So upset by cognition testing

So ok it was my own fault. I asked for cognition testing as wanted to know what this nasty disease is doing to my head. For sure I know my memory is hammered. If someone asks me to do something at work if I dont write it down forget it I will forget. Faces i forget which can be embarassing but i have strategies for this which sometimes work. yes I know this happens to everyone but not this extreme i suffer from . Passwords and pin numbers all Written down - yes not safe but well hidden Back to the testing. It was hard. Including the psychologist reading 2 passages of a story with lots of details. Then asking you to repeat them back - then asking questions about them 20 minutes later. Also being shown pictures of line shapes for say 5 seconds - they were then covered and I had to draw them. Then you guessed it 20minutes later being asked to draw them again- out of the 5 I forgot 2. More memory tests - pairs of words read out some associated some random. Then I had to say the pair let word when the psychologist read one out. Yes then repeated 20 minutes later. Also a book full of symbols with a gap in the line then you had to choose the missing one from various options. Which went in the space. Well that was all illogical to me. Then quite easy tests which I was rubbish at - I had to name things beginning with s and then f and then any animal and any boys names within a set time. I panicked and was rubbish - now I could do better so I am so upset. Maths too - now this upset me too - are you getting the theme here? Upset upset upset. Now I was good at Mathis at school so thought I would do well. Ha ha ha rubbish as usual . Let me se if I can remember one - if it takes 8 machines to do 6 days work how many machines to do 1/2 days work? - no calculators mind!!! So ok 4 machines will do 3 days work 2machines will do 1 1/2 days work 1 machine will do 3/4 days work - well fuddlemebrain on that one! There was also definitions of complicated words. I didn’t like that one either. Not a happy 2 hours. I am so upset that I couldn’t do all of the tests. I do try to rationalise it. I can still do my job and function in life and have strategies for the defecits that i am aware of. I get the results in 2 weeks time. i want to apologise to everyone who has read this and thought what on earth is she going on about. Also to ask if anyone has gone through anything similar and their thoughts on it Many thanks in advance Apologies to anyone who has read this and wondered what I am going on about. I would like to hear from anyone who has gone through anything similar and hear their experiences Many thanks in advance

Hi flower,

I’ve never done anything like that, but 2 HOURS!! Bloody hell, it would be exhausting for anyone healthy!! Pretty sure I couldn’t concentrate for that long, and I’m usually good at those types of puzzles. Will be interesting to see if you get the results you think you’re going to get.

Luisa x

I can’t imagine why anyone would put themselves through this.

No wonder you are upset.

I can definately say that i would have failed most of it. My memory/brain is not what it was and the stress of a test like this would have made me ill. It has highighted what you can’t do rather on what you can still do.

You may be upset again when you get the results also but you need to look at the positives in your life - not the negatives.

Lots of (((((hugs)))) coming your way!

It sounds like you need them.

Teresa. x

No one does well under stress - like the tightrope walker, if the rope is too tight he falls off, if the rope is too loose he falls off.

If you were doing these ‘tests’ as a game and enjoying them you wouldn’t have given them a second thought, just laughed off any you couldn’t do and enjoyed the fun.

Please don’t set yourself up for failure or think of yourself as a failure.

One thing we all have to do is be kind to ourselves, give ourselves time, cut out the stress and be gentle on ourselves, then we cope quite well and are still able to be useful members of society.

Even people who are not affected by this horrible desease can have off days when things don’t ride smoothly but hit every pothole in the road and can’t remember things or get things wrong.

You don’t d

say how long you have been affected by MS but your mind is preoccupied trying to cope with the changed world it finds itself in and like you say you have developed coping stratagies, just give yourself time to do that very important job and keep on living life to the fullest that you can, it will get easier as you learn to accept.

Luv and hugs, Ann

I knew I could count on you guys for support and comfort so thanks for your quick replies. Luisa yes I will have to brace myself for the results in 2 weeks. I am trying to accept Ann not quite ther yet. Teresa’s yes positives are good and I have lots in my life - wonderful husband, I’m good at my job, holidays to look forward too - and why did I do it? Goodness knows it feels like pandoras box at the moment. Anyone for the machine Maths question? I will report back with the results

[quote=flowerfairymin Anyone for the machine Maths question?[/quote]

I get the same result as you, can’t get below 3/4 day = 1 machine - maybe the question was wrong?

L x

Im confused about that question… do you mean how many machines does it take to do the work in 1 and 1/2 days?

Cause to get half a day is gunna be far to complicated for anyone to easily work out…

but if its IN 1 and 1/2 days, then you would need MORE machines to do it in less time… making it 32 machines…?

