Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT)

The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) was set up in 1963 by the Government of India as an autonomous organisation to help professionalise the country's foreign trade management and increase exports by developing human resources; generating, analysing and disseminating data; and conducting research. The Institute visualises its future role as:

A catalyst for new ideas, concepts and skills for the internationalisation of the Indian economy.

The primary provider of training and research-based consultancy in the areas of international business, both for the corporate sector, Government and the students community.

An institution with proven capability to continuously upgrade its knowledge base with a view to servicing the requirements of the Government, trade and industry through both sponsored and non-sponsored research and consultancy assignments.

The Institute's portfolio of long-term programmes is diverse, catering to the requirements of aspiring International Business executives and mid-career professionals alike. These are:

IIFT has, over the years, undertaken path-breaking research studies with organisations like WTO, World Bank, UNCTAD and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. The Institute has also trained more than 40,000 business professionals across 30 countries in various facets of international business and trade policy via its Management Development Programmes.In the year 2008 saw as many as 42000 students writing the test.There were 150 questions (6 section) in all and the time allotted was 2hrs. The six sections were as follows:


Some of the key features and takeaways that emerge from this are:

IIFT keeps on experimenting with number of questions as well as number of sections. While 2009 had 6 sections (including 2 sections for different types of RCs), the exam from 2009 onwards has had 4 sections. However, even in such a scenario, there have been occasions (most notably 2010) when a particular section has had 2 subsections i.e. Verbal Ability had a subsection for RC and one for VA. Similarly, while 2009 had separate DI and LR sections, the latter exams have had a common DILR section. Therefore, a key point to remember is that within a subject area e.g. QA, VA or DILR, it is very risky in IIFT to have a weak sub section. So, for instance, if you are planning to sail through DILR based only on DI, you could be in trouble if the two are separated!!

IIFT is one of the rare exams that allot per question differential marks to each section. In 2010, differential marks were even allotted between the two Verbal Ability sub-sections. Also, the marks allotted for a question in a particular section are not constant throughout the years. They have been changing from year to year. So, it is important NOT to go in the exam with a pre-conceived notion about any one or two sections. For instance, if you go for IIFT thinking that you will focus on LR, GK and Verbal Ability, you could suffer if QA and DI are allotted more marks per question. Take a decision after looking at the marks per question in your exam AND the difficulty level of that section!!

The IIFT cut-offs are generally on the lower side (around 35). Logically, since there are 4 sections, the average cut-off per section will be in the range of 8-10. What this means for you is that question selection becomes important. You may not need to attempt all questions from a section to clear IIFT. Identify the questions that seem solvable, attempt them and move on. Note that IIFT has always been a 2 hour exam and the number of questions has always been more than 120. This means that you have less than a minute to solve a question. As such, don’t even attempt to solve all questions in the paper, or even within a section. Try to have a balanced attempt!

Important Dates: visit IIFT Website

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