Friday, June 14, 2024

What to Do When You Fail a Coding Test: Next Steps

Last Updated on October 6, 2023


Coding tests play a crucial role in the job application process, allowing employers to assess a candidate’s technical skills.

These tests evaluate a candidate’s ability to solve real-world coding problems and perform well under pressure.

It is not uncommon for candidates to fail coding tests, and there can be various reasons for this.

One common reason is a lack of preparation, where candidates underestimate the complexity or difficulty of the test.

Another reason is poor time management during the test.

Candidates may struggle to allocate their time effectively, leading to incomplete or incorrect solutions.

Additionally, limited understanding of the coding language or algorithms can contribute to failure.

Inexperienced candidates may struggle with applying the right syntax or logic to solve given problems.

Furthermore, coding tests often involve testing exceptional cases and edge scenarios.

Candidates may fail if they overlook these and focus solely on the common scenarios.

When faced with a failed coding test, it is essential to remain positive and use the experience as a learning opportunity.

Analyzing the mistakes made and seeking feedback from the interviewer can help identify areas for improvement.

Developing a structured study plan, revisiting coding basics, and practicing problem-solving can enhance skills and increase confidence for future coding tests.

Basically, coding tests hold significant importance in the job application process.

Understanding the common reasons for failure and adopting a proactive approach toward improvement can lead to success in coding tests and ultimately, landing a desired job.

Reflect on the Experience

A. Accepting and Acknowledging Failure

  1. Begin by acknowledging that failing a coding test is a common experience for many developers.

  2. Don’t let failure define you; it’s a part of the journey to mastery.

  3. Recognize that even the best programmers faced setbacks in their careers.

  4. Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

B. Understanding the Importance of Learning from Mistakes

  1. Understand that mistakes and failures are valuable teachers in the coding world.

  2. Analyze what went wrong in your coding test performance without self-blame.

  3. Identify specific areas or concepts where you struggled during the test.

  4. Seek feedback from the test provider or peers to gain insights into your errors.

C. Emphasizing the Growth Mindset

  1. Cultivate a growth mindset, believing that your abilities can develop with effort.

  2. Remember that successful developers didn’t become experts overnight.

  3. Set realistic expectations for your learning curve.

  4. Develop a plan for addressing your weaknesses and building on your strengths.

In summary, when you encounter a setback like failing a coding test, it’s essential to embrace it as a natural part of your programming journey.

Accepting and acknowledging failure, understanding the importance of learning from your mistakes, and fostering a growth mindset will not only help you overcome this hurdle but also propel you toward becoming a more resilient and skilled coder.

Read: Remote Coding Tests: How to Ensure Academic Integrity

Analyze the Test Results

A. Reviewing Feedback from the Coding Test

  1. After receiving your coding test results, the first step is to carefully review any feedback provided by the evaluator.

  2. Pay close attention to comments and suggestions. They can offer valuable insights into your performance.

  3. Feedback might highlight specific code issues, coding style concerns, or logical errors. Take note of these.

B. Identifying Areas of Weakness or Misunderstanding

  1. Examine the areas where you struggled or received negative feedback. Are there recurring themes or topics?

  2. Identify if there are particular programming languages, algorithms, or concepts that you consistently had trouble with.

  3. Understanding your weaknesses is crucial for targeted improvement in your coding skills.

C. Recognizing Patterns in Mistakes Made

  1. Look for patterns in the mistakes you made during the coding test. Were there common types of errors?

  2. Analyze whether time management or stress played a role in your mistakes. Identifying patterns helps you address them.

Analyzing your coding test results is a crucial step in your journey to improvement.

It provides valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus your efforts on areas that need enhancement.

By reviewing feedback, identifying weak points, and recognizing patterns in mistakes, you can develop a targeted plan to bolster your coding skills and perform better in future assessments.

Remember, failure in a coding test is not the end; it’s an opportunity to learn and grow as a developer.

Read: Acing Git Questions in Your Next Coding Test

Learn From the Failure

A. Seeking Additional Resources for Self-Study

When you fail a coding test, don’t lose hope. Use it as an opportunity to grow.

  1. Online Courses: Explore platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and edX for courses tailored to your weak areas.

  2. YouTube Tutorials: Watch coding tutorials to gain new insights and alternative problem-solving approaches.

  3. Programming Books: Invest in well-regarded programming books that cover the topics you struggle with.

B. Identifying Areas that Need Improvement

Self-assessment is key to overcoming coding test setbacks.

  1. Debugging Skills: Analyze past mistakes to identify recurring errors and work on debugging techniques.

  2. Algorithmic Thinking: Assess if you need to strengthen your algorithmic problem-solving skills.

  3. Time Management: Reflect on how you managed your time during the test and find ways to improve.

C. Setting Clear Goals for Future Learning

Goal setting is essential for progress.

