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Coping with Exam Panic Attacks? 207

Posted by Cliff
from the nervous-about-the-nerves dept.
UniGirlBot asks: "I am a distinction / high distinction student who normally doesn't have any major levels of stress during exams. Today I managed to have a major panic attack during an exam on databases and ended up leaving the room in tears about halfway through a 3-hour paper. This panic attack was an absolute first for me and I now have to begin the special consideration procedure, which I am grateful exists. For the record, I did study enough and the course was something I enjoyed doing. Does anyone out there have any advice on what I could do stop this from happening again, please?" If you've been in this position, how did you recover?
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Coping with Exam Panic Attacks?

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  • by PrivateDonut (802017) <chris5377 AT mailcan DOT com> on Friday June 23, 2006 @11:59PM (#15594615)
    Simply stop caring.
    • by Bitsy Boffin (110334) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:19AM (#15594882) Homepage
      You've been mod'd redundant but I think your comment is actually quite correct, and it's a good bit of how I handled taking exams at University.

      Once your at the exam, even the night before, there's nothing you can do that is going to increase your knowledge, so, stop caring. If you fail, you fail, try it again next year or pick a different educational path, if you pass, good job. Sweating over it is just going to reduce your performance, so just answer the questions as far as you can and don't worry about it.

      If you don't know the answer, well, move to the next question, don't panic "I don't know this!". If you get to the end of the paper and you have questions unanswered, go back to them and just casually think about it, perhaps you did know after all, but don't panic about it, it's too late for that.

      I was the same after exams too, everybody of course asks "how do you think you did". My reply was always "I don't know, and I don't really care", if I passed I passed, if I failed (and I did once, I hated that course), so be it, nothing I could do after the exam would change that.
      • by drhlx (580655) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @02:56AM (#15595108) Homepage Journal
        Once your at the exam, even the night before, there's nothing you can do that is going to increase your knowledge
        I disagree. For the vast majority of undergrad CS subjects, a day or two of revision was plenty. For the 'soft' subjects (management, etc.) a few hours was more than enough to memorise the buzzwords. Sure, it requires having been to the classes and knowing what's going on, but don't underestimate the marginal benefit of a few hours of targeted revision right before the exam. Particularly when lecturers set exams that are all-too-similar to the tutorial questions, past exams or textbook questions. If you're talking process-based subjects (e.g. differential calculus), a few hours may not help you. But a higher-level subject on project management? A few hours of dedicated study is all you often need.
        • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:55AM (#15596431) Journal

          Or a subject like programming, where I already knew some of just about every Algol-like language, so a first or even second semester of Java took maybe a couple of minutes of preparation. That is, I'd sit down in the room, and before the prof tells everyone to shut up and starts passing out the tests, I ask the person next to me things like "What's the Java syntax for a constructor?" And I'd pass.

          Don't count on that, though. I was lucky to be so far ahead of the class in my independent study. This CS class had three teachers, one of which was much faster-paced than the other two. The first semester, I got a woman who really can't teach and was incredibly slow-paced, the lab stuff was insanely easy, but the test was much harder. The second semester was just the opposite, though I don't really know what the finals were like, I was gone before then.

          Which brings us back to the main point -- I'm not doing great, but I'm a college dropout (first semester) and within a couple of weeks of coming home, I had one part-time job and a couple of bits of contract work.

          I don't have any ambitions about money, I only want to make enough to live and occasionally afford toys like a new video card. If my pay per hour goes up, I'll work less and play more. So, obviously this doesn't apply to everyone, but I don't have many regrets about dropping out.

      • by arivanov (12034) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @04:08AM (#15595260) Homepage
        It has been a while before I have sat an exam, but I will second that.

        There is a finite amount of knowledge which you can assimilate preparing for the exam. After that you should stop caring for at least a while and leave it to settle. Best of all get shitfaced the second-to-last evening before the exam and sleep over the last day. It is quite easy in most of European Unis where you have around a month long examination session. Essentially you have to get through the stages of care, fear, shitfaced, not care. Once you are at the last stage you perform the best.

        This is impossible in most of the US though. Their short examination sessions do not allow this.
        • by KDan (90353) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @07:26AM (#15595596) Homepage
          One way that I've seen this phrased is:

          After you've prepared the subject, you need to prepare yourself.

          I believe some studies have shown that listening to certain types of music (e.g. Mozart) before exams actually results in a boost in results. You need to relax and prime your brain into its high-performance mode where it can regurgitate all the knowledge you've been cramming into it for the last few weeks.

          Daniel
      • by billcopc (196330)
        I couldn't agree with you more, though for the record I was never much good at studying. I was actually very adamant about not studying, despite being brainiac #1 since birth right up until early college. In my logic, if I had to cram to pass an exam, something was wrong with either my learning process or the class format. I'm a scary fast learner my own way, but cramming a book never got me anywhere in life. Has a book ever taught you how to pick up girls ? How to be happy with them ? How to ride a b
        • However, just letting someone take the test, without the class can be just as bad a promoting cramming. I know people who have taken A+/MSCE tests. They cram for a few days before hand, write the test, pass, and yet still don't know anything, still couldn't apply the answers they've written down to solving real life problems. This isn't the Matrix. You can't just plug a wire into the back of your head and learn kung-fu, or how to fly a helicopter. The best advice is to go through the material slowly as
    • by jsimon12 (207119) <{tzzhc4} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @02:52AM (#15595105) Homepage
      Simply stop caring.

      BINGO

      School doesn't matter. Passing and the degree are all that really count.

      Marketable skills and real world experiance matter most.

