View Full Version : dyscalculia, or: learning basic maths... and its all gone again.

05-10-09, 06:18 AM

i am going to have psychological testing on tuesday. this will determine which job i am able to do, its a proper 'official qualification test'.

i am trying to learn maths now as i have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how to do fractional arithmetics or even just written multiplication (without a calculator).

the thing is... i cannot learn it the way its in books or online tutorials. there's too much bollocks around it, its like learning a language by learning the grammar and rules of that language, i CANNOT DO IT.

so i found a nice guy to help me on skype. he just put some calculations and solved them, i watched him solve the calculations, and figured out how to do it myself this way.

he gave me some example calculations which i solved successfully, too. i was pretty happy.

now i took a small break and tried to solve the stuff in my 'example book' i was given for the qualification test - and it's ALL GONE AGAIN. i forgot everything, i have NO IDEA how i ever solved such calculations. right to left, left to right, what comes first, i have no idea anymore. ITS ALL F&@$^#$^KING GONE. its like somebody erased all of my memory.

i know being angry will make it worse, but i'm really in despair here. if i screw the test up, i'll be f***ed.

i really dont know what to do. my doc said its possible to go up to 3x20mg ritalin a day, but he wanted me to take 3x10mg until end of the month and then decide again.

well, i just took 15mg. if i see that makes it worse, i'll only take 10 the next time again. but if it makes things better, i'll take 20mg as the next dose. screw it. this is my future, and if i dont take it into my own hands and LEARN THIS BLASTED MATHS, i wont even get a job as a CHECKOUT GIRL as they'd think i am too dumb to do that.

i can just pray that ritalin improves my short term memory in higher doses of 15mg or 20mg. i'll only take it today, tomorrow and on tuesday for the testing if it does, then go back to 10mg and talk to my doctor again before increasing the dose permanently... IF it works at all... man, i dont like doing this, but i'm really desperate.

gawd, what do i do if i dont find a way to learn maths?
maybe i can find a doctor who will write me a sick note so i dont have to go to the test... then again, that's only going to prolong the issue, not solve it... s**t. :(

or maybe i should arrange with being a scavenger for my job, doing nuclear physics in my free time while having to ask on irc all the time because i cant remember how to calculate an E notation either. great future. :rolleyes:

05-10-09, 03:18 PM
Have you slept on what you learned? That's when your brain really solidifies new information. You should be doing practice calculations every day, and sleeping on them at night. It will take a few days, but you should start discovering that you do recall what you've learned.

PS. Do you take naps? Naps help too!

05-10-09, 03:30 PM
thanks for your reply, blueroo!

hmmm. i havent slept on what i have learned yet, nope... maybe the stuff i learned will manifest during sleep so i can recall it e.g. tomorrow, you mean?
i'll see... hopefully it does, at least a bit.

maybe i started learning too late... but i usually forget stuff that i dont need after a week or so, even if it was interesting (and thats normal afaik), so i decided to rather do some intensive learning 2-3 days prior to the test.

i dont really take naps, but i could easily do that, as i get tired from the ritalin i'm taking - that's a good idea, i think i'll try this tomorrow... do some practise calculations and sleep, do something else, do calculations again, sleep again... maybe it helps... it's certainly worth a try. i'll make sure they're 'powernaps' of <=25 mins of sleep.

05-10-09, 05:18 PM
The most important thing to remember is that learning is a process over time. Your brain is forming new connections, and then optimizing those connections and pruning unnecessary ones. That happens while you sleep. Every day that you practice while you're awake, your brain practices while you sleep that night. We can take advantage of this by practicing every day. You're probably cutting it close with a Tuesday exam, but you have 2 days to try. Good luck!

05-12-09, 03:46 PM
I don't know what time it is in Germany, but how did the testing go today?

05-13-09, 07:08 AM
oops, and thanks for asking, EYEFORGOT; i actually meant to post the results yesterday (the test ended 22 hours ago), but eye-forgot. :o

it went better than i expected. i messed up some stuff, like, confused rules and scored badly in that subtest, but i therefor scored very high in understanding text and solving the (compared to 'normal' calculations, rather easy) mathematical problem inside... so i was still average in the final / overall results. thus, i do qualify for a job in IT (IT systems engineer i found tempting) but also in the 'research and scientific field' as my qualifications and skills are sufficient, even in maths. hooray!

i saw the result chart but wasnt allowed to receive a copy, sigh... it was for 'internal calculations only' and i may only have the final report which isnt as in-dept (will only say 'average' or 'high average' or 'above average', not mention exact numbers). i remembered some stuff though...

