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How do I justify Low School Performance in PI

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How do I justify low school performance in PI

Why could you not do well in academics at school?: While growing up in school, we don’t realise the importance of keeping up our scores. So, when we encounter questions about our marks in school while being interviewed for MBA admissions, we are left wondering how to tackle them. Consistent academic record is crucial, for it reflects a certain discipline, mental and skill level, which is a good starting point for the panel. 

Uncomfortable question

The question, “Why could you not do well in academics at school?” is bound to be awkward for aspirants who have not had an excellent track record in school. This will surely put them in an uncomfortable position and it will be difficult for them to frame an answer. Although marks shouldn’t be the criteria to judge a person’s suitability for a course or job or define her/ his personality, it is increasingly being referred to in the interview stage of the admission process, to test how the aspirants react to it and handle it. 

Read More : Personal Interview TIPS - Are you suitably groomed to face PI?

Aim of asking such a question

Besides finding out the reasons for your performance in school and deriving their conclusions from it, the interview panel would be more interested in seeing how you react to uncomfortable positions. Whether you come under pressure and feel nervous or you deal with it like any other question without losing your spirit and smile?

Be Positive

As an aspirant, you have to emanate positive energy in the interview and remain cheerful. You cannot afford to show your nervousness and anxiety during the interview. Keeping this in mind, your answer to this uncomfortable question should bring out your positivity and ability to move on from difficult times. Instead of feeling ashamed of your performance and not being at ease talking about it, you should be able to highlight the lessons you learnt from the poor performance and the steps you took to avoid being in the same position again.


Given that the academic performance in school is in the past, you should be able to show that you have accepted it and moved on from it rather than remaining stuck with it. Your positive attitude will enable you to convince the panel that you are graceful even in difficult times and do not go pinpointing at others for your own shortcomings. Acceptance is the first step to move on. Only, when you accept that you did not do well and are capable of a better performance, will you move on to find the reasons for the performance and then, to eliminate those reasons, so that you do not repeat them in future. 

Read More : Top 5 Tips for Effective Answers

Be Honest

It works to be as honest as you can during the interview. In your answer to the given question, you could go on and mention the reasons you thought were responsible for your lacklustre performance in school. Clearly listing out these reasons will show your analytical and interpretation skills, crucial for a business executive. It will also prove to the interviewers that you are honest in critically analysing your failures instead of hiding from the real reasons. 

Advice for aspirants

Aspirants should not become uncomfortable with question about their weak performance in school or any other such question. The best way to answer such questions is to not lose your cool and to deal with it matter-of-factly without defending it or countering it. Maintain your positivity throughout and prove to the panel that you are better than you were in the past. 

Avoid the following

  • 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.

MBA Rendezvous has prepared some answers, and we hope this might help you:

"My grades are a good indication of my academic achievement, but in a way, you may not expect. The improvement that you will see over 2 years of college does not show lack of achievement in those early semesters. Rather, it shows the effects of finding an area of study that I was passionate about and good at."

"As you can see, I've gotten average grades while in school, but I think my involvement with other aspects of my school life offers better evidence of my achievement. For example, I was the head of cultural committee in school, coordinating all of our social and fundraising events and their execution. I also was a state-level basketball player and represented my school as the captain of the team.. My efforts have been focused on developing real-world skills rather than scoring all A grades on my exams."

"My grades are not a good indication of what I achieved academically in school. Not because I got bad grades, but because extra- curricular activities were more of my interest. I participated in a lot of debate and extempore was I achieved the most success. If you want to ‘see’ my achievements, I will share my portfolio and tell you in details."


Memorizing answers to some particular questions  may not be the best use of your mental resources. As well, overly-scripted answers will always feel inauthentic at best, and wooden or artificial at worst. Instead, think about your own experiences and all the ways in which you can highlight certain qualities via those experiences. Having this kind of conceptual understanding and approach will help you tell your stories in a natural and spontaneous way. If possible, get expert feedback on your responses to a variety of questions like these, so that you can refine your approach and ensure that your narratives are doing the kind of work you want them to do.

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