      Get a girlfriend (or boyfriend depending on your preferance), drink some beers, wine or whatever you like and enjoy college, this is your LAST chance. The real world is a lot tougher and a lot less fun until you become a billionare or die :)
      • Gee thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HalAtWork (926717) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:53AM (#15596426)
        Get a girlfriend (or boyfriend depending on your preferance), drink some beers, wine or whatever you like and enjoy college, this is your LAST chance. The real world is a lot tougher and a lot less fun until you become a billionare or die :)

        My school teachers had always been telling students that elementary school is easy compared to junior/high school and that we had better enjoy it while we can because it was about to get a lot tougher. So I started dreading high school. Then in high school they started saying the same thing about college, and that college was as close as the real world could get in school, and that we had better work hard to get into the right one and do the right thing because our life depends on it, otherwise we'll be working at gas stations. So I started dreading college. Then in college they stopped holding our hand or putting guns to our heads to come to school and do assignments, so since I dreaded college and its assignments so much, to stop being stressed out I simply didn't pay attention to it because I couldn't handle the dread and pressure. Then I dropped out of college. Saying shit like "It's your last chance, it'll get a lot tougher!" is not going to make someone do something better, it'll simply impede them like it did me. Now I'm having a hell of a time.
      • Passing and the degree are all that really count.
        Making the exam the most important thing to get right?
    • by Fyz (581804) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @04:04AM (#15595253)
      That's a good philosophy for any student. But telling a person that has panic attacks to stop caring is like telling a clinically depressed person to cheer up.

      In fact, it can make the problem worse if they suppress their nervousness under a superficial shell and then crack completely under the real pressure of an exam, especially one you're not sure of passing. I thought all my life that I don't have this problem, that I could always keep my cool, but then I realized that this was just a front I brought up for the examinators, though under this surface I was a nervous wreck.

      Now, knowing that I actually have a jumpy nerves, I can work on them using some of the techniques others in this discussion have mentioned.

      Though if you have a real problem, the solution is very simple: take a beta blocker in the morning of the exam. Trust me, works like a charm.
      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:46AM (#15596401) Journal
        That's a good philosophy for any student. But telling a person that has panic attacks to stop caring is like telling a clinically depressed person to cheer up.

        It's a start, though.

        Trust me, I know plenty of people who were suicidal. I learned some things. I learned that they don't really want to do it, or they would've succeeded already. I try not to tell them that, but it keeps me calm.

        I also learned that, while it takes a certain amount of finesse, and the most effective approach differs from person to person. But no matter what the approach, the most important thing is to try. It's amazing how thoroughly these people convince themselves that nobody cares, and a real, serious, up-at-2-am-on-the-phone attempt to talk them out of it and keep them alive proves that someone cares.

        So, in other words, telling a depressed person to cheer up may not fix the problem for life, but it will help at least now, at least for today, if done with consideration (not in a snarky slashdot post).

        So, the trick would be to tell this person to stop caring, but not in an arrogant-Slashdotter way. Get their parents to tell them to stop caring, to tell them that it doesn't matter. Parents want you to succeed, but good parents will forgive you and help you when you fail (even literally).

    • Well you can always adopt the attitude of "well, i'll die someday and this test won't matter in the long run, the world will forget about me, and then the world itself will end someday... in the grand scheme of things i am not that important, let alone this stupid test..."

      Ok maybe that's not good advice...

      But seriously... I was a Physics major... couldn't handle it and dropped out. I was working full time and slowly downgraded my plans for my future. I was resigning myself to be content with mediocre jobs
      • by Glonoinha (587375) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:24PM (#15600866) Journal
        Quite a few of the responses here are focusing on a particular symptom (the panic attack during the exam) and overlooking the context of the issue (the entire semester.)
        Perhaps it isn't that he is being too hard on himself, but that he isn't being hard enough on himself (but doing it constructively.)

        In the military there is a saying : "Train hard, fight easy."

        What this means is - if you can condition yourself via repeated very difficult exercises to be able to operate and function in those difficult situations, you will be able to function under pressure. If your training (studying) is even more difficult than the situation you will encounter when it counts (battle, or the exam) then your exam will be easier (less stress, less pressure, easier questions) than you have been experiencing during training (studying) and you will breeze through it.

        When I was a competitive swimmer (years ago) the longest race I ever swam was 200 meters - on competition day I might even swim less than that for the entire day : a 100m and a 50m.
        But every day during practice I would swim upwards of 3200m over the course of an hour. The coach would yell at us, push us harder, have us swim laps with only our legs (arms behind our backs), have us hold folding chairs over our heads in the deep end while we used only our legs to keep our head, arms, shoulders (and the chairs) out of the water for ten minutes at a time. After a month or two of high intensity training, race day was something we looked forward to - not only to compete, but because it was the easiest day of the swim season.

        Same thing with military guys. The guys that are calm and can function reliably when someone is shooting at them - they are calm because the ONLY thing they have to deal with is someone shooting at them. During training someone was shooting at them, a gunny was screaming in their face, they were doing push-ups / sit-ups until they puked, they were carrying around telephone poles as a team through pounding surf in the ocean, they were living on three hours or less of sleep per night for weeks at a time, and they were doing it all while eating grubs and worms and whatever crap the can find or kill or catch with no way to prepare it (under nourished.) Compared to how they trained, fighting on the battlefield is a cake-walk.

        Effective studying in college isn't reading a book by yourself in the quiet library until your eyes glaze over.
        Effective studying is creating an environment where you are mentally challenged by forcing yourself to demonstrate an understanding - a MASTERY of the material. Sit round robin with a few other students from class and go through the chapter, subject by subject, and have each person be the 'target' - the others ask him a question on the topic and he has to answer it, demonstrate his knowledge on the subject. Do not allow anyone to pass (skip a question,) force him to read the material until he understands it and can explain it to the satisfaction to the others. Let the questions get harder and harder, and pile on the peer pressure. Let the only response to 'I don't know' be 'well motherfucker you better figure it out now with the book in your hands and people here to help you learn it, because it is going to be on the exam.' The harder you are on each other during those study sessions, the easier the exam will be - for two reasons : during the exam it is quiet time without your peers putting the pressure on you (just you and the pencil and the paper), and also because you will have already worked through the thought processes in order to come up with the correct answers, not only for the questions you had to answer but for all the questions all the others had to answer - in watching them get it right or wrong, you will have seen several different perspectives and approaches on the problem, learning not only the correct answer, but the correct approach to get the answer. In doing so, you will have developed a mastery of the material and it will be obvious when you exhibit that mastery
    • Dear private donut:

      You are an idiot.

      Yours sincerely

      The American Medical Assoication, the American Psychological Association, and every MD who has had to deal with someone with panic/anxiety disorder.

    • Or this [slashdot.org].

      I joke, I joke...

