26 May 2014

How to start and what to practice for CEED Exam

Welcome back friends, It's been long since I posted any article; because of the fact that earlier was not the right time to post - as you might be busy with your academics or you might not be willing to start your preparation for CEED 2015 (because of time). Now - precisely speaking, CEED fever has already started ! Yes, many aspirants has started searching for CEED resources and are also in the process of selecting the topics that were supposed to act as a beginner preparation. Now the questions that most of you ask yourself are :
  1. Which topics to start for CEED 2015 ?
  2. My sketching level is below average, how to improve before the exam ?
  3. Which part of the sketching should I start ?
  4. When to start preparing for other topics ? (like aptitude/awareness, portfolio, interview topics etc.)
  5. What to skip (what not to practice) ?
  6. How to schedule my time everyday ?

These are the questions that might be confusing you. Well, friends don't fear. In this post I'm gonna cover all of the above questions giving necessary suggestions from my end for your smooth flow of practice. There is nothing like zero level of sketching because it's a fact that everybody has got some design talents hidden inside them, and even if one thinks that the so called zero level exists, then let me tell you one thing, such people can definitely improve their design talents with proper practice and most importantly with their self confidence and passion towards design !

You may also watch the video of this tutorial at the end of this section.

Here, you can go through strategic weekly timetable/schedule for CEED smooth practice

Understand the CEED process

CEED preparation is a four stage process (based on the pattern till 2014)
  1. Part - A preparation - Comprises of the following categories
  •  General awareness
  •  Mathematical and pictorial Aptitude
  •  Basic Design ability
  •  Observation and visualisation
   2.  Part - B preparation - Comprises of the following categories
  •  Basic and visual sketching (objective, perceptive and imaginative)
  •  Observation, problem Identification and problem solving
  •  Design think-ability - that relates mostly to the following streams : product/Industrial or Interaction Design, User Interface Design
  •  Visual communication design in the form of posters, logo
  •  Animation design in the form of comic strips, character framing etc
   3. Portfolio preparation
   4. Interview facing

The above four stages represents the complete process of CEED exam.

What topics to start for CEED 2015

Well, here comes the main content of this post. It's always better to start with basic sketching work. Most of you start with object sketching giving utmost care to shading and detailing. According to me, jumping straightly to the concept of detailing is not a good idea. To reach the top floor by taking say 10 steps, one has to start from the first step. Even if you are a good jumper (artists in comparison) you can at the most cross say four steps but not totally the ten steps, right ?, same funda applies to your sketch practice. Instead of jumping straight to the final stage of sketching, begin with the basic fundamental steps

Sketching work has the following stages:
  1. Representation in the form of basic geometry figures like circles, squares, lines etc (this step can be skipped in most cases as many don't prefer this !)
  2. Simple outline drawing; without any concern for details or shading
  3. Completing all the parts of the drawing
  4. Giving line details like - say detailed eyebrows, curves, projections etc
  5. Finally - shading or detailing the entire sketch

Some examples were shown below, just for your reference

(Source : blazedent)

(Source : katheringerdens)

As a beginner, you are suggested to concentrate mostly on the first four stages (mentioned above) following the given order. So, it's an intelligent way to start with simple basic sketching - what I call as 'line drawing' caring for the following factors :
  • Shape of the figure
  • Proportion of the sketch
  • Line quality

Remember; it's no use if you apply a mind blowing shadings or detailing for a proportion-less image ! Likewise there won't be much problem if you care less for shading with very good proportion of the image. Proportion here means, the size of the picture comparative to the surroundings. I had seen many students doing the mistake of not caring for the size of the picture. Below shows a sketch from one of my friend that supports what I'm saying. 

As you can see, the books on the desk appear more bigger than the rest of the objects, which in reality is not practical, right ? I can say the shading that has been given to that picture were in no use as the total picture went wrong. Now, I hope you understood the importance of size and proportions concept. So, better start practicing with simple line drawing - simple sketching minding the reality of the sketch, in other words actual proportions without much concern on detailing, clear ? Don't forget to practice the methods of sketching with different degrees of fineness - thickness and sharpness of lines wherever required. Try to learn : 'how to use different grade pencils' (viz. 2H, 2B, 4B grades), sometime after you start your initial practice. That will ease your sketching later !

