I been asked on 2 separate occasions why I didn't do so well in my Computer Science degree.

Honestly, I feel the main reason is my limited ability to remember a lot of information at once. In a technical field such as Computer Science, there are a lot of proven implementation details to remember by heart (memorize). I agree that an exam is about the application of knowledge but how does one apply the knowledge if one can't remember anything?

On the other hand, I feel if it was open book I would be able to read up and apply that knowledge.

So how can I project this in a non-negative way to interviewers?

  • 2
    0's at the left, 1's at the right)
    – Hatik
    Feb 13 '18 at 2:48
  • 1
    You are certain you set aside enough time and used enough effort? Most of these questions are designed to see if someone has the ability to reflect on failure and learn from it. If you blame "force majeure" (you cite talent for memory, implying you have a handicap, which is force majeure) If I was looking for your ability to internalize and improve on failure you wouldn't score high with that answer. And any answer someone else gives you will probably not fit the bill. Feb 13 '18 at 9:50
  • If you got the degree and experience, just exclude the grade so it won't be questioned. There's no reason you should be putting your gpa on your resume anyway as in my experience, if you're too high a gpa, they'll say you're just a good test taker, but if you're too low gpa, they'll see it as a potential that you might not take things seriously. So best to just leave it out.
    – Dan
    Feb 13 '18 at 18:53

Try something like this:

I found during my studies that I was always far better when it came to implementing tasks than taking tests. Here in the real world if you forget something for a second, you can look it up, but the actual skill and technique, which I have, tends to be of far more use on the job.

  • Really good and eloquent answer to such tough question. Tests rarely give complete measure of the knowledge needed to handle IRL situations. This phrasing answers the question and graciously evades comproming situations and answers.
    – DarkCygnus
    Feb 13 '18 at 3:01
  • Thats whats am trying to say well put. Just because I an e in maths doesn't mean am completely stupid and can't be basic maths. You won't be able to survive as an adult e.g. paying for groceries at asda.
    – Ageis
    Feb 13 '18 at 3:04
  • @Ageis I can't pass a test to save my life, I have experience with this one. Feb 13 '18 at 3:17
  • sorry it's just very frustrating for me to be picked upon regarding my degree after so many years. I thought I had some experience to warrent not questioning my ability as a developer.
    – Ageis
    Feb 13 '18 at 3:22
  • @Ageis if they don't hire you after having experience, they're doing you a favor, that's always how I see it. Again, I'm in the same boat Feb 13 '18 at 3:49

Honesty is good. Because people don't like dishonest answers.

But make sure it sounds not all negative. I.e. you can tell the person who interviews you that it's not easy for you to remember the names of all the data structures. But you know the differences and if you have to use a data structure you are able to recognize the best one. Be careful that you tell the truth in case there is a follow up question.

Another thing to keep in mind is that maybe the person who asks the question is more interested in how you react and not what you answer. I.e. you could say your teacher didn't like you or something like that. But nobody wants to hear that you blame someone else. The interviewer might just want to test how you answer a question for which he knows there is no good answer. Do you try to complain or blame others or how do you react? That's the test, not the actual question.

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