Tagged: study tips skills
June 28, 2018 at 11:00 pm #87275KookieParticipant
I droped out of school because of my ADHD. Now in 27 and in studying again. Its really hard even when its intressting after 5mins im already thinking of somthing else. I thought now im older i would be able to study better because id like to work in socail care. Dose anyone have a way of focusing on a text book that could work?
June 29, 2018 at 8:47 am #87293jonovdpParticipant
This is my first time posting here.
I was completely in the same stage with study after high school. I was really daunted by the prospect of learning at a higher level than I did in High school. Plus I completely struggled with learning and studying as a kid.
When I did my first degree, i actually found it easier than high school. Because when your sifting through research papers, and text books for the information you need to support your argument…. It’s actually working to the strengths of someone with ADHD. I found myself bouncing from one article to another, to another, until I got what I needed. I learned way more this way.
Reading slabs of text is a nightmare. Some tips I use:
– find out what you need to learn from the reading requirement. Ie. is there questions or a quiz you must do. then read the important parts you need.
– if your really struggling, read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. The first sentence is the ‘introduction’; The last sentence is the ‘conclusion’ for each paragraph.
-talk to your classmates about what they’ve read, and get them to summarise.
– find the topic your learning about on an audiobook or documentary. Find another way to take in the information that’s not about reading slabs of text.
– lastly (and probably the most controversial point), is the reading you’ve been given essential? If it isn’t, don’t stress. Many times, teachers and lecturers give students unnecessary reading to do.
These are a few strategies I’ve used in my study. Both times I’ve completed degrees, I’ve had to drop down to a part time load, because I simply couldn’t keep up with all the requirements. While most people I studied with, could flick a switch and focus on the work they need to do…. i felt like I was pushing a car up hill, just to get into the right mindset.
June 29, 2018 at 10:15 am #87278strwbryParticipant
Hi Kookie! First of all, congrats on going back to school! 🙂 I’m thirtysomething, going back in August, and I’m nervous about studying, too. Here are some tips I’ve picked up while preparing to go back. I’m hoping they’ll work for me this fall, and I hope they work for you too!
1. Exercise. A therapist once told me that exercise is like a bath for your brain. It floods your brain with oxygen and cleans out some of the fog. If you exercise before studying, and maybe even take a few breaks for jumping jacks or stairs (or dancing) in between, it’ll keep your brain more focused.
2. Healthy snacks. I find I can focus WAY better after some protein and good sugars (usually fruit for me). Nuts are also an excellent snack, and chewing crunchy things or gum can help you focus, too.
3. Timer. Our brains digest info better in small bits, so setting a timer for 15 minutes, then taking a 5 minute break to do something completely different, to process what you just read, will help your brain “digest” it. Plus, knowing the clock is ticking adds a sense of urgency to our studying that can help our brains wake up.
4. Skim & highlight. I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’ll be able to physically sit down and read ALL those textbooks, cover to cover. In college, my therapist suggested I go through each chapter with colored highlighters. Highlight the main topic sentence of each chapter, section, and paragraph. Highlight any key words, vocabulary, and important supporting sentences. You’ll end up skimming the whole chapter, but only focusing on the most important parts. I tell myself it’s kind of a game, like a scavenger hunt, and that usually motivates me to get through the chapter.
5. Notes. When studying for the test, you can compare your class notes to the stuff you highlighted in the textbook to make SUPER notes. Reading them for 15 minutes a day will keep them fresh in your mind, and the more times you review them, the more likely you are to remember them.
6. Sleep. A lot of folks will pull all-nighters to try to cram in a lot of information. Problem is, your brain processes stuff while you sleep. It’ll move information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory while you dream, so making sure you get enough sleep is so important! For me, it’s 7-8 hours per night. Less than that, and I’ll forget my shoes, never mind trying to remember my notes!
7. Acknowledge the distraction, but don’t let it derail you! Our brains wander like crazy. I heard somewhere that, when you’re trying to focus on something and your brain wanders, just noticing it and mentally labeling it “thinking” is sometimes enough to pull your mind back to the task at hand. If your brain is wandering to ideas, you could keep a notepad near you and make bullet points about the things you want to think about later. If it’s a worry, I use the imagery of a basket. All the things I CAN think about are in a basket. If there’s something I need to focus on and other thoughts/worries/plans keep interrupting, I write them down and put them back in the “basket” to pull out later. Mentally knowing that they’re still there, I haven’t forgotten the important thing and can make time for it later usually helps me stay on track.