I was talking mostly about sketch from the beginning, what about others ? Well, to be frank; only sketching and design thinking requires preparation right from the beginning while the rest like general awareness can be taken care later. While I suggest you to go through some geometrical aptitude questions from the start, the questions could be any of observation, visualisation or other geometrical questions. For your convenience, I'm giving you the list under this category :

  • Illusions
  • Isometrical views and projections
  • Hidden word and images findings
  • Patterns
  • Picture puzzles and
  • Mechanical and pictorial reasoning

Not all the above six topics appear directly in CEED exam, the main reason why I'm insisting you to go through the above topics is that these kind of questions would grow your lateral thinking power, that happened to be the most required quality for a CEED aspirant, especially to clear Part-A. Of course, as a designer one should have these kind of ability ! (I had given related exercises and topics in my earlier posts. You may refer to resource section of this blog. I will also try to post more resources in the coming days)

Learn here how to improve Creativity and Lateral thinking power with practice

Let's see what to do with GA (general awareness) study. Remember that, even when you go through awareness questions right from now, you need to revise the same before the exam as it is more or less like a theory subject. If you don't have related resources, then you should be caring about data collection, but most of the topics were covered in this blog and interestingly as you move on, you would notice that discussions on GA and cultural aspects will be carried in Facebook groups, forums as well as in some blogs. So, it's always advisable to skip your GA practice from the very beginning. Instead, schedule your GA study - may be before 45 days or (in most cases) before a month. That should work and of course it worked for many !

It's clear that preparation for interview could be carried after the declaration of results. So, you should not care about that until CEED exam. Next comes Portfolio generation. You will be getting more than two months time between the exam and the interview date. I can say, that time is more than enough for anybody to work on portfolio. While I recommend you to save all your practice exercises (that could be sketches, designs or any other creative exercises) for future use. Your practice works might ease you as well as aid you with your portfolio preparation. A combination of your practice works would provide you some bunch of ideas !

The left discussion is about Design thinking and creative idea generation. These topics really require considerable time to improve and we cannot develop design thinking skills overnight. So, you need to parallelly start your preparation for design and creative thinking along with your sketch practice. The thumb rule is to take any day to day product or activity and analyze the following :
  • The current design - why it is so ?
  • What are the problems with that existing design ?
  • What changes can be made in that ?
  • Any new/alternate ideas ?
  • Possible alternate uses of that product 
  • What more can be included in the design ?
  • Any drawbacks of the new design ?

The list goes on. It's upto you - to think laterally on any selected product. For example, you may consider say your own wrist watch and analyze it for the above points. Make a note of the ideas and if possible put your imaginative thoughts in paper (simple rough sketches). Like this, you are advised to make everyday; a design analysis for day-to-day regular surrounding things - whatever things that strikes your mind or that appears to your eyes. Remember, It's very easy for you to find faults in others work than faults in self work, same goes with others. Others (friends, instructors, family or even children !) are good judges for your work. They may give you appropriate suggestions, changes or any other additional to be made in your's. Most of the time, we learn from the mistakes and there's no harm in making mistakes even if you are doing mistakes in every assignment !

By understanding 'WHAT NOT TO BE DONE' in every exercise, you are upgrading yourself and it is the true knowledge that will stay with you forever. So, I advise you to share any of your design works with your friends or especially so called groups (Facebook groups and forums) and get feedback from others. Your work will inspire others to start their own and of course your ideas will be a lesson to group-mates. Likewise you need to analyze the mistakes in others designs/sketches too. You might also learn others ideas; so that the process would assume two way - with gain to both ! 

Don't make others fear with your outstanding artistic works. If you are an artist, then save your mind blowing works with yourself. The thing is if you post such kind of hi-fi works in groups, then others might get misguided, they assume falsely that the standard for CEED would be to that hi-fi level and so they may lose their confidence. I had seen many people getting disappointed as they are not catching up with that level of works.

CEED exams are designed to test mostly your design ability and sketching work matters next. Even one who is below average in sketching gets good score in the exam. I'm the best example for this case. So, what I want to say is, just share or post design/sketch works, the level of which is sufficient enough to meet CEED standard. Show your artistic skills after getting seat in M.Des !

Well, I had included a number of everyday design thinking as well as practice exercises in this blog. You may take an exercise everyday and try to solve it as per the question. I will be giving my suggestions and answers to that questions in the coming days, so that you may cross check your's.

