Anyone in this world can achieve success against all odds. It is true if we believe in it. If charcoal had thought that it was good for nothing, it would not have transformed into a dazzling diamond. If Daniel Sinha thought that it was impossible for him to crack the IIFT 2020 entrance exam, then he wouldn’t have touched the pinnacle of success.
Daniel Sinha’s story is one that needs to be told to inspire the young minds of the country. An enthusiastic youth made a desperate attempt to appear for the competitive IIFT 2020 entrance exam. He came through with flying colours by scoring 99.99 percentile.
In fact, it is an ultimate dream for any management aspirant to make the cut in India’s premier institute which is Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. Having achieved the preliminary step of qualifying the entrance exam, IIFT 2020 topper Daniel Sinha shared his experience about how he prepared for the exam, the books that he consulted.
In an exclusive interaction with Careers360, IIFT 2020 topper Daniel offered all-important tips to future aspirants wherein he tells them how to manage the time on the day of the examination. He also tells how to prepare for this exam. Above all, it is important to remain calm during the course of preparation. Daniel relieved his stress by listening to music. He said that he is a massive Bollywood fan and he used to watch movies. He used to watch sports with cricket being his favourite one.
Careers360: Congratulations on cracking IIFT 2020 entrance. Please share your overall and sectional scores and percentile.
Daniel Sinha: Thank You So Much. My sectional scores and percentiles in IIFT 2020-22 were QA 38 (97.66), VARC 94 (99.89), LRDI 58 (99.85) and GA 14.5 (98.18). Overall score was 204.5 and percentile was 99.997
Careers360: What was your section-wise strategy for the exam? Did you follow any specific preparation strategy for IIFT?
Daniel Sinha: In QA it is essential to identify the solvable questions and leave the difficult ones immediately. Time management is extremely important. In LRDI going for the right sets is crucial. Also, the paper was quite a calculation based so it is imperative to improve calculation speed. VARC was quite easy according to me. Vocabulary based questions were somewhat confusing. GA was good and needed command on current affairs as well as on static GK
Honestly, there was no specific preparation strategy for IIFT since the paper and syllabus is mostly similar to other exams like CAT. Just a slight change in the approach for attempting paper is required.
Careers360: What is your take on the National Testing Agency (NTA) conducting the exam. Since it is the first time that NTA has conducted it how were the questions. Was there any major change in the exam pattern or marking scheme.
Daniel Sinha: I think the paper was easier as compared to last year. Also, there were changes in the number of sections from last year’s paper which had 7 sections. So the headache of sectional cut-offs was somewhat reduced. Also, IIFT has done away with Paper Pen Mode from this year which I think is a welcome step. All and all NTA did a good job with the IIFT this year.
Careers360: Mention section-wise books and study materials you referred during your preparation.
Daniel Sinha: Honestly, I have not really been into solving many books or modules for these exams. There have been certain online resources like IQuanta and Elites Grid which have helped. I also took AIMCATS and SIMCAT regularly. Mock test analysis was a very important part of my preparation.
Careers360: Please share your preparation journey. How did you strike a balance between your academic/professional life and preparation for an entrance exam?
Daniel Sinha: Presently, I am working for an IT Firm and my training period of 3 months had ended on November 15th just few days before CAT. Work can sometimes get hectic and it can be quite a challenge to maintain a balance between job and preparation. I faced the same challenge during my preparation phase. Firstly, it is important to stay positive and keep negative energy away from you. Just keep your goal in mind and be regular. There will be certain days when you would not be able to give time for proper preparation but just keep a track and cover up. Take mock tests regularly and diligently. It is very important to analyze your performance and take the necessary course correction measures.
Careers360: How was your IIFT exam day experience? How many questions did you attempt from each section?
Daniel Sinha: I was very relaxed and confident. The first section QA initially seemed a bit tricky but I stuck to my rule of leaving the tricky ones and moving on quickly which helped. In IIFT, you have the freedom of switching between the sections and I used this flexibility to the maximum. I was also keeping in mind the sectional cut off factor and thus tried to keep a balance between all the sections. My total attempts were 81.
Careers360: How did you manage time during exam day? Was the duration sufficient for you?
Daniel Sinha: I think the IIFT paper needed great time management skills. The questions were lengthy, especially in QA and parts of DI. Solving the entire paper in 2 hours was practically impossible but again you don’t even have to do that. I had set a section- wise timer in my mind and had stuck to it which really helped me in the exam. Further, one really needs to be very quick with sections like VA and GA and invest that time in QA or RC.
Careers360: Have you started preparing for the next round of selection procedure?
Daniel Sinha: Actually, it has rather been a celebration time since the results are out. I have to get back to the preparation mode once again very soon as bigger challenges await.
Careers360: How did you maintain balance in preparation between IIFT and other entrances?
Daniel Sinha: As I mentioned, IIFT is not very different from CAT as far as course is concerned. All it takes is little awareness and presence of mind. A few mock test specific to the paper pattern can help to familiarize with the exam. For GK, websites like bankersadda can help.
Careers360: Which other MBA entrances have you taken? What are your percentiles for those?
Daniel Sinha: I have taken CAT, IIFT and filled up XAT. Results are awaited for CAT.
Careers360: Which B-schools have you received interview calls from?
Daniel Sinha: As of now, only IIFT results have been announced.
Careers360: Why do you want to join IIFT Delhi? What are your other dream B-schools apart from IIFT?
Daniel Sinha: IIFT is one of the most prestigious B-Schools and promises excellent career opportunities in terms of exposure and career growth. Also, when it comes to International Business, the repute of IIFT is unmatched. It goes without saying that IIFT is definitely one of the most sought after B-Schools of our country.
Careers360: Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary for aspirants to bag the top rank?
Daniel Sinha: I had been a student of TIME’s classroom program for CAT 2018. I have also been associated with Iquanta and Elitesgrid for CAT 2019. Having attended both Online and Classroom Coaching, I feel that the requirement varies from person to person. You just need to have your basics clear and develop a sense of attempting the paper- this can be done through any medium which is convenient to the candidate.
Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for Group Discussion, Writing Ability Test and Personal Interview? Any other element in the selection process you want to share?
Daniel Sinha: For the further rounds of GD, WAT and PI, strong command on Current Events is required. So going through daily newspapers, articles and magazines can help a lot. Also, practice by going through mock interviews and GD’s. It is important to stay focused during the entire selection process.
Careers360: Apart from the preparation schedule, what activities did you involve yourself for recreation purpose? What are your hobbies?
Daniel Sinha: To keep my mind fresh, I listen to music and watch movies. I am a big fan of Bollywood Movies. I also love watching sports- cricket being my favourite. I write blogs and posts on current trends and events. Talking to friends and family members can be a great way of refreshing and tackling pressure.
Careers360: What is your suggestion for IIFT aspirants who will write the test next year?
Daniel Sinha: I would suggest the future aspirants to be composed and confident. Competition is fierce and it can sometimes get to you, especially in today’s age of social media. What is important is to look into your strengths and weaknesses. Do not get distracted or perturbed by what others are doing and how their preparation is going. Set realistic goals and stick to them. Be happy and cheerful. Success would surely follow.
(With inputs from Carees360)