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In the previous articles we have discussed about the renowned design institute in India – N. i. D. (NID), I. D. C. (IDC, IIT) and N. i. F. T. (NIFT) information was explained. If you want to pursue a degree in design (B.Des) or post-graduate (M.Des) in this institution, let’s know more about the educational qualifications required, the stages and format of the entrance exam and the selection criteria.

We have already mentioned in the previous article that design requires a proper combination of creativity and analytical ability. Therefore, the design entrance exam also primarily tests the students’ ability in both these aspects. As of now, there is no standard yardstick available to test the aptitude and aptitude needed to become a designer, so these entrance exams are also conducted in different ways by different design institutes.

Educational Qualification
Students should have completed 12th – Arts, Science or Commerce if they want to take admission in the Bachelor of Design (B.Des). Similarly 12th should have above 50% marks. Few organizations viz. I.I.T. If you want to get admission in Gauhatti then 12th science branch is required.

Deciding which branch to pursue in 11th for designing depends on the inclination and interest of the student. Which branch to take is a personal question of everyone and it cannot be combined with the possibility of getting admission in a reputed design institute.

Students must have passed Degree (12th + 4 years) in Engineering, Architecture or Arts for admission to Post Graduate (M.Des). A degree in Science or Commerce (12th + 3 years) is also acceptable for some specializations.


Format of Entrance Tests:
The format of these entrance exams varies slightly according to the thinking system and design philosophy of each design institute. Some organizations place more emphasis on creativity while others place comparatively more importance on analytical ability. These tests are conducted in two or three stages (see Figure 1) – 1. Written Examination (Computer/Paper Pencil) 2. Studio Test (Studio Test) 3. Portfolio and actual interview (Interview). Let’s take a look at each step.




  1. Written Exam
    This exam is of three hours duration and there are two types of questions in this phase exam.
    Part A – Questions are asked on general knowledge, awareness of surroundings and events, history of art and design, observation and social sensitivity, artistic approach and logical thinking ability. These questions are of multiple choice type.
    Part B – Questions are asked on visualization, sketching, creativity, problem solving of users, creating 3D structures. The question paper of Part A is taken online through computer or paper-pen medium while Part B requires writing the answers on paper itself as it requires diagrammatic composition. Check Brief Details of Exams of Three Important Design Institutions in India (Table No. 2)
  2. Studio Test
    Students who clear the written test are called to the design institute for the next phase of the test. The purpose of this test is to test how students think in a given time in different situations or show their creativity using a type of material (eg wood, aluminum wire, paper, bamboo, etc.).
    E.g. Design a tiffin box for kindergarten kids from paper in an hour or create objects/structures for interior decoration using bamboo strips and rubberbands. The studio test for a postgraduate (Master’s program) student varies according to their specialization.
    E.g. It could be something like creating a small scale replica based on an idea for product design or creating a character for animation.
  3. Portfolio and Interview
    This is a very important stage of the design entrance exam. For the past few years, this stage has been omitted by reputed design institutes for degree (B.Des) programmes. But many design firms decide at that time whether or not to conduct a face-to-face interview depending on the situation e.g. Last year due to corona situation, NID was not able to call students for studio test, so they called for digital portfolios of students and conducted online interviews.
    The purpose of these direct assessments is to understand the student in depth, to assess his mindset, how keen he is to learn design, and how he can fit in with the design philosophy of the institution. Of course, these interviews are very playful and self-doubting. However, this phase is mandatory for M.Des students. As per their specialization they have to give interview in front of various panels

In summary, some design institutes conduct their entrance exams in two stages and some in three stages. IIT B.Des. For design admission, however, UCEED is a single exam. The students who get the best marks in that exam get direct admission in the design department of IITs. For more information visit the websites of design institutes or visit and



Written by
Kiran Sabnis

Post Graduate in Design from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Over 25 years of experience in corporate and education sector