Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I've been a chronic pain patient for the last 10 years. My pain is always at least a five on a scale from zero to 10. Sometimes it goes up to an eight. I want to take the GMAT test and try to get into business school. I'm afraid my pain will keep me from getting a good test score because I can't always concentrate. Is this possible?

Processing capacity of patients with chronic pain was the focus of a recent study in the Netherlands. Patients with pain levels similar to yours were compared to healthy adults with no pain (control group). Both groups did easy and hard tasks during the experiment.

The researchers report that the chronic pain patients were faster but also made more mistakes than the control group. Analyzing the data from the study they came up with the following conclusions:

  • The effect of pain was the same for all tasks no matter how easy or hard the task.
  • Chronic pain patients have a shortened attention span; they tend to make impulsive or quick decisions before thinking it through.
  • Chronic pain patients are more easily distracted.
  • Morphine-based analgesics used for pain relief seem to help improve some responses.

    We don't have any quick or easy answers for how to get a better score on the GMAT test. Pain control may help. If you are taking medication for this problem, don't stop before the test. Being aware of the problem may help you to focus on each problem and take your time answering questions.

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