View Full Version : Second-guessing on exams

01-02-13, 02:43 AM
About a year ago I was formally diagnosed with ADHD. I was trying so hard to concentrate in class but this just led to extreme frustration because I was so fidgety which just led to more distraction. I was hesitant to try medications (adderall), however, the results were amazing and I didn't have any side affects. This past semester I was taking two very difficult science classes (I'm a junior physics major) and I finally was able to walk out of a class and retain, process, and understood what was taught. For the first time ever, I was even explaining things to friends! This was awesome until it came to the exams. I finally felt prepared but this increased my test-anxiety level tremendously. I reasoned that now that I feel prepared I should be able to do much better. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this but in general the more prepared for an exam I feel the more anxious I feel. Usually the anxiety is the worst leading up to the exam. My anxiety most of the time is just 'butterflies'. One time I actually felt nauseous and my hand was actually shaking.I honestly don't know what I'm afraid of. However, once taking exams I'm just extremely indecisive and second-guess everything I should and do know. I don't trust myself to the point where I will type 2+2 into my calculator to check. Every question is a constant battle of indecisiveness. In writing I struggle to get any thoughts down on paper because the phrasing isn't good. I am somewhat of a perfectionist, however, I'm okay with making mistakes and being incorrect in general but I guess exams are deemed too important. Does this happen to anyone else? Anyone have any suggestions?

01-02-13, 06:56 AM
If it was multiple choice I second guessed myself all the time.

01-02-13, 08:04 AM
I'm a lot like this. The more I prepare for an exam (or an interview these days), the more nervous and anxious I get. If I don't prepare and expect the worst, I'm ok but if I do prepare and don't get the expected results it upsets me hugely.

I also always used to second guess my answers on exams, kept checking everything I'd written and held on to the paper till the exam supervisor tore it out of my hands.

I guess, if you've spent a life time of making mistakes and underperforming it's difficult to suddenly trust yourself. Give yourself time. Some breathing exercises before and during an exam might help to relax a bit. Also, what always helped me was to look at exam papers of previous years and practise my answers on them.

You are doing well and you'll continuously get better. Don't be too hard on yourself. :)