How to Study with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurobiological disorder that makes it difficult to focus, sit still, or restrain your impulses. People with this disorder wrestle with it every day. ADHD can cripple your self-esteem, your productivity, and your ability to function in family, social, work and school situations. If you've been struggling to study because of your ADHD, read on for tips to make schoolwork easier.


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    Consult a doctor about medication. ADHD is a treatable disorder and there are several prescription options available to help you deal with it. These medications can help you focus and work better during the day, mitigating or eliminating the effects of your ADHD. See a doctor to discuss your options.
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    Make studying fun. Studying is easier, faster, and more effective when you're interested in what you're doing, and if the material isn't quite compelling enough for you, design study methods that will hold your interest. For example, make studying for a test a game. Write questions and their answers down on flash cards, and include appropriate point values for each question, with more points for harder questions. Then have someone quiz you, keeping track of the points you earn - or compete with friends in the style of a game show like Jeopardy. Award prizes to the winner, or set a larger goal that will take you several study sessions to achieve.
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    Limit the distractions when you study. ADHD makes you very easily distracted, making it hard for you to focus on your studies, so limit this by getting rid of as many distractions as possible. Turn off the TV and music so that you can focus on your notes. Study in a quiet place, keep your work area clean, and put away any toys or other objects.
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    Know how you learn best. Some people can learn all the material just by reading their notes. For most people, however, this is not enough. Try writing down all the information you want to remember. This forces you to actually pay attention to it, rather than letting it go in one ear and out the other. For more visual people, it can help to make charts or draw pictures. Viewing it from another perspective makes you understand it better, and drawing it out helps you internalize the information more effectively.
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    Choose study materials that you love. Buy a notebook with a cool design or your favorite Disney characters on the cover. If you love the design, you'll be happy to carry it around everywhere, and you'll be more inclined to use and study from it. Similarly, having pencils and pens, erasers, and textbook covers that you enjoy will make you want to use them. With these materials, studying will be more fun and less of a chore.
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    Read a lot. Reading has all kinds of benefits: it makes you better at spelling and grammar, it helps your comprehension and focus, and it makes you a better writer, no matter what you read. Choose books, articles, and any other written material that you genuinely enjoy. This will make reading fun and make you want to read more and more often. You'll start to love reading, and this will help your focus and attention span, even when reading materials for school.
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    Understand your disorder. Although your ADHD makes it hard for you to study and learn well, this doesn't mean that you are stupid or lazy. People who don't understand your disorder might tell you these things, or that you're not capable of keeping up with other students, but know that this is not true. It is more difficult for you because there are more ideas and distractions bouncing around in your head, but with perseverance and a little extra work, you can excel in school.
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    Don't be afraid to take notes anytime. If it helps you, carry around a notebook with you at all times and jot down anything you need to keep track of: what you need to get at the store, when and where you're meeting a friend, your homework for that day, when your next test is, etc. This can help you keep track of important details, information, and events that might otherwise slip your mind, and having all of this in one place will help you feel more in control of things.


  • If you have a prescription, don't be afraid to use it. It's amazing how much medicine can help you focus and accomplish.
  • If you have to work harder than everyone around, it doesn't matter, If you love what you are doing keep on trying. If you don't like it, make it a fun way to study it.

Article Info

Categories: Attention and Developmental Disorders | Homework Skills