Have you ever had trouble performing is exams?

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Shambles
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20 May 2012, 11:58 am

I'm currently studying my A Levels at college and the first year consists of timed examinations, which I hate. I have always had trouble with this, I never manage to finish an exam within the time limit given thus resulting in receiving disappointing results. I even went for Exam Concession testing about a month ago, I'm now in the middle of completing my yearly exams but have no feedback.

It takes me so long to understand the question in most of the papers, they don't seem specific enough so I can sit there for ages trying to fathom what on earth I'm meant to write. The thing is I have all the knowledge but can't apply it when asked.

Has anyone else experienced this issue? Or is it just me?

( I'm not diagnosed with AS by the way, but am suspected to be on the spectrum).


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20 May 2012, 1:00 pm

I don't have a great deal of a problem completing exams. I have some issues with concentration, but without meaning to sound arrogant, I am excellent at answering the questions so I can afford to spend 10% of the exam daydreaming.

It seems you have already checked whether you are eligible for extra time in exams, that's a good job. To be honest you should probably have done this before your GCSEs so you could have had the extra time for them. If you don't get extra time, maybe your school can ask for your difficulties to be taken into account. Another thing would have been choosing exams that were coursework-based, but of course you might not have wanted to do those courses and regardless it is too late now.

Lastly, maybe improve your exam technique. I don't know what subjects you are doing, but in sciences for example I think it is acceptable to not write in full sentences. Don't write down everything you know about a subject, but maybe just enough to get you the marks. Obviously it is harder with essay based subjects, but in those you can sketch out a plan before you begin to keep you focused. In my Philosophy and Ethics exam, our plans could gain some marks if we didn't finish.



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20 May 2012, 1:04 pm

[Moved from General Autism Discussion to School and College Life]


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Shambles
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20 May 2012, 1:18 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
I don't have a great deal of a problem completing exams. I have some issues with concentration, but without meaning to sound arrogant, I am excellent at answering the questions so I can afford to spend 10% of the exam daydreaming.

It seems you have already checked whether you are eligible for extra time in exams, that's a good job. To be honest you should probably have done this before your GCSEs so you could have had the extra time for them. If you don't get extra time, maybe your school can ask for your difficulties to be taken into account. Another thing would have been choosing exams that were coursework-based, but of course you might not have wanted to do those courses and regardless it is too late now.

Lastly, maybe improve your exam technique. I don't know what subjects you are doing, but in sciences for example I think it is acceptable to not write in full sentences. Don't write down everything you know about a subject, but maybe just enough to get you the marks. Obviously it is harder with essay based subjects, but in those you can sketch out a plan before you begin to keep you focused. In my Philosophy and Ethics exam, our plans could gain some marks if we didn't finish.


I'm doing Philosophy & Ethics, Psychology, English Literature and Fine Art.
We get to do coursework in the A2 part of the course. I've always been excellent at coursework seeing as I get higher grades such as As and Bs . I also get told that I am a great essay writer but am slow at writing.

So I think the problem may be speed. However there's nothing I'm able to do about that. A tutor actually picked up on that and was the one that sent me for Exam Concession testing - but nothing has come of it.


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helles
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20 May 2012, 2:51 pm

I might have problems in oral exams, not the written ones.

I just recently discovered that I have Aspergers but I have taken lots of exams. I have never performed well in oral examinations even thouh i often was the one who was best prepared and generally had a better understanding of the subject than my classmates (well, not all exams :) ). I think this might be because I did not get the subtle clues that the examiner tried to give me. I am not good at reading expressions etc. They tend to ask the type of questions that I do not get.

It would have been a great help to me, if I had a diagnosis years ago. For my next oral exam I am going to tell the examiner that I have Aspergers and I hope it will help.

Helle

Well, I might be a little old for this thread :ncool: but I am still studying



tryptophan9
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20 May 2012, 6:40 pm

As far as doing exams, I rarely have problems because despite having Asperger's, I have a much higher IQ than most of my peers. But I do have problems with finishing exams on time. Despite always getting better marks, I'm always one of the slowest at writing tests because I'm not good at quick thinking. From where I live in Canada, students with learning disabilites (including ASD) have a special IEP (Individual Education Plan) allowing certain students to take extra time in exams, so for me it isn't a big problem currently in high school.



izzeme
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21 May 2012, 4:33 am

i have this problem indeed; i often get exams back with comments like "perfectly answered, but this is not what i asked".
i fixed this by getting my counseller to let me perform the exams semi-oral.
this means that i will meet up with the teacher in person, he will ask me the question vocally, and expain what he means if needed while allowing me to ask for clarification as well; this works, as it allows me to answer the question he ment, and becouse i ask the right questions (should i use method "A" or method "B"), also shows i got more then enough knowledge to indeed finish the exam, which helps in rounding for the final mark.

other teachers allowed me to make the exams at home over a 2-day period, or gave me a small essay to write instead of the exam.

it was quite hard getting the first teacher to agree to one of these methods, but once i managed once and aced that test, it has gotten easier.



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28 May 2012, 1:22 pm

I'm so glad that you posted a forum on this!...I thought I was the only one to have trouble taking exams; it seems that most people in my year group at school generally find working under exam conditions easy, and are always surprised to hear that I don't finish writing in an exam...it always seems that I write a lot more than I'm supposed to, and I rarely finish within the allocated time period.