      (But blink once if you're interested, and I'll meet you behind the dorm in an hour).
  • by A.K.A_Magnet (860822) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:00AM (#15594621) Homepage
    Just smoke a joint before your exam. Works for me :)
    • Unfortunately pot actually contributes to/causes panic attacks for some people (me, for one). Yeah, sucks, I know. :-P

      -matthew
    • Hrmm... Maybe I shouldn't post this from behind the firewall of a company that gave me a whiz quiz before they hired me...

      My technique in college was to make a best effort to attend every class and do every homework. Sometimes I'd doze off in class, and sometimes I butchered the homework, but I "participated", even if I was just a bump on the log. Usually, I was sober when I did my work.

      When it came to studying for an exam, I was already familar with the material from sleeping through it. Typically, I

  • People tell me this is why I graduated with a 3.5 instead of a 4.0. So much for two degrees getting me any respect, bastards.

    I dunno. I never got deep into the exam fear thing. I figure, if you pissed away the semester that badly (or the material just whistled right over your head) then exam time is really too late to do anything about it.

    Rest, fun and relaxation usually did the trick for me. I have a long history of acing big exams, and I generally lowered my effort and workload in order to pull it off

  • by Bender0x7D1 (536254) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:01AM (#15594625)
    No single test is going to make or break your career/future. It may mean that you don't get your first choice of college or job, but that probably won't matter 10 years from now.

    If there is a company that won't look at you because you have a 3.9 GPA instead of a 4.0, you probably don't want to work there anyway. Far more important are the projects and activities you do outside of class. I know I would rather hire someone with a 3.0 GPA and open source development on their resume, than a 4.0 student who hasn't done anything outside of class.

    Now, I'm not saying that you should blow off exams, but it is just a test. You will have many more of them in your future. If you blow this one, you can try a bit harder on the next one.
    • Exactly.

      Life is long, classes are but a short part of it.

      Enthusiasm for the job is the most important qualification. Anyone worth working for will recognize it.

      To the article poster: Take it from someone who left college and built a life - get out and relax more often. Hard to do in school, I know. But you certainly sound like you need to get "outside" more. When I was in college, I was always stressed right to the edge, and it didn't take much to push me over into "fight/flight" mo
    • by Sage Gaspar (688563) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @05:12AM (#15595368)
      No single test is going to make or break your career/future. It may mean that you don't get your first choice of college or job, but that probably won't matter 10 years from now.

      If there is a company that won't look at you because you have a 3.9 GPA instead of a 4.0, you probably don't want to work there anyway. Far more important are the projects and activities you do outside of class. I know I would rather hire someone with a 3.0 GPA and open source development on their resume, than a 4.0 student who hasn't done anything outside of class.


      Bingo. To begin with, life is probabilistic. I'm not talking quantum strangeness or physical uncertainty or anything like that, just that there's no one path to get to where you're going. And where you're going often changes while you're en route, for better or worse, due to circumstances outside of your control.

      I slacked in high school but I did very good on the PSATs. So I ended up going to a smaller liberal arts school to pursue my computer science degree, rather than some of the top gun schools I applied to (some of which I got into, but offered me no funding). When I got there, partially because the school's CS program sucked, I ended up in mathematics, which I really love. Because the school was small, I took a semester abroad at a larger school as part of a special math program designed specifically for this purpose, and I got introduced to what has been my favorite part of mathematics so far. There, I networked with an awesome professor who is now funding my first year of grad school.

      Had I made the cut initially and attended Carnegie Mellon or MIT, I might still be in computer science, and I would've certainly not spent this semester abroad. I would not have made this contact. I'd be heading down a different path which might be just as good or even better. Or it might be worse. The point is that you put in a reasonable effort to tip the odds in your favor and then take what life throws at you. What helps a lot for me is treating things like tests (not just school tests, but every test in life) as a game or challenge. You're already in the situation and you've prepared as well as you're going to prepare, now it's just up to you to do as well as you can and let the chips fall where they may.
  • Deep Breathing... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thepropain (851312) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:02AM (#15594633) Homepage
    with closed eyes. If possible, "step outside yourself" and see the silliness of it. Of course, im my book ain't nuthin' wrong with a shot and a beer before the test...
  • Panic Attacks Suck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whjwhj (243426) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:02AM (#15594635)
    Yep been there too under similar circumstances. I feel your pain. Unfortunely, at least in my case, the first panic attack meant that next time I was in a similar circumstance I was worried more which seemed to help induce another panic attack.

    I did a bunch of research online to learn about Panic Attacks. I asked my doctor about them. My doctor offered medication which I declined. In the end I just suffered through so many panic attacks that after a while a panic attack became somewhat anti-climatic. Almost routine. At that point they dissapearred almost overnight.

    Your experiences may vary of course. Good luck to you.

    whj

    P.S. Worse thing though is don't be ashamed or embarrased. That'll make it all worse.
    • by HalAtWork (926717) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:59AM (#15596455)
      Very wise words. I'm in the same position now as you and don't really know what to do about it. Just curious, what were the medications he suggested?

      I'm at the point where they're totally routine, I mean, just before every day of work I have a lot of trouble falling asleep, and routinely wake up hours before I mean to. And when I get up in the middle of the night, there's no way I can get back to sleep because I'm thinking "Oh shit, if I don't get back to sleep, I'll feel like crap and my day will be hell!" It's very predictable.

      They've started declining because I'm trying to make myself not care more and more and I think as a result, doing slightly worse at my job, but at least still better than most because I also get panic attacks about whether I'm doing a good job or not, since I want to keep mine. Still, it's not going away and I still feel a lot of pressure that I figure must all be coming from inside my mind because everyone else seems to be able to deal with it. Anyway, hopefully mine will go away permanently because it's really annoying not leading a normal life.
      • I'm very sorry I don't remember exactly what medication it was. Some sort of anti-anxiety medication. I was not at all excited about taking mood altering drugs. Pretty funny, considering I used to be VERY excited about taking mood altering drugs!
    • Hmm apparently this is more common than I thought.

      I never got panic attacks. I loved exams. Also loved teasing friends when they were having their panic attacks.