I hope that helps! One of my favorite ADHD channels is “How to ADHD” on youtube. She has a video on study skills here: https://youtu.be/PZ4wWpPf-go
And here’s one on note-taking: https://youtu.be/qE9Pmm5yfhQ
Best of luck!
June 29, 2018 at 5:18 pm #87396mgibsonParticipant
I think strwbry has a lot of good tips there. I am college student who was recently diagnosed with ADHD at age 20 and recently passed my personal training certification exam. Studying for that was almost entirely reading and teaching myself the material and I can’t tell you how many times I got so frustrated when reading because I couldn’t focus and absorb the material for more than 10 mins. Strwbry mentioned a few above that I do but I thought I would second them here. I use chunking, in other words I set a timer for a set amount of time and when the timer is over I take a little brain break and then do it again. The key to this is to start your work early and not procrastinate. I also agree with the snacks tip, I always like to have a snack handy or a drink of some sort. I don’t know how it works but it really helps me. I also like to do my work in a really comfy place because then it doesn’t feel like work so I will read my textbook while in bed or on the couch or just any comfy chair.
I wish you the best of luck and hope these help!
July 3, 2018 at 3:33 pm #87588Lilac-Vrt-OlligociParticipant
I’ve always struggled with studying with my ADHD, but I think the most important thing to look at first is to see whether or not your professor requires the textbook. That’s usually pretty important because a) Textbooks are expensive and b) That cuts down on having to sift through MORE things when you could be studying a better source. Strawberry has it all knocked down, but here’s another cool tip I recently employed:
If you have an activity that you really enjoy, put that in between chunking. For some reason for me whenever I play a certain game it gets my hyperfocusing brain going and I wanna keep going so whenever I fail a section of this game, I move over to my study notes and study a little bit, and then go back to playing the game, and then I fail…
I guess you could say it’s ‘tricking’ the brain by abusing your hyperfocusing and pointing it in a good direction. Just remember to not go too long and make sure you eat and get up and rest your eyes.
Also, always study the material when you get it a little bit at a time until the exams. Cramming is not good.
July 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm #88014charlieparkerParticipant
Study Tips for ADHD
1. If you have a formal medical diagnosis, make your college/learning provider aware. I learned this far too late. If you are still yet to receive a formal diagnosis, write an email explaining that you are in the process of being diagnosed and treated for possible ADD/ADHD. Often most colleges and tutors are understanding and will help you out. Extra time for assignments, private rooms for sitting exams and extra time. Sometimes there are different modes of assessment that you can request to undertake, for instance: instead of writing an essay, you can sit an exam, you may be able to hyper-focus on, or perform a presentation, (make use of that inability to shut your mouth, and quick wit.)
2. Try if possible to choose a topic of study, that utilises your hyper-focus.
3. Sit down with someone who can help you break up all your reading and assignments into 10-15 minute tasks. Do a task, do something else for a while, then do another short task.
4. Diet is a huge factor, DO NOT DRINK CAFFEINE!!!!! Caffeine reduces the amount of blood-flow in your brain, which is counteractive to your medication as its supposed to pump more blood into the side of your brain that doesn’t work – the focus part. Eat: quinoa, spinach, leafy greens, walnuts, blueberries, a lean protein source, (mackerel is full of good fats and omega 3’s) drink freshly squeezed orange juice, and drink a hell of a lot of water.
Also try to buy organic berries, a Harvard study proved, a correlation between children with a greater amount of pesticide, chemicals, from consuming fresh produce, (berries, leafy greens, bell peppers) in their urine and ADHD symptoms. On a study day I avoid heavy carbs, they’re harder for your body to process meaning all your blood is pumped to your stomach to aid digestion. Also avoid fresh pork, a study showed that fresh pork (not bacon as its smoked) makes your red blood cells increase in size, which makes it hard or impossible for them to travel through the small vessels. Again not good for your brain. **I don’t eat like this all the time, just on study days.**
5. Go to the library, at home you’ll be distracted, I used to lie and tell myself I’d be more distracted around people than I would at home. If you have ADHD, the libraries and campus will often have private or silent study rooms. USE THESE. Make friends with the library staff, explain that you need help, ask them where to find books, how to reference properly and organise your referencing. All the things ADHD people are crap at. I bought books on these topics, (I’ve never read them), in my final year I asked a member of staff, to sit, one on one, and teach me how. I told her if I appeared disinterested, or distracted, I wasn’t being rude but it was due to my ADHD and that she had permission to flick me on the nose, she laughed and didn’t flick me (I think she wanted to a few times) but it meant she had more patience with me.
