View Full Version : Is it concentration or retrieval issues? (Education)


PraxxtorCruel
11-22-16, 11:04 PM
Im curious to know or understand why ADHD'ers have difficulties focusing/paying attention but when stressed about something like a dead line approaching or entering an exam they manage to work miracles and do really well?

Take for example learning in school, as youre entering the exam hall how can the fear of doing poorly in an exam make you perform well if you're failing to pay attention in the classroom? Dont you need to be focused in the classroom to understand the material being taught and to remember it?

I feel like the problem is rather retrieval issues over concentration? Because how can you do well in the exam if you never managed to understand the material by failing to concentrate/focus in the class setting?

Im hoping for someone to enlighten me. Thanks

anonymouslyadd
11-22-16, 11:19 PM
The problems go together and are part of the executive functions of the brain. I believe concentration and memory retrieval are two of those functions.

namazu
11-23-16, 12:00 AM
Im curious to know or understand why ADHD'ers have difficulties focusing/paying attention but when stressed about something like a dead line approaching or entering an exam they manage to work miracles and do really well?
[...]
Because how can you do well in the exam if you never managed to understand the material by failing to concentrate/focus in the class setting?
A lot of people with ADHD don't work miracles on exams like that, and fail.

Unless the test is written in such a way that the answers are easily guessed/figured out without knowing the material, someone who hasn't learned the material adequately is unlikely to do well, even if the pressure of the last minute gives them good focus for the test itself.

Some people may be able to learn some material with limited exposure in class, or with some amount of study or other exposure outside of class. In situations like that, it may be possible to do OK on an exam despite zoning out in class. Depends a lot on the class, the material, the person, and the exam.

Some people have specific problems with memory retrieval (independent of, or on top of the ADHD). People with this type of problem may struggle to do well on exams even if they were paying attention in class and understand the material.

Anxiety may be useful for some (not all) people in small doses in the short term, but it can really take its toll over time and make it harder to function.

sarahsweets
11-23-16, 05:14 AM
Im curious to know or understand why ADHD'ers have difficulties focusing/paying attention but when stressed about something like a dead line approaching or entering an exam they manage to work miracles and do really well?

I dont know if thats an adhd thing though-couldnt you say that everyonegets that intense focus due to a deadline?

Take for example learning in school, as youre entering the exam hall how can the fear of doing poorly in an exam make you perform well if you're failing to pay attention in the classroom? Dont you need to be focused in the classroom to understand the material being taught and to remember it?

Some people say a "gift" of adhd is the level of focus that you mentioned.

I feel like the problem is rather retrieval issues over concentration? Because how can you do well in the exam if you never managed to understand the material by failing to concentrate/focus in the class setting?

Im hoping for someone to enlighten me. Thanks

I think it could be both except those periods of intense focus can happen out of fear of failure-grades going down. Fear is the greatest motivator.

DJ Bill
11-23-16, 03:36 PM
My Trig exam as a freshman in college was definitely not a miracle. I wasn't diagnosed back then but a diagnosis would have given me a bit better perspective on flunking my first course ever.
My Physics exam was very similar....I thought maybe I was in the wrong room. Needless to say, I was kicked out after 2 semesters. I was top ten in my high school....getting by by memorizing what I needed to pass the tests, and lots of classes came way easy to me back then.

ToneTone
11-26-16, 04:58 PM
Who told you that ADHD people work miracles on exams they haven't studied for?

Sure on some projects with deadlines, like writing projects, ADHD people can be motivated by the deadline, but I think it's pretty well established that the higher up you go in the world, the less deadline work really pays off.

I'm a teacher and trust me: having a deadline does not help a student to pass a test that the student is not prepared for. Only studying and absorbing and internalizing the material all along the way helps with doing well on the test.

Yes, some people are good at cramming, but cramming becomes less and less effective in college. The course work is simply too complicated to absorb through last minute cramming. I can pretty much tell when students have crammed a writing assignment. I design assignments to build on what we have covered all along and to do the assignment well, students have to not rely on primitive stress-based thinking but rather a more relaxed and creative thinking that's just slightly outside their comfort zones.

Applying new concepts and techniques (which is what tests are designed to challenge students about) is inherently fragile and stress does not help with that endeavor. Stress and adrenaline might help you write faster. It does NOT help with thinking more clearly and creatively to solve complicated, complex problems. And that goes for teachers as well as students.

Now here's where cramming and a deadline may help. With my ADHD, I can get lost in tangents and side issues and accumulate 20 different perspectives and the deadline can be helpful (even the deadline to teach!) as far as it forces me to choose and prioritize. But that last minute prioritizing only works if I'm been doing work and thinking all along.

Tone

ginniebean
11-26-16, 05:46 PM
Im curious to know or understand why ADHD'ers have difficulties focusing/paying attention but when stressed about something like a dead line approaching or entering an exam they manage to work miracles and do really well?

Take for example learning in school, as youre entering the exam hall how can the fear of doing poorly in an exam make you perform well if you're failing to pay attention in the classroom? Dont you need to be focused in the classroom to understand the material being taught and to remember it?

I feel like the problem is rather retrieval issues over concentration? Because how can you do well in the exam if you never managed to understand the material by failing to concentrate/focus in the class setting?

Im hoping for someone to enlighten me. Thanks


The usual executive function pathways don't work very well and perhaps some next to none. The brain does have alternative means to execute action that is not the main path way of "Think it -> do it". The majority of people with adhd use an emotional pathway that supercharges performance not just in thos with adhd but everyone. This pathway is a short term burst way of executing action. This secondary pathway is used in often dire situations. When something must be done with an almost imppossible deadlind. like for iinstance bagging for a flood. The emotional component of impending disaster allows people to work days and sometimes weeks at peek output to get the job done.
Those with adhd it is supposed use anxiety to activate this pathway. Last minute do or die is likely a tool unconsciously used to execute actions that fail in the underworking primary pathways of the executive function

i was never able to pay attention in class and I still cannot listem to lectures or watch you tube videos even if I find the subject matter is very interesting. in school the majority of material is in books. i have no trouble learming visually but aurally is impossible. I'm just one person and not everyone can hack anxiety in order to get things done but I do routinely. Were I to get my anxiety treated I'd not get hardly anything done.

Hope yhat helps.