5 November 2016

NID-DAT syllabus - List of topics to be covered

Last year (2015), we deduced syllabus for DAT exam based on the three headings, as given in NID official brochure: 
  1. Knowledge based question test
  2. Comprehension based test and
  3. Analytical and Reasoning based questions
Based on the above three topic headings, I had shared materials (resources) on the page - NID-DAT topics and resources. While the brochure hadn't elaborated on the type of questions to be covered or any sample test, we came up with the above collections for self-preparation. Now that they have updated a sample test paper in their (NID) official webpage for this year (2016), it's more convenient for us to figure out the kind of questions asked and the pattern that they follow. Let me update you with the topics or areas that you need to focus for objective part. I suppose subjective part is easily identifiable every year. I, therefore, focus on objective part in this post.

  • Unlike CEED/UCEED DAT exams, NID DAT seems to cover more on GK (I mean GK, and not GA on design). 
  • Also, only basic math questions are likely to be asked rather than aptitude level questions as asked in other DAT exams like UCEED. So, no need to dig deeply (study intensively) into math aptitude part. Basic knowledge is however recommended. 
  • Below lists are based on my observation of sample test paper and have been shared just for your benefit. Some of these topics might or might not directly impact your preparation but most probably they will help you to face any design exams. And most importantly below list is not exhaustive (complete). Still, more topics have to be added that I will try to update whenever something strikes my mind.

Downloadable PDF - A complete list of SYL links for NID-DAT exam (sitemap) 

Topics list

General topics

  • Color schemes
  • Mirroring
  • Background on civilization, revolutions, archeology 
  • Knowledge about various measurement 'Index' in Indian context (index for measurements like GDP, inflation etc)
  • Doodles - concept behind designer related doodles
  • Knowledge on print/packaging standard, logos/symbols representations like 'disposable', 'recyclable', R -registered, trademarks, copyrights etc
  • Basic idea about materials used for daily products, process of manufacturing products
  • Pug marks, patterns on animal skins, footprints etc, Biology symmetry
  • Geographical knowledge about countries, places etc
  • Logos of Indian brands and government department, institutes etc 
  • Odd man out series
  • Paper cuts, pattern fitting, image manipulations
  • Pictorial Mensuration
  • Properties of materials like iron, solids, plastic, wood, rubber etc
  • Inertia concepts, how solid and hollow objects behave. 
  • Mechanical ability
  • Reasoning
  • Inference from pictures. correct word representing the meaning from the given image.
  • conclusion drawing from paragraphs, images etc
  • Basic solid Shapes (as in mathematics), and their properties (number of surfaces/faces, edges, corners etc)
  • Basic mathematical aptitude (simple formulae and mensuration concepts)
    Image patterns, observation - finding patterns/match from similar/different small shapes. 
  • Shadows
  • Probability
  • Aesthetics
  • Riddles/puzzles
  • Paper cutting, folding etc

Design topics:

Terms and techniques related to 
  • weaving/stitching
  • construction
  • pottery
  • Building 
  • Architecture
  • Principals and Fundamentals of Prototyping (modeling), related terms, techniques, media and tools used, basic knowledge on materials for prototype making, steps followed, 
  • basic knowledge on molding and crafting. Crafting media, tools, related terms etc, theory on black box 
  • Terms, techniques, methods, movies (famous as well as related) in Animation related movies
  • step-by-step animation process 

General GK and GA

  • GK on generally (day-to-day) used products/objects/things, gadgets, appliances, vegetables
  • Knowledge about books, authors, great personalities including sports, politicians, designers, revolution activist etc
  • Epics and Renaissance
  • Form of products, regularly used things like vegetables etc
  • GK on environment and pollution - terms, categories, methods, ideas, 
  • GA about paintings/art - statewise as well as glimpse on international art
  • Terms and techniques related to sculpturing, webpage design,
  • GK fact on sciene, earth, findings,  
  • Full forms of famous abbreviations (like UNESCO etc)
  • GK on natural disasters ioccured in history, including recent one's especially in India
  • Roots/source of famous writings, books (like 'Amar charithra', panchatantra, Jataka tales, tinkle etc)
  • Symmetry in biology
  • GK on books published through designers/design teaching professors basein IIT's/NID 
  • GA on Art/Media, Font, linguistic, 

  • English Comprehension, completing sentences, 
  • deducing meaningful statements from paragraphs

Since most of you can have access to aptitude and reasoning books, cost of which is comparatively less than any NID/UCEED/CEED books, I, therefore, list out the topics from those books.  I will list out the topics with their ranking in brackets. A very high rank (high being 5) means you are advised to prepare to the full for that topics, and a very low rating (low being 1), means you are advised not to spend much time on that and any rating in between means you are advised to give importance accordingly (time).

