How Difficult is IIFT Exam as Compared to CAT?

Both CAT exam and IIFT exam are equally challenging in their own way. Since they have different test structure, candidates need to adopt different preparation strategies to ace them.

CAT is one of the most popular management entrance tests, and is a gateway for admission to various MBA programmes offered by numerous B-Schools in India. On the other hand, IIFT exam, conducted by Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi for admission to its flagship programme only, i.e. MBA in International Business. Even though IIFT score is valid for admission to one institute only, thousands of MBA aspirants across the country appear for it every year, thus making it one of the top MBA entrance exams.

Both the exams are equally challenging in their own way. Since the exams have different exam patterns, candidates need to adopt different preparation strategies to ace the exams. Talking about the difficulty level, both the exams are equally difficult. However, few test-takers find IIFT a little more challenging than CAT due to the additional General Knowledge section which is missing from the CAT. IIFT exam is generally conducted within 7-10 days after the CAT exam, thus leaving very little time for preparation of General Knowledge section. 

Shiksha has listed down the difficulty level of both the exams.

IIFT Exam vs CAT Exam: Pattern  

ParameterIIFTCAT
Duration of exam2 hours3 hours (Sectional time limit of 60 minutes)
Number of Questions110100
Negative marking1/3 marks1 mark
Maximum marks100300
Mode of examComputer-basedComputer-based
SectionsEnglish Comprehension, General Knowledge & Awareness, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation, and Quantitative AnalysisQuantitative Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Verbal & Reading Comprehension

Section-wise difficulty level of CAT and IIFT

Reading Comprehension: The Reading Comprehension in CAT is a mix of both interpretation based and fact-based type questions. However, the RCs in IIFT are more fact-based. IIFT focuses more on vocabulary, making this section moderately difficult. CAT, on the other hand, varies between easy to moderate.

Quantitative Aptitude: There is no major difference in the Quantitative Aptitude section of CAT and IIFT. Both are more or less similar. The difficulty level of this section in both the exams is easy to moderate.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Section: Candidates appearing for IIFT need to be quick in their calculations as the exam is more calculation intensive. CAT, on the other hand, does not have questions where intensive calculation is required.

IIFT vs CAT: Difficulty Level 

Quant

TopicsIIFTCAT
ArithmeticModerateModerate
ProbabilityModerateModerate
Permutation and CombinationModerateModerate
Heights and DistanceDifficultModerate
AlgebraDifficultModerate
NumbersDifficultModerate
TrigonometryModerateModerate
Coordinate GeometryDifficultModerate
GeometryDifficultDifficult

DILR 

TopicsIIFTCAT
PuzzlesDifficultModerate
Family TreeModerateModerate
Seating ArrangementModerateModerate

VARC

TopicsIIFTCAT
Sentence CorrectionModerateModerate
GrammarModerateDifficult
Fill In the blanksModerateDifficult
Reading ComprehensionModerateDifficult
Para CompletionModerateModerate
Antonyms/ SynonymsModerateDifficult
Critical ReasoningModerateDifficult
Para jumblesModerateDifficult

Key differences between IIFT exam and CAT exam:

  • IIFT exam does not have sectional time limit. In CAT, there is sectional time limit which means candidates have to complete every section within the prescribed time limit. 
  • CAT has three sections, IIFT has four sections (an extra section of General Knowledge).

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