Design Aptitude Test (DAT): Overview, Questions, Easy Tricks, Rules, Preparation (2022)

DAT preparation is not something that can be mastered overnight. You need consistent practice for at least six months and out-of-the-box thinking in order to be able to crack the section. Let us understand all the nuances of the Design Aptitude Test with respect to what is DAT, the type of questions asked, preparation tips, practice questions and more.

Table of Contents

  1. What is DAT?
  2. DAT – Types of Questions
  3. How to Prepare for Design DAT?
  4. DAT Syllabus & Pattern for Design Entrance Exams
  5. Design DAT Practice Questions
  6. Important FAQs on DAT

What is DAT?

Design Aptitude Test (DAT) is one of the most important sections in a Design entrance exam. The test contains different types of drawing, sketching and model making questions that test the design and creative ability of candidates.

The DAT section of Design entrance exams may have different names, such as Creative Ability Test (CAT) in NIFT Entrance Exam and NID DAT Mains in NID Entrance Exam. However, the objective of the questions is the same – to test candidates on their designing capabilities.

DAT – Types of Questions

There are typically two types of questions asked in a Design Aptitude Test as explained below:

Drawing/Sketching Test

Here, you need to draw or sketch on the given paper as per the details given in the question. Thereafter, you also sometimes need to explain the drawing/sketching done in writing. For example:

  1. Based on the theme, ‘Music is the Soul of Life’, design and colour a print for a T-shirt.
  2. Imagine and draw a real life situation, which represents “All that is gold does not glitter’’, in a meaningful way. Use the space given to draw and explain your interpretation in 5 lines. No colour to be used.

Situation Test

The Situation Test is a practical exam, which tests you on your creative and innovative use of given material. In a Design Situation Test, you are generally given some material such as ivory sheets, coloured papers, thermocol, clay and cardboard. Thereafter, you need to create a 3D model as per the specifications given in the question. For example:

  • Design a headgear inspired by a mythological character
  • Design a diary for a fashion designer
  • Design kids' play area inspired by puzzles

Once constructed, you also need to write about your model, explaining how you got inspired for it, how you made use of the given material, etc.

Also Read:

  • NIFT Situation Test: Past 10 Years Questions
  • NIFT Entrance Exam Previous Years Papers: NIFT CAT Questions 2010-2019
  • NIFT BDes Topper shares tips to perform well in NIFT Situation Test
  • How to prepare for NID Studio Test?

How to Prepare for Design DAT?

There is no straight formula to ace the Design Aptitude Test, as there is no right or wrong answer. However, you must evolve into an artist and have the passion for your art. Apart from that, consistent practice is the key to keep honing your skills for the exam.

You must keep observing what is around you and try to retain it in your memory by gaining more information and through thorough practice. Some of the tips to keep in mind while preparing for DAT section of Design entrance exams include:

  • Observe everything around you such as leaves, tables, chairs and cars and try to take inspiration from it
  • Try to think out-of-the-box and sketch depicting the mood, look and feel of the given item
  • Every day, take a common object and list various other uses for it. It will help you look at objects differently and help you be more creative.
  • Focus on honing your technical skills related to 3D sense, proportion, detailing, perspective, space design, etc.
  • Read up on paper folding and origami. This may help you create more variety of things.
  • Practice as many previous year DAT and situation test questions as possible
  • While drawing, sketching or making a model, try to time yourself and complete it within a given duration only. Usually, 90-120 minutes duration is enough to complete a DAT question.

Also Read:

  • How to prepare for NIFT Entrance Exam?
  • How to prepare for NID Entrance Exam?
  • How to prepare for UCEED?
  • How to prepare for CEED?

Skills Tested in DAT

In a Design Aptitude Test, candidates are generally evaluated on the skillset given in the table below. Therefore, during practice of DAT questions, it is important that you focus on improving the following skills.

DAT Skills

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Intuition skills

Observation skills

Design ability

Innovative use of colour

Illustration skills



Imaginative skills

Visualization skills


Problem-solving skills

Communication skills

Presentation skills

Space Visualization

Composition of elements

Colour scheme

(Video) How to Pass Aptitude Test: Questions with Answers and Solutions

Proportion, perspective, shading and composition

DAT Syllabus & Pattern for Design Entrance Exams

Check out the overview of DAT syllabus and pattern for top Design entrance exams in India below.