      It feels a little like a chess game. Youre timed and you have to think some and do some stuff before the time is up. Being 'fresh' and awake was more important for me than having studied full tilt just before, and I suggest the day before the exam, do something totally unrelated, and should not be studying. Go swimming or play the old games. Try to
  • Pressure is a bitch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by heinousjay (683506) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:03AM (#15594637) Journal
    I have no specific advice for your situation, but there are a few possibilities.

    The most general is to talk with a psychologist about your experience. It's not a panacea, but you may gain some insight into what led into the attack, and how to cope with the situation if (when) it occurs again.

    Next up - make sure you're taking time to relax in your daily routine. It's easy to fall into a pattern of overwork that becomes counterproductive, especially when the situations get grim, like exam time tends to be. Even a simple thing like taking a daily hour long walk can go a long way toward relieving any stress you're feeling.

    Also, if you aren't already following a good nutrition plan with attendant exercise, consider starting. Feeling good physically is the first step to feeling good mentally.

    • by aprilsound (412645) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:54AM (#15594810) Homepage
      Agreed, but make that psychiatrist, not psychologist. There are physiological factors that contribute to panic attacks, and having an MD explain them to you can do wonders.

      Plus, like the parent said, there are probably diet and exercise considerations that will help you out.

      People can say "You shouldn't worry so much" and that sort of thing, but if that is all you needed, then you probably wouldn't be here in the first place.

      At the very least, if you talk to a doctor, you'll be able to understand it better, and he/she'll probably tell you things you can do. Being able to do something will also make you feel better.
    • You've hit on just about what I would say: Stress is something you have to treat by treating your whole self, body and mind. No inhaler, stress squeeze ball, or any one thing will help, especially if you had no idea it was coming (and thus no time to prepare for it).

      Next up - make sure you're taking time to relax in your daily routine.

      This is important! It's amazing how many people miss this!

      One idea: If your campus is anything like mine, it's medium to large, but everything is still within walking d

  • See your physician. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MagicDude (727944) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:06AM (#15594649)
    If this is the first instance of you having a panic attack like this without ever having been a "worried" person in the past, then you want to make sure you don't have a diagnosable problem. Personality changes generally aren't so sudden without an underlying pathological condition.
  • Cold, hard logic (Score:3, Informative)

    by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:06AM (#15594650)
    A similar thing has happened to me, albeit not as seriously. Just use cold, hard logic. Do not let emotions get the best of you. Reason it out, you know this, you've been studying this for months, you have done countless other problems like it.

    Instead of looking at the whole assignment as a problem, break it up into more manageable ones. Chances are you know something, or else you probably would not have enjoyed the class. Try to identify which part is giving you trouble and reason it out.

    The title of this article is ``Copying with Exam *Panic* Attacks?''. If you are panicking because you are afraid that you will fail, reason it out: if you walk out, you are sure to fail. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and all that.

    Seriously, just relax. Think of it logically, and you will be fine.
    • "Copying with Exam *Panic* Attacks?"

      Copying with Exam - associated with Panic Attacks.. gee i wonder why..
    • A similar thing has happened to me, albeit not as seriously. Just use cold, hard logic. Do not let emotions get the best of you. Reason it out, you know this, you've been studying this for months, you have done countless other problems like it.

      Unless you've had all out panic where you feel like jumping out of your skin and fleeing from the room, you don't really know what it is like. I've had my share of panic situations, and I can honestly say that "cold hard logic" is worthless in these situations. It o

  • Well .. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ahmedsaad (984669) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:08AM (#15594658)
    You can read about other people experiences at http://www.panicsurvivor.com/ [panicsurvivor.com]
  • Test Preparation (Score:5, Informative)

    by eric2hill (33085) <eric.ijack@net> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:15AM (#15594688) Homepage
    As someone who can't stand to take tests, I offer the following experience:

    • Drink nothing but water for two days prior to the test. It will flush much of the caffene and sugary drinks out of your system. Eat non-fast food as well - there's more chemical preservatives in a McDonald's cheeseburger than you can imagine. Think pasta and/or steak.
    • The night before the test, take two Tylenol PM capsules and go to bed at 6:00PM. Yes, early. The REM sleep really burns the stuff you've studied for into your brain.
    • Get up an hour before you would normally get up, and get ready to go (shower, etc). A morning shower is a good waker-upper, and the extra hour will get rid of sleep inertia.
    • Go to the nearest gas station or convenience store and get a great big glass of orange juice. The vitamins in OJ really help in the morning. Obviously you could drink it at home, but the extra stop and go-in at someplace you don't normally go helps to sharpen your early-morning brain a bit more as well.


    The flushing of all the chemicals in your system will help loads. The extra sleep will give you energy through the dull test, and the OJ will give you a morning brain-kick. All natural even.

    Good luck and have fun!
    • I KInda Disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:57AM (#15594824) Homepage Journal
      But I think you're on the right track:

      1) Cut out on sugary drinks completely. They're empty carbs that make you jittery during the day and mess up your teeth. The jury's still out on caffiene I like it, but don't OD on the stuff. It's just as hard to focus through caffiene jitters as it is through soft drink jitters.

      2) Going to sleep early: Good. Taking drugs to get to sleep early: Bad. I've noticed that if I take something like nyquil I have a much harder time getting up the next morning, no matter what time I go to bed. Unless the exam's at 6am, I wouldn't suggest going to bed any earlier than 9pm, but I wouldn't suggest pushing it much later either.

      3) Orange juice good. It's a full day's supply of vitamin C. High protien breakfast also good. While some people prefer steak and eggs, I like steak and steak. Or oatmeal.

      4) Exercise also good. A little exercise in the morning always seems to wake me up. If you're on a cool campus you can go straight from your steak and steak breakfast to the gym for a quick round of kick boxing, then you'll be set to face whatever challenges the day brings!

