What Makes IIFT Different From CAT

There are many management exams that MBA aspirants take to secure a seat in the top B-Schools of India. In addition to CAT, exams like IIFT is also preferred by students. The number of test takers of IIFT is less but the competition is high due to less number of seats in the institutes.

Students while preparing for a management test wonders if the preparation for CAT will suffice for IIFT. Yes, the basic concept for VARC, DILR, QA are applicable in IIFT. Though both exams are difficult on their own terms and require different strategies to crack them both. Many students able to get 99%ile+ in CAT could not able to get crack IIFT due to its general awareness sections. Let’s check what makes them different from each other in the article below.

1. Is IIFT difficult than CAT? Know How to Crack IIFT 2019
2.  IIFT 2019 Admit Card available on November 16, 2018. Download!

What Makes IIFT Different From CAT?

Both exams are different in the various parameter. You will be able to compare the major or minor difference between both in the table below.

Difference between Common Admission Test and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade Exam:

Parameter CAT IIFT
Mode of the Examination Computer-based Pen & Paper-based
Difficulty Level High High
Time Limit 180 Minutes 120 Minute
Sectional Limit Yes No
Sections in the Examinations 3 6
General Knowledge Section No Yes
Type of Questions Puzzle/ Inferential based (MCQ+non-MCQ) Fact-Based (only MCQ)
Number of Questions 100 114 (in IIFT 2018 – may change in 2019)
Negative Marking  -1 for each incorrect answer -1/3 according to the total mark of a question
Test Takers(approx) More than 2 Lakh Between 40,000 – 50,000
Conducting Body Indian Institute of Management Studies Indian Institute of Foreign
Institutes that consider score for admission IIM + more than 100 B-Schools Indian Institute of Foreign Trade
(Delhi, Kolkata, Kakinada)

Mode of the Examination

The IIFT takes place in offline mode from so many years. Thus, it requires that you have enough practice to fill the OMR sheet and manage the time accordingly. Sometimes, finds the solutions for most of the questions and could not able to fill the OMR sheet completely. You may either solve the questions and immediately mark the answer or spare last 10 minutes to fill the answer sheet.

Whereas in CAT, the exam is a completely computer-based test. You need to attempt questions and mark them within the specified time limit only.

Sectional Limit in CAT & IIFT

The good thing about IIFT is that there is no sectional limit in this exam. You have the full freedom to attempt them in any order and switch between the sections. In CAT, in addition to the sectional limit, there is also a pre-defined order of the sections in the exam. It becomes a disadvantage as you have the compulsion to attend the section in that particular order only.

Recommended: CAT Syllabus | IIFT Syllabus

Number of Sections in CAT & IIFT

In IIFT, there are 6 sections as compared to 3 sections in CAT. Only in IIFT 2018, the number of sections was increased from 4 sections to 6. You need to compete in all the sections to clear the cutoff. Thus, you require great speed and accuracy to attempt all the sections. You can’t just focus on one section only. Attempt atleast enough number of questions that you get the minimum qualifying marks for each section.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Quantitative Ability
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning General Awareness
Quantitative Ability Data Interpretation
English Usage
Reading Comprehension
Logical Reasoning

Cut Off For CAT & IIFT

CAT also has sectional and overall cut off but in IIFT having the number of sections creates a hassle for students. The General Knowledge section has cut off of 1-3 marks and many students could not able to secure these marks. Which shows that GK is a tough nut to crack in IIFT.

Recommended: How To Prepare for CAT in 6 Months | 04 Months | 03 Months | 02 Months

Difficulty level of CAT & IIFT

The exams have a difficulty level in various aspects.

Types of Questions

In CAT, you will find the difficulty level of question high as they are more inferential based questions. Whereas, in IIFT questions are fact-based and calculation intensive.


Number of Seats

What makes IIFT different form CAT is the number of seats. As less than 1% of students get selected for the interview round in IIFT. Last Year there were around 1900 calls out of candidates appeared for the exam. Whereas in CAT we still have more seats in the total 20 IIM’s. Which makes CAT more lucrative option for students as compared to IIFT.

Number of Seats in IIFT
Campus Seats Campus Seats
Delhi 220 Kakinada
Kolkata 140
Number of Seats in IIM via CAT
Ahmedabad 385 Amritsar 60
Bangalore 412 Bodh Gaya 60
Calcutta 462 Indore 550
Jammu 45 Kashipur 210
Kozhikode 353 Lucknow 436
Nagpur 60 Raipur 210
Ranchi 155 Rohtak 180
Sambalpur 140 Sirmaur 60
Shillong 120 Trichy 180
Udaipur 180 Visakhapatnam 60

Strategy To Crack IIFT & CAT

After looking at the major differences between IIFT & CAT, we need to follow a strategy if we are preparing for IIFT and CAT.

Reading Comprehension

  • For Reading comprehension, you must solve long and fact-based passages. They are easy to attempt if you have read the passage thoroughly.
  • In CAT, there are short passages in Reading comprehension, though the inference based questions make this section tougher to attempt. You must work on critical reasoning to answer such type of questions.

Verbal Ability

  • In CAT, questions are based on paragraph jumbles and summary writing. Whereas in IIFT, questions are more vocab based.
  • Improve your vocab and practice for synonyms & Antonyms more.

Data Interpretation & Logical  Reasoning

  • Especially for DI in IIFT, practise for calculation intensive questions. Questions will be direct but the time taking part is the calculation.
  • In CAT, you must able to understand the logic behind the questions to attempt it.

Quantitative Ability

  • The QA section is more or less same for IIFT and CAT, both requires clarity in concepts to attempt the questions.
  • Remember all the formulas and tricks to solve the questions faster.

General Awareness

  • For this, just don’t read the facts, read its background story/ history also. If you are following the news then follow it completely.
  • Refer good books to attempt static GK question.

For any doubts and clarifications, please ask in the comments below.

IIFT IIFT 2019 CAT 2018

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