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The High Scorer's Strategy: Interview with IIFT student Devansh Doshi

The High Scorer's Strategy: Interview with IIFT student Devansh Doshi

TestFunda ,  05-Nov-13

The IIFT 2013 is 29 days away. One of the important tests for MBA aspirants, it will be held on November 24, 2013.


Also check out the transcript of a live chat with Devansh Doshi here:


We interacted with first year IIFT MBA student Devansh Doshi on the approach that he used to crack the entrance exam last year. Here are his insights in the form of an interview:

Which exams did you appear for last year?

IIFT: 57.67/100
CAT: 99.48%ile
CMAT: 294/400 (best score)
NMAT: 230 (best score)
XAT: 97.67%ile

When did you start your preparations?

The preparation for all the entrance exams started from my fifth semester in engineering. I had joined a coaching class. For IIFT, I started preparing after my NMAT second attempt since the next exam was IIFT.

Did you have any separate strategy for the other exams apart from IIFT?

XAT: Distribute the time well during the exam. Try and solve as many decision making problems as possible since that was a section where I hadn’t prepared anything before. The key to crack this section is to use as much information as is provided. One should not try to think beyond what is given. There is a bit of subjectivity involved, but the key here is to be as much objective as possible.

CMAT: Syllogisms can be a headache, and for me they were the maximum source of error. Practise the questions well from credible sources. Looking at the pattern of CMAT, it is not advisable to leave this question type. Quant is very easy and make sure you score a hundred or else it will be difficult to get a very high score. Verbal is moderate and it needs practise.

NMAT: The verbal section has very little time so you need to be a bit quick. All the words in the vocabulary related questions are from the book 'Word Power Made Easy' by Norman Lewis. The Wordlist of the Day feature of TESTfunda is also very comprehensive. Rest of the sections are fine.

Which was your strongest section and how did you prepare for it?

My strongest section is Quant. My preparation included a lot of practice. TF’s Question of the Day is one of the best sources. Since it was my strong section, my strategy was to concentrate really well in the exam while solving and make sure that I don’t make any mistakes.

Which was your weakest section? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

My weakest section was verbal. I had been weak at English since my school days but I worked quite hard to improve. Reading is very important. Besides a business daily, Project Syndicate, The Economist, and Stanford’s Philosophy Encyclopaedia should be a must. For RCs, you need practise and you need to learn to master it. Options can be close but spotting the small nuances that differentiate them is the key to selecting the correct option. For the rest of the questions there are certain rules that you need to follow to get them correct. English usage (grammar) can be really tricky when it comes to competitive exams. But you need to learn all this since English is for life and you need to have your grammar perfect when it comes to the fundamentals.

If you were in your final year while preparing, how did you balance academics and MBA exam preparation?

It is true that you need to handle multiple activities but the key is having a priority. An advice to all fresher MBA aspirants, first get placed since you don’t know what may turn out for you. But at the same time you need to keep preparing for entrances as well. Study well for the small tests that may be there in your academic curriculum since they will help you to reduce the load for the final exams. And most importantly, you need to realize that doing MBA is very important so it is time to sacrifice some of your other activities in order to take time out for it.

When did you start taking mock IIFTs and how many mock IIFTs did you take?

I took mock IIFT after I was done with CAT. For IIFT you need to study GK separately as there is no other question type that is different from other entrances. I gave only one mock.

What question selection strategy did you follow in the actual examinations?
There was no specific strategy. I only had in my mind that I need to maintain good accuracy and attempts. Since each section had its own cut-off, I made sure I had good attempts across all sections. One needs to prepare one’s  own section strategy. I started with GK, then I did an RC passage since I believe that I can solve RC well when my mind is fresh. Then, I randomly did any section that I wished to.

How did you prepare for each section in IIFT?

Quant: The quant section is my strength. I made sure I used this to increase my overall score. And the paper was quite moderate.

Verbal: The verbal paper has easy RCs and I solved them. All vocabulary questions had words from Word Power made Easy by Norman Lewis.

LR: This section was also easy.

DI: I couldn’t attempt many questions since generally DI in IIFT is very calculation intensive. Make sure you practise a lot of calculation intensive questions.

GK: To be frank, I didn’t prepare for the IIFT entrance since the next day I had my seventh semester's first paper. So, I was preparing for that paper. I knew I could afford to give IIFT next year, but not seventh semester. The key here is to be well prepared for entrances so that if you can’t practise before any entrance, you can still do it.

Yet, I had a GK preparation plan and I would like to share it here. The key is that for most entrances that have GK, they generally have a set of topics that they love to ask from. Try to find out this list by looking at past years papers and internet forums. Then try to Google get some good material on that topic. For example, I had got a 500 MCQ questions on History. And it’s obvious that those questions ought to cover the important events.

How did you prepare for the online RCs and DI sets?

Nothing as such. If you don’t feel that comfortable then get used to online reading.

What were your reading habits, if any?

Yes, reading is extremely important. It helps more for GDPI than for entrance exams. I mentioned important reading sources before. To enhance your online reading experience, download ‘Google Dictionary.’ It is an extension on the Google Chrome browser. When you double click a word to select it, a small pop up will appear with the meaning written in it. You can also learn the pronunciation there and there itself.

How did you prepare for the GD-PI?

GDPI entailed a lot of preparation. A lot of extra reading is required to develop an opinion on a range of topics. Discussions on online forums regarding last years’ experience helps a lot to prepare.

How did you prepare for written assessment/essay?

Make sure you write some essays and get them evaluated from some people to get feedback. Relevance and structure are exceptionally important. One paragraph per idea is the golden rule.

About Devansh:
Devansh Doshi is currently pursuing his MBA from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. He holds an engineering degree from Sardar Patel Institute of Technology in Mumbai in the Electronics and Telecommunication branch. Apart from studies, he enjoys reading, swimming and eating good food.
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