      • Re:I KInda Disagree (Score:2, Interesting)

        by WFFS (694717)
        All of that is good. However, the trick I found is to eat some chocolate, preferably DURING the exams. The phenyl-ethylamine stimulates the brain, and the seratonin can help prevent depressive symptoms. Plus it has caffiene! My first uni maths exam, I had a massive panic attack. Every exam after that I ate some chocolate, and never had an attack again.
        • If chocolate works for you that's great. I hope you're getting the good stuff though, rather than that waxy crap from the uni junk food machine. While the average student might find it difficult to part with $5 for a bar of imported Valrona, that one bar is easily superior to the 5 bars of ugh that the money would buy from the snack machine for the same amount of money. You might be able to find a US supplier for less money too. I think that'd make an excellent quest: Evaluate all local and foreign producer
      • by woolio (927141)
        3) ... While some people prefer steak and eggs, I like steak and steak. Or oatmeal.

        You forgot the most important side dish to "steak-and-steak" ... ...

        STEAK!
  • Been There (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jedi Master Cody (660096) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:17AM (#15594702)
    As someone who has been there, I would suggest talking to your physician first. He/She can then help you figure out a plan of attack. My Panic Attacks stemmed from basically the same problem as you. Mine became so bad I got caught up in a feedback loop. I would have an attack, then get so worked up about having another, it would lead into one. It became so bad I became EXTREMELY agoraphobic. Not something I would reccomend to anyone. I finally went and got help from my Dr and a mental health professional. I am now on medication and have been attack free for over a year. The medication I would suggest is Paxil or the generic equivalent, but your doctor would be the best one to check with. Hope this helps and good luck!
  • Don't be japanese
  • by McMuffin Man (21896) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:19AM (#15594709)
    I'm at a very different moment in life than you are, but several years ago I had a severe panic attack "out of the blue" while managing a large project. Once I'd understood what was going on, I responded like a good little geek and checked out the research on panic attacks.

    While you should definitely seek the help of a professional, as you can dangerously misdiagnose yourself, the most likely cause is a high level of stress that you haven't been managing. Anxiety disorders in general become progressively harder to treat the longer you live with them, so don't try to just tough this out.

    If you need it, a psychiatrist may be able to prescribe medication which can provide short term relief. Far more effective over the long term will be to engage in some cognitive therapy and learn to recognize the early symptoms that you are not managing stress and respond to them before your stress results in anxiety.

    I would recommend the site www.anxieties.com as a good place to start. It's run by a respected clinician in the field, and while the site advertises plenty of materials you could pay for, it has a fair amount of information and advice available for free.

    The good news is that if you take this seriously, respond quickly, and learn to comprehensively manage your stress, then your odds of avoiding a chronic anxiety disorder are quite good.
  • Shifting Gears (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FirmWarez (645119) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:20AM (#15594714)
    When I was in the last couple of years of my undergrad -- computer engineering -- the way I'd deal with hard core tests (Calculus IV, control systems, etc) was by completely shifting gears right before the test.

    Guys would always be cramming that last hour or so before the test. Look, if you don't understand how to do a Laplace transform you ain't gonna learn it 30 minutes before the test. To freak out then ya gotta be fracking crazy.

    I have a lot of non-technical interests, and a big one is sports cars and sports car racing. I'd take a couple of car porn mags and read about sports car restoration or racing skillz in the common areas while watching every one else act like nut cases. It really calmed me down, and reminded me that I knew this stuff.

    There's a saying in the world of professional soldiers -- you fight like you train. Same about tests. If you know the material and are comfortable with it you will test like you train.
  • I had several in college when I was working on my undergrad engineering degree, and not always around exam time. Like you, I enjoyed the subject and I was excelling in the class. Turns out I just don't deal with stress well. People make jokes about it on here, but it's not something to be ashamed of. (Their narcissism must protect them from actually having to deal with real emotion.)

    This isn't something you can just "turn off" by trying really hard. Some people have suggested you see a physician. That
  • by kshkval (591396) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:56AM (#15594817)
    The above sounds like an awful thing to bring up, but don't confuse panic attacks with psychosis. I had panic attacks in HS and - years later - so did my daughter. Both of us worried ourselves sick wondering if the next stop was voices, social shunning and the lockup ward. I was an A student and just backed off a little. My daughter got a lot of relief just knowing that panic attacks are familial, can be controlled with medication and relaxation and that panic attacks aren't a sign you are a basket case. Turns out that my daughter also discovered that SLEEP - aka getting to bed before 11 PM and just stopping doing the homework - made the greatest impact on her anxiety and her ability to deal with stress. Another writer complemented you on bringing this up in a Slashdot venue... same here. But do yourself a favor and get to bed early, no more caffeine, get some exercise and have some good times. You'll eventually learn to live with the panic attacks (or, mostly, the worry about having the panic attacks). If they continue or get worse, call a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist as soon as you can. So many of these things, if treated early - even the emotional disorders - resolve and get quickly better. The professionals will help you through the worst of the crisis and are really worth it. I'm a nurse and someone who's lived through this and speak from personal experience. Good luck.
  • Empathy (Score:5, Informative)

    by hahiss (696716) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @12:57AM (#15594823) Homepage
    Hi.

    Sorry to hear about this; while I've never had an attack while taking an exam, but I have had my share of panic attacks.

    Short term strategies (for when they hit):

    1) If you have some benzos (xanax, valium, and the like), take one. Xanax takes about 20 minutes to hit, and it is possible to take a dose that cuts the attack without making you a drooling idiot. Really, having these around (esp. legally) will make a difference in your anxiety levels.

    2) Close your eyes and breathe deeply---FOCUSING on breathing. You want to get more oxygen to your brain; apparently the shallow breathing of anxiety increases anxiety.

    3) If you can get to a water fountain, a cold drink might help. I find that cold, sugary drinks are soothing---just no caffeine.

    4) If you can get to a quiet, relatively isolated place, that might help too.

    5) Keep reminding yourself that this really sucks, but it is just a panic attack and you're not going crazy and you're not going to have a heart attack.

    Long term:

    1) Get enough sleep, eat properly, exercize, and cut back on caffeine. (Sorry, this is what works. I was hoping for smoking, boozing, downing Krispe Kreme donuts and freebasing chocolate covered espresso, but no such luck.) As an aside: if you're smoking pot (especially if you're a habitual user), you may find it necessary to stop.

    2) If the attacks continue, you'll want to get with a therapist who can help you figure out what your triggers are and how to work through them.

    3) If you have panic with depression, I recommend meds. They have their downsides, to be sure, but they have made a huge difference. (Be forewarned that the first med you've been prescribed will work quite right.)

