offs are expected to be around 130 marks.

Note: These cut-offs are for General category students

All the best !!!