DAT on Saturday

On Saturday morning, I gave the NID entrance test. The test is called DAT, which stands for Design Aptitude Test for their Postgraduate programme. The brochure they sent in was pretty well done, but some of the things, like the film course failed to impress. This will be true for anyone who has gone through the BMM gauntlet. The Mumbai test was in the JJ School of Arts, which was this huge impressive building teeming with eager young faces, many of whom had got their parents. Now when we were led to our seats, there was this huge wodden board with all kinds of paint splatters and scribbles on it. Everyone else took out these huge boxes of poster colours, and paint brushes and small bowls for storing the water. A few had fresh stock, but most of them were heavily used. I should probably say at this point of time that I cannot draw to save my life. So what the hell was I doing at an exam like this?
As things turned out, it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. It was just difficult in an entirely different way. One question, for example, gave you a banana and a pear, and asked you to make three 3d forms by combining these two forms. That floored me. But I drew a tap and a lemon squeezer and a chair and a footstool in pencil, while people around me were painting something in those tiny boxes. This also meant that my approach let me finish the paper faster, and this is what I would recommend to anyone giving these tests: you don't need to use your entire arsenal for every question.
The next part of the exam was a breeze. It had physics questions like which is the densest of three fluids, or what would be on top in a tank full of petrol, water and ice. The maths questions in this part were not really maths questions at all, they were more about the spatial arrangement of the numbers instead of the numerical value. For example, a question like 19683 : 48791 so 27172:? and the answer is 37272. There was also a pattern we had to fill out, and a map to fill in with four colours without the same colour being in adjascent areas.
What was missing from the test was any form of judging the applicant's aesthetics. Even something like a multiple choice question with a varied arrangement of bozes and triangles about which looks the most aesthetic would have helped at this purpose. Or a bunch of album arts, and which goes best with the title of the album. Also, for the New Media Management test, something like a choice of interfaces and which is the best, or the ideal site map for web site with say twenty pages or so would have been great. Pity.

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