IIFT vs CAT: Is IIFT Tougher Than CAT Exam?

By Gaurav Gupta|Updated : April 4th, 2022

IIFT vs CAT provides valuable insights into which exam is tough and learn the differences and similarities between IIFT and CAT. The aspirants preparing for both CAT and IIFT must be well-versed in all the details for these two exams. It is very important as both of these exams are challenging in their own way. The basic difference between CAT and IIFT is that IIFT is the only test for admission into the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. However, CAT is accepted by IIMs and many other B-schools in India.

CAT (Common Admission Test) is a national-level entrance exam and is the key gateway for admission into the topmost B-schools in India, like IIMs. On the other hand, IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) is an entrance test for admission into the flagship programme of MBA in International Business. In this article, Experts have analyzed a detailed study of IIFT vs CAT to assist you in your preparation.

Table of Content

IIFT vs CAT Similarities

Both CAT and IIFT are national-level management entrance tests. So, there are some basic similarities between these two. Note the table for IIFT vs CAT Exam similarities.

Key Highlights

Details

Course for admission 

MBA

Exam Medium

English

Level of Exam

National

Negative Marking 

Yes

IIFT vs CAT: Conducting Body

CAT and IIFT are conducted by two different authorities. Everybody knows that the official notification of the CAT Exam is released by one of the IIMs on a rational basis, once every year. For example, CAT 2021 was conducted by IIM Ahmedabad, and IIM Indore and IIM Lucknow conducted CAT 2020 and CAT 2019, respectively.

On the other hand, the official notification of the IIFT Exam is released by NTA (National Testing Agency) once every year. It is the only institute that accepts IIFT scores for admission in MBA in International Business.

IIFT vs CAT: Exam Pattern

The exam pattern difference between CAT and IIFT is a little bit known to everybody who wishes to appear for both of these exams. It is different in terms of the number of questions, exam sections, time limit, and sectional time limit. Note the table below and check all the details about the IIFT vs CAT exam pattern

Components

CAT

IIFT

Total Number of Questions

66 Questions

110

Exam Duration

120 Minutes (40 Minutes Sectional Time limit)

120 Minutes (No sectional time limit)

Number of Section

3 Sections

  • VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension)
  • DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning)
  • QA (Quantitative Aptitude)

4 Sections

  • English Comprehension
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • General Knowledge and Awareness
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation

Question Types

MCQs and TITA

MCQs

Negative Marking Scheme

-1 for every incorrect answer (No negative marking for TITA questions and Unanswered questions)

  • -1 for every incorrect answer in English Comprehension. QA and LR&DI
  • -0.5 for every incorrect answer in GA 

Marking Scheme

+3 for every correct answer

  • +3 for English Comprehension. QA and LR&DI
  • +1.5 for GA 

☛ Check for details CAT Exam Pattern and IIFT Exam Pattern.

IIFT vs CAT: Which is Tougher?

As per expert analysis, CAT and IIFT are considered the tough MBA Entrance Exam. CAT is a popular exam for MBA admission in IIMs, IITs, and other reputed institutes across India. IIFT is only the key to entering the country's three IIFT campuses: IIFT Delhi, IIFT Kolkata, and IIFT Kakinada.

The syllabus of these two exams is almost similar except for 1 section, i.e., General Knowledge and Awareness. General Knowledge and Awareness is an additional section included in IIFT Syllabus. Note the below table to know the topics covered in VARC, Quants, and LRDI sections, along with the variation in the difficulty level.

Verbal Section of IIFT vs CAT

Note the table below to get an idea of the Verbal Section of IIFT and CAT.

Topics of Verbal Section

Difficulty Level in CAT

Difficulty Level in IIFT

Para Jumbles

Difficult

Moderate

Grammar

Difficult

Moderate

Reading Comprehension

Difficult 

Moderate

Para Completion

Moderate 

Moderate

Critical Thinking

Difficult 

Moderate

Fill in the Blanks

Difficult 

Moderate

☛ Check Section-wise Preparation Tips for CAT

Quant Section of IIFT vs CAT

Note the table below to get an idea of the Quant Section of IIFT and CAT.

