Mohit Sharma has done B.E (Electronics & Communication) and belongs to Nagpur. He had 28 months of work experience before joining IIFT MBA (IB) 2016-18 programme. He loves reading and listening music. Mohit Sharma attributes his success to his father.
My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice
For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Shekhar Kapoor about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow
Q.What was your overall preparation strategy for IIFT exam?
A. I will share on it by dividing my preparation strategy in 3 slots beginning from the day when I seriously started my preparation for IIFT entrance exam
Last 3 months: I started my preparation in earnest at this time. I found out my areas of strength and weaknesses and started focussing on them. I made a list of very important subtopics which I intended to focus. I also tried compiling my notes from different sources and solved questions of all type of difficulties – easy moderate and difficult.
I also gave a few diagnostic tests to gauge my level of preparation and determine the areas requiring my maximum focus and time.
Last month: At this time, I started focussing on fine tuning my preparation and gave mocks every alternate day and analysed the results religiously and gave it the majority of my time at hand.
Also, I started revising the various concepts and specific problem types I had earmarked for this time.
Last 15 days: I stopped giving mocks at this time and just analysed the previous mock results in which I had done pretty poorly. I started formulating my strategy for D-Day and dedicated my efforts to shortcut tricks and mathematical formulae. I also revised the wordlists at this time.
Q. Please share your sectional preparation strategy for IIFT 2015? How did you prepare for each section Quantitative Aptitude, English Comprehension, General Awareness & Logical Reasoning? What study materials and books did you use?
A. My preparation strategy for each section could be summarized as below-
IIFT exam is one of the few exams which include this section in their entrance exams. This section is one of the most feared by aspirants but if one dedicates some time to it, General Awareness can help in maximizing your score and also save a couple of minutes for lengthier questions in other sections.
Business and economics always corner most of the questions in this section. I personally referred to Career Launcher’s and Bankers’ Adda compendium to brush up my knowledge and I found them helpful.
I also read The Hindu every day and it helped me in getting through a few questions too. There are a few questions related to History, Geography, Arts, etc. too but they are highly subjective and reading a lot about them might not be the best use of your time.
Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
The Logical Reasoning subsection is similar to most other related competitive exams. There are multiple sets and regular practice must be done. Previous years’ question papers should be solved so as to increase your confidence level and competency. But, apart from the sets, IIFT exam also has questions relating to blood relation, syllogism, series, etc.Any good book will suffice for the logical reasoning part and I preferred Arun Sharma’s book on the subject matter as it included ample problems and solutions.
As far as data interpretation is concerned, practice is the key. Pie Chart and Line Chart are the most common types but sufficient practice should be done of other type of figures. Practicing frequently will help the aspirant get a hang of the type of questions asked and will be instrumental in saving valuable time in exam. It is imperative to be very well acquainted with shortcuts like decimal to fraction conversion and vice versa, tables up to 25, etc. to ease the calculation part.
Quantitative Ability is normally dominated by questions from arithmetic area. Last year, as much as 11 questions out of 22 found their way into the question paper. I always enjoyed Algebra and Probability related questions and solved them first but that will differ from person to person. So, my advice will be very clear with the fundas of arithmetic and it will definitely see you through.
I referred ‘Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT’ by Arihant and was thoroughly satisfied with the content and level of questions given.
Verbal Ability is divided into two subparts – English Usage and Reading Comprehension. Reading Comprehensions are known to be very lengthy in IIFT exam but the trick is to skim through the passages and find key words of question in the passages and find your answer therein. RCs could end up taking a lot of time, so it is advisable to keep an eye on the watch. Again, comprehensive practice should be done at home to make you acquainted with the type of questions.
The second section English Usage has high focus on vocabulary so it is advisable to read wordlists (I read the Barron’s wordlist and found it to be more than enough). Basic grammar rules should be read from any primer and it will come in handy in the exam.
Q.Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A.I was strong in Verbal and General Knowledge section but lagged behind in Quants.
To remedy the situation, I devoted majority of time during the early phases of my preparation to brushing up my quant basics and deciding on which topic to focus and which topics to leave altogether. I picked up high scoring and formulae based topics like geometry, probability, etc.
Q.How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
A. The thing I did right during my test prep was my focus on giving as many mock tests as possible. My studies revolved around the mocks. I had a big chart above my study table which tracked my scores in different mocks. That way, I was able to track my progress and modify and refine my strategies on runtime basis. When I saw the graph rising in consecutive weeks, I felt confident of my strategies and when otherwise, I took time out to modify my plan accordingly.
Q.Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?
A.I did not go to any offline coaching centre for my preparation.
Q.Other than IIFT, which exam did you appear?
A.I appeared for NMAT, SNAP, XAT and CAT besides IIFT.
Q.Which institutes did you apply for admission?
A. I applied in the following institutes for admission: NMIMS Mumbai; SIBM-P & SCMHRD; SPJIMR; IIMs; XLRI
Q.Please share your strategy for the IIFT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your IIFT test taking?
A. My strategy on the exam day was to start the test with my area of strength which was Verbal Reasoning. Thankfully, I was able to perform as per my expectations here. After verbal, I went on to the General Awareness section because I figured that it will not take much time to complete this section and might be a score augmenter for me.Till this time, I was finished with two sections and I had comfortable time at hand which was a morale booster. And thus, I started with LR&DI and quant sections.
Focussing on your area of strength first can help in obtaining a substantial portion of score that you are going to get in the least possible time. This will help you in dedicating maximum time for sections in which you are comparatively weak.
Q. Which B-school you decided upon and why?
A. I chose IIFT over my other options because foremost it’s a Government institution and thus I know there will be no compromise over quality of education. Also, I talked to a few seniors who overwhelmingly suggested me IIFT over my other options.
Q.Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for IIFT 2016.
A. I would suggest the aspirants to focus on their strengths and try to maximize their marks in these areas. But, this should not mean that they ignore any section altogether for the fear of losing out on sectional cutoffs. It is also mostly noticed that aspirants totally ignore the general knowledge part. The General Knowledge section can be critical for getting you some extra marks and that too without taking much time, so don’t ignore it.
My interview was mostly centred on my hobby which is reading and I was able to comfortably answer most of the questions they asked. Interviewers were keen to make me feel comfortable and started up with the basic HR questions and they mostly allowed me to guide the interview.
During my preparation, I gave a few mock interviews at HR Mentors in Nagpur and worked on the feedback provided to me. I also met a few students who had given IIFT interviews before and their help was indispensable in my preparation
My essay topic was ‘Public-Private partnerships: a boon or bane’. I first introduced the subject and mentioned some of the latest happenings in the field that might have triggered this topic. I then went on to enunciate the benefits of PPP by giving examples. I also mentioned some of the projects that were not able to achieve the desired results and concluded by mentioning how PPP were the way to go and though there are still some creases, it will not be beneficial to term PPP as a bane.
The important thing while writing the essay is to make sure that your sentences are coherent and your change of paragraphs is smooth and flawless.