IIFT 2021 Analysis

IIFT – 2021 (January)

IIFT 2021 was conducted today (24 Jan 2021) for admission to the prestigious Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) located in Delhi, Kolkata, and Kakinada (AP). The test was conducted across various centres in the country from 3 PM to 5 PM 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 similar to what we had last year, most of the students would have heaved a sigh of relief. The exam interface involved a lot of horizontal and vertical scrolling, which would have affected the test taker's performance to some extent. However, it could have been mitigated by 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 section was higher in difficulty with lengthier questions as compared to last year's paper. The section had a total of 25 questions from multiple areas, 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. The distribution is as given below:

Area No. of Questions
Algebra 4
Pure Maths 4
Arithmetic 11
Geometry 5
Numbers 1
Total 25

The section had some really difficult questions. A good candidate would have been able to attempt around 9-10 questions in QA. The cut-off in this section is expected to be 14-16 marks.

Section B (Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability)

This section was very similar to the last year's pattern. So, students who have prepared with us and took our mock IIFT exams would have been prepared well for this year's exam!

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. The Inference questions, however, were not very difficult to answer.

Following is a brief description of the RC part:

Passage No. Passage Context Approximate Word Count
Passage 1 Why and how social influences work / Nudging 1000
Passage 2 Cultural evolution and its impact on economy 520
Passage 3 Conservatives vs Liberals approach to governance 600
Passage 4 Plastic ban and its impact on other industries 650

Passage 1 was clearly the lengthiest. It would have taken students close reading of at least 50% of the passage to understand what the passage was about! Such a long passage with just 4 questions to it would surely discourage students from attempting it, and it should not have been attempted.

Passages 2, 3, and 4 were shorter. Some of the questions associated with these passages were a bit tricky.

The questions in the Verbal Ability segment were an assorted mix predominantly on Vocabulary, with Grammar and Para Jumbles following suit.

Here is a snapshot of the Verbal Ability part:

Area Question Type No. of Questions
Grammar Incorrect question tag 2
Identify correct sentences 3
Para Jumbles 6 sentences 2
4 sentences 1
Vocabulary Meanings of root words 4
Crossword 1
Match words with meanings 3
Match meanings with words 3

Answering the Grammar questions should have been a cakewalk as the choices were also not close either.

The Vocabulary questions could have been killers for students who did not focus on this part, but for those students who prepared Vocabulary with us would have noticed many familiar words.

Of the three Para Jumble questions, two were very tricky and one was of moderate difficulty. Students would have had to rely more on logical thinking than on grammatical connectives.

Expected sectional cut-off: 32-34

Section C (Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning)

This section had a total of 30 questions with 16 questions on DI and 14 on LR. The distribution of the questions is as below:

Type of Set Difficulty Level No of Questions
Line + Bar Graph Moderate-Difficult, Difficult 4+4
Pie chart + Table Moderate 4
Table Moderate 4
Circular Arrangement (Analytical Reasoning) Moderate-Difficult 4
Calendar/Scheduling Moderate 2
Tournaments Moderate-Difficult 4
Miscellaneous Easy-Moderate 1+1+2

The DI sets were very calculation intensive, which made the sets lengthier to solve. The LR sets were relatively easier than the DI sets. The overall difficulty level of this section can be classified as moderate-difficult. The cut-off is expected to be around 20 to 22 marks.

Section D (General Awareness)

This year the GK section was easy. This section, apart from the regular MCQ's, also had match the following type of questions.

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. Out of 20 questions, Static GK had 11 questions and 9 questions were based on Current Affairs.

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 32-34 20-22 6-7

The overall cut-offs are expected to be around 113(+/-)3 marks.

Note: These cut-offs are for General category students.

All the best!