(8 machines do it in 6 days / 16 do it in 3 days / 32 machines do it in 1 and 1/2 days)

If it was 1/2 a day i THINK it would be like 42.7 maybe???

Blimey I am so glad you are finding it difficult too. Far too difficult to work out in your head. Mrsp I had suspicion I was going the wrong way. Yes L maybe the question was wrong. I will write both the question down and the answer at my follow up appointment and let you know

I don’t think I would have passed this BEFORE I developed MS. I’m a naturally anxious person, and just the stress of being put on the spot like this would have made me forget my own name! As for the machines, I think it would take 2/3 of a machine to do half a day’s work: 8 machines to do 6 days, so to do 1 day would be 8/6. Half a day would be divide by 2 again, which gives 8/12. Which can be written more simply as 2/3. But I wonder if it’s a trick question, and you’re supposed to say: “Aha, but there’s no such thing as 2/3 of a machine - like half a hole! If the smallest amount of machine you can have is one, then you’d need one machine to do half a day’s work. Two thirds of a machine wouldn’t work, and wouldn’t do any of it!” I doubt it was that crafty. Horrible though, a question that results in fractions of machines! Tina

Well I can safely say as soon as I saw a maths question my immediate answer would of been I dont know…I wouldnt know where to start trying to work it out and that was the same before the brain farts set in.

I had a similar experience at work when a client was being tested at home for dementia and I sat in to support her. They person doing it was clearly marking her out of 5 for her responses. When it was finished we discussed what the doc thought to be very advanced dementia and we went through it question by question and many of them were things she wouldnt of been able to score at in her prime…without me being there to communicate on her behalf I dread to think what label she would of been given.

Being the sort of person I am I too would be curious and want to test my level of functionning as I know …Im not right!! can take that in whatever context you feel suits…but can I ask your reasons for asking for it,and what you hope to result from the outcome?


I did one of those on-line IQ test things recently, just for fun (don’t ask.) For a start, I took 45 mins and reams of paper to do a test they said should take 15 max. The result? Well, the good news is that I surely could not be held criminally responsible for anything, or let out without adult supervision. But do you know what? I still seem to be getting on with life much as usual - the only damage is a bruised ego, and that I can live with.

It’s a lucky thing that we don’t have to be good at jumping through hoops on these tests in order to live our lives!



Hey flower,

Yeah I’ll be intrigued to find out! Whens your follow up?


Hi ff, My sons are currently revising for GCSEs and AS levels which they are obviously finding stressful. Your test reminds me of yearly exams for ‘O’ Levels,‘A’ levels and degree, every May/June for years on end. At this time of year I always get worked up when everyone is doing exams, it reminds me of the worry of my own. What you have just done is just like one of these. No wonder you got upset - it’s too much worry for you. I wouldn’t willingly put myself through that. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You have adapted your life to fit in with MS, leave it at that and try not to worry. Take care, Teresa xx

Been there, done that!

My GP referred me to a clinical psychologist who took me through exactly the same tests as you’ve done and I did REALLY badly, despite trying REALLY hard, cos I REALLY didn’t want to have Alzheimer’s.

The good news is that you can get a lot better - with a lot of hard work. There is no magic pill.

  • Try to remove or delegate anything complicated in your life for the time being. Ask for a year of support, patience & understanding from friends & family - they can’t help you if they don’t know you’ve got such severe problems.

  • Don’t expect to be able to add up more than two figures for quite a while yet.

  • Treat yourself as though you’re a small child, and work slowly and steadily from there, doing basic puzzles and so on.

  • Get someone to work on coping strategies for you, so that you’re not a danger to yourself. You have to learn things like setting an alarm before you start running a bath, etc.

  • Try to only do one thing at a time and FINISH each thing before you start another. Lists may be overwhelming, so it’s better to get at least one thing done.

  1. The MS Trust have an excellent online resource to help those of us with problems in the cognition department:
  1. The MS Society have some information too:
  1. The MSRC also have a section on the subject:

If you find yourself needing to “prove” to people that you’re not making it up, Facing the Cognitive Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis by Jeffrey N Gingold is just one of the many publications on the subject that you could read to give yourself ammunition - and to help you to believe that you’re not making it up.

I have also gone through this. Although the results were initially upsetting they were also liberating. They proved I wasn’t just imagining things.

I agree with everything anon has said. For me the major thing is not to try to do two things at the same time. I used to be able to multi-task to the nth degree, now if I put a pot on the stove and go to take a couple of weeds out of the garden the pot will only be fit for the bin when i remember.