Finally, Let me wrap-up the above discussions in the form of simple points :

  1. Set a timetable and schedule properly on how much time to spend for what topics - strategic weekly timetable/schedule for CEED smooth practice 
  2. Practice initially simple sketching minding proportions, shape, size and line quality - How to learn sketching step-by-step (beginners guide) and the sketching level required for CEED exam
  3. Give last preference to shading and detailing works
  4. Skip General awareness practice; right from the beginning - Plan before a month or 45 days for GA
  5. Improve your Creativity and Lateral thinking power with practice
  6. Practice lateral thinking and geometrical aptitude exercises from around the web
  7. Everyday - observe and analyze for problems in the existing products - Practice exercises here
  8. If possible, ASSUME/CREATE problems
  9. Evaluate alternate uses of surrounding products
  10. Look objects and everything surrounding you in perceptive way, to improve your sketching skills - Learn here how - in CEED tips page
  11. Think crazily and do mistakes while designing. Get feedback from others
  12. Think like a child but act like an adult
  13. Don't forget to learn from the mistakes. Try to avoid similar mistakes day-by-day - Learn here some mistakes to be avoided
  14. Analyse others works and give suggestions from your end in-order to self-improve ! 
  15. Practice everyday design and creative exercises - Collection of exercises
  16. Skip portfolio and interview preparations until exam

These are the 15 points that I wished to bring before you - for your smooth CEED practice. Hope this helps you. Feel free to comment below regarding your views or suggestions about this articles. 

Here is a video tutorial that covers all the above topics nicely -

All the best with your start !

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  1. Thank you so much..i think this is very systematic approach towards CEED preparation.

  2. how to develop problem solving skills and design skills(i am good at imagning things but unable to put it on paper)what shud i do fr this

    1. If you are good at imagining but poor at communicating things in paper, then I hope you should work on 'WAYS OF SKETCHING' - that's because when you know how to sketch (in different angles) - you would find it easy to show your thoughts.

      The best thing is to practice - sketching of as many products/objects/views that may either

      1. Strike your mind - imagined
      2. Came across in day to day activity

      Start sketching simple-simple things and then later move towards advanced imaginative sketches. Don't forget to practice perceptive way of observing things, that will improve your design skills. For people of your kind, I suggest that you better understand and work on ISOMETRIC sketching - I mean sketching the same object/product in different views, angles etc

      Ok, here is my way of dealing in such situations. If say I want to design a bike, then I will

      1. First - sketch a bike by seeing (copying)
      2. Doing this by taking four to five different bikes - preferably in different views/angles
      3. Now memorizing the sketched images
      4. Try to sketch the memorized images by own imagination roughly.
      5. Later go for my own imaginative idea or design and put them in paper

      This is how I relate communication and design !

      Here is my strategy on how to improve perceptive way of visualizing objects in order to improve sketching (check the sketching subheading of the post) - Initial tips for CEED Exam preparation

      Hope this helps :)

  3. Hey Bhanu Chander and Sri Krishna, really great and very helpful article. Feeling lucky to find this one. Thank you so much :)

  4. Hey Bhanu,
    Great blog, very helpful. I just wanted to ask a questions though.
    How do we know what areas are we good at and what we need to improve related to CEED course?

    Can I mail you my other doubts? I have lot of them. It would be great if you could help me out a bit.


    1. Hello Manuj,

      Thank you for the comment.
      Okay, the best way to get to know where you are good at and what you need to improve is by going through previous question papers. Try to give solution to the CEED previous papers (especially CEED 2012-14 papers, design part), that would help you understand - where you need to improve and in what you are good at.

      Yes, you may mail me your doubts, although I always prefer to receive queries by way of blog comments. Clearing doubts through mails will only you, but clearing your doubts through this comments will be helping many !

      I will be happy to help you anytime :)

  5. Can you give us any resources to start with Sketching exercises?

    1. Hello Navin,

      I've already included some good number no. of pdf downloadable files as part of sketch practice. You may check under the sketch section of this link - Resources on sketching practice

      In addition, here are my simple collection of examples for everyday practice
      Perception sketching practice
      Step by step sketching examples

      Anyway, I have plans on making a video on guiding 'How to learn sketching step by step for CEED exam' - giving utmost details for easy understanding. I will be working on it very soon.

      Hope that helps !

  6. thanx bhanu...its great stuff in here.....y dont you write a book down.....
    book might reach people who do not hv d internet access...

    1. Thank you too Sandy. And writing book ? Most of the topics are internt based, and so I neglected thinking about book publishing. Let me see, if time permits, I will check that, thank you anyway for the initiation :)

  7. Thanks alot.....
    Can you provide some stuff regarding GA.....

  8. .what are the scopes for civil engineering students in design field

    1. It really doesn't matter whether you are a civil/mechanical or any other branch graduate, Whenever someone starts a design course, it's just like fresh start, starting from scratch - may be you will taught right from the basics of the subject !

      what matters is 'You are Engineer' and you really need to check your interests towards design. As per me, civil engineers can look for architectural designs rather than normal designs (through CEED). Do answer yourself the following questions

      1. Why I'm looking for design - just for some career or passion ?
      2. What is my interest rate ?
      3. Don't I have opportunities in Civil engineering ?
      4. What is my level of design thinking and do I have interest in sketching ?
      5. What particular design stream suits me ?