  1. Specific Goals: Define precisely what you want to achieve in terms of coding proficiency.

  2. Measurable Outcomes: Set metrics to track your progress, such as solving a certain number of problems weekly.

  3. Realistic Timelines: Ensure your goals are achievable within your schedule and current skill level.

  4. Accountability: Share your goals with a friend or mentor who can help keep you on track.

Remember, failure is a stepping stone to success in the world of coding.

By seeking additional resources, identifying areas for improvement, and setting clear, actionable goals, you can turn a setback into a stepping stone towards a brighter coding future.

Embrace the challenge, and let it fuel your determination to excel.

Read: The Importance of Behavioral Questions in Coding Tests

What to Do When You Fail a Coding Test: Next Steps

Practice Coding Exercises

When you face the disappointment of failing a coding test, it’s essential to turn that setback into an opportunity for growth.

Here’s what you can do:

A. Utilizing online coding platforms for practice

  1. Identify Weak Areas: Pinpoint the specific topics or concepts where you struggled during the coding test.

  2. Choose the Right Platform: Select online coding platforms like LeetCode, HackerRank, or CodeSignal.

  3. Structured Learning: Engage in structured courses or lessons that cover these areas comprehensively.

  4. Daily Practice: Dedicate time each day to practice coding problems related to your weak spots.

  5. Seek Guidance: Utilize discussion forums and seek help from the coding community when you’re stuck.

B. Solving coding challenges and building up skills

  1. Start Small: Begin with simple coding challenges and gradually move to more complex ones.

  2. Consistency Matters: Regular practice is key; make it a daily or weekly habit.

  3. Analyze Solutions: After solving a problem, study different approaches and solutions.

  4. Implement Feedback: If you received feedback from the coding test, use it to improve.

  5. Create a Portfolio: Maintain a portfolio of your solved problems to showcase your progress.

C. Participating in coding competitions or hackathons

  1. Choose Competitions: Find coding competitions or hackathons that match your skill level.

  2. Team Up: Consider participating with friends or forming a team for hackathons.

  3. Learn from Others: Collaborate and learn from more experienced participants.

  4. Set Goals: Aim not just to win but to learn and improve your coding skills.

  5. Network: Use these events to expand your network in the coding community.

Failing a coding test is a common experience in the journey of a programmer.

It’s not the end but a stepping stone towards becoming a better coder.

Remember, success in coding requires continuous learning and practice.

Embrace the challenge, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward.

Your persistence will eventually lead to coding success.

Read: Automating Code Review in Coding Tests: Pros and Cons

Expand Knowledge Through Projects

When you fail a coding test, it’s important to take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve your skills.

One way to do this is by working on personal coding projects.

A. Working on personal coding projects

Dedicate time to work on personal coding projects that interest you.

This will give you hands-on experience and help you develop a deeper understanding of coding concepts.

Choose a project that challenges you and pushes you out of your comfort zone.

By tackling difficult problems, you’ll learn new techniques and gain valuable problem-solving skills.

B. Collaborating with others for constructive feedback

Another way to expand your knowledge is by collaborating with others on coding projects.

Working with a team allows you to learn from their experiences and gain different perspectives.

Seek out constructive feedback from your peers.

Their insights can help you identify areas of improvement and provide valuable guidance on how to overcome challenges.

C. Different programming languages or technologies

Don’t limit yourself to just one programming language or technology.

Explore different options to broaden your understanding and skill set.

Learning a new programming language can give you a fresh perspective on coding and expose you to different approaches and techniques.

It can also make you more versatile and marketable as a developer.

Experimenting with different technologies can also be beneficial.

This allows you to stay up-to-date with industry trends and opens up new opportunities for growth.

Remember that failure is a part of the learning process in coding.

Embrace it as an opportunity to grow and improve.

By expanding your knowledge through projects, collaborating with others, and exploring new programming languages or technologies, you’ll be able to turn failure into success.

Seek Guidance and Mentorship

When facing failure in a coding test, seeking guidance and mentorship can be incredibly beneficial.

A. Joining coding communities and forums

One way to seek guidance is by joining coding communities and forums.

These online platforms provide a supportive and helpful environment where programmers can share their experiences and seek advice.

By actively participating in these communities, individuals can connect with others who have faced similar challenges and learn from their experiences.

Engaging with coding communities and forums can also provide an opportunity to network with professionals in the field.

B. Connecting with experienced programmers

Another way to seek guidance is by connecting with experienced programmers.

These professionals have likely faced failures in the past and can offer valuable insights and advice.

By reaching out to them through platforms like LinkedIn or attending networking events, individuals can establish connections that can help them navigate through their coding failures.

Experienced programmers can provide advice on how to overcome challenges, improve coding skills, and handle failures in a constructive manner.

C. Seeking mentorship or guidance from industry professionals

Seeking mentorship or guidance from industry professionals can be extremely advantageous for individuals who fail coding tests.

Mentors can provide personalized guidance and support, helping individuals identify areas for improvement and providing valuable resources.

Mentors can offer feedback on coding techniques, suggest study materials, and provide guidance on how to approach future coding tests.