Sounds similar to the tests I did 2 years ago. I was referred to a Clinical Neuro-Psychologist through the Occupational Health Service of my then employers, as I had identified cognitive problems as a concern when going through assessments of my job.

Like you, my appointment lasted just over 2 hours, and some of your descriptions of the tests sound familiar. I can remember having to recall a list of words, repeat a story and draw a geometric pattern both imediately after seeing/hearing them, and also after a delay.

Another test I can remember involved a list of businesses & descriptions. One test was to go through the list and mark all the businesses which met a specific criteria, which was timed to see how long it took. As an alternative, this test was repeated, but with the added twist of being accompanied by a pre-recorded track which ‘beeped’ occasionally. While marking the businesses you also had to keep count of the number of beeps, and the test was also timed.

Another test was the ‘Virtual Elevator’ where you had to imagine you were in an elevator on a particular floor. You’re then shown a series of cards containing an arrow and a number, indicating whether the elevator was going up or down along with the number of floors it travelled. The aim was to keep track of which floor the elevator ended up on.


Wow! and Wow again! Looks like two clinical psychologists have been to the same training course. Let me ramble on for a bit … .

  • The “maths” test. OK, so see Tina’s reply, the answer is 2/3, or, 8/(6x2). And yes, you cannot have 2/3 of a machine. So the real question is how you approach the answer

  • Twenty years ago, at a University in the South of England, three of us ran a battery of five psychological tests (of a general cognitive nature) on that years intake of psychology students. We wanted to be able to “select out” from any volunteers who wanted to take part in the research that each of us was running (which covered a broad range of psychological enquiry). Being scientific by nature, we correlated the results of these tests. Surprise, surprise, we found that there were no significant correlations. In short, not everyone is good at the same sort of thing. That’s another “Wow, what a discovery”.

So, back to the original post (and some of those that follow it).

  • What, I ask, was a two-hour battery of tests trying to find out?
  • Two hours is too long to concentrate on anything (and don’t get me started on 2-hr lecture, or 2-hr exams or we really will be here all day)
  • The normal tests for Alzheimers take around 10 minutes. I can cite one person of my acquaintance who has been tested twice, and come out with a perfect score each time. This person does have problems with some forms of reasoning tests.

I would like to know just what battery of tests fairyflowermin (and liz/efb) was given. All tests, and all test batteries have a name (usually that of the University where they were put together, or the name of the person who put them together). If they have a name, then it is possible to look them up, find out when they were constructed, just how valid they were, etc. I would be seriously worried if - for example - it was a 30 year old test battery, with even one component that had been discredited. It would be even worse if the whole battery had been replaced in general use by something much shorter, and was a better tool. One could just look up the Clinical Psychologist involved (it must be on the report) and find out how long ago they were trained. If they are using an outdated test, it could be of interest to the British Psychological Society as well.

My own opinion (for what it is worth) is that anyone who can realise that they have a problem, and then devise and apply a coping strategy to deal with that problem, has a good level of cognitive function.
Does it matter if they have some trouble extracting a particular shape from an array of lines? Does it matter if they can only name about 5 colours - and what does it prove if they can name 20?
Take the Stanford-Binet intelligence test - that’s the one that measure what we laughingly call IQ. In my day, every 10-year old got it as part of the 11+ exam. The improved versions were still in use much later. There is a coping strategy for that test. For anyone who might need it, the strategy is simple - if you cannot answer fast, move on to the next question. The thing is scored on the number of right answers only.

I wrote the above and went back to the original post. If fairyflowermin can remember all that about the tests, then it is quite clear that there is nothing wrong with her long term memory. Depending on which theory of memory you hold to, it suggests that her short term memory and the processing into long-term memory is also quite OK. I think that she has every reason to “go on” about it. Note: I am not a clinical psychologist (I consider myself to be “cognitive-experimental”), but it does seem to me that fairyflowermin has been subjected to some un-neccessary stress.


I haven’t been through anything like what you discribe but i know my brain is not what it used to be. I do find the Nintendo brain trainer has helped to improve my poor old brain. I would recommend it to anyone with memory/concentration problems. Also stress can make it much worse and living with MS can be stressful it itself.


I understand what Geoff is saying, and in fact as long as youve got enough memory/brain power to wake up go about your business, love… enjoy things, eat, sleep talk, relate, communicate, perform A job (ok so might not always be the one you want), and take care of your affairs, or indeed have the strength of mid to make someone do it for you… to be fair… you’re all good!!

I think it’s 96 machines to do 1/2 days work, inverse proportion.

i.e. the more machines you have the less tiem it takes and conversely the fewer machines you have the more time it takes.