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Question
Posted by: Miz D | 2005/11/21

battle to concentrate

i am in grade 11, and i am battling so much to sit down and learn for these exams, my teacher sais i might have ADHD. i am so scared i am going to fail. is there any medication for this, or even medication to help me concentrate. please i am so desperate.

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Our expert says:
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Relax, Miz D, relax. No sensible person enjoys exams, and especially if we haven't done our preparation for them well in advance, most of us get anxious, even panicky, as exam time approaches. If you aren't fidgety, hyperactive and unable to concentrate the entire year through, you probably don't have ADHD. The only way to be sure of that would be to ask your parents to arange for you to see a good local psychologist for a proper assessment and a discussion of what, if anything, is wrong, and qwhat options there are for dealing with it.
A major problem in late prep for exams is that there seems to be just so much stuff to learn or revise, and it seems just an impossible pile to tackle. What helps is to organize one's study plans. Wort out what exam comes when, and in a large calendar work out what time and when, you can devote to preparing for which subject. Then sit down and make an outlione within each subject of what needs to be covered --- topics and maybe in big and complicated ones, even sub-topics. Write these out on pieces of paper, with room to tick of each section as you've done it. Where any particular topics are considered very important or very likely to turn up in the exams, underline them, so if time grows short, you can at least be sure you've covered the most important parts first.
Where there's a particular textbook to cover, make a list of chapters, and, if they're big, even list pairs of pages --- so as you work through your study prep, you can feel satisfied every so often in returning to the list and ticking off something as done. This provides you with a sort of map to navigate by, a way of seeing what still needs to be done, and by the ticking off, a way of seeing how much you have already done.
Basically, I agree with MIke, you're probably just anxious, like any intelligent person would be, and not sick at all.
And in making a daily timetable for study times, provide for a break every hour or so, to have a rest, something not distracting --- like a brisk walk round the garden, play with a pet, whatever. Avoid getting into terrifying discussions with class-mates about what's going to happen, and avoid post mortem discussions after each exam about what may have gone wrong. When you've finished an exam that's that --- there's no point in immediately worrying about what you might have done better --- it's the NEXT exam in hich you can do better -- you can't change the one you just finished.
Take it easy, and you will probably do better than you expect.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: H | 2005/11/22

I suggest you arrange an appointment with a Clinical Psycholgist in order to do a proper assessment. If you do have ADHD, it may be possible for you to get a special dispensation in exams to allow you extra time, which could go some of the way towards reducing the stress which limits your ability to perform according to your potential. In addition, a programme of psychological help could help you to learn how to cope better with exam pressures and to learn exam techniques tailored to your needs. If you suffer from exam-related anxiety, or another difficulty, a Clinical Psychologist will be able to tease out where the problem lies and what to do about it.

Although I agree with Mike that a teacher is not qualified to diagnose ADHD, teachers are often rather insightful, and could help you to recognise a problem that you might otherwise not see yourself. However, I strongly disagree that you should just chill. Deal with the problem now, and Grade 12 could turn out to be a stepping-stone to reaching your potential. The time to act is as long before your final exams as possible.

Reply to H
Posted by: Mike | 2005/11/21

First of all teachers know nothing about diagnosing mental health issues. More than likely you are suffering anxiety attacks due to the exams, this is a situational thing not a long term or permanent problem. What you need to do is find a distraction from the exams and realize exams are not of life or future threatening proportions. Rest and relaxation will help you concentrate better. You are no longer a child but a young woman and your destiny despite what others may say does not lie in exams. Your future is about what YOU want and desire, not what others think or choose for you. Forget the exams awhile get out and do something fun, relax, it's being uptight more than your academic ability that is giving you the problem.

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