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John may have ADD. He may know the material, but has a transfer problem with the
type of testing. See if he does well on independent work like reports and term
papers.

ADD'ers can do very well in some fields and poorly in others in testing. His
engineering material is organized differently in his brain that social science
material. If John is capable of multidimensional thinking, it may be interfering
with his test taking as a distraction.

Have you tried giving him the test and let him answer verbally rather than mark
the circles?

If John thinks in 3D or nonlinear, he should be tested for ADD.

You may want to review his past academic process, say in High School and see if
there is a pattern to his test taking between subjects.

Usually ADD'ers see the interdisciplinary aspects of subjects and to focus on
one subject like 2D thinkers is very difficult for them. Test taken for ADD'ers
is usually difficult since this is not the way they usually express their
knowledge or skills.

There is an excellent article by Scientific America online for the Sept. issue
about ADHD [ADD still applies].  Reading this article may open up some clues for
you and John. Have John Read it also and see he can Identify any characteristics
himself.

Hope this gets you started on finding a solution for his problem.
Jack

Heather Newburg wrote:

> What suggestions can I give to a student who is struggling with only one
> of his courses?  I have run out of "answers."  Here's the situation.
>
> John is passing all of his engineering and math courses, but no matter
> how much he studies, he cannot pass any of his tests in his Principles of
> Management or his Psychology 101 course.  The tests are multiple choice and
> essay in the management course and multiple choice in the psych course.
> He understands the material; when he studies with others for management, he
> helps them understand the various concepts, but does poorly on the exams
> while his study partners pass w/ B's.  His study partners tell him that
> they wish they had his study habits and dedication.  When John meets with
> his psych tutor, she says he knows the material but when it comes to the
> tests, he just doesn't do well.  (John is repeating Psych 101.)
>
> John uses notecards.  He attends class, takes notes, reads the textbook,
> and combines notes from lecture and text.  He studies the subject daily.  He
> studies with others to ensure that his notes are complete and clear.  He can
> recite back information, but when it comes to the testing situation, he does
> not remember (or perhaps know) the material.  He has not been tested for a
> disability, although he does not believe that is the issue.  We've talked
> about test anxiety, but he says he feels relaxed and confident when he
> walks in to take the test.  We've talked about test taking
> techniques...he's doing what he should be.
>
> What other suggestions can I make that I may be forgetting?  Thanks in
> advance for your help!
>
> Heather Newburg
> Learning Center Director
> Lake Superior State University
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