13 October 2018

NID MDes CDAT - new pattern from 2018 - what is it all about ?


NID this time has introduced a new pattern for the MDes prelims exam. They mentioned that the exam will have CDAT - Common Design Aptitude Test. Apart from that, the candidate has to give stream specific exam too. That does mean that the syllabus for stream specific exam would be different from the regular CDAT. Here, I will try to give the pros and cons in addition to giving some tips as usual. (At the end of this page, I've given a link to a new post with the syllabus/topics on faculty wise basis. You might find it useful.)
I believe the notion of CDAT is pretty clear to you. It's nothing but the regular DAT patter, that includes syllabus like design aptitude, basic math and aptitude part and on a day to day design basics and a large part of GK and general observation question. If you've gone through the previous years NID exams or had gone through previous years question papers, then you would've got the clear picture of the syllabus and the question types being asked. So, let's not discuss much about CDAT. What is bothering you (and me as well) is the stream specific exam. Though some of you might find it as an advantage, this pattern change would impose pressure on the rest. Pressure in the sense - going an extra mile of preparing additional topics in addition to CDAT syllabus. You must have noted the increase in exam time too. That gives a clue to us that there would be a considerable percentage of stream specific topics in the exam. It is still not clear whether that is going to be subjective or objective or mix of both. But, I advise you to prepare for both - subjective (designing/sketching) as well as objective part.

One advantage I can foresee is that you don't have to prepare for universal topics - I mean you don't have to cover all the streams basics, like for example, if you are applying for apparel then you don't have to take the pain of refreshing universal design basics. So, you could focus on stream (faculty specific to be more precise) specific topics.  

The disadvantage is you might need to dig deep into the topics to get a detailed knowledge of the faculty (under which your applied stream falls) you've applied. According to me, this change in pattern is to test your preliminary knowledge of the subject you're applying for. In other words, to check if you're eligible for that specific design stream. Note that this is more or less similar to NID DAT mains except that there won't be portfolio check or an interview, just the test, though you might need to go through the whole streams that come under the chosen faculty) That being said, you can figure out an advantage with this! Your preparation for your prelims would reduce your burden for your mains. So, you would be having an upper hand by the time you reach the mains. 

So, in a nutshell, consider this as an advantage and get prepared for the stream specific topics with enthu. If you ask me, I would say that there is nothing bad in this pattern change, especially if you're a real design lover of that specific stream and if you developed hobbies on that. Surely, such talent will get evaluated with this pattern change. In the previous years, I had seen countless students having a good grip on a stream but got rejected during prelims (for even twice) because of the notion of a common design exam. I'm sure those students will feel happy if they come to hear about the stream specific exam. 

Assuming that you're now convinced with the pattern change and are already ready to start your preparation, the topic that matters now is what syllabus to be covered for the stream specific exam? We need to have a good analysis before trying to take up something as preparation. For this, NID previous years papers are a good start to categorize the common and stream specific question. We can get an idea of the LEVEL of knowledge required for the stream specific study, though, I would say, you need to go an extra mile. 

Like for example, if you're applying for Ceramic and Glass design, which falls under 'Faculty of Industrial Design,' you would need to brush your knowledge on the whole disciplines that fall under this faculty - Ceramic and glass design, Furniture & Interior design, Product design, Toy and Game design, Transportation and automobile design, Universal design (list of disciplines that fall under a specific faculty is given in NID DAT official website. You can check that PDF). Considering only Ceramic and Glass Design, you would have to study the following topics
  • pottery, 
  • ceramic materials, 
  • types of materials, 
  • making process (hand and machinery - just an overview and knowledge on technique names for the types), 
  • uses, 
  • Evoluation (old to new), 
  • India-specific or state specific typical customary designs, 
  • world wide ceramic presence and their trends 
  • Revolution (if any) etc.
And for say Product design, you might need knowledge on these:
  • A particular product and its application/uses
  • Famous product designers
  • Terminologies used in say prototyping, product manufacturing process etc.

And the list goes.
(I will try to add stream-wise topics to be covered for some of the streams in my coming post sometime later)

So, with the list that you've prepared, you can start preparing on that. Note that the list above is for the objective part only. It was mentioned in the NID official page that NID prelims has a mix of both subjective and objective. So, to be on safer side and because we didn't have any previous paper on this pattern change, you better get prepared for stream specific design subjective part apart from the standard preparation like 
  • object/scenario sketching
  • Writing/story-making
  • Creative ideas/uses/methods of concerned products/services
  • Problem solving in general.

Alright, I'm done here. I hope you got some idea and also some confidence in facing the exam.

NID MDes faculty wise topics/syllabus list

P.S.: Whatever written on this page is based on my analysis. It need not be 100% correct. The intention of this is to help the students get an idea - as the exam has a new pattern without prior available material.

Drop in comments if you've any thoughts about the change or share your thoughts on the syllabus or topics SUPPOSED to be covered for a specific design stream. 

All the best :) 
- Bhanu 


  1. Dear sir , it's specified int the notification that " The M.Des. DAT prelims paper comprising of a
    CDATand a faculty-specific Domain Test, which together evaluate
    the Design aptitude of the candidate. The word “Faculty” here refers to the five existing
    faculty streams at NID.

    So i think we need to study for all discipline under each faculty.

  2. This line, "except that there won't be portfolio check or an interview" is true???? Or only your analysis??

    1. Actually that line was meant to CDAT, which happened to be the preliminary exam. So, for preliminary exam, you don't need to work on portfolio or interview. They happens after mains and after you clear the prelims.

  3. Thank you so much sir, for your help and guidance.

  4. So after this pattern change, we are required to study only these topics falling under specific faculty or are there any topics apart from these too?

  5. I am preparing for industrial design do i need to concentrate on poster design ?

  6. Sir help me for this question

  7. Hello sit,
    Can you give some guidence about dat mains. what could be the pattern?


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