Verbal Reasoning
  • Syllogism (5)
  • Logical Sequence of Words (1)
  • Blood Relation Test (2)
  • Series Completion (2)
  • Cause and Effect (3)
  • Dice, Venn Diagrams (1)
  • Cube and Cuboid (3)
  • Analogy (2)
  • Seating Arrangement (3)
  • Character Puzzles (4)
  • Direction Sense Test (5) 
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (2)
  • calendar (2)
Non Verbal Reasoning
  • Series (4)
  • Analogy (4)
  • Classification (5)
  • Analytical Reasoning (5)
  • Mirror Images & Water Images (4)
  • Embedded Images (2)
  • Pattern Completion  (5)
  • Figure Matrix (3)
  • Paper Folding (5)
  • Paper Cutting (5)
  • Rule Detection (4)
  • Grouping of Images (3)
  • Shape Construction (2)
  • Image Analysis (4)
  • Cubes and Dice (4)

Aptitude topics  - Average, Area, menstruations, odd man out series, height and distance, speed, trains, 

Overall, apart from memory related questions like GK, GA etc, most questions are every day appearing common sense based and hence it calls for lot of observation from your end, apart from searching for some materials offline or online. So, start observing your surrounding things/products, and try to answer some of your own questions. I will try to gather relevant materials in my next post, covering some/most of the above topics.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, above list is purely base don my analysis of the sample test paper and hopefully, all the topics are been of concern for NID DAT exam. And this list is still not complete and needs to be added with more topics. If you find something missing, you can always leave comment below for others benefit.


  1. Are final year students eligible to apply for NID DAT 2017 for MDes?

    1. i am doing bsc 3rd am i eligible for mdes?

    2. Hello sir,
      Thanks for this amazing material.
      It will be great if you'll upload solved sample paper of NID Mdes 2017.

  2. thankyou sir for posting a great material. plz can u suggest some of the books for GK and GA where we can get some of these topics. Currently i'm reading Manoroma Yearbook. i'm confusing about preparation. plz help me.
    1 more question:
    Is it important to be an expert sketching for NID preparation. i'm good at sketching
    plzz sir. i'm in so trouble and stress. cant understanding how i must prepare.

    1. Manorama book alone will not help in. You need to go thru several materials. You can find related books or materials according to the above syllabus list that i gave. I've already started collecting materials based on the above syllabus. Will share as soon as I'm done with that.
      Yes, one need to be good at sketching for NID. After all, it's a design exam. I think expert level is not mandatory, instead, try to be more creative and ideastic with design in mind. No need to stress.

  3. Any word for Film & Video Communication Discipline ? Have not found any success stories for FVC in NID :(
    Thanks !

  4. sir only few days left now and I am really stressed. Although i am good in sketchin, i am really stressed about the theory part. is it possible to cover these topics now, only in 20 days?

    1. Ya, it's possible, since u r already good at sketching. better focus more on GK and facts about India, design, current affairs etc. No need to be stressed.

  5. Thanks a million..u are helping the aspirants a lot...since there are few days left say 14 days and I will have my board practicals within these 14 days too n I have to make charts and models for my practicals of physics n chemistry... I am just stressed and confused about my preparation I don't know what should I do for myself but I am just passionate and cam do anything for entering into nid or iitb...it's like a challenge for me...I am an average student ..average in sketching poor in ga gk I suppose..I am expecting 80% in my boards... I just have to crack nid plz help me with questions suggestions and ur advice...unfortunately I might from general category..

    1. try doodling whatever comes into mind for less time, but moslty attempt to solve some design and creative problems giving your reasoning, writing etc. GA/GK topics can't be avoided n it's painful to say that topics r wide n diverse. Choose some selected topics (especially about current affairs and about design related) and study on it. That's all I can suggest.

  6. sir i was able to score 40.5 out of firs 70 marks in 2016 dat without any studying in which out of first 44 question i was able to answer only 12, but when it came to subjective questions i think my performance is very poor.please guide me how prepare as so less time is left
    i good in sketching but i a little weak when it comes to creativity

  7. Replies
    1. Hello Ateel,

      when it comes to NID, creativity n sketch works matters. While attaining idea skills is not a one night process, but going through others work n understanding their ideas is one thing that u can do i nthis short duration. Also since u r good at sketching, better spend less time from now, spend time to d othe following activity
      1. take a design problem n understand the question, try guvug ur written answers to it,
      2. check similar solutions by others,
      3. compare n feel which one is better, if others solution looked better, see where u missed.

