Why do I do poorly at every exam? PLEASE help! Watch

Scitty
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This probably won't be something anyone can answer without actually knowing me, but I just want some advice, or even just some people to come forward and say they've had the same problem.

I'm in my first year of vet school at the moment. I've just had my first exam and I know without even getting the results back that I've failed it. It was off to a great start by me forgetting my username to log in and take the exam (even though I'd used said email to check my uni emails less than half an hour before that), and even though I told myself I wouldn't, I still went back and changed some of my answers and put the wrong thing.

I don't cram. I'm not a crammer. I go over my notes after each class, supplement them, always have work in on time, I help others with their work: it's not a case of not understanding the subject matter. I can keep up in lectures, I print them off before class so I can annotate as I go along.

I'm just exhausted now.

I went into this exam aiming high, feeling confident, knowing my stuff. And the second it started, I just completely blanked. It felt like every single thing I had been over had been completely irrelevant and I knew nothing.

I wish I could say it was nerves and a one off but this has been an on-going trend for years now. I've spoken to I don't know how many different careers and study advisers. I've tried different exam techniques, I've tried different revision techniques, I've had different allowances in exams, but repeatedly I've been coming back getting such bad results. ESPECIALLY when you compare the 40-60% I get in real exams to the 75-95% I get in practice ones.

Exam-wise:
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  • I've tried taking breaks every couple of minutes, so I don't finish early (I still do)
  • I leave as early as possible, where permitted, so I cannot go back and change my work
  • I've covered up answers in MCQ so I can think for myself first, then if the answer I thought is on the list, go for that one
  • I read through the paper/questions first before answering anything
  • Answer questions I am confident in first, and then go for high-markers
  • Check my answers (which is where I normally end up over-editing and changing to the wrong thing)
  • Drink plenty during the exam
  • Highlight and underline key points in questions so I can refer back to them (especially in long answers), where possible


Revision wise I:
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  • Use mind-maps to connect ideas
  • Use flashcards to test myself
  • Write my own exam questions based off of topic learning objectives, and test myself later on
  • Help others with their revision
  • Go through practice questions online/in textbooks, provided by lecturers, or in past papers
  • Space things out, and keep a timetable based off of task, rather than length of time spent
  • Eat and drink well while revising
  • Take plenty of breaks, including to go get some exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Pace my revision: I start as early as possible so I am on top of things. I review topics normally the evening they're taught, then a week later, then every other week, while linking them back to what I've learned
  • I've tried recording myself reading notes/explaining a topic and listening back and/or listening back to lectures, but that doesn't tend to help
  • I supplement all of my notes with as many videos as possible, especially on things that need visual input, like processes etc


I don't know what I'm doing wrong at this point. I've had staff suggest I have extra time in exams (made things worse), sit in a small room/group for exams (also made things worse), get a dyslexia assessment (in the works, but I don't think that's going to make a difference).

I just don't get how I've gone from being a straight A student, getting A*s in exams, to now still performing the same in class, but so horrendously in exams.

It really worries me and I'm honestly terrified that I'm broken in some way and that this is just my life now. I've worked so hard to turn things around, and every time I see it as a fresh start and go in as confident and optimistic as possible and then....yeah.

Please, if anyone has any idea of wtf is wrong with me, or just someone who has experienced the same thing (even if it didn't get better, just some solidarity would be nice), please reply.
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Student-95
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Have you tried cramming?
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Scitty
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(Original post by Student-95)
Have you tried cramming?
Yes. I used to cram when I first did A Levels, as that's what I did for GCSEs. But it didn't work. After a point things just stopped going in. Hence why I don't do it now. I won't do any studying the night before or morning of an exam except for a quick run through of flashcards/watching a few demonstration videos etc.
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SweetJP
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Are they all over the internet? If you can use notes id suggest having a ton and organize the **** out of them. Hell you could even put them on a word doc and use the find tool on them if that works for you.Also heres an out of the box trick try using some lavendar or eucalyptus scent whenever you study and periodically while studying stop and focus on calm and focus. Use the scent whenever you take a practice test too. Use the scent again right before you start the test and during the test if needed.I know it sounds like quackery, but scent is the sense most strongly tied to memory and if you can get your brain to assosiate a particular scent with a particular frame of mind then you just may be able to shortcut your brain right back to that frame of mind you had while studying. Just like pavlovs dog...basically. If you're worried about a teacher not letting you use it during a classroom style test go with the eucalyptus as it used in a lot of 'rub on' cold meds like vicks vaporub, if your prof gives u **** about a "perfume free envirnment" you can imply you have a cold and eucalyptus is to keep your nose clear. ( tho for the sake of accuracy i beleive its actually the menthol and camphor that clear your nose, hopefully the teacher doesnt realize that)
Last edited by SweetJP; 3 weeks ago
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