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What is Tougher? NID DAT Prelims or Mains

Samiksha Rautela
Samiksha RautelaUpdated On: August 12, 2022 06:06 pm IST | NID DAT

Is the NID DAT Prelims tougher than the NID DAT Mains? Check out the answer to this question here!

What is Tougher? NID DAT Prelims or Mains

Admission at NID is held through an entrance exam known as NID DAT. The test has two rounds of the selection process- NID DAT Prelims and NID DAT Mains. Candidates are required to clear both the stages to be considered for BDes and MDes admission at NID.

Most of the students often wonder which exam is more difficult? NID DAT Prelims or NID Mains? This article carries the answer to this question. Candidates can scroll through the page and find out if NID DAT Prelims is tougher than Mains or is it the other way around?

NID DAT Prelims vs NID DAT Mains: Key Differences and Similarities

Captured below in this table are the key similarities and differences for NID DAT Prelims and Mains:


NID DAT Prelims


Conducting Authority

National Institute of Design

National Institute of Design

Exam Purpose

To shortlist students for NID DAT Mains

To finalize candidates for MDes & BDes admissions

Exam Date

To be Announced

To be Announced

Exam Mode



Exam Weightage

BDes: 70%

BDes: 30%

MDes: 60%

MDes: 40%

Exam Language



Exam Rounds

Written exam

Theme poster, portfolio submission & online interaction/ Studio test & personal interview 

SOP, portfolio submission & online interaction/ Studio test & personal interview

Total Marks

100 Marks

100 Marks

Application Process



Exam Duration

BDes: 3 hours

Not specified

MDes: 2 hours 30 minutes (for one discipline) & 4 hours 30 minutes (for two disciplines)

Question Type

Objective and subjective


NID DAT Prelims vs NID DAT Mains: Syllabus

NID DAT Prelims is a written aptitude test of design where questions are asked in objective and subjective format. On the other hand, NID DAT Mains comprises questions based on drawing, sketching, hands-on model making, group discussion, presentations, etc.

The syllabus of NID DAT Prelims and NID DAT Mains is very different from each other. NID DAT Prelims is designed to evaluate the design aptitude, knowledge, skills, and time management abilities of students. On the other hand, NID DAT Mains mainly focuses on judging on the spot creativity of the candidates, especially the material handling and out-of-the-box thinking part.

The detailed syllabus of NID DAT Prelims and NID DAT Mains is provided below:

NID DAT 2023 Prelims and Mains Syllabus

NID DAT 2023 Prelims and Mains Exam Pattern

NID DAT Prelims vs NID DAT Mains: Exam Pattern of M. Des

Given below are the exam pattern of NID DAT M.Des Prelims and Mains.

NID DAT PrelimsNID DAT Mains

  • The M.Des DAT prelims paper comprising of a Common Design Aptitude Test (CDAT) and a faculty-specific Domain Test which evaluates candidates’ creativity, visualization, analysis, knowledge, and comprehension.

  • There is no negative marking in NID DAT 2020 Prelims (M.Des).

  • The question paper has 2 section having multiple choice objective type questions and subjective questions respectively.

  • The Mains (M.Des) examination is organised only for those candidates who clear the 1st stage of the examination. 

  • The second stage of M.Des DAT Mains involves a Studio test and Interviews.

    • Studio Test: The studio test will comprise of different sections wherein questions of different formats such as hands on drawing/sketching, hands-on model making, group discussions, etc will be asked. 

    • The duration of the test will be 3 hours.

    • Interviews: The interview round will be conducted separately for each discipline, immediately after the Studio Test, and at the same centre as the Studio Test.

NID DAT Prelims vs NID DAT Mains: Which is Tougher?

To answer this question, candidates first need to figure out what do they find tougher? NID DAT Prelims has a set syllabus for which numerous sample papers are available online as well as offline. Candidates can regularly practise and study from the prescribed syllabus to get an idea about the nature/ type of questions to ace NID DAT Prelims. 

Whereas, NID DAT Mains is more like an extempore. Candidates’ ability to think on their feet and innovative/ creative skills are analyzed by highly qualified panel members. The exam is totally unpredictable and students are not aware of the questions that NID DAT Mains has in store for them.

If a student is more comfortable with attempting MCQs and drawing or sketching, they will find NID DAT Prelims easier but if they are more confident about their verbal skills and creative or innovative abilities then they will find NID DAT Mains less challenging.

Candidates must also note that over 6,000 students appear for NID DAT Prelims while the number of students appearing for NID DAT Mains is very less. However, students taking NID DAT Mains are the best out of the lot so the competition gets a bit tougher in the second stage of the NID DAT exam.

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For any admission-related assistance, feel free to dial the student helpline number 1800-572-977 (toll-free number) or fill up the Common Application Form. In case of any queries, write to us in the QnA zone.

Stay tuned to CollegeDekho for more information on NID DAT 2023!


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