As we go into exam season it is a good time to think about how our ADHD might behave.
Below is an extract from a movie being released in early December, it is a Sci-Fi classic that nails the core components of managing stress.
Litany Against Fear:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
From Dune by Frank Herbert
Remember that when you become anxious your fight-or- flight response will shut down your thinking and remembering because your executive functions get demoted and lose the ability to focus on complex ideas. Fear really is the mind killer.
The conductor of your great thinking orchestra has nipped off to the loo (even if you are on meds).
The way to get your executive functions fired back up and in control is to breath deeply and slowly - count to 4 on the in breath and 5 on the out breath. A few of these should get you out of fight or flight so your conductor will be back to run things. That is the fear passing through you - breath it out.
Free up your working memory - anything you are afraid of forgetting can be noted on a piece of paper before you dive into the exam. This way those ideas aren't wasting valuable processing space until you need it.
Remember all your exam techniques:
Eat well and stay hydrated to keep your brain firing on all cylinders.
Make sure you have seen all the questions on the exam paper (so you don't miss easy marks on the last page)
Make sure your work is clearly labelled (with your name at the top and number the questions as you go along)
Divide your time for answering questions into chunks based on mark allocation to help you keep track of your progress. So halfway through your time you are halfway through the paper based on marks (so 50% of marks attempted) and don't get stuck on one question for longer than you should and miss out on other easy marks
Write notes to yourself on the paper so it is easy to keep track of what you still need to do or what you think could be added - those "breadcrumbs"....
If you start to get stressed - breath again, 5 breaths should make all the difference
If you get distracted use the time allocations for the question as a timed sprint
Think positive thoughts - you CAN
Keep your eye on the prize - the end of the exam and the passing. Only you will remain.
WE WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK FOR THE EXAM SEASON. Make the most of your creative problem solving and resilience.