      Answer these question, and you yourself would come to know whether design is suited or not.

      Here is a broad definition and comparison of Design for engineers and ordinary design - Design in Engineering and aesthetic context. Is that suits you ?

  9. can i crqck ceed by 2 months of full hard work , i am gud a desgining i really wang to crack it

    1. Yes you can and with full hard and smart learning, you would definitely clear CEED exam for sure. Good luck :)

  10. thank you very much for this article...it will be really helpful for those who are preparing for CEED...and one more thing are there any good reference books for preparing CEED ? and also any good institutions for coaching ? actually coaching is it necessary..?

    1. Unfortunately there are no specific preparation materials or book for CEED, but some are there for NID, although I'm not sure to what extent those books are useful and regarding coaching institution - I would advise you to go through the following link and see the reply to 5th question. You may also get your doubts clarified in this link

      CEED and other design exam doubts answered

      Hope this helps :)


  11. Hi Bhanu ,

    I had a query regarding CEED and it would be great to get your response on it.

    How does the negative marking work in CEED and what is the number of questions we need to get right in PART A to qualify(approx) .
    And also what is the qualifying rank for the design schools.

    Thanks in advance :)

    1. Certain sections have negative marking while some sections don't have them. You may check this official CEED brochure to get more details about negative marking. Also there is no number count of how many questions to attempt. It depends on how many questions you attempted, and out of which which is correct and which is wrong. CEED cutoff is usually greater than 20. So, based on this, you may go accordingly. AIR below 700 are good enough to get into any of top desig institutes.

  12. When are we supposed to make portfolio? And shd they be made?

  13. How and when is one supposed to make their portfolio?

  14. When are we required to choose the course(Product Design/Animation etc) offered ? It is not asked while filling up the online form?
    Thank-You in advance :)

    1. CEED is a common exam and is not design specific. So, your application will not ask your choice of stream as of now. BUt once you clear the exam, and when you apply for institutes separately, then the institutes ask you about choice of streams and their preferences. Only at that time (and of course during interview) you need to specify your stream choice. So, just go ahead and prepare for exam.

  15. hi:) im an instrumentation engineer. and confused between taking up a job and pursuing a masters degree in designing..probably in industrial designing coz that would keep me linked to my field. but what would be the job oppurtunities after pursuing the masters degree in designing. also im confused as to which field in designing should be chosen keeping in my that im an engineer.

    1. I suspect that design in mdes sense is mostly related to products in public sense and yes of course in industrial sense too, but instrumentation filed is bit different and I don't think, mdes covers this area. Job opportunities will be like developing products for companies that are mostly user based like I mentioned earlier. Industrial needs are met but again I doubt instrumentation is covered or not. You may do one thing, go through the Industrial design course module and check the subjects and syllabus covered as part of the schedule. Probably tang should help u.

  16. Hi.. i am an Electronics Engineer. I have completed senior diploma in Drawing and had a decent score in NATA exam. I am inclined towards drawing and want to pursue a career in the same. But little confused about how to make it during these 2 months of preparation. Can you suggest how to make use of the time efficiently to score well and also when will the stream selection be done? Do we have some specific preparation material?

    1. If you have read this post/page, then I think your doubt would have cleared by now. Anyway let me put again, since you're gud at sketching, you have very little work to do and 2 months time is more than sufficient for good practising. Spare couple of hours everyday and work mostly on design ideas and Part A non-GA type questions. If you're working, then also u can spend some hours weekly and cover topics with ease. Design ideas are more imp. in ceed, than object sketching, so be prepared for that. Try to cover Part A in a span of 1 month.

      Stream selection can be done after CEED exam - when you're applying for individual institutes (say in the month of Jan) after the results are declared. So, you don't have to worry now.

  17. helo sir this is kapil btech passout from CSE, sir this year im preparing for ceed 2016 and only one month left and im preparing for it since last 4 months so sir i got to knw about myself tht i have good in imagination but average drawing skills and speed is also average and i have very good ideas in product designing but im frm computer background so i dnt have much mechanical knowledge and i have also very good imagination in stories for human anatomy animation but not good fit for animal sketching and last i want to say im very good in communication but in my coaching i have low level in sketching. and in my coaching they dnt do much focus on part-A and on interaction design;i want to ask what should i do in this last month? im very confused right now.

