Everyone who dreams of making a career in designing understands from the beginning that it’s a very different career choice than the conventional ones. When other students are dreaming of getting through IITs, AIIMS and DU, a future designer dreams of getting through the likes of NIFT and NID. But though it may be a common misconception that it is easier to get through these institutes than our renowned IITs, the past years have seen this myth being busted and people becoming more aware that it is not exactly a cake walk. Moreover, students nowadays are more aware and attracted towards the unconventional career choices and do not shy away from pursuing them. But cracking these entrance exams needs just as much of dedication and hard work and lots of creative genius. Without a single minded focus, getting into these colleges is next to impossible.
So what exactly makes these entrance exams for the renowned designing institutes a difficult task to crack? What exactly are these institutes looking for in a student? Can the aptitude be developed or it just comes naturally from within? To be honest, it is a perfect blend of the two. You need an eye for creativity but should also have a fairly good aptitude. You cannot ignore any of these two facets. Students should start preparing for both from Class 12th as these institutes conduct their exams during the month of January. Every institute follows a different criterion for admission into their courses but primarily they judge the candidate on his/her creative aptitude and out of the box thinking.
NIFTs are the most prestigious government designing institutes in India. They conduct their own entrance exam in the month of January which includes GAT (General Aptitude Test) and CAT (Creative Aptitude Test). They test the students on their knowledge, skills and aptitude. On the basis of their result, the students are called for a Situation Test following which they are admitted to the institutes on the basis of merit. NIDs follow a different pattern of entrance examinations to their courses. They only stress on the creativity area. There are three stages of entrance exams- Design Aptitude Test (DAT), Studio Test and Personal Interview. Students who clear all three stages are admitted into the institute.
On the whole, a student is tested on all parameters and we need to pay attention to both. Building one’s aptitude while practicing various creativity tests would help a student prepare for the entrance. A streamlined and dedicated approach needs to be adopted to prepare for the exams. The exams test you on your understanding of colors, texture, shapes and your drawing skills. Also a student should start working on his/her portfolio as it always helps to get some designs ready for the interview for it may provide an extra edge. The situation test is a tricky part as the students are not used to handling the materials and prepare a model in a short span of time. It is always advised that some classes are taken to prepare for the situation test and get familiar with the materials and the kind of questions expected. Also it will help the students increase their visualization power to be able to create a model first in the mind and then work towards it.
These days everything is available on the internet. Students should always read about the design industry and its functioning. They should read about the personalities who made it big in their career and what sets them apart which turned them into big labels. A thorough knowledge about the career you’re choosing is important.
A clear minded thinking and a goal specific approach would help in getting through these entrance exams. All it needs is focus and continuous hard work and we will see more of the likes of Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Shabnam Gupta and Nitya Bajaj.

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