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NATA: Exam Preparation 7 tips & tricks

NATA: Exam Preparation 7 tips & tricks

The National Aptitude Test In Architecture (NATA) is the entrance test for B.Arch and B.Planning courses, conducted by the Council Of Architecture. NATA scores are valid for one academic session and can serve as a basis for admission to different Government, Govt. Aided & Unaided schools/colleges of Architecture. This test measures drawing and observation skills, sense of proportion, aesthetic sensitivity, and critical thinking ability along with general aptitude in physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

The Council of Architecture has made significant changes to the NATA format in 2020, with candidates being allowed to write the two attempts for the exam (with the best one being considered as the final score for ranking and admission), as part of COA’s effort to enable more students to write the entrance test. NATA can only be in English.

The paper will consist of 2 sections – Part A (Offline) consisting of Drawing, for a total time of 135 minutes. Part B (Online) consists of Multiple Choice Questions in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and General Aptitude for a total time of 45 minutes. Additionally, there will be a break of 15 minutes between the two sections. 

Part A will consist of 3 drawing questions – one for 55 marks and two for 35 marks each, total weightage being 125 marks out of 200. This section is entirely offline, and all questions need to be answered on A4 size sheets. To be eligible to qualify, a candidate needs to score a minimum of 32 marks out of 125. Metrics of evaluation include – the ability to sketch a given object proportionately, showcasing skills in a visually appealing manner, visualizing and drawing the effects of light on the object and shadows cast on surroundings, sense of perspective drawing, skill in creating two-dimensional compositions using given shapes and forms. Additionally, candidates are expected to create visual harmony by using a combination of colors in the composition submitted for evaluation. 

Part B will consist of 15 questions from Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, along with 35 questions of Logical Reasoning and General Aptitude. General Aptitude questions are picked from topics such as buildings in India and the world, Speed, Distance and Time, Common Architectural Terminology, 2D and 3D objects and their plans and elevations, understanding of isometric figures, etc. Logical reasoning has been found to comprise syllogism, puzzles, critical reasoning questions, visualizations, statement-assumptions and conclusions, Venn diagrams, sets, and inferential reasoning (based on past year papers). Each question will account for 1.5 marks (with no negative marking). To be eligible to qualify, a candidate needs to score a minimum of 18 marks out of 75. 

Tips for NATA preparation include:

  1. Study the syllabus – It is advisable to go through the complete syllabus published and to know which topics questions can be asked from. It ensures you know what to prepare and prevent unsavory surprises during the exam.
  2. Practice – Practice drawing questions. It is an extremely common misconception among architecture studies aspirants that good drawing skills will make Part A a cakewalk for them – that is not true very often, because questions are often technical and require the application of both concepts and creativity. Students tend to miss out on either when in a hurry. Practicing also helps you gain speed and time management skills, which are essential in competitive exams to ensure that you can attempt all questions with accuracy. 
  3. Use light pencils and draw rough sketches as a basis-  It is advisable to use lighter writing instruments for a neater answer (and to ensure you don’t waste time erasing or have messy smudges on your paper). Drawing a rough sketch/outline helps you be clear about how to answer the question. 
  4. Use A4 sheets for practice – Use A4 and not A3 sheets because the answers in the exam need to be written on A4 sheets only.
  5. Focus on all sections during preparation – Do not neglect any section during preparation – practice questions and prepare for the Online Part B of the paper as well since it is very scoring.
  6. Solve mock tests, practice papers, past year papers – This is important to build a question bank – you are exposed to questions of different types and difficulty levels, enabling you to answer a lot more of them in the exam. Additionally, it is better to have doubts arise and be cleared during preparation itself than being clueless during the paper. It also helps with the time management aspect of preparation.
  7. Time Management and Accuracy – You must manage your time to maximize the number of questions you solve in the paper, and accuracy ensures you score well. Solve the easy questions and whatever you know well first, then come back to the difficult and/or time-consuming questions and work through them. Try not to spend too much time on a single question. 

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