Furthermore, mentors can also share their own experiences with failure, instilling a sense of resilience and determination in individuals.

D. Benefits of seeking guidance and mentorship

Seeking guidance and mentorship after failing a coding test offers numerous benefits.

  • It helps individuals gain a fresh perspective on their coding abilities and areas that need improvement.

  • Mentors and experienced programmers can offer practical advice and tips for overcoming challenges.

  • Guidance can help individuals develop a growth mindset, viewing failure as an opportunity for learning and growth.

  • Connecting with others in the coding community can foster a sense of support and belonging.

  • Industry professionals can offer valuable insights into the expectations and requirements of coding tests.

When faced with failure in a coding test, seeking guidance and mentorship can be instrumental in one’s growth and future success.

Joining coding communities, connecting with experienced programmers, and seeking mentorship from industry professionals provide opportunities for self-improvement and learning.

By embracing these next steps, individuals can transform failures into valuable learning experiences and become better programmers in the process.

Network and Engage in the Coding Community

A. Attending Coding Meetups or Conferences

  1. Seek out local coding meetups and conferences in your area.

  2. Attend events relevant to your programming language or technology stack.

  3. Engage in discussions, ask questions, and share your experiences.

  4. Connect with fellow developers and potential mentors.

  5. Stay updated on industry trends and emerging technologies through these gatherings.

B. Participating in Online Coding Communities

  1. Join online platforms like Stack Overflow, GitHub, and Reddit’s programming subreddits.

  2. Contribute to discussions and offer solutions to coding challenges.

  3. Ask for help when needed and leverage the collective knowledge of the community.

  4. Showcase your coding skills by sharing your personal projects.

  5. Follow influential developers and organizations to stay informed.

C. Sharing Knowledge and Insights with Others

  1. Start a coding blog or contribute guest posts to tech publications.

  2. Share your coding journey, challenges, and successes.

  3. Create tutorials and guides to help others overcome common coding hurdles.

  4. Offer mentorship to beginners or those facing similar coding test setbacks.

  5. Collaborate on open-source projects and contribute to the coding ecosystem.

Networking and engaging in the coding community can be a powerful strategy to bounce back after failing a coding test.

Attending meetups or conferences connects you with like-minded individuals and keeps you informed about industry advancements.

Participation in online communities provides a vast knowledge pool and opportunities to share your expertise.

To summarize, sharing your knowledge through blogs, tutorials, and mentorship not only benefits others but also enhances your own coding skills and reputation in the community.

Stay Positive and Resilient

A. Understanding that failure is a part of the learning process

  1. Acknowledge that even the best coders encounter setbacks.

  2. Understand that failing a coding test doesn’t define your overall coding abilities.

  3. Treat each failure as a valuable learning opportunity.

  4. Analyze your mistakes to identify areas for improvement.

  5. Embrace failure as a stepping stone towards mastery.

B. Celebrating small victories and progress made

  1. Recognize and appreciate your coding achievements, big or small.

  2. Break down your coding journey into milestones.

  3. Each bug fixed and code improvement is a step forward.

  4. Small victories build confidence and motivation.

  5. Focus on progress, not just the end result.

C. Maintaining a positive attitude towards continuous improvement

  1. Embrace a growth mindset – believe in your ability to improve.

  2. Set realistic coding goals and work steadily towards them.

  3. Seek feedback from peers and mentors for constructive insights.

  4. Stay committed to refining your coding skills.

  5. Remember, continuous improvement is a lifelong journey.

Failing a coding test can be discouraging, but it’s important to remember that setbacks are an integral part of the learning process.

By understanding that failure is not a reflection of your overall coding abilities, you can approach it with a more positive mindset.

Celebrate small victories along the way, as they are crucial in building your confidence and motivation.

Lastly, maintain a positive attitude towards continuous improvement, keeping in mind that coding is a skill that can always be refined and developed.


After failing a coding test, it is important to remember the following steps: recap, encourage perseverance, and remind yourself that failure does not define you.

Failing a coding test can be disheartening, but it is crucial to learn from the experience and grow.

By reflecting on the mistakes made and seeking feedback, you can identify areas for improvement.

Keep learning and pushing forward to enhance your coding skills.

Remember that setbacks are a natural part of the learning process.

Embrace challenges and use them as opportunities to refine your abilities.

It is also important to cultivate a growth mindset, believing that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.

Find support within coding communities, where you can discuss challenges and gain insights from others.

Persevere despite failures, as success often comes after numerous setbacks.

Take failures as valuable lessons and approach future coding tests with renewed vigor.

In the end, failure does not define your worth as a coder.

It is merely a stepping stone on the path to success.

Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth and continue working towards your goals.

Remember that many renowned coders and programmers faced failures early in their careers.

They used those failures as motivation to improve and eventually achieve greatness.

You have the potential to do the same.

So, don’t be discouraged by a failed coding test.

Learn from it, persevere, and keep chasing your dreams in the coding world.

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