      Take as many design questions and also take time to list out the problems in that, solutions that u suggest etc. Also, practice story writing coz story generation is imp in NID.
      U can check the following links for practice

      NID subjective help

      Design questions for everyday practice - http://stuffyoulook.blogspot.com/2013/11/design-thoughts-for-every-day.html

    2. thanks a lot sir your stuff made dat easy for me

    3. now i am looking to UCEED can you help me to in making a plan for 10 days

    4. Sir please help !
      i am not getting a proper mock test for UCEED any were

  8. Sir, Can you post some material related to properties of matter if possible?
    By matter I mean goods made of wood, iron, rubber , glass etc?

  9. hi, firstly thanks a ton for your website. It proves to be of great help!
    Going by this years's NID sample paper, can we expect the same pattern (ie. 88 Objective type and 3 subjective type) of the final paper that is going to take place this 8 jan or it could be different?

  10. Please sir, reply about the sample paper whether it is for UG OR PG?

  11. sir, it is very difficult to get information regarding the topics you have given for NID......i am totally lost in the ocean of vast information give in the internet .....could u please help sir !

    1. some of them are available here -


  12. do NID b.des and m.des entrance test have the same name(DAT)? If yes, then how can i search for guidance on m.des online. Most sample papers do not clearly mention which course is it for m.des or b.des. Please help, I need guidance for m.des, I have about 2 years for preparation.

    1. yaa, they both have the same name. Actually until last year, it was tough to get previous papers, but thankfully NID considered providing previous papers in their website itself from this year. For mdes, u can find sample papers online.

  13. Hi sir
    Sir which is the best coaching centre for preparation of NID exam in Delhi?

    1. Hi, I really did't got reviews about coaching centers. Not pretty sure. Sorry. But go thru the below link if that helps


  14. Sr I'm Amit I passed 12th in 2013 ND my current age is 18+ so should I eligible for b. Des in NID

  15. Are the topics same every year ? Like I want to appear this year for exam so the topics will be same or more? And do you have any idea about the scholarships programme? Does nid provide scholarships?

  16. How do you known so much about designing exarms????

  17. I am not that good in fast sketching..how can u help me ?

  18. Hello Sir
    Hope you are good!
    I have cleared the entrances of Avantika (ujjain), UID, SRISHTI, WOXEN, SID for bdes.i want to do product design.
    I m confused between all the colleges ..I m getting mixed responses about Avantika and uid .. people say they are new colleges so not that good..I need your help regarding this..I want you to rank these clgs from best to good to not so good..so that I get clarity about this and can finalize my admission there. Please help me with that sir.
    Thank you

    1. Yes, both are new and it’s tough to suggest out of the given two options. Had you have considered Shristi, MIT and like private institutes, I would’ve given you my opinions. But these two are neutral and so I don’t dare to suggest without proper insights. Please compare the lab facilities, placement options and even about professors of the two insti. I think that comparison should help u.

    * I have completed my B.arch in 2017. As from july 2018, I am starting
    my preparation for NID and CEED 2019 exams along with my JOB.So i
    want to know that are these FIVE MONTHS enough for preparation from
    now on wards ?
    * How should i proceed for preparation ?
    * The syllabus described by you can be covered in five months ?
    * I am not able to find NID previous year question papers. Where can i
    get hem from ?

  20. sir is it important to shade or colour in nid exam??is it more preferred to shade or colour?i will be giving the exam this coming year and therefore looking into you blog has been an immense help,i am reallyy confused on what to sketch on dailly basis ,for practice means and for the portfolio.i am good at sketching but a beginner in shading and colouring,i am really gratefull for your blog for us aspirants,will be looking for your guidance in future,thank you.

  21. I am an architecture student of 2nd year ,I tried for nift,nid,uceed,nata .I secured good marks in nata ,but I want to do my m.design by attempting ceed,nid,nift ,I was confused by seing the syllabus can I get all in one pdf Sir

  22. I can’t open downloadable pdf link ! Any help please ?

  23. Sir I want a complete guide for nid. Or get me the list of books have nid subjects

  24. Sir at least suggest me a book acc to above topics

  25. hai sir this pdf is not downloaded

  26. Sir I am good at sketching and painting only from now I have one and a half month what part I learn more


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