    Of course, I'm not an MD---just a Ph.D. (in philosophy) who has some personal experience with this. YMMV, and be sure to get professional help if this becomes more than a one-off.
    • Absolutely don't close your eyes! If you are sitting on a chair, put your head between your knees and look down. If you are standing, try to sit down. Take slow deep breaths. Don't think! Just focus on breathing and you will soon see the panic attack end, although you will probably feel weak and sweaty and have a headache afterwards.

      Panic attacks occur when your body is preparing for major physical activity. This means that your pulse will increase and you will start to breath faster. It is triggered in


      • Actually I don't think we disagree too much here; I was thinking not that people hyperventilate (which obviously isn't good!) but that there's a tendency NOT to breathe frequently enough---if you're having racing thoughts and are overwhelmed, breathing frequency AND depth can go down. But you're right, you can get too much O2.

        But if a person's panic attacks are caused/exacerbated by stimulation, closing one's eyes and moving to a darkened quiet room can be very soothing. (And if you're in a crowded lectur
        • Having your eyes closed after the panic attack is something I do myself. However during the attack I think it is better to have the eyes open and try to fight unconsciousness and the feeling of loosing of control. By closing the eyes, I at least feel an increase of dizziness rather than decreasing. But if you feel better with closing you're eyes, I'm not going to argue with that. Not all panic attacks are the same, and one should find a way of handling that suits.

    • "You want to get more oxygen to your brain; apparently the shallow breathing of anxiety increases anxiety."

      Actually, IIRC, what happens is the body stress system prepares for fight/flight response, which increases breathing rate as the body _thinks_ it will need more oxygen. As there usually is no strong physical exertion, the blood CO2 level falls, leading to pH changes, the end result being dizziness, faintness and tingling in the extremities, etc.

      So, unless doing calisthenetics or running laps (or you ha
    • I'm not quite sure if I've had "classic" panic attacks, but whenever I've had problems with anxiety, it was due to problems in my social life. This occured when I graduated from school, because the social structure of my jobs were quite different from what I was used to at school.

      As an aside: if you're smoking pot (especially if you're a habitual user), you may find it necessary to stop.

      What's funny is that the anxiety that I had was party related to stopping; I was no longer seeing my friends from colle

  • by scdeimos (632778) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:16AM (#15594874)

    YMMV, but as a survivor of several panic attacks over the years I have found that they've usually been brought on by combinations of stress and lack of sleep. My suggestions:

    • Learn to compartmentalize: keep work/school worries at work/school, don't bring them home with you.
    • Realize you what can and can't do: There will always be some things beyond your control, so don't worry about them.
    • Don't lose sleep: If you're feeling tired during your days at work/school, go to bed earlier at night, try taking (natural) things to help you get to sleep like warm milk, valerian extract, whatever works for you.
  • Meditate (kinda) (Score:3, Informative)

    by trainsnpep (608418) <mikebenza AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @01:24AM (#15594897)
    Seriously. I learned it in 7th grade health. I'm a sophomore comp sci major at a major research university. I don't know if it's "real" meditation, but it works. You don't need to spend an hour doing it. You don't even need to spend 15 minutes. Only about 5.

    Here's a sort of crash course based on what I've found works best for me as a short break in those gruelling 3 (or more) hour exams:

    Sit up. Close your eyes. Take deep slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your body feel all the feelings you ignored (one at a time), moving from the bottom up. Feel the shoes on your feet all the way up to the hair on your head that your body ignored. Don't smell things if you know they're not cool. Taste if you can. Listen to the tiny sounds in the room. Make sure you're still taking deep slow breaths. Think yourself through it. Think about how irrational it is to panic. Think about how even if you don't get a perfect score, in the long run, it won't matter that much. Now come out of it just as slowly as you went into it: put out your irrational thoughts. Let go of the feelings you were just paying attention to. Breathe normally. Open your eyes. Go at your test again.

    It may sound like a crock, and it did to me at first, but it may work.
    • Personally I don't like the "feel your body" type mediation exercises.

      Two that work better for me is to either breathe slowly and count down from 100 with each breath. Try to only think of the number you are on, if you get distracted start from 100 again.

      The second (and my favourite) is to concentrate on your breathing. Try to breath in - hold your breath - and breath out, while doing this try to meke each of the three steps take the same amount of time. (So count in your head.) This really helps me focus o
  • I hadn't had any before, I'm sure it was stress related to other situations. Anyway, i was so panicked that I never went there. Turns out that I knew all the questions, so i lost a gold opportunity. So, I presented the next exam, and failed :-/ But who cares, I repeated the course (yes, lost a semester) and passed :)

    So, chill out, the world's not gonna end - i mean, you aren't Jesus saving the world. It's just a freaking exam. Take it easy, ok? The only people who have died because they didn't pass are usua
  • I've never had a panic attack; I just suffer from anxiety. Strange how some of my best moments turn into anxious nightmares really fast. When I start getting anxious about tests or work, I sit back and think about it from this perspective. If I can list how and why I got questions wrong, or why I can't figure out a question, I realize I'm probably doing better than the other students. Knowing where you are getting behind, is better than people who never really realize they are behind. Once I realize I'
  • Someday you'll be in the real world and you'll get the call that your mission-critical project that just deployed crashed/wedged/can't restore it's database. Someone is loosing thousands of dollars an hour and you have to jump on a plane and fix it in the middle of the night. On that plane flight, you'll realize that the exam wasn't such a big deal after all, and you'll handle the current problem OK as well. Just suck it up and do it. That's what we all have to do...
  • I have suffered from panic attacks in the past, including a week-long low-grade panic during a trip to North Carolina early in my post-doc. It has helped to me to learn as much about panic as I could. I like to think of them as being like a mental cramp, particularly a cramp in a muscle which you can't stretch (I get cramps under my jaw, for instance): there's nothing you can do to stop the cramp, but it won't do any permanent damage, so all you can do is ride it out. Same with panic: you can't fight it,
  • Whenever a situation is interpreted as threatening in some manner, the body tends to go into a fight-or-flight response. So-named because it (the body) gets ready to fight or run away. Or freeze. What happens is the blood that used to be flowing to all parts of your brain retreats to the "reptilian brain" at the base, and to the arms & legs.

