ADHD Friendly Study Tips

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Studying and education go hand-in-hand, but there are a couple of factors that make the college study experience different from high school. First, parents and teachers aren’t there to help and rarely make allowances - they’re assuming you will do the work on your own as an adult. Second, there is typically a LOT more to do: books to read, labs to attend, lectures to take notes in, papers to write - and all within the deadline of a fixed term. Add in ADHD symptoms that make it hard to concentrate and keep track of deadlines and you’ve got even more deal with.

But studying and managing your time and flow of assignments in college is key to a successful experience. And the goal of study? To retain information - and it’s been shown that reviewing information within 24 hours of hearing it results in a 60% higher retention rate, so our first tip is to use one of these classic studying techniques within a day of taking notes in a class:

  • Reread your notes

  • Rewrite your notes

  • Review highlighted information (use different colors to distinguish different facts while studying)

  • Use flashcards (good for #2 below)

  • Make up examples

Other study tips that are specifically ADHD friendly and will help to keep you on track include:

  1. 15/5 Minute Study/Break. Study for 15 minutes and then take a 5 minute break to really cutting down the time where you need to stay focused. It does not have to be 15 / 5, in my experience some students can go 30 / 10, so do whatever works for you. But play around with it, as the time may change with the subject you are studying, and if you love a certain class you may not even need to do this at all. Remember to set timers for the 15 minutes and again after the 5 minutes is over which will help you stay on track and not get distracted by something else.

  2. Stay active while studying. Stand up, walk around, and read using a highlighter for key points. Some find the activity of taking more notes is helpful - just don't make them so detailed that now you are focusing on the wrong thing. Use notecards for key points and have a friend quiz you on them - while you are walking.

  3. Study with someone. “Body doubling” is a key technique used in the organizing world: just having someone in the room can help you stay focused and on task. Better yet if that person is a classmate in the same class - then you can verbally process what you are learning which is a great way to cement important concepts.

  4. Set a study schedule. Don’t know how much to study for a test or when to start studying? Work with your coach to help determine a schedule or timeline - working backwards from the due date is a great way to figure this out.

  5. Know what's coming up for the week. Do a weekly review of your class syllabuses and calendar and set realistic goals - you do not want mid-term tests and assignments to sneak up on you!

Everyone is different, but developing good study habits is something everyone can do. If something isn’t working for you, try a new technique until you find the one that works for you.

Until Next Time..

Take Care,

Nikki