Design entrance exams are one of the most competitive and challenging exams for aspiring designers who want to pursue a career in the creative field. These exams test the candidates’ aptitude, creativity, problem-solving, and visualisation skills, among other aspects. To crack these exams, candidates need to have a strategic and organised mindset, as well as a thorough preparation plan. Here are some expert tips that can help you ace design entrance exams and get admission to your dream design school.
Know the syllabus and exam pattern
The first step to prepare for any exam is to know the syllabus and exam pattern well. Different design entrance exams may have different sections, topics, and formats, so you need to be familiar with the specific requirements of the exam you are applying for. For example, NID DAT has two stages: prelims and mains, while NIFT has three stages: CAT, GAT, and situation test. You need to know the weightage, duration, marking scheme, and difficulty level of each section and plan your study accordingly.
Practice drawing and sketching
Drawing and sketching are essential skills for any designer, as they help you express your ideas and concepts visually. Most design entrance exams have a section that tests your drawing and sketching abilities, such as perspective, proportion, shading, composition, and creativity. To improve your drawing and sketching skills, you need to practice regularly and experiment with different mediums, tools, and techniques. You also need to work on your speed and accuracy, as you will have limited time to complete the drawing section.
Enhance your observation and visualisation skills
Another important aspect of design entrance exams is your observation and visualisation skills. You need to have a keen eye for details, colours, shapes, patterns, textures, and aesthetics. You also need to have a good imagination and the ability to visualise different scenarios, objects, and solutions. To enhance your observation and visualisation skills, you need to expose yourself to various sources of inspiration, such as nature, art, culture, architecture, and design trends. You also need to practice solving design problems and creating innovative designs based on given themes or situations.
Stay updated on current affairs and design trends
Design is not an isolated field, but rather a reflection of the society, culture, and environment. Therefore, you need to be aware of the current affairs and design trends that are relevant to the field of design. You need to read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites that cover topics such as politics, economy, sports, entertainment, fashion, technology, and social issues. You also need to follow the works and achievements of famous designers, artists, and innovators. This will help you broaden your knowledge, perspective, and vocabulary, as well as prepare you for the general awareness and interview sections of the design entrance exams.
Solve previous year papers and take mock tests
One of the best ways to prepare for design entrance exams is to solve previous year papers and take mock tests. This will help you familiarise yourself with the type, level, and pattern of questions asked in the exam. It will also help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, identify your mistakes, and improve your time management and accuracy. You can find previous year papers and mock tests online or in books and magazines. You should also review your performance and feedback after each test and work on your improvement areas.
Be creative and original
Design is all about creativity and originality. You need to showcase your unique style, personality, and vision in your designs. You need to avoid copying or imitating others’ works, as this will not only reduce your marks, but also harm your reputation. You need to think out of the box and come up with fresh and innovative ideas that solve the given design problem. You also need to justify your design choices and explain your design process and concept clearly and logically.
Prepare a portfolio and be confident during the studio test and interview
The final stage of design entrance exams is the studio test and interview, where you need to present your portfolio and demonstrate your practical skills and personality. Your portfolio is a collection of your best works that showcase your design skills, interests, and achievements. You need to prepare a portfolio that is relevant, impressive, and professional. You also need to be confident and prepared during the studio test and interview, where you may have to perform tasks such as model making, material handling, group discussion, and personal interaction. You need to be polite, positive, and honest, and express your passion and enthusiasm for design.
Follow a balanced and healthy routine
Last but not least, you need to follow a balanced and healthy routine while preparing for design entrance exams. You need to allocate sufficient time for study, revision, practice, and rest. You also need to take care of your physical and mental health, by eating well, sleeping well, exercising regularly, and avoiding stress. You need to stay motivated, focused, and positive, and avoid any distractions or negativity. You also need to seek guidance and support from your teachers, mentors, peers, and family, whenever needed.