    To draw the blood back into your forebrain, you can take the pads of your index and middle fingers and place them gently between your eyebrows and hairline. Afte
  • Stress is the body's reaction to environmental pressure. It causes various physiological responses. In and of themselves, these are neutral. The mind interperates those responses, particularly if it is primed to react a certain way. If it interperates them negatively, you end up in distress. If, instead, you interperate the response as a motivating factor, ie. a positive force, that's called eustress. Most people never learn they have a measure of control over how they experience stress. Doing so can not on
  • Just to be a bit contrarian to most of the posts: If this was the fist time and you normally have no problems with exams, just ignore it. It might not happen again.
    I have had this happen once, in a quite unimportant test. Panic and total blackout. I managed to literally write my name and like five words in a 3 hour test. Afterwards, I talked with several teachers and my parents (both teach as well). They all agreed: it happens, but normally only once. So I tried to relax, ignore the F on that test and just
  • I'm sorry for you; I've only ever had two panic attacks but I know that they are not very nice; the first time I was lucky enough to be in hospital so the hyper-ventialating didn't cause me to pass out, the second time I was on my own and blacked out (guess I was lucky to not have any serious injury).

    I've recently finished my second year of my degree but I had a little worry issues when I was doing my exams... If I tell you how I went about doing it you can just do the opposite... I started revising on t
  • Quick disclaimer: I've never had a panic attack while awake. I've suffered several night terrors in my adolesance, which I consider to be like panic attacks while you're sleeping (this could be a flawed analogy, but hey--I'm not a professional. And it damn sure feels like how I make it sound.).

    Lenghty disclaimer: I'm not a good student. I haven't been for several years. My grades faltered in high school but were perfectly decent in hindsight. In college my grades polarized; some classes were easy A'

  • You can only take the Chinese university entrance examinations. If you fail them. That's it (knowledge obtained from other Slashdot articles).
  • A few years ago I got into my first computer science exam, panicked and couldn't even write my own name, let alone answer all the easy questions. Never having had a panic attack before, I didn't know what was going on. But I knew that if I left the room, I'd fail. So basically I decided to sit, face straight ahead and do NOTHING but look into space and sip from my water bottle. About 1/2 an hour later, I was calm enough to at least try to look at the questions and maybe give them a go - nothing to lose. I c
  • Break it down (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alicat1194 (970019)
    Another post mentioned the 'fight or flight' response that is triggered during panic attacks. I've been experiencing panic attacks since the 2nd grade (hereditary, thanks Dad!), and have found that once I have an 'exit strategy' of sorts worked out, it helps to calm everything down.

    Basically, assuming you can't head the attack off at the pass, once it's in full swing, just tell yourself '5 more minutes (or questions), and then I'll leave'. Once the five minutes is up, reassess and see if you can hack anot

  • A beta blocker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_blocker [wikipedia.org]) should help. Take one a couple hours before the exam. I should warn you to try one out on a day when you are not doing anything, first, to make sure you can tolerate the dose you get. Also, while people on chronic beta blockers can drive and operate heavy machinery, you probably shouldn't be driving around for a few hours after taking one if you only take them sporadically.
  • I'm assuming that you're a university student? If so, your school likely has a service for people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Get registered with them, and they'll provide you with accomodations that will remove a lot of the stress of taking exams and help you in case you have another panic attack.

    Seriously, the exact same thing happened to me during a PhD Topology midterm last November. I went in having studied hard to what was likely to be an easy exam. For some reason, I panicked,
  • Your University will almost certainly hve some kind of Heath/Counselling services on-campus. Go and talk to them.

    Seriously. I have tried to convice a lot of students to do so--those that do at least end up taking some positive steps. Many have an "I'm not crazy" reaction to the idea which is unfortunate. You aren't crazy, but they can help in ways that others cannot.

    These people spend their days dealing with students and related problems--they should have something useful to say. I generally advi

  • I don't get panic attacks, but here is the advice that I've heard and I think it makes quite a bit of sense.

    Exercise. Get your heart REALLY GOING.

    Now this is designed for people who get panic attacks more regularly, so I don't know how much it will help you, but I think it could. The idea here is that when you have a panic attack your heart starts racing and you start feeling like you're going to die from it because it can be a terrifying thing. So by exercising and really getting your heart going on a re

  • Okay, first off, the person who said "just stop caring" and all the people who modded him up are idiots.

    Panic and Anxiety disoreders are not a joke. They are a poorly understood physiological problem that is (as you discovered) way unpleasant.

    I'm guessing the special process includes a medical and/or psychiatric examination, but if not, hie thyself off to a doctor.

    Don't associate it with the test --- it's not actually all that highly correlated with stress. I had a panic attack, my first one, in church du
  • Many of the comments here seem helpful, but bear in mind that your situation may not be exactly the same as those of others in this forum; so what worked for others may not necessarily work for you. Besides, if you have been a consistently high-scoring student who has never faced such a problem before, there may be other things going on in your life that have nothing to do with the exam itself.
  • I've suffered from extreme phobia attacks during a large portion of my teen ages. They are extremely nasty - I know what you are talking about. To all the ones not knowing: they are basically a horror trip without bad drugs. Not that I've ever taken drugs, but I can hardly imagine anything worse than these phobia attacks. I eventually managed to overcome them and now am basically phobia-free. Every once in a while - maybe once in a decade - they return and show a slight effect but since I know how to deal w
  • The purpose of an exam is to evaluate your abilities. Not just your abilities on one special day that you've prepared for, but your abilities overall, in general, on any given day. If you want to get a good picture of what your true skill set is, there is one thing that you absolutely need to not do: exam cram.