    1. prepare well in topics that u r good at, Part A is very imp, so u cannot neglect, don't try to cover all design streams, practically it's not feasible, since u r from cse dept, animation, story making suits, n u also can do on PD, communication, but ur sketching skills shld not be slow, try to practice as many design ques as possible.

  18. sir is it good to use mechanical pencil for sketching in the exam ?

    1. yes, u can, but mostly prefer regular pencils over mech pencils, use mech pencils for initial rough sketching or line drawings. Anyway, it depends on your proficiency. If u r convenient with the later, go ahead.

  19. Will I be able to crack CEED 2017 if I start preparation now, I come from architecture background.

    1. yes, u can, all depends on ur further prep and will power. Just go ahead

  20. hi sir, i am Monika graduated from NIFT . first of all i want to say that your blog is really very helpful ..thank you so much .
    i have a good imagination in cartoon character design but dont know how to
    start with story writing . could you please share some thing more about animation for CEED. i am really confused how to prepare for animation.. please give me some guideline how to precede.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. CEED is a common entrance exam and the exam will not be held on stream basis. So, u need to prepare for the exam as a general; as if u r giving a general design exam. So, preparing only for animation will not help u. You need to practice for at least two/three diff design stream related questions.
      Once u get into nay insti for mdes, u can develop ur skills. Anyway, below posts shld help those aiming for animation
      Improving story writing skills

      Tips on animation design from Riya Gupta

  21. Thank you very much.Interesting as well as informative stuff. I have done diploma and engineering in cse. I doubt whether I'm eligible for ceed or not. It's mentioned that only 4 years of degree in any stream is allowed. But I was a lateral entry student.Please help me out

    1. I think u r eligible, I saw in brochure that any one with (3 + 2) years after (10+2) are eligible. They also mentioned diploma specifically in their eligibility criteria. You can chk pg.8 of the below link as a further confirmation


  22. You are truly a star! marvelous data collection..thank u soo much

  23. Imagine a scene from a cookery show. The chef has just placed a pressure cooker on a two-burner gas stove. Draw a freehand perspective drawing of this setup.

    in this type of questions do we need to draw human figure also ? or just setup they ask, like here cooker on stove

    1. you need to draw all the elements of their listing, since they've mentioned about the chef, you should show him too. Remember they've mentioned specifically as Chef instead of a person.

  24. Hi Sir, I am CEED Aspirant. I am trying to prepare for CEED as Well as working in a company. I have been trying to manage studies with my job, but now when less than a month is left for the CEED exam and less than 2 weeks for NID exam, i am feeling nervous, as I feel I have not been able to study well till now. This is my third attempt, and I really want to clear this exam. for the last two attempts, I even quit my job, but feeling scared to do so again. Is there any way , or set strategy i could apply to prepare properly to clear this exam in less than one months time? For both the last 2 attempt, i could clear part a but not part B. BUt now that so less time is left, I feel i cant ignore any part despite of the fact i cleared part a both the times.
    Plz Help, feeling extremely nervous rt now. N also suggest, is it advisable to put the job n other thing aide n take some crah core or something?

    1. hi,
      I appreciate your continuous effort to clear the exam. Good thing is you were able to clear Part A earlier, without much practice!
      Which clearly tells that you must be good at aptitude and GA skills. So you're already safe that you got time to spare for part B rather than part A. What i think is u need to generate more design ideas and work on sketching things. I'm not sure whether any crash course would help you at this time (u said two weeks left) since even if u take crash course, it's ultimately ur sketch/design practice that helps u get good score. And I'm sure you already know the sketch level required for CEED, I've already mentioned that above also.
      My suggestion is start doodling things right away, u don't have to leave ur work, but spend less time for ur official works. If you've casual or sick leaves left for this year, utilize that and take leaves for weekends. Sit back at home and practice for hours. I think it will help you. I suggest you to send any of your initial works to me so that I can guide you further based on ur level. You can drop to my inbox in G+ or FB. No point in feeling nervous as u can tune urself easily. At this time even if u don't have sketch or any other skills, it's must that u need to have confidence :)
      Good luck

    2. Thank you so much Sir for your reply and such encouragement. I will surely send you my design practice works,Sketches that I have already made or will be making now. I think starting with the question papers will be a good idea. I really hope I am able to utilize the left time and work with confidence. Thanks so much for your support Sir, your reply really helped gain some confidence again :)


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