If you or your child have ADHD, you probably already know that studying for tests and exams can often be difficult due to problems focusing and staying on task for a certain amount of time.
As someone who has ADHD myself, here the most effective study tips I’ve found to be effective for people with ADHD.
1. Start studying in advance
Because people with ADHD often have difficulties with their working memory, it is important to start studying right away rather than at the last minute. For example, start studying for an exam three weeks in advance instead of just giving yourself a week to study before the test.
2. Identify your distractions
Find out where you can focus better. For example, if you cannot focus completely silent somewhere, then try a library where it is mostly quiet but has the occasional sound of someone walking in and out or turning the page of a book, or if you happen to concentrate better in a noisier setting with more activity then try a cafeteria or coffee shop.
3. Break up study times into chunks
Your brain tends to be able to focus longer when you take small breaks. To do this, study for a certain amount of time and set up a timer to go off when it is time for you to take a break, though if you feel you do not need one at the time, by all means, feel free to keep going.
4. Make Lists
Some studies show that the ADHD brain has a difficult time prioritizing. A good way to help with this is to sit down and make a list of everything that needs to get done, and then when you are done writing the list go through it a second time and number the tasks in order of importance. This can also be helpful if you have a large assignment. You can write out all the steps, which will help you get the assignment done in manageable chunks.
5. Use your Smartphone
Smartphones have lots of beneficial organizational tools. At the beginning of the semester, put all your dates into a calendar and use the alerts to remind you in advance. ADHD students also have the unique ability to hyperfocus on a certain task that you lose track of other things that are happening. Hence, it is good to set alarms for everything important and needs to get done throughout the day.
6. Find out what accommodations your school can offer
Learning accommodations counselors will help you find access to disability counselors or doctors that can prescribe you medication. Your school might also have IEPs (individual education plan) that document your learning differences as well as your accommodations such as extra time on tests or assignments. A counselor can also help you look at career options and other things you may need help with.
School is critical but can also be very challenging, especially for those with ADHD or learning difficulties, so it is important to find tips to help make things easier, such as those listed above.