    I find that with not cramming comes a great deal less stress and anxiety. I view the exam as just another test, and I know that whatever I score on that test will be an indicator of my skill level on
  • by nurb432 (527695)
    Just tell your doc you have panic attacks, and he will gladly give you something to calm you down.
  • I've read many of the threads already posted and this is not an uncommon occurrence. Lets just start with the fact that you are not crazy. Panic attacks are not that uncommon. There are many routes to take to solving this problem. My attacks were bad in college followed by a severe attack at my first job. I hate to tell you this, but you've got a battle with your mind on the horizon. After that first panic attack life is going to be hell for a while. Every situation triggers another attack. The fear of anot
  • We all panic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gvc (167165) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @10:53AM (#15600495)
    We all panic. Most of us are overwhelmed by it from time to time. Some people experience it daily and and are barely able to function in life because of it. Others are able to control it -- at least is most situations -- to the extent that it doesn't overtly affect their performance.

    I suggest that first of all you accept that it will happen. Of course try to recognise the situations leading up to it and try to develop coping mechanisms. The coping mechanisms will have to be things you've worked out in advance because when you're in a state of panic you're not in any position to do so.

    I think it is valuable to use your experience (and others') to develop understanding -- for others and for yourself. There's litte point in saying "I [they] should [should have] done this [that] instead" -- you [they] are [were] simply unable. Some people really are just as panicked as this every day of their lives, and equally unable to cope. This does not mean they are lazy or hopeless or even crazy. You're privileged -- you've made it to college and you're studying something you love. I assume that you're female, so you've done this in spite of a social environment that is not 100% inviting. Obviously you have all the necessary raw materials to be able to cope in stressful situations -- reflect on some such situations and try to figure out what you did.

    What do I do? That's hard to articulate. I'm a big believer in exercise -- walking, running, swimming. Do it regularly and before you notice you are in a potentially panic-inducing situation. Even if you feel you don't have time because you have an assignment, cramming, etc. At least that's what I do. If I have a stressful event on the horizon and only get to bed at 2 a.m. I'm better off getting up at 6 instead of 7 and having a run. An extra hour's (fitful) sleep isn't going to do me the good that the exercise will. And maybe it'll translate into a much better hour's sleep the next night.

    Others here have advocated drugs. Drugs can help in certain situations and for certain problems, but I would not advocate them as a first line of defense. Booze, valium, etc are just depressants. They are unlikely to be strong enough to overcome your angst, but they will certainly affect your performance. SSRIs -- Prozac, Effexor, etc -- can work remarkably well for anxiety. But they are not "pop one when you feel jittery" treatments. And they can have very bad effects. If you are bipolar, they may well exacerbate the problem a lot.

    Enuring yourself to particular situations can help. Stage fright is a good example. Put yourself in speaking situations as opposed to avoiding them. Eventually things get better. I guess you can't replicate exam situations exactly but maybe try a programming contest or something that you wouldn't otherwise enjoy -- if you experience some of the same feelings, this might give you a sandbox in which to experiment with various strategies.

    Sorry if this rambles. I think the theme is that you have to discover what works for you. By all means solicit and consider opinioons such as the ones that you receive here. Since your panic occurs in relatively rare situations it is tough to know exactly what is going to work. I am pretty sure that somebody else's solution applied on an ad hoc basis will not work.
  • Panic attacks are serious business. Test nervousness is one thing, and if that's the beginning and end of the problem I'm sure you will find a way to cope with it. Use the "special consideration" - I personally think all college level exams should be administered without time limits.

    However, if you had a heart pounding, sweating, feeling like you might die type of panic attack, I'd strongly suggest you talk to a doctor or psychiatrist about it. It's a serious disorder, and a treatable one, as long as

  • Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) * on Sunday June 25, 2006 @07:36PM (#15602516)
    Really, it couldn't hurt for you to get professional help. But in the meantime you may want to learn some things that change your mindset a bit...

    I am a distinction / high distinction student

    The fact that your question starts with that tells me that you really focus on that... Perhaps to the point of obscession. Once you get that diploma, no employer that you'll ever want to work for is likely to ask you about your GPA or any of that crap. Some other people here are, both jokingly or not, telling you to give up on caring... You don't have to do that, but you can realize that there's nothing to worry about. Exams aren't going to ruin your life, even if you fail them.

    More than anything though, you should talk to a professional. Most people here, myself included, are talking out their asses. There could be some serious medical consequences that you're not going to find out about here.
  • Art of Living course (Score:3, Informative)

    by Steeltoe (98226) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:25AM (#15604439) Homepage
    A course in Art of Living, there's probably one near you (link in my .sig). It is tools to give you more energy, courage and dispassion, to survive the next exam.

    A secret lies in the breath. We're not really aware of our breath during the day, usually not. So, with breathing exercises we can unleash alot of what is holding us back, and release stress, toxins and fear from the body.

    An advice on here was to not care. But I think this is not entirely accurate, because I think you naturally care. A more precise word is the ancient word of dispassion. Not being attached to the result, but just doing what you can and see what happens. It is a good attitude. Dispassion is actually caring, but not getting tangled up with lots of expectations and attachments. This makes you free from having to think about working, always feeling guilty you haven't worked enough, etc. Such thinking can tire and psyche you out alot more than the actual work itself!

    You can also start attaching positive thoughts to it. Often we harp in our minds again and again about how we suck at certain stuff, that we're not "able" to handle it like the others, comparing and alienating ourselves, etc, etc. Instead, you can find the positive stuff about the subject and yourself. Ie, you have handled many exams fine before, no matter what you will still survive, people shouldn't love you for your results or for any reason, you're good at this stuff because you DO care, etc, etc..

    Whenever you feel anxious again, take your focus to your breath. You have more than enough time during an exam to do this too. When the thoughts wander off the breath, just take it back. With practice this is simple and can make you go through any feelings without panic, so that they get released.

    A full Art of Living course will give many tools to overcome obstacles and finally surpass even your wildest expectations.
  • How to regain focus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Half a dent (952274)
    This works for me.

    When your mind just goes blank, think of some really lame pop song and after a verse of that your brain snaps back into focus.

    The downside could be that you have an annoying song playing in your head for a few hours! But hey if you pass the exam it is worth it (just about!).
  • You got to remember that dealing with these kind of situations in a day or two is not possible. You have to put a prolonged effort so that the next time an emotional disturbance strikes in whatever form you are ready to recognize it,face it and deal with it.
    Discipline yourself with your study, work and choose the well treaded and solid path. Understand and know the things for certain. Dont put half measures anywhere. These are the cause of trouble. You have a half measure here, another one there and you e

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