College Study Tips for ADHD - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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College Study Tips for ADHD

purplerunner1 profile image

I am applying for a