Topics of Quant Section

Difficulty Level in CAT

Difficulty Level in IIFT

Co-ordinate Geometry

Moderate

Difficult

Geometry

Difficult 

Difficult

Arithmetic

Moderate

Moderate

Algebra

Moderate

Difficult

Numbers

Moderate

Difficult

Permutation and Combination

Moderate

Moderate

☛ Check section-wise Preparation Tips for IIFT

DILR Section of IIFT vs CAT

Note the table below to get an idea of the LRDI Section of IIFT and CAT.

Topics of LRDI Section

Difficulty Level in CAT

Difficulty Level in IIFT

Family Tree

Moderate

Moderate

Puzzles

Moderate

Moderate

Seating Arrangement

Difficult

Difficult

Reasoning Based DI

Difficult

Moderate

Both of these exams require similar effort and approaches for preparation. The aspirants must prepare well and solve sample papers to tackle these exams with ease.

☛Check here for CAT Syllabus

IIFT vs CAT: Test Areas

The aspirants may know that the key differentiator in the IIFT exam has been the General Knowledge and Awareness section. However, this is a lower weightage section, but you must be prepared well for this section to score well. The aspirants can expect 20-25 questions from this section with 1.5 marks per correct answer (with -0.5 marks for each incorrect answer).

The common areas of these two exams are Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability, and Reading Comprehension. Note the table below and understand the test areas of the Quantitative Ability section of IIFT vs CAT.

Exam Section

CAT

IIFT

Quantitative Ability 

In the CAT exam, the most critical sections are

Arithmetic

Circles

Triangles 

Geometry

Algebra

Most of the questions are asked from:

Probability

Permutations & Combinations (P&C)

Set Theory

Functions (including maxima & minima)

Trigonometry (both height & distances and trigonometric expressions)

You can also go through the detailed study for CAT Analysis and IIFT Analysis

IIFT vs CAT: Application Fee

The aspirants may know that both CAT and IIFT are conducted online once every year. You have to submit the application form and payment for both of these exams online. Note the below table to get an idea about the application fee difference between CAT and IIFT.

CAT

IIFT

The application fee for the CAT exam is 2,200/- for General and NC-OBC aspirants (1,100/- for Reserved Category, PWD (DA category) 

The application fee for the IIFT exam is 2500

 

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FAQs

  • As per exam analysis, the basic difference between CAT and IIFT is in its syllabus. There is an additional section on General Knowledge and Awareness. Apart from this, some other important differences between these two exams are as follows:

    • CAT is conducted by IIMs, while NTA conducts IIFT.
    • CAT has a sectional time limit, but in IIFT, there is no sectional time limit.
  • As per expert analysis, The difficulty level for IIFT vs CAT is moderate to tough. In IIFT, the aspirants need to solve 110 questions in 120 minutes, but in CAT, you can expect to solve 66 questions to solve in 120 minutes, with a sectional time limit of 40 mins. So, if you are not prepared well, then both of these exams may come access as the toughest exam.

  • Yes, the eligibility criteria for IIFT vs CAT is the same. The aspirants need to qualify for their graduation studies with 50% marks (45% marks for the reserved category). Final year aspirants can also apply for the exam if they score 50% marks in their first and second years. Before applying for these two exams, check for CAT Eligibility and IIFT Eligibility

  • As per analysis, the exam mode for IIFT vs CAT is the same. Both of these exams are conducted online computer-based. Till 2018, the IIFT exam was conducted in pen-paper mode, but since 2019, it has been conducted online, as NTA is now conducting this exam.

  • As per expert analysis, RC passages of the IIFT exam are fact-based, and CAT RC passages are inference-based. That’s why RC passages of the IIFT exam are quite easier than that of CAT.

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