Design Exams

DAT Pattern

DAT Syllabus

NIFT Entrance Exam


  • No. of questions – 3
  • Type of questions – Drawing questions
  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Total marks – 100
  • Mode of exam – Offline

NIFT Situation Test

  • Type of question – Model making followed by a write-up explaining the concept/idea behind the model
  • Design Theory
  • Colour Psychology & Optical Illusions
  • Principles of Composition
  • Colour, Pattern & Texture
  • Picture Analysis
  • Ornaments & motifs
  • Foreshortening & Perspective
  • Usage of Colour in Compositions
  • 3D Visualisation
  • Graphics & Pictograms
  • Memory Drawing
  • Theme Development

NID Entrance Exam


  • Type of questions – Drawing/sketching/model making questions
  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Total marks – 100
  • Mode of exam – Offline (online in COVID times)
  • Natural & Geometrical Form
  • Elements & Principles Of Design
  • Principles of Composition
  • Understanding Light & Shade
  • Colour, Pattern & Texture
  • Picture Analysis
  • Optical Illusion
  • Memory Drawing
  • Graphics & Pictograms



  • No. of questions – 1
  • Type of questions – Drawing question
  • Duration – 30 minutes
  • Total marks – 60
  • Mode of exam – Offline

Understanding of proportion, perspective, shading and composition



  • No. of questions – 5
  • Type of questions – Drawing questions
  • Duration – 2 hours
  • Total marks – 100
  • Mode of exam – Offline
  • Sketching
  • Creativity
  • Form Sensitivity
  • Visual Sensitivity
  • Problem Identification

Also Read:

(Video) Perceptual Ability Test | Pattern Folding | DAT

  • NIFT Entrance Exam pattern
  • NIFT Entrance Exam syllabus
  • NID Entrance Exam pattern
  • NID Entrance Exam syllabus
  • UCEED exam pattern
  • UCEED syllabus
  • CEED exam pattern
  • CEED syllabus

Design DAT Practice Questions

Listed below are the some practice questions for DAT section (drawing/sketching questions and model making questions) of Design entrance exams.

Drawing/sketching questions for practice

Q1. Convert the given punctuation marks into realistic objects using pencil.

Design Aptitude Test (DAT): Overview, Questions, Easy Tricks, Rules, Preparation (1)

Q2. Explain the working principle of a matchbox.

Q3. Choose any one pair of opposites and depict them through pictorial representation in the boxes given below. Also, write the captions.

  1. a) Crispy and soggy
  2. b) Cluttered and uncluttered
  3. c) Balanced and unbalanced

Q4. Draw a person sitting at a dining table with a plate, stainless steel spoon and fork laid out in front of him/her. Do not use colour.

Q5. Image of a kid’s water bottle is shown below. Visualise a lunch box to pair with it. It should be matching in design language with relevant details. Sketch and render the bottle and the lunch box with required graphics.

Design Aptitude Test (DAT): Overview, Questions, Easy Tricks, Rules, Preparation (3)

Q6. You are sitting in a well-ventilated drawing room. It is 9:00 in the morning and sun light is streaming through the window on the East casting shadows on the floor. A cat is resting on one of the sunlit patches. A newspaper is placed beside a cup of hot tea on a small side table. There are three freshly watered potted plants in the room; one on the floor and two on the windowsill with the watering jug next to it. From the above description, sketch the scene from your point of view.

Model making questions for practice

Q1. Design an equipment bag for any one:

  1. a) Painter
  2. b) Makeup artist
  3. c) Photographer

Q2. Design a modern display unit for any one:

(Video) Aptitude Test Questions & Answers With Solutions | Maths Trick | imran sir maths

  1. a) Fruits and vegetables shop
  2. b) Toy shop
  3. c) Cosmetics and perfume shop

Q3. Design a scene for any one option:

  1. a) Ramayana or a folk tale
  2. b) A fairy tale
  3. c) A Panchatantra story

Q4. Make a Dhaba keeping in mind the local culture.

Q5. Show a kitchen according to family's lifestyle.

Important FAQs on DAT

Q. What is Design aptitude?

A. Design Aptitude is a test that is a part of most of the Design entrance exams in India. Through this test, the Design schools test the designing and creative ability of candidates.

Q. What type of questions are asked in DAT?

A. In a Design Aptitude Test, candidates are asked drawing, sketching and model-making questions.

Q. How to prepare for a Situation Test?

A. Follow the below tips to prepare for a Design Situation Test:

  • Keep a strong observation of things around you
  • Try to list out various out-of-the-box uses of the common objects such as rubber, fan, pencil, etc.
  • Practice handling all types of craft material
  • Some of the material that can be used for practice include cardboard, glaze papers, thermocol, aluminium foil, foam, cotton, beads, etc.

Q. What is the weightage for Design Aptitude Tests?

A. The weightage for DAT varies as per the different Design entrance exams. Given below is the DAT weightage for popular Design entrance exams:

  • NIFT Entrance Exam: 70% (50% CAT + 20% Situation Test)
  • NID Entrance Exam: 50% (100 marks)
  • UCEED: 30% (60 marks)
  • CEED: 50% (100 marks)

Q. What skills are tested in a Design Aptitude Test?

A. Some of the skills of candidates that are tested in DAT include:

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  • Design ability
  • Observation skills
  • Illustration skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Imaginative skills
  • Space Visualization


How do I prepare for the DAT exam? ›

Plan on three hours per day, five days per week, for three months. Find a DAT study buddy who can help you stay motivated and on task. Take two or three real-time simulated practice tests—this is the best way to most accurately replicate the conditions you will experience on test day.

How can I pass aptitude test easily? ›

But for now, let's get started with the tips...
  1. Test Tip 1: Practice. ...
  2. Test Tip 2: Know your test. ...
  3. Test Tip 3: Don't get your friends to help. ...
  4. Test Tip 4: Make the most of online tests. ...
  5. Test Tip 5: Realistic simulation. ...
  6. Test Tip 6: Be alert and stay focused. ...
  7. Test Tip 7: Ask for feedback. ...
  8. Test Tip 8: Know when to move on.

How do you clear a NID dat? ›

Step-wise NID Entrance Exam 2023 Preparation Plan
  1. Get familiar with the exam syllabus.
  2. Check out the exam pattern.
  3. Assemble the best books for NIFT 2023 preparation.
  4. Make a monthly timetable.
  5. Solve past years' question papers, sample papers, and mock tests.
  6. Get proper rest and stay positive.

What is asked in design aptitude test? ›

In a Design Aptitude Test, candidates are asked drawing, sketching and model-making questions.

Is 2 months enough to study for DAT? ›

Is 2 Months Enough Time to Study For The DAT? Short answer, yes. Two months can be enough to study for the DAT. I am not saying it's going to be easier than if you started a bit earlier like three or four times before, but it's certainly possible if you know what you're doing.

Is studying for the DAT hard? ›

Is the DAT Hard? The short answer is that, yes, the DAT is reasonably difficult.

How can I learn aptitude in one day? ›

Aptitude Test Preparation One Day: Concept Base
  1. Just find some sample questions for Aptitude test preparation.
  2. Try to solve the question by your own without looking the answer.
  3. Let it be right or wrong go to the solution method.
  4. If it is wrong look and grasp the right way.
May 28, 2021

Can you fail aptitude test? ›

An employment aptitude test is not a pass or fail exam. Although there are right and wrong answers, a candidate cannot fail. Rushing through the questions or spending too long on a specific question can result in a low score. So, the candidate needs to answer the questions to the best of their ability.

Are aptitude test hard? ›

Why are aptitude tests difficult? For most candidates, the difficulty of aptitude tests lies in completing the tests under timed conditions. In numerical or logical reasoning tests, candidates tend to have about a minute or so to read the question, analyse the graphs and patterns, and choose the correct response.

Is NID easy to crack? ›

Established in 1961, NID is also known as the most difficult design school in India to get into. It has only about 100 seats in its B. Des programmes and a mere 275 seats in its M.

Can I crack NID without coaching? ›

A: I do not think there is any need to take coaching for NID DAT because no coaching class can teach you to be creative. They only make money.
National Institute of Design, Bengaluru.
Accepted ExamsNID Entrance Exam
Courses5 courses
1 more row

Is it difficult to crack NID? ›

Owning to high competition and difficulty level, NID Design Aptitude Test (DAT) is known to be a tough nut to crack.

How do I get CPDM IISc? ›

CPDM IISc. Eligiblity for admission to M Des programme is a basic degree in engineering or architecture. Selection for admission is based on performance in a design aptitude test (DAT) and interview conducted at the centre. Shortlisting for DAT is done on the basis of appliacant's CEED or GATE score.

How do graphic designers test in an interview? ›

Graphic designer interview questions
  1. Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback on one of your designs. ...
  2. What is your process when designing a ____________?
  3. What is your favorite type of project to work on?
  4. Do you have experience working in our industry?
  5. Do you work well with others?

How can I test my graphic design skills? ›

It can be difficult to test design skills in a standard way because designers are unique in their specializations.
Design Tests to Test Designer Own Skills
  1. Pluralsight. Plural Sight lets you test your skills and enter to win prizes upon completion. ...
  2. ...
  3. First Naukri. ...
  4. Click A Test. ...
  5. TOSA by Isograd. ...
  6. Agi Training.
Feb 28, 2019

Can I study for the DAT while working full time? ›

I would definitely advise students to not work full-time while preparing for the DAT unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Even working part-time would be a better option if possible. If the student must work full-time, here are my suggestions to make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle while on this journey.

Can I study for the DAT in 1 month? ›

Studying for the DAT in one month is a challenging task, but if you already have a very strong science and math foundation and are able to devote a significant amount of study time per week, then you may still be able to earn the score you need by following this week-by-week plan.

When should u start studying for DAT? ›

Start After Graduation While Working

Since the DAT is such a demanding exam, it is necessary to put in lots of quality study time to ensure success. A fulltime job will eat up lots of this time. Therefore, I recommend planning to study for 4-5 months before taking the DAT.

Is a 22 A good DAT score? ›

The DAT score ranges from 1 to 30. According to the test prep experts at Kaplan, competitive DAT scores that rank in the top 25% DAT score percentile are 19 to 20 points. So, a top score would be 22 or higher. The average DAT score is 17.

How hard is it to get a 20 on the DAT? ›

Generally speaking, you can only miss around 5-6 questions in each of the science and math sections to score a 20. Scores of over 23 are very rare (98th percentile and up). You can miss around 20 questions in the perceptual test to score a 20.

Can you take DAT more than 3 times? ›

What are the rules and regulations? You can only take the test once every 90 days. You can only take the test three times, no more unless you get special permission from the ADA.

How can I prepare for aptitude in a week? ›

How to Prepare for Placement Aptitude Test - YouTube

When should you start studying for DAT? ›

Start After Graduation While Working

Since the DAT is such a demanding exam, it is necessary to put in lots of quality study time to ensure success. A fulltime job will eat up lots of this time. Therefore, I recommend planning to study for 4-5 months before taking the DAT.

Is DAT easier than MCAT? ›

Overall, the MCAT is usually considered more difficult than the DAT by most test-takers. The MCAT focuses more on responding to lengthy passages, so you'll need to be able to synthesize, understand, and analyze written passages quickly to do well on the exam.

How long did you study for the DAT? ›

eyeball. It depends on how many weeks or months you have till your test date. i.e. studying 1-2 hours for a test one month away is not enough, but a test in 2-3 months.. 1-2 hours will probably do. There's other factors in play as well, such as writing the test more than once.

What are the best DAT study materials? ›

Best DAT Prep Books Summary
  • Kaplan DAT Prep Plus.
  • Mometrix Test Preparation DAT Prep Book.
  • The Princeton Review Cracking the DAT.
  • Sterling Test Prep DAT.
  • The Gold Standard DAT Prep Book.


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