While looking for information, there was no single place where I could get the complete information on these entrances, so I have tried to put a timeline on this subject.
NID is rated among the top 50 design institutes in the world though it offers a diploma as opoosed to a degree. This does not matter as the name is very well recognised where it needs to be.The test, NEED itself should be easy for anyone who has a strong background in drawing/art, but don't underestimate the need for good coaching to give the all important exam tilt. All good coaching classes have a vital weapon in their armoury called intelligence; which is basically information gathered over a long period of time from thousands of students. This database will help increase scores. Classes will not enhance aptitude though. That has to be in place! The test is conducted in the first week of January and the results announced by the third week of march. There are sample papers published on the NID website www.nid.edu. It's essential to go through them.
The written exam for NIFT is held in the second week of february and results are announced by end march. The NIFT admission is more skill based and tests drawing skills whereas NID tests lateral thinking and creativity. However, coaching classes help for the same reasons as stated above.
Once you are through the written test, NID calls selected students to Ahmedabad for a two day studio test and interview. Roughly 230 or so students are called and 75 selected. On the first day there will be a three hour 3D modelling test with material ranging from thermocol or soap to florists' foam, straws and strings.The tests are designed as creatively as they expect the results to be! On the following day, is the interview. Do take a portfolio of work. As in any interview, confidence and a definite point of view matters. What they are looking for are out of the box thinkers, with a different take on the ordinary. You do not have to be skilled at drawing, just picturising your creativity. Results of this final round are announced by the first week of may and the term starts by the third week of June.
NIFT calls for selected students for a three hour 3D modelling test in any of its campuses. This is a test of pure skill and where the student is required to make the required model using matrerials given. NIFT leads the pack in fashion design, with campuses around India. The results of this round are announced in the third week of may. Counselling is usually held in Delhi in the last week of June.
Again, coaching works here because of the database of information they have. The other design institutes such as Shristi(Bangalore), DJAD(Coimbatore) and SID (Pune) are not quite in the same league as NID, but Shrishti seems to be the second choice for design aspirants. Incidentally, NEED scores are used by a list of other design institutes who may send you call letters for interview based on your scores. A list of the institutes is available on the NID website.