I ALWAYS struggle...(technically not always) Well, I didn't struggle with Spanish and RE at GCSE (they are both my strong and favored subjects). However, with English (literature and language), Maths and Science I usually struggle but end up with 'OK' grades; I got an overall B in English language despite getting a D in the exam, due to me 'acing' all the Controlled Assessments etc. For Maths I got a C the first time I took it, but then I retook it a few months later to get a B (and did get it in the end), and for Science I usually get C's in the exam, but end up bumping my grades up to overall B's due to acing my ISAs, which are worth 25% of my final grade.

...by the way, I'm not diagnosed with AS yet, either.



Shambles
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03 Jun 2012, 7:07 am

KnarlyDUDE09 wrote:
I'm so glad that you posted a forum on this!...I thought I was the only one to have trouble taking exams; it seems that most people in my year group at school generally find working under exam conditions easy, and are always surprised to hear that I don't finish writing in an exam...it always seems that I write a lot more than I'm supposed to, and I rarely finish within the allocated time period.

I ALWAYS struggle...(technically not always) Well, I didn't struggle with Spanish and RE at GCSE (they are both my strong and favored subjects). However, with English (literature and language), Maths and Science I usually struggle but end up with 'OK' grades; I got an overall B in English language despite getting a D in the exam, due to me 'acing' all the Controlled Assessments etc. For Maths I got a C the first time I took it, but then I retook it a few months later to get a B (and did get it in the end), and for Science I usually get C's in the exam, but end up bumping my grades up to overall B's due to acing my ISAs, which are worth 25% of my final grade.

...by the way, I'm not diagnosed with AS yet, either.


That's exactly what it's like. Finally someone who can actually relate! :)

In my A level English class I get As and Bs for coursework. But when we have to do controlled exams I never finish because, like you said, I write too much about one thing ergo losing out on marks. It may also be a cognitive processing issue, because I find it difficult to understand what the question is asking of me as it is never specific enough.

I even got results back from the tests I took to see if I can have extra time in my exams, but they said I don't need it. Probably because I aced the spelling test and had good language. The tests were a bit disorganised to be honest. They were poorly conducted. . . My therapist still thinks I need


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Shambles
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03 Jun 2012, 7:08 am

KnarlyDUDE09 wrote:
I'm so glad that you posted a forum on this!...I thought I was the only one to have trouble taking exams; it seems that most people in my year group at school generally find working under exam conditions easy, and are always surprised to hear that I don't finish writing in an exam...it always seems that I write a lot more than I'm supposed to, and I rarely finish within the allocated time period.

I ALWAYS struggle...(technically not always) Well, I didn't struggle with Spanish and RE at GCSE (they are both my strong and favored subjects). However, with English (literature and language), Maths and Science I usually struggle but end up with 'OK' grades; I got an overall B in English language despite getting a D in the exam, due to me 'acing' all the Controlled Assessments etc. For Maths I got a C the first time I took it, but then I retook it a few months later to get a B (and did get it in the end), and for Science I usually get C's in the exam, but end up bumping my grades up to overall B's due to acing my ISAs, which are worth 25% of my final grade.

...by the way, I'm not diagnosed with AS yet, either.


That's exactly what it's like. Finally someone who can actually relate! :)

In my A level English class I get As and Bs for coursework. But when we have to do controlled exams I never finish because, like you said, I write too much about one thing ergo losing out on marks. It may also be a cognitive processing issue, because I find it difficult to understand what the question is asking of me as it is never specific enough.

I even got results back from the tests I took to see if I can have extra time in my exams, but they said I don't need it. Probably because I aced the spelling test and had good language. The tests were a bit disorganised to be honest. They were poorly conducted. . . My therapist still thinks I need a concession in exams though.


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KnarlyDUDE09
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03 Jun 2012, 8:14 am

Shambles wrote:
In my A level English class I get As and Bs for coursework. But when we have to do controlled exams I never finish because, like you said, I write too much about one thing ergo losing out on marks. It may also be a cognitive processing issue, because I find it difficult to understand what the question is asking of me as it is never specific enough.

I too have the same problem with the vagueness of questions; that's partially why I end up sitting in English exams/controlled assessments for a good few minutes reading over the question, trying to grasp what it's asking me to do. A good example of a vague question to me is the one I had in my English Literature exam I took about 2 weeks ago.- It was something like: "Compare the topic of relationships in both poems"...I had 45 minutes out of 1hr30mins to answer this question, however due to my difficulty with the question, I started writing a little later than I should have, and ended up going over the time allocated for me to answer the other question. This in turn left me with approximately 10 minutes to answer an 18 mark question.

I also looked up 'cognitive processing issues' on the internet, and it's quite possible that could be the cause of my problems at least, but I'd have to find out from a professional, to know for sure.



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04 Jun 2012, 8:23 am

Yeah I have problems in exams. For me I can sometimes do completely awful in one exam but then get high marks in another. I get extra time now which helps as my concentration can be lousy. I also sometimes have trouble with the questions and how they're worded. Exam technique is useful though.


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04 Jun 2012, 9:07 am

We have students who get up to 3 times the normal exam time.



chrissiefiddle
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12 Jun 2012, 9:34 am

there are other concessions (access arrangements is the proper term) that may help you
1 using a word processor/laptop/pc
2 a separate room - so that others do not disturb you
3 a reader - to read the questions to you - this can be tested by the dyslexia specialist
4 read the questions aloud - easyuy of you are in a separate room
5 a prompt to help you keep on task


talk to your advisor at school or college -- help is available!