August 02, 2016

Success story of Ansuman Sahu (CPDM-IISc and ID at IDC-IITB)

I would like to thank Prasanna Gadkari sir for his guidance, timely suggestions and for addressing all my queries. I cleared CEED 2016 (which is my 2nd attempt). I could not clear it the year before because I focused more on sketching & rendering rather than on design. CEED is an exam where you need to ideate and sketch really fast. While preparing I did not give priority to more important aspects like understanding a given design problem, finding an appropriate solution and presenting it with clarity.

Preparation for CEED 2016: With a lot of determination and keeping in mind the above mistakes I started my preparation.

Part-A: Go through all previous question papers. This gives an idea of the range of topics from which questions are asked. Just like Part-B, Part-A of CEED does not have any definite pattern. The type of objective questions vary every year. In CEED 2016, there were maximum number of visual perception questions and very few questions on design awareness, general awareness etc. Solve the MCQs. Browse the internet, visit Teacup blog (, Stuff-You-Look blog and D’ Source ( You can get a lot of relevant study material for Part-A (and Part-B).
You cannot go to Part-B questions unless the countdown timer for part-A stops. So do not answer the questions hastily, take time, think properly & answer. Try to finish it around 5 to 10 mins before the time is up.

Part-B: All sketches here are to be made in free-hand without using rulers, compass etc. Begin by sketching lines, curves, circles and ellipses in free hand. Practice regularly to improve line quality. Practice rapid sketching of everyday objects. Try to time your sketches in order to improve the sketching speed. Practice expressing your ideas using storyboards. Practice sketching exploded views of simple objects. This helps when you explain a product idea of your own (you can show all the parts present in your product). Focus only on the basic concepts such as ‘perspective’ & ‘proportions’ and basic ideas of light, shade.
Time management is of utmost necessity in CEED. You have a very limited amount of time to understand the problem, ideate and sketch. Do not waste time in rendering or making the sketch artistic. For questions in Part-B, the quality of your design solution, the clarity & neatness of your presentation are very important. Solving previous question papers help you improve on these aspects. Design isn’t all about sketching. It’s about identifying and understanding a design problem and developing a suitable design solution. Your creativity, ideas and clarity of thought matter more. Observe objects around you to understand the ‘what’, ‘how’ & ‘why’ behind their design.

Preparing for Studio Test and Interview rounds: Start preparing your portfolio immediately after CEED is over. It should mainly contain works relevant your area of interest (e.g.: product design). You can add other design works which showcase your skillsets (e.g.: a couple of logo or poster design or any other form of creative work). You can show some of your works to seniors and alumni of IDC, IISc, IITG, NID, IITD, IITK, for their reviews and opinion. 

DAT and Interview at CPDM: The DAT consists of 2 parts. This year the duration for each part was 75 minutes. DAT-I consisted of 2 parts. Part-A: aptitude questions, mostly visual perception and 3 to 4 MCQs on color theories (primary/secondary colors, different color combinations, etc.). Part-B had 10 technical questions (of which any 5 were to be attempted)- 2 to 3 basic engineering mechanics questions, 1 question from B.M and S.F diagram, 2 plus two level mathematics questions (1 from probability and 1 from calculus), 1 question from fluid mechanics, 1 or 2 questions from electronics and 1 question from electrical engineering. DAT-II was similar to CEED Part-B. There were 9 questions- 1 question to sketch an arm chair in freehand (picture was given), 1 question to compare between LED and CFL, 1 question on latest technology trend (additive manufacturing, internet of things, 4G network), 1 question on latest product (Mahindra gusto, google glass, spaceX), 1 product design question (to design a door mat that can be easily cleaned), 1 question on creating meaningful themes using basic shapes (such as triangle, circle & rectangles), 1 question on material properties and its uses ( ABS, mylar, TiO2, thermocol, etc), a design problem identification question & a comprehension based question on thermochromatic paint.
The interview was more like a discussion. I was asked about my course, showed them my portfolio (which consisted of 7 to 8 product design projects, a couple of poster/magazine layout designs and some random product sketches). I was asked to name a product which was aesthetically pleasing but not very functional or user friendly, a product which is just the opposite (functional & user friendly but not aesthetic), a couple of questions on design of flywheels, a product design question related to my summer internship project and to distinguish between product design and industrial design. The interview lasted for around 20 minutes. They just went through the portfolio but asked only a couple of question from it. Portfolio is not mandatory at IISc. But if you have one it’s well and good.

Written test, Materials test and Interview at IDC: A design portfolio is a must for interview at IDC. Also, practice material handling for materials test. This year there was
(1)    Written Test. The problem statement- to design a mobile phones charger for family use (one that can be used by 4 to 6 people at a time). The task was to identify and write down five distinct design considerations, generate the design concept through sketches based on these considerations. The duration of the test was 90 minutes.
(2)    Material Test: We were asked to Design a stationery organizer for children belonging to the age groups of 10 to 12 yrs. The material provided to us were corrugated sheets. An A3 drawing sheet was provided to generate the concept through sketches. This test was also of 90 minutes duration.
(3)    Interview: My interview lasted around 10 to 15 minutes. I was asked about my engineering background, shown 2 random components placed on the table and asked to identify the material and the manufacturing process used to make them, a few questions about the concept design of my written test & the concept and final model of the materials test. They went through my portfolio and asked a few questions from my B.Tech project, i.e.: the material and manufacturing process used to make the parts, a couple of questions on stereolithography. The interview here was more like a friendly discussion.
What I understand from these 2 tests is this- At CPDM the tests and interview focus more on your approach to solving a design problem rather than the final outcome. So while appearing for the DAT and interview try to answer all the questions. At IDC, along with the problem solving approach, they also focus on the end result that you have come up with. So, try to come up with design solutions that are user-centric. You should be able to explain the rationale behind your design. Most importantly, never bluff in any of your interviews, be honest, listen properly if they identify & correct your mistakes. 

Finally I got selected for both Product Design at CPDM and Industrial Design at IDC. Once again I would like to thank Prasanna sir. It wouldn’t have been possible without his guidance.

 To all future aspirants….have confidence in your abilities, stay determined, work on improving your weaknesses and enjoy your preparations….All the best…!!!.....

If you have further queries, feel free to contact me at:

You can connect with me on Facebook:

For reference, I have shared some of the works from my portfolio (though I feel I could have made them a lot better).


sunil verma said...

whats that part B and DAT2

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Nikesh Lohia said...

How much time do we have for studio test and interviews after the final result for CEED rolls out??

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hi Nikesh,
It depends on the individual IITs, but its about 6 weeks time

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