Ten Ways to Study with ADHD


What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is considered to be a neurological disorder that impacts the part of the brain that helps people focus, plan, and execute tasks. As of September 2021, roughly 11% of children and 5% of adults in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. Many people go undiagnosed and struggle with carrying on their day-to-day tasks. Studying and school in general can be more difficult for those with ADHD than other students. For someone with ADHD, being on a schedule, not procrastinating on assignments, staying organized, and being focused, can seem impossible. What if there was a light at the end of the tunnel? Here are some productive ways that make studying with ADHD more efficient.

1. Make It Urgent

Make deadlines earlier for yourself. If an assignment is due in a week, tell yourself that it needs to be completed in three days! This will help cut out procrastination habits and make for a less stressful environment to collect your thoughts vs cramming the night before. Write due dates down at least a few days in advance.

2. Make It Interesting

Figure out how to personally invest yourself into the topic. If you make the assignment interesting, you are more likely to produce higher quality work. If you are writing a psychology paper on how the mind works while asleep, think about how you sleep. Do you remember your dreams a lot? Lots of restless nights? Relate to the topic.  

3. No Outside Distractions

Make sure you have no outside distractions. Turn that phone off! Then go put it on the other side of the room. Having your phone next to you is too much of a temptation to just check it that one time… or twice? Eliminate anything that can distract you from completing your task. No, watching Twilight in the background probably will not help you finish whatever you’re doing.

4. Make it New

Try to take your work to a new environment. Maybe working outside in an open field or in a hammock could be refreshing for your brain. Maybe even the library or café. Trying out new settings will keep your brain stimulated and focused. Studying at home can lead to distractions such as laundry, taking care of pets, and a million other things to think of doing other than homework.  

5. Make Games and Songs

Taking study terms and making games or songs can open up new viewpoints and parts of your brain. Make flashcards and turn them into a game to play with a study partner. Or even write a song or jingle with the terms or information of whatever you are studying.

6. Immediate Reward Afterwards

Reward yourself after you finish. If you want to watch your favorite Netflix show, allow yourself to after finishing your work. Have you really been wanting to go to the gym but can’t because you have to finish your homework? Give yourself enough time before and remind yourself that you can go when done.

7. Take Frequent Breaks

Sitting at the table for hours is going to do you more harm than help. Getting up and giving yourself a break every 15-20 minutes can make a huge difference. Eat a snack, drink some water, or even check the mail.

8. Color Code

Colors stimulate the brain and certain colors can stimulate different things in your brain. For instance, red expresses urgency or importance. Looking at different colors can calm your brain and help you stay more organized when completing assignments, or give you a sense of urgency when need be.

9. Act On It When You Feel Productive

If you have a sudden spark of motivation to tackle those assignments, JUST DO IT! If you have the time to study or work on your assignment even for a little bit when you are feeling motivated, your work is bound to be better because you are more eager to complete it.

10. Use Movement

Walk around with flashcards or study materials. Underline and highlight things to make them stand out in your brain. Recite things out loud to help you memorize it better.

ADHD makes studying tough, but not impossible!

By Alexa Morgan, Activist Writer

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