Name one challenge you faced as a student and how you overcame it

The objective of this question is for the interviewer to understand the candidate’s response and behaviour in challenging situations. In any line of work, there will be challenges along the way. Hence potential employers are interested to know how candidates react and actions taken when faced with a challenge.

In this article, we will cover tips on how to tackle this question and examples to give you a clearer idea.

How to answer

One simple way to answer is to use the CAR method because it helps you to craft a comprehensive answer. Firstly, state the challenge you faced, then you move on to describe the actions taken and share the results achieved.

1. State the Biggest Challenge faced

Firstly, start off your answer by stating the biggest challenge you faced. Be as specific as you can so that the interviewer can better understand the context of it.

2. Describe the Actions taken

After stating the challenge faced, describe the actions you took to resolve the challenge. This is an important part of the answer because it shows how you react in the face of a challenge.

3. Share the Results achieved

Finally, share the results of your actions to show the interviewer your effectiveness in resolving a challenge. 

Things to take note

One thing to take note is to keep your answer succinct. You don’t have to tell your interviewers the details of your thought process and emotions you felt. Going straight to the point helps your interviewer grasp your answer more easily.  

In the following section, we have included examples of a poor and ideal answer to give you clearer insights to answering the question.

Poor Example:

There was a time where I was in charge of bringing a group of children around the Marina Bay area as part of my volunteering activity. Halfway through the excursion, one of the children started throwing a tantrum and refuses to leave the attraction. For a moment I was stunned and didn’t know what to do. I tried to console the child but it didn’t managed to work out. Even my other fellow volunteers couldn’t manage to hoax the child to leave.

Eventually, the child calmed down and re-joined the group.

The above example is a poor answer because the candidate included many irrelevant details. In addition, the actions took wasn’t sufficient to overcome the challenge. Hence, it might make the interviewer feel that the candidate is not very strong in thinking on his feet.

After understanding the things you should not include in your answer, refer to an ideal example below on how you should approach this question. 

Ideal Example:

There was a time where I was in the organising team for an event. We were almost finished with the proposal when the school management notify us at the eleventh hour stating that there were changes in the objective of the event and we had to redo proposal.

Although some of my team members panicked, I managed to align their focus by outlining the tasks to be done and assigning them to the best persons.

We managed to come up with a new proposal in time and managed to gain the green light to proceed liaising with the event vendors for set-up.

The above example is an ideal answer because it is succinct, which makes it very easy for the interviewer to understand what the candidate is trying to convey.

In conclusion, the above article sums up on the approach when answering the question on “Name one challenge you faced as a student and how you overcame it.” Coming up with an answer for this question requires much planning using the CAR method. Hence remember to set aside sufficient time to ensure you craft an answer to the best of your ability. 

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