5 tips for handling question on dipping academic graph

Questions related to academic performance are frequently asked in personal interviews. In this article we shall try to understand the various approaches to handle the challenges in answering a question on dipping academic performance.
Understand the challenge
  • The question aims to check your ability to invest time in a judicious manner. The panel would like to know the way you utilize time available at your disposal. The question assumes even higher proportions if your academic performance has not been respectable.
  • Most students tend to get over defensive and concoct all sorts of stories to make up for a poor academic graph.
  • The answer needs to showcase ability to analyze events/data. They appreciate the fact that you have a capability to analyse your weaknesses and come up with a remedial action plan.
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Project ability to learn from other areas
  • Please appreciate that academic performance is only one of the measures of your ability to learn and not the only one.
  • Reflect learning from extra-curricular activities as indicated by two parameters:-
    • Versatility – refers to the diversity in pursuit of activities/interests. For example, you will be ranked higher on versatility if you are engaged in adventure sports as opposed to cricket, which is very typical of people in this country.
    • Achievement- refers to the accolades/ awards won by you while participating in various sports/activities/ events.
Project conceptual clarity
  • It is possible that the dip in performance is only numerical in nature though you may be fairly confident with respect to core concepts of your graduation.
  • In such a scenario be prepared with questions on concepts of your branch/specialization. Your favourite subjects need a special attention here.
Try identifying a pattern
  • It is possible that the dip was more in certain semesters/years of study as compared to certain others. This needs to be addressed. For example, it has been observed that students typically perform better in subsequent years of graduation as compared to the first year of study, which may be attributed to a sudden exposure to college life as opposed to a more disciplined and monitored school life.
  • It is possible that the dip was more a function of the nature of subjects and that you were uncomfortable in a certain genre of subjects. This needs to be highlighted.
  • Try identifying & showcasing superior performance in management related subjects. This is a huge plus as you are demonstrating an affinity for learning management concepts.
Avoid the following
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  • Do not create sympathy evoking stories. This may project you as an escapist!
  • Do not blame the academic system. This may not go well with the panel as you come across as someone shying away from responsibilities.
  • Do not pass on the blame to parents. This may be seen as an act of violation of basic values.
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