6. Befriend the studious people on your course, otherwise known as nerds, they’ll always be up to date with lecture notes and be aware of hand in dates, and have taken good notes. They’re also good library companions; you can ask them where they’re up to, what their organisation methods are, etc. and you’ll have a hard time persuading them to leave their work/research unfinished to do something fun (we’re brilliant at that). These people will encourage you to be like them instead of vice-versa!!!
7. Use a large wall planner, place it in the spot you have breakfast or the place spend most of your day, a HUGE one, with coloured pens of deadlines, and a work schedule. Make sure there is a calendar on it. We need to visualise time to be aware of it!! We’re procrastinators with no concept of time! Have someone who you’re accountable to, be honest about work and deadlines. I’m the best liar, and I tell them to myself, “you don’t understand how I work”/’I have lot’s of time” etc.
8. Don’t do things last minute and rush them, I’ve done it for five years, and I pass because I’m smart but I hate myself because, I haven’t achieved the grades I’m capable of, I realise now, and I regret all the things I missed out on learning. You’ll end up in a cycle of shame and self-hatred.
9. Ask for help, bug your tutors, email them, ask for a personal supervisor, if you feel overwhelmed don’t bury your head in the sand and then do something fun. You’ll feel awful when it’s too late and messed up.
10. Take you’re medication on schedule, and have an organised sleeping schedule. If you can date someone, house share, befriend, someone who is your polar opposite, one of those to do list, alarm clock, punctual, meal prep, pencils in sex, types of people, it’ll instil a sense of routine, even if you don’t stick to it, or live by it completely, you’ll be around one.
This is my third time at University, after two previous attempts at studying Law and dropping out.
These are my tips, they’re easier said than adhered to, but these are the things I learnt a many years too late. I’m redoing my final year in the hope of scraping a half decent grade. It’s nothing near what I should have attained.
*I apologise for any grammatical errors, again a lack of concentration!
- This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by charlieparker.
July 11, 2018 at 3:07 am #88019OldocParticipant
All good ideas above so I will just add 3
Try study first thing in the morning doing so at night maybe affected by rebound from medication.
Ensure that do not have an associated learning disability ( mine is limited short term memory )that you need to work around.
My favourite is to have a pen or highlighter in hand writing as I read helped keep me focussed. With the advent of highlighters I used a yellow one to highlight important information. The second reading I used an orange one to highlight “lists” of points. And the third time a pink one give shape to the big picture. I would then review with a biro numbering informal lists or questions that have popped up. (Using my hands keeps me engaged with the work but does not do much for the resale value of the books)
August 2, 2018 at 11:26 pm #90166vosoboParticipant
I don’t have the time to read what others have written, so forgive any duplication. I had the same problem all through school. I eventually got an undergrad and 2 grad degrees. I was diagnosed with ADHD long after graduate school but I came up with some strategies that worked for me.
1. Find a study space that works for you. Comfortable seating, good light, tools (pencil/pen/paper, devices, etc.) that work well for you. I’ve studied in a silent law library and in a cafeteria with low but constant noise. Many ambient sound apps are also available if that works for you.
2. Record audio from your lectures (with professor permission). I recorded all my courses and using the recordings made complete notes of the lectures. I then condensed these and memorized them. VERY time consuming, but I knew I could NEVER finish all the reading for any course. If you remember everything the professor says, you’ll most likely get an A. Devices now exist to make this process much easier than when I was a student.
3. Seek out audio versions of the material, if available.
4. Realize that you may have a reading disability. I’ve never been diagnosed, but my kids were diagnosed with dyslexia, and I realized that I probably have it too. If you are diagnosed, you’ll have access to accommodations that can help.
5. Visit your college’s disabilities services department and see what they can do for you.
September 6, 2018 at 2:25 pm #98356AdailystepParticipant
I have adhd and have lots of things that I went through and want to share. One thing I learn is that ssetting 15 minutes or some time never works to me. I rather count time how much I studied. I use toggl timer (app/online available) to record how much I have studied on a particular subject or material. I start the timer when I really start studying and turn off when my brain deviates. One session(?) Lasts 10-15 minutes on average. For example, I need net 40 hours to receive b on a subject (exam prep) then I just kept studying till I reach that hours. I let myself take a break as my brain wants to. I don’t reach those hours in one day rather a week or two weeks. It works for me well…. Cuz setting 5 minutes break drives my brain crazy. Tt
Hope that it helps. Welcome to ask more questions if you want my advice.
January 21, 2019 at 10:43 am #106990MayaGreenParticipant
Well if you have difficulties focusing on text and it bothers your study, you can use different services like to help you to overcome your inconveniences
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