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Cracking Design Test

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

Design entrance exams usually evaluate candidates’ aptitude for design. These exams are skill-based tests conducted to assess the creativity and problem-solving skills of a candidate. 

There are various design entrance exams conducted at the national and university levels. The NIFT entrance exam, NID Design Aptitude Test (DAT), Undergraduate Common Entrance Examination for Design (UCEED), and Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED) are among the most competitive design entrance exams. 


The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) conducts exams every year for those who want to pursue various undergraduate and postgraduate courses in fashion and design, incorporating technology with them.

These courses are -- the Bachelor of Design (B.Des), the Bachelor of Fashion Technology (BF Tech), the Master of Design (MDes), the Master of Fashion Technology (MF Tech), and the Master of Fashion Management (MFM).

Some tips to crack it:

  • Candidates must thoroughly understand the NIFT exam pattern and syllabus.

  • Practice sample papers to understand questioning pattern and difficulty level

  • Make notes so that you can revise them

  • Candidate must plan and solve 10 questions of GAT and 10 quick sketches every day to improve observation and speed

  • Work on your imagination and more efforts on sketching skills

  • Make visual presentation your regular habit

  • Believe in a practical approach to Designing 

  • Practice is the key to success. Try to sketch almost anything and everything you come across.

  • Browse through various newspapers, magazines, and online sites and take ideas from various advertisements, posters, banners, etc., you come across.

  • Try to master the skills of human illustration. Concentrate more on proportions, form, etc.

  • Calligraphy skills come in handy in posters, banner design, etc. Learn and practice different styles of lettering 

  • Stay Confident, calm, and optimistic 

NIFT comprises three sections - Creativity Ability Test (CAT), General Ability Test (GAT), and Situation Test. 

Creativity Ability Test (CAT) Important Topics:

· Observation power

· Discernment ability

· Design ability

· Creativity in thought development

General Ability Test (GAT) Important Topics:

· General knowledge and current affairs

· Case Study

· Effective Communication

· Communication ability and English comprehension

· Quantitative

· Problem-solving approach

· Analytical and logical ability

NIFT Situation Test Important Topics:

· Construction Skill

· Space visualization

· Color scheme

· Innovative and creative use of given material

· Finesse of the model and overall

· Composition of elements

Candidates seeking admission to the B.Des and M.Des courses need to appear in a General Ability Test (GAT) and a Creative Ability Test (CAT). 

B.F.Tech, M.F.Tech, and M.FM aspirants only need to appear in the GAT written test.

The scores of the written tests (CAT and GAT) are used to shortlist candidates for subsequent admission rounds.

1. B.Des - GAT, and CAT scores are considered to shortlist candidates for a situation test.

2. M.Des - GAT, and CAT scores are used to shortlist candidates for a Personal Interview (PI).

3. M.F.M and M.F.Tech - GAT scores are used to shortlist candidates for a Personal Interview (PI).

Note: B.F.Tech candidates don't have to appear in any subsequent rounds (Situation Test or PI). Admission will be done solely based on GAT 2023 scores.  

Weightage for Each Test:

(B.Des) : CAT-50%, GAT-30%, Situation test-20%

(BFTech) : GAT-100%

 (MDes)  : CAT-40%, GAT-30%, PI-30%

(MFTech) : GAT-70%, PI-70%

(MFM) :GAT-30%, PI-30%

List of books : 

1. McGraw Hill Education

2. NIFT Exam Guide by Verma

3. Concepts of Pattern Grading

4. NIFT Exam Guide by Dr. R. P. Datason

5. NIFT Entrance Exam- Self-Study Guide

6. Popular Master Guide NIFT by R. Gupta

7. Bright Careers Guide NIFT Entrance Exam

8. Arihant NIFT Entrance Exam Self-Study Guide

9. NIFT Entrance Examination (Guide) by D Mitta

10. NIFT Entrance Exams: Ultimate Success Series By Surendra


Established in 1961, NID is also known as the most difficult design school in India to get into. It has only about 100 seats in its B.Des programmes and a mere 275 seats in its M.Des programmes across its three campuses.

The main campus is in Ahmedabad. Later on, the PG campus came up in Gandhinagar, and the R&D campus in Bangalore.

NID offers admissions to aspirants in Bachelor of Design (BDes) as well as Master of Design (MDes) programmes based on their performance in the NID Design Aptitude Test ( DAT).

National Institute of Design conducted (NID DAT) to evaluate candidates' imagination, observation skills, general knowledge, and visualization skills. 

NID DAT 2023 is a two-tier entrance exam that consists of prelims and mains exams. 

NID DAT (Prelims)

NID DAT (Prelims) is the written design aptitude test where candidates will be judged on their design, general knowledge, communication, problem-solving, simulation, and observation skills through a range of visual and textual questions.

DAT Prelims exam pattern for B.Des program:

The question paper  includes textual and visual questions

 DAT Prelims exam pattern for M.Des program:

There will be TWO sections.

1. Common Design Aptitude Test

2. Discipline Specific Test

NOTE: These two tests will together evaluate the Design Aptitude of the candidate.

Total Questions: 100, Mix of objective and subjective 

NID DAT (Mains) 

The test pattern for NID DAT Mains is such that candidates are asked to make sketches/ models for a duration of three hours. In NID DAT Mains, candidates are evaluated out of 100 marks..

As part of NID DAT Mains, candidates need to appear for a studio test followed by a personal interview round.

Studio Test for MDes Admissions: This test for MDes admissions at NID will be held separately for each specialization (that is, the course for which an aspirant has applied for admission). The studio test will comprise different sections wherein questions of different formats (like hands-on drawing/sketching, hands-on model making, group discussions, etc) will be asked. The duration of the test will be three hours.

Personal Interview for MDes Admissions: The interview round for MDes admissions will be conducted separately for each discipline, immediately after the studio test is held at the exam center.

How to Prepare for NID 2023 Interview?

A panel of experts from industries/Academics will take a personal interview to assess your overall personality based on general awareness, extracurricular activities, academics, and specific fields of interest.

  • Research the Fashion Industry

  • Be More Descriptive

  • Set Your First Impression

  • Avoid One-Word Conversations (Yes or No)

  • Be Prepared For Commonly Asked Questions

  • Good Communication Skills

  • Creative Mind

  • Choose Your Words Wisely

  • Body Language

 Books :

  • Quantitative Aptitude - Physics and Maths syllabus up to Class 10.  

  • Logical Reasoning - Step-by-Step Verbal Reasoning by Philip Kay, How to Pass Diagrammatic Reasoning Test by Mike Bryon.  

  • GK and Current Affairs - Read newspapers daily for current affairs. For static GK, read any good GK book for NID.

  • English - The Ultimate Guide for NIFT/NID/IIFT Entrance Exam by Arihant

  •  NID (B.Des.) Entrance Books and Test Series by AFAINDIA

  • Basic Rendering by Robert W.Gill

  • Design drawing by Francis D.K.Ching

  • NIFT/NID/IIFT Entrance Exam Guide by RPH Editorial Board


UCEED is conducted by IIT Bombay every year for admission to Bachelor of Design at four IITs and one IITD. You can take a maximum of two attempts in a row and the marks for the exam are valid only for the same academic year only. 

Undergraduate Common Entrance Examination for Design (UCEED) is a mix of creative thinking and logical reasoning.

 In UCEED 2023, candidates will be evaluated based on their ability to visualize and thereafter, create a design to solve the problem at hand. In order to crack the UCEED exam, candidates should have the right aptitude for design as well as the correct attitude to pursue such a course.

UCEED syllabus

Part A of the syllabus includes, 

  • Visualization and Spatial Ability: Aspirants are tested on their ability to identify the subtle difference in visual properties and must apply attention to analyzing and critically thinking about it.

  • Observation and Design Sensitivity: Manipulation of 2d and 3D shapes and transformation as well as spatial relationships and scientific concepts are included in this part.

  • Environmental and social awareness: Water, climate, weather, population, and other environmental, as well as social factors, are and their effects on products, images, and infrastructure are considered.

  • Analytical and logical reasoning: Questions related to logic and structured thinking, qualitative and quantitative aptitude, ability to weigh options, examine assumptions and many other topics fall under these topics.

  • Language and creativity: Aspirants must have a stronghold over the English language as questions on verbs, tenses, active and passive voice, and sentence structures are asked. Also, your vocabulary skills and comprehension are tested.

  • Design thinking and problem solving: Understanding the complexity and developing alternatives, assessing choices, visual analogies, metaphors, and signs come under this topic.

Part B of the syllabus includes,

  • Drawing: Composition, shading everything related to creative skills, and drawing comes under this.

UCEED Exam pattern and marks distribution

The UCEED Exam consists of two parts: Part A and Part B. There are 69 questions in which Part A consists of 68 questions of 240 marks and Part B consists of only one question of 60 marks.

The type of questions asked in Part A are:

  • NAT or Numerical Answer Type Questions: This section consists of 18 questions with a total of 72 marks and in this, the answers to the questions are numbers that students have to enter using a virtual keyboard.

  • Multiple Select Question or MSQ: This section also consists of 18 questions of 72 marks and 0.19 marks deducted for each wrong answer. In this section, there can be one or more correct options out of the four options given for each question.

  • MCQ or Multiple Choice question: This section consists of 32 questions of 96 marks in total and 0.17 marks are deducted for each wrong answer. In this section, students have to select the correct option out of the four options given for each question.

Part B consists of only one question and here the drawing and creative skills of the students are tested. The question is displayed on the computer screen and students have to draw on the answer booklet given to them.

How to Prepare for UCEED 2023:

  • Focus on Mathematical Geometry

  • Sharpen Observation and Visualisation Skills

  •  Solve Sample Papers & Mock Tests

  •  Practice Past Years’ Papers

  • Pay Extra Attention to Abstract Tests

  •  Practice English Comprehension

  • Practice Reasoning Questions

  • Be Acquainted with GK & Environmental Studies

  • Practice Sketching

  • Read Newspapers Daily

Books for UCEED 2023 

  • UCEED (B.Des) Entrance Books and Test Series Paperback by AFAINDIA

  • The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition Kindle Edition by Don Norman

  •  UCEED Design Environment & Social Awareness In Design Perspective Combined With Mental & Verbal Aptitude by Institute of Creative Sciences

  • Comprehensive English for NID, NIFT, UCEED, CEED, NATA, B.Arch & Other Design Entrance Exams Paperback by Designologue

The best way to increase one's chances of passing the exam is to choose an appropriate study plan and to work diligently and systematically.

To avoid panicking at the last minute and to increase efficiency, make sure you adhere to your personalized study strategy throughout your preparation.

We realize how crucial it is for you to ace an exam. But if you want to do well, study smart and not just hard, do your best and good results will show.

                      “Design is intelligence made visible." -- Alina Wheeler, author

Written by Mr. Vikram Soni - Jitin Chawla Team

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