1-3 is below average, 4-6 is average, 7-9 is above average.

i scored a full blown NINE on logical thinking (solved ALL problems in the given time), an EIGHT on mechanics, an EIGHT on solving mathematic problems in text, a SIX in folding predefined stuff mentally to an object, a NINE in linguistics, a FOUR in maths (oh well, i would've scored 1 if i didnt learn, so it's still okay), and err... i cant remember, but everything else was in average / high average with a lot even being above average. oh yeah and they did a concentration test! i scored a SEVEN there as well! so, that's further proof that this ritalin stuff actually helps. also, the whole test took over five hours, and i was still able to concentrate at the end, which was pretty cool. i took the second pill of ritalin just over two hours after the first one though, i felt the effects fade a bit and was afraid that it wouldnt be sufficient to keep me focused during this hard and long test.
i think i will really ask my doctor for a retard-form of methylphenidate when i see him in two weeks... maybe prolonged-released would be best weekdays, and immediate-release form for weekends, so i can choose to just skip my last dose and go to a beer garden in the afternoon if i want to, without having to fear interactions of methylphenidate and alcohol.

anyway, so the psychologist said she does NOT think i have dyscalculia, but that i have just never really used maths in my life, and that i could score at least average in everything if i did a proper amount of training on the subject. she said that, as i was able to figure out what calculation needs to be done from a text as well as scored well in logical thinking and stuff, i probably only need to learn the rules of calculation, i should be able to apply them easily once i got the hang of it. i hope she's right.

she also literally said that just by the test results - without considering my background - she'd ask me why the heck i am not a university student.

she said she wants to do a 'trial' if i can function in a normal job-world first and then see if i can maybe be integrated into a 'normal' apprenticeship somehow, as she thinks i do have the potential. it would have to be tested if i can actually manage my impulsivity / short temper and stay focused during a 'normal' job. she also sees my social skills as a major issue though, and she doesnt see me working in a job with customer contact... so, while she thinks i can possibly handle a normal 8-hrs/day job with ritalin and other means of support, she does not think i can work in a team or handle customers, so we will have to find me an environment where i can work alone, self-dependant and without much contact to others. and yeah, i think she's probably right about that. i managed to improve quite a lot of things in my life since i was a child, but among those, social interaction skills are the ones i could by far increase the least.

05-13-09, 08:53 AM
Your initial post reminded me of myself. I've always had severe difficulty with math and it's coumpounded with very slow learning and poor working memory. I took Algebra 1 3 times and passed with a D grade the last time. I failed basic math as well. My high school aptitude tests showed math as the bottom percentile compared to the US average. It's tough.

05-13-09, 08:56 AM
Congratulations!! These results are great!! You obviously have a lot of potential, that was clear just from reading your posts.
You seem like the born scientist to me. I hope you will find something that satisfies you.

05-13-09, 10:14 AM
LVG, how do you cope with that in life? i bet companys test basic skills like maths in job application tests everywhere?
i mean... without maths, you cannot even work at a supermarket checkout or something... did you find a job you find satisfying nevertheless?

thanks a lot, olavia!
i'd like to be a scientist of some sort... but even just apprenticeship as electronics engineer (you dont need a high qualification or school degree for that) would be fine for me.

what is most important to me about a job is FIRST, a sufficient amount of money. there's a (rather low) threshold of an amount of money i need to have to survive okay from it.
after that, money is not most important to me; it's most important that a job makes SENSE to do and i LEARN something from it. electronics engineering skills are the skills i need most urgently in my life. i can imagine doing an apprenticeship as electronics engineer, qualify, be unemployed, and start over with another apprecenticeship that is of value (knowledge) to me. i'll never have a lot of cash that way, but knowledge is more important to cash anyway... at least to me. :)

we'll see what they have in mind for me once the final report is done (2-4 weeks).

05-13-09, 04:23 PM
Fantastic news y. Way to go! :)