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Exam Tips & Tricks

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Entrance school exams: Tips to not get tricked!


Design institutes craft their entrance exams cleverly. If you thought entrance exams are all about them judging you exclusively for your art skills and scholarly expertise, think again! Indeed, those are important. But, the faculty of those coveted institutes have up their sleeves their own methods of separating the wheat from the chaff. We’re letting you in on a secret when we tell you, entrance exams are really all about your visual perception, problem-solving skills, creative abilities and how high on their spectrum you are. Here’s what you need to know:


1 – Observe, observe, observe


Start observing every little thing around you…human, object or animal. God is in the details. Look at the relationships and interactions between all things. Feel the emotional quotient. This is practise for entrance exam questions that test your observation skills through, for example, a demand to draw a mother with a child (human to human), to draw a newspaper vendor with a bicycle (human to object) or to draw an adult with a dog set against the backdrop of a harried morning at 9 am (human to animal).  Such questions will not only test your proportion skills of an adult to a dog, but would also test your aptitude for gauging shadow patterns at 9am. Or, you may be asked to draw a composition which would be impossible without an in-depth empathy for elements that might be there in such a situation, their proportion to one another and an interesting perspective from which you have drawn inspiration. Your observations on various material forms including glass, ceramic, wood and metal will be assessed through your shading techniques. Even the most basic objects around you must not be taken for granted. You could be asked to draw them and you will be assessed on how keenly you have absorbed various perspectives surrounding them. Just remember to keep a doodle book on the ready to draw and immortalise all that’s around you.


2 – Design Dictum


Remember to think on your feet. You could be asked to design a logo, product, symbol, poster, book cover, stamp, product packaging and many other things. The trick is to always be in a state of readiness to get artsy.


3 – Get Elemental: elements and principles of design and colour theory


All top design schools include this concept in their foundation programme. The elements of design are dots, lines and curves, shapes, textures and space. The principles of design are balance, harmony, rhythm, unity and proportion. The tip you need to keep in mind is to make this concept a part of your psyche so that when a question is thrown at you to test this, say for example, if you’re asked to depict happiness using lines, sorrow using circles, festivals using colours, you will be prepared! Through this, an experienced examiner’s trained eye will evaluate your understanding on lines, dots, shapes and colours.


4 – Creative Writing


A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. But, there’s no getting away for you…you absolutely will have to use those thousand words as well! Your entrance exam could include a single picture or a pictorial depiction of a situation as part of your assessment entreating you to write a few words or a story or even a comic strip based on it.


5 – Quantitative and Analytical Ability


This is a technique that is categorically taught at Trendz. There are a few design institutes that construct entrance exam questions related to this area as well.


6 – Know your world: general awareness


Brush up on current affairs and basic general knowledge. This is an important facet of the entrance exam. Read a lot and stay informed…your knowledge  of India’s art, culture, brands, history, geography will tide you across many questions that are asked to glean your aptitude for designing based on your awareness of the world that surrounds you.


7 – Archived but not forgotten: history of art


The past might just have all the answers when it comes to designing and cracking design school entrance exams! The history of art, as a subject, throws much light on some of the superlative works of art in the past and their creators. You would do well to not disregard this subject. A few questions on famous artists and their works have been known to have appeared in many an entrance exam!


Entrance exams, if approached in a sensible and careful manner, can be a piece of cake. Use this information for a glimpse into question patterns and remember…practise makes perfect!



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