Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

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Common Symptoms of Learning Difficulties

Below is a list of typical symptoms of affective and cognitive problems that students are likely to experience throughout their studies. If you recognize yourself in any of the following statements, refer to the corresponding chapter for useful advice.


I lack of self-confidence - I doubt that I will succeed - I have defeatist thoughts - I blame myself for my problems and failures - I am extremely self-critical - I feel that I am not as good as the other students - etc.
Developing a Strong Sense of Competence


I feel that I am in the wrong program – I don’t really have a vocational orientation – My goals are unclear – I feel that I am wasting my time - I tend to neglect my studies – Studying is not a priority in my life - I let myself go – I find it hard to buckle down and get to work - I lack perseverance - I systematically put off working on my assignments until tomorrow - etc.
Increasing my Motivation so I Can Enjoy Studying


I am very anxious about writing exams - I tend to panic during exams - I have mental blocks when confronted with problems – Assignments stress me out – I am shy to speak in front of the class – I fear having to make class presentations - I feel overwhelmed - etc.
Improving my Stress Management


I don't always stop and think - I rush into things - I answer questions too quickly - I do things instinctively and often regret my actions - I make stupid mistakes - I act hastily without thinking of the consequences - I often have to restart my assignments - etc.
Learning to Better Control my Impulsivity

Attention and Concentration

It takes me a long time before I get into my work and become productive - I have difficulty concentrating for long periods of time - I am easily distracted by things such as noise, movement and other people chatting - I am often bothered by superfluous thoughts - My personal concerns keep me from concentrating – My mind wanders when I read - I tend to fall asleep in class - I easily get carried away, my mind buzzes with ideas and I tune everything else out – Intellectual work quickly tires me out - etc.
Improving my Attention and Concentration


I often have memory blanks - I find it difficult to retain what I study - After exams my knowledge vanishes into thin air - I often have the impression that I am relearning things that I thought I already knew - I quickly forget what I have just read - I memorize by heart otherwise I don’t retain a thing – I confuse everything, especially during exams - Before exams, I have the impression that I cannot remember a single thing - etc.
Learning to Memorize Better

Time and Organization

I tend to put off things until tomorrow - I always study at the last minute - I find it difficult to adhere to my own schedule - I always feel that I don’t have enough time - I often hand in my assignments late - I often botch-up my work due to lack of time – I am often late for class – I am always overwhelmed with work at the end of the semester – I’m often lost in all my paperwork – It takes me a long time to find a specific document - I often forget when my assignments are due – I am often ill-prepared for an exam I forgot I had - etc.
Improving my Organization, Planning and Resources Management


I do read, but often I do not understand what I’ve read – I regularly overlook important details - I often misunderstand instructions - I find it difficult to discern the important information from a text – I am not sure about what notes to take in class - I find it difficult to write summaries - I have little capacity for synthesizing - I find it difficult to sort information - I often confuse concepts – I feel like I’m drowning in masses of material - I don’t see the connections between subject matter and my own personal projects - etc.
Learning to Better Use Information


I find it difficult to make myself understood - I don't know how to choose between what I should and shouldn't say - I often say too much - I never say enough - My writings lack structure - I often repeat myself - I often omit essential information - I do not use the correct words - I tend to “drift off track” towards other subjects - I often forget parts of instructions - I mack noumerus spailing, grandmar, sintax and punktuation misteaks - etc.
Learning to Communicate my Ideas Better


I don't know how to approach a problem - I don't always take into consideration all aspects of a given problem - My answers are often irrelevant - I make stupid mistakes - I get lost, I’m going nowhere, I go around in circles - I seize the first solution that comes to mind - etc.
Improving my Problem-solving Skills

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