My name is Amlan Mukerjee, I am from Mumbai. I am final year BE Telecommunication student. I have always enjoyed graphics and sketching since childhood like everyone else and am highly inclined towards VC, but I also love doing product design as it’s more practical in nature. I am really happy to qualify for CPDM, IISc for PD despite my failure at IDC.
My preparation was very straight forward and not as elaborate as the other posts I have seen. Since a year and a half back I had no clue on how to go about the whole design entrance exam process I joined a class for its training (highly misguided). So to all the people who are planning to join a class DO NOT, it’s an utter waste. My peers from the class are at IDC and IISc but they are there because they had good skills and thinking of their own already which nurtured with time (not because of classes). Classes can help you with drawing and regularity but not with design thinking and analytical skills.
My only concentrated preparation apart from general sketching & doodling was that I solved lot of CEED papers and constantly worked on improving my design solutions by redoing the questions. This is enough to get a decent CEED score/rank and qualify the cut-offs (AIR 59, Score-64)if you have qualified PART A of CEED which contains analytical questions, few questions on authors, director’s , basic trigonometry, image identification lenses and camera’s etc
This was the end of my preparation for CEED. CEED papers are available online.
I had 8 products, one of which was a model (photograph) of a lamp made of broomsticks and jute thread. The designs were labelled and functionality explained, followed by my visual communication work (Posters, graphic journals, logos, Interaction design etc). I have variety of interests I like pursuing thus my portfolio is multidisciplinary.
I also carried a sketchbook with my design processes, analysis and random sketches.
Improvements – Things I feel could have done better, (a) More sketching in the sketchbook to exhibit my visualization skills (b) Learn more about the working, functionality, materials and manufacturing of my designs. (Be updated with technology developments) (c) Presentation.
Interview and Test
Test – 1st paper was engineering questions like basic mechanics, maths (matrix), kinetics, fluid mechanics and electrical networks. Since my basics were strong since 12th STD I nailed it, got all of them right I think. Selection of the right questions to solve is important in the given time frame. Skip steps if required as long as the concepts are clear. The questions are not difficult or lengthy at all and are straight forward. Just know the concepts and application. I would also suggest not to waste time in calculating values for each step, the questions are such that the values/variables get cancelled in the end (this would save some time).
2nd paper – Creative Visualization like shapes, figure, logical questions, 3 D drawings of basic shapes, a PD question and a question on redrawing a product from a photograph provided. Questions of latest technology like Solar Panels, Nexus Phones, Toyota Prius, UAV etc their working and what they are were also asked (5-7 points). This section has to be done with good time management. I purposely left the product recreation question as it would have taken too much time out of my hour. I could not complete two questions in this section and my solution to the PD questions was very inappropriate in my view as I was very short of time. All questions have equal marks except the PD question so choose wisely.
Interview – Twenty minutes slot allotted to students after exam (not known from before) so carry your portfolio anyway to be on the safer side. Any of the two panels take the interviews in an organised manner. This helped me stay very relaxed and hassle free. My panel was very friendly and the interview was more like a discussion, I exhibited myself exactly and honestly to whatever they asked me about the drawbacks in my design, my engineering skills (average), my interests, future plans, there were also questions based on my engineering background (amplifier, op-amp, motors, cell phones, wireless communication - the basics). Some questions I answered very well some did not have the clarity but overall it was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. It is OK to not know everything they ask but make sure you are aware of it and at least try to think of an answer. One should also be prepared with receiving some out of the box questions and improve on their expressing ability, for people who need time to come up with design solutions to the situation they might give.
And the most important of all - Whatever your capability, do your best and don’t lose confidence in yourself by seeing better portfolios just learn from them and improve, be yourself.
Info Sources – Teacup Blog, Coroflot (for inspiration and latest updates) and personal experience.