OT Syndrome Outbreak in College Students

If you’ve just read the headline of this blog and your heart is palpitating then it’s quite possible, you’re already showing symptoms of Over-Thinking (OT). OT is a commonly experienced syndrome that occurs before, during and after a multiple-choice exam. Symptoms include racing heart, sweaty palms and complete loss of academic confidence. OT is triggered by the presence of options that typically occur when a question is posed with more than one answer. Sufferers of OT report episodes of alphabetic blindnesswhere the letters A, B, C and D become entirely indistinguishable. Although rare, hospitalization may occur when the OT sufferer is presented with the option – none of the above.

The following patient case study is presented to help those that suspect OT to seek a physician’s help immediately.

Brody, 19-Year-Old Male, College Student, OT Suffer – A Case Study

Brody has studied for an upcoming midterm. Although confident the night before, he arrives thirty minutes early for the exam and paces outside the classroom door. As his pulse quickens, he runs through scenarios that might prevent him from completing his exam. He fights thoughts of an alien abduction searching frantically for a diversion to calm his over-thinking. Upon entering the classroom, he methodically lays out five sharpened pencils, a pencil sharpener, and an extra eraser on his desk. He approaches the professor three times to confirm the number of questions on the exam. To hide his OT, he alternates his questions with frequent trips to the restroom and then estimates how many of his peers have noticed.

The exam begins and Brody’s brain freezes. Two questions into the exam and he is convinced he is able to argue that all options presented could technically be correct. He approaches the professor again and makes an attempt to have the question thrown out. The professor, an expert in spotting OT symptoms, reads the question back to Brody and encourages him to eliminate the choices that don’t fit. The simplicity of the solution shocks Brody’s system causing an uncontrollable giggling fit.

This disturbing case study is based on actual events. Luckily for Brody, an experience professor was able to intervene and reduce Brody’s symptoms resulting in a passing grade.  

OT can be treated using The Seven Steps to Sanity

  1. Skipping a question is worse than guessing
  2. Studies show a cat could guess their way to a 50
  3. At least one of the answers is obviously wrong so get rid of it
  4. Pretend you’re a cat and guess once you’ve completed #3.
  5. Find satisfaction knowing that trick questions are designed by mean teachers who will eventually get theirs
  6. If you studied, you’ll probably pass
  7. You don’t need a 100 to get an A