Thursday, 26 May 2016

Vinod Kumar - CPDM IISC 2016 - M.Des Interview Experience

Hi everyone,

I'm Vinod Kumar from Chennai. I would like to share my experience about Design Aptitude Test (DAT) and interview held for Master of Design (M.des) programme at Center for Product Design (CPDM), IISc. I will try to interpret the question paper as far as I could remember.

About me

I pursued Manufacturing Engineering in Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) at Chennai. I worked in India Pistons (IP) Rings, Chennai after graduation. I appeared for GATE 2016 in Production & Industrial Engineering (PI) paper and secured a score of 710 ( AIR 46 ).

Note :

The qualifying examination score (GATE/CEED) only helps you to get shortlisted for the written test and your selection into the department is solely based on your performance in written exam and interview

Design Aptitude Test (DAT)

DAT comprises of 2 Sections

Section 1: 75 minutes

It has 2 parts.


These will test your knowledge of Non-verbal ability and on colours with their origin/purpose of usage.


This section has 10 questions and we need to attempt only 5. All Q’s carry equal weightage. This part tests your basic maths and your theoretical understanding on engineering design.

Q1. Probability (Combinations)
Q2. Area of curve bounded between 2 curves
Q3. SFD & BMD of a single overhanging simply supported beam with entire UDL
Q4. Fluid mechanics problem to find volume flow rate.
Q5. Finding out acceleration of a discus throw.
Q6. Spring Mass system

And rest from electronics which I don't remember exactly.  

After 75 minutes, there will be a break of 10 minutes and then you'll be given the second paper.

Section 2:

This is equivalent to CEED part B

Q1. Photograph of a physical object was given. Replicate the same in sketch and shade it with pencil.

A recliner chair image was given.

(Q2) 5 basic shapes were given. Draw another object for each of them where that shape is one of the major components.

(Q3) Two photographs were provided. Identify three problems (difficulties) that can be inferred from them. First was a photograph of people sleeping on kerbs and footpath, the second was a group of very young disadvantaged kids studying together in a cloistered room.

(Q4) Four items of technological interest were given. Select one of them and write five features of the same. (Example- Google Glass)

(Q5) Similar to above. We had to write what it is about and where it is used. (Example - 4G Mobile Communications Technology)

(Q6) Five materials were named. Write their applications and for what quality are the used for in their areas of application. (For example - Activated charcoal is used in filtration because of porosity)

(Q7) A passage were given in which it described what are thermopigments and how mixing them with normal acrylic colors and painting surfaces could help identify temperature changes (pigments will change color and thereby providing an indication). Consider any one household product and suggest two improvements on them based on the given concept of thermopigments. 

(Q8) Compare between CFL and LED lamps and state which is better and why. 

(Q9) Normal doormats cannot be cleaned without damaging them and rendering them unusable for future use. Suggest two design changes to address the issue. 

[All questions carried equal marks except Q. No. 1 which carried double the marks Q2.


All the candidates who have appeared for written test were interviewed.
Time slots was prepared and each individual was given 15 minutes.
There were three panels. Out of 3, one panel consisted mechanical engineering (core CPDM) faculties and I was listed in this panel.

They asked me to introduce my selves .As I completed my self-introduction, few Q’s were asked about what my coursework in UG dealt with and how it was different from mechanical engineering.

Then, a professor asked me if I had anything to show them. I understand that they were hinting to present my portfolio which I did. I had presented 3 of my best Engineering design works which I had carried out in college.

My final project was on “Design of Plastic Master cylinder for clutch actuation system” which was carried in a collaboration between WABCO R&D and ARSTPS, Cipet.

They were really keen on this and started asking me the stages involved in design and development and significance of each. Q’s were asked on why companies go for cost reduction when their existing product is reliable. Main concern which they look for is that your design has to be functional i.e it has work in real conditions. I showed them a rapid prototype model under doing real time testing and their results in my thesis

After they were satisfied with my replies, finally they asked me a couple of creative questions which requires you to brainstorm and answer with out of box thinking. Q’s was say 10 different uses of pen cap within 1 minute.

Finally I thanked them again before leaving. Result was announced within a week of interviews.

Thanks to admin of this group, Bhanu Chander to provide me with such an opportunity to share my experience. I met him after I got admission in this programme to clarify my doubts and he was very thoughtful in his replies. Great going mate.

Feel free to contact me.

Vinodh Kumar.R


  1. Thank you so much Vinodh for sharing your experience with everyone here. I'm sure, this will help many and good luck for your studies.

    1. Thanks a lot, Bhanu. I was able to help out students with your support. Would like to work on other perspectives too.!

  2. Hi Vinodh, How the product design course in IISc is different from other design schools? Do they focus on aesthetics? And if i am interested in industrial design, can i go for that?

    1. You can check my reply in quora here -

  3. is it necessary that in DAT these questions were asked??
    like i am from CS branch and according to your experience i have to prepare for basic maths and fluid mechanics