Study Tips for Students with ADD/ADHD

Studying can be challenging, and students with ADD/ADHD report having increased difficulties in this area. Students with ADD/ADHD tend to have more difficulties with organization, staying on task, and sitting still for long periods of time. Understanding how ADD/ADHD affects you and utilizing study tips can help you be successful.

  1. Mind Your Phone – Your phone can be a great tool for success or a barrier to productivity. Use a calendar app, such as Google calendar, to mark when you have class and meetings, when assignments are due, and when you should be studying. This will keep you organized, and you can set alarms for a few minutes before you have something scheduled to remind yourself. However, be careful to not spend too much time on your phone! If you find yourself scrolling through TikTok or Instagram when you should be doing other things, consider temporarily deleting the apps or setting a time limit for how long you can spend on them.
  2. Divide Assignments Into Pieces – Try breaking down what needs to be done into smaller, more manageable sections. For example, if you need to write a 3 page paper, plan to write one page a day for three days. If you anticipate you will need to spend 10 hours studying for a test, study for 2 hours a day for 5 days. This will make it easier for you to be focused for the whole amount of time you are scheduling.
  3. Make Lists – Taking the time to write down what you need to accomplish and crossing it off when it is completed can help you stay organized and on track. Practice prioritizing by writing down what needs to be done first at the top of the list and try to go in order.
  4. Control Your Environment – Identify what environment you study best in and place yourself in that setting when doing work. If you get distracted by noises and talking, find a quiet place or use noise cancelling headphones to create silence. If you study best in the afternoon, make a point to schedule study hours during this time. 
  5. Take Breaks and Move Around – If you find yourself feeling frustrated or unproductive, take a 10 minute break to rest your brain and help you focus better. Take a short walk or do a few exercises during a break to help you channel your energy. Remember to set an alarm so your short break does not accidentally last longer than planned.
  6. Develop a Schedule – Set regular hours for waking up, eating, studying, exercising, free time, and going to sleep. Having a routine can help you mentally prepare for studying and be more focused and ready to do work. Also remember the importance that sleep and diet has on your body and mental state, so try to get plenty of sleep and nutrients.
  7. Use A Multi-Sensory Approach – You will be able to learn something more effectively if you are using multiple senses. Visually, you can read material and look at the professor’s notes. To learn from an auditory approach, try rewatching lectures (if the professor records them), looking up videos related to the topic on YouTube, and reading your notes aloud or typing them into a text reader such as Natural Voice. We also learn effectively by doing, so copy notes over again, take practice tests, and create visuals such as pictures, charts, and diagrams to summarize material.
  8. See a Success Coach – Check out the office of Student Transition and Success! A success coach can help you make a personalized success plan and provide tips for studying, time management, organization, and productivity. The office offers one-on-one appointments, weekly group meetings, and a listserv, so you can pick a method that works best for you. 

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By Julia Sullivan
Julia Sullivan Marketing Graduate Assistant