5 Entrance Exams for a Career in Design


Last Updated: August 30, 2022
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Gone are the days when students interested in design had to depend on special classes and a trial-and-error method of learning to polish their designing skills. Today, more than a dozen colleges can help you kickstart your designing career. These colleges offer graduate courses in several design subjects like visual arts, graphic designing, fashion designing, textile designing, game designing, etc.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for Design Courses?

To enrol in a design course in India, you need to be mindful of the entrance exams and eligibility criteria for different programmes. The eligibility for fashion designing is a high-school (XIIth Standard) certificate from a recognised board of education. Candidates require a minimum score of 50% in their Class XII and can belong to any stream (Science, Commerce, or the Arts).

The common graphic design eligibility is similar to that of fashion design courses. Applicants can present their high-school certificate with an aggregate 50% score from any stream to enrol into top design colleges.

Of course, you’ll have to clear a few tests to get into these colleges. We’ve listed five of the top exams for designing here for you!

1. National Institute of Design – Design Aptitude Test (NID-DAT)


The National Institute of Design (NID) offers graduate courses in Bachelor of Design (BDes) and a Graduate Diploma Programme in Design (GDPD). Through these courses, you can study subjects like animation film design, apparel design, digital game design, furniture design & interior design, transportation & automobile design, etc.

The Exam:

The entrance exam is divided into NID Prelims and NID Mains. The Prelims are a written test – you need to clear these to move on to the Mains. This part of the exam involves design theory, creative thinking and writing, presentation techniques, imagination and doodling, etc. The Mains comprise a studio test and interview round, which involves model making, material manipulation, audio-visual exercises, etc.

The Prelims usually take place in January and the Mains in May. You can start applying for the exam in October.


The eligibility for fashion designing and other courses is a minimum academic qualification of 10+2 (cleared or appearing) in any stream (Science, Commerce or Arts).

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2. NIFT Entrance Test

fashion models

This exam is held by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). As one of the most popular exams for designing, it’s conducted once a year in 32 cities to grant you admission into the 16 NIFT colleges all over the country. It offers courses like Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design, Leather Design, Accessory Design, etc., and Bachelor of Fashion Technology.

The Exam:

Aspirants are expected to clear the Creative Ability Test (CAT) and General Ability Test (GAT); after which they appear for situation tests, group discussions and a personal interview round. Applications begin in October and the exam takes place in January.


Candidates need to have a minimum of 10+2 (cleared or appearing) in any stream (Science, Commerce or Arts) to appear for this exam.

3. All India Entrance Examination for Design (AIEED)

art supplies

The All India Entrance Examination for Design is an online test conducted by the Arch College of Design and Business for graduate design programs, which are affiliated with the University of Rajasthan. They include courses like Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design, Interior Design, Jewellery Design, etc., and  Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA), Applied Arts, etc.

The Exam:

This design entrance exam has an online round to test your general awareness, reasoning and visualisation. This is followed by an interview and portfolio round, where you are expected to make a video and portfolio and interact via Skype.

The exam takes place between February and March every year, and the applications begin in October of the previous year.


Candidates need to have a minimum of 10+2 (cleared or appearing) in any stream (Science, Commerce or Arts) to appear for this exam.

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4. PAF Entrance Test


Pearl Academy offers admission in various graduate and diploma programmes like Communication Design (interaction/graphics/animation & VFX), Fashion Design (fashion accessories/fashion textiles), Fashion Media Communication, etc.

The Exam: 

This entrance exam for designing after 12th requires you to clear the General Proficiency Test (GPT), Design Aptitude Test (DAT) and a personal interview.


Candidates need to have a minimum of 10+2 (cleared or appearing) with 50% in any stream (Science, Commerce or Arts) to appear for this exam.

5. Undergraduate Common Entrance Examination for Design (UCEED)


Admissions to the Bachelor of Design (BDes) programmes at IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati, IIT Hyderabad and IIITDM Jabalpur are done through UCEED. They offer courses like Industrial Design, Visual Communication, Animation Design, Interaction Design and Mobility, etc.

The Exam:

This design entrance exam has three categories – Numerical Answer Type, Multiple Select Questions, and Multiple Choice Questions. This is one of the only design exams that does not stress drawing ability; it focuses on observation skills, visual ability, spatial ability, sensitivity to design requirements, and social and environmental awareness. The exam is usually conducted in January, and the results are announced in March. Applications for the following year’s test begin in October.


You need to have a minimum of 10+2 (cleared or appearing) with 50% in any stream (Science, Commerce or Arts) to appear for this exam.

All of the above entrance tests require a lot of hard work and dedication. Start studying early on to avoid pressure, and keep time for revision. However, before you begin preparing, make sure that you’re actually interested in a career in design! Not quite sure yet if the design is your calling? Let Mentoria help you put your mind at ease!

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