Cracking Design School Entrance Exams


Desperate to innovate, companies are turning to design schools for creative thinkers. Designing is a highly developed field that requires trained people who are creatively innovative and artistic. However, if you want admission to one of the many design campuses burgeoning across the country, you will have to show research, application and dedication.

Identifying your design aptitude

The whole point of the Design entrance is to come up creatively with a time and resource constraint. Design is about having an eye for detail and setting trends. Being a keen observer in your daily life helps you conceptualise ideas. You need to have a natural flair for illustrations. Having an artistic flair with colour, materials, textures or fabrics is beneficial. Hobbies like sketching, photography, travelling, public speaking, dramatics and appreciation of performing arts, films and music will prove helpful.

Choosing the course

Almost all design institutes have a range of three to four-year (or more) undergraduate (UG) Bachelor's programme and a two-year (or more) postgraduate (PG) Master's programme. A few have advanced courses. The UG pre-requisite is 10+2, or equivalent and the PG pre-requisite is a Bachelor's degree or graduation (sometimes in a required subject). The duration and cost of each course varies from institute to institute.

Cracking the exam

Typically, there are no prescribed formulae to crack design entrance tests, and often there are no right or wrong answers. One of the most common misconception among Design aspirants is that if you draw well, then you can crack the entrance. Though good sketching skill is essential, the questions are framed to judge a candidates creativity, imagination & visualization skills. So, developing these skills are equally important. This is nothing like cracking a JEE where there are a set of formulas and a final result which will be same on all answer papers.

Question Pattern

At NID you will find visual questions focusing around the topics of perception, attitude, aptitude, achievement and motivation.
a) These could be sharing an image and asking you to write appropriate meanings for that image.
b) Or there could be a photograph of a major event or calamity and asking questions based on the context of that photograph.
c) There also would be a section asking you to sketch or illustrate a new concept and justify why you depicted it in the manner you did.
d) There would be sections where you would be asked to draw 2-3 objects from a list of 10 objects.
e) You may find a section that provides you with 3-4 frames of pictures. You will be asked to build a story by adding relevant drawings in suitable places.
Learn more about NID at

On the other hand, the NIFT exam is more academic in nature by comparison.
Here's you will find sections like
1) Quantitative Ability
2) Communication Ability
3) English Comprehension
4) Analytical Ability
5) General Knowledge and Current Affairs
Learn more about NIFT @

Similarly UCEED, conducted by IIT Bombay has following sections: Numerical Answer Type (NAT)
Multiple Select Questions (MSQ) - more than one correct answer
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) - only one correct answer
Many questions would be visual and the test would check your ability to coherently decipher visual problems and interpretations.
Learn more about UCEED @

You may visit to find more than 25 Design Entrance Exams and check the question patters of each.

Last bit

In the last few days make sure you get enough sleep so your mind will work more creatively
Practice sketching anything and everything. Solve sample papers. Check that you have all the materials, admit card and stationary the night before the exam. Reach the venue early to avoid stress.
Most importantly stay calm during the exam. In case you are stuck with a question, take a deep breath and try again. If you still can't think of the answer move on and come back to the question later.

Other Helpful Resources:

Check out more than 25 Design Entrance Exams

5 Reasons Why You Should Study Design

A Career in Mathematics after Class XII

How to Prepare for Entrance Exams

Identifying Career Opportunities through Entrance Exams

About the blogger: Shruti Singh is a consultant at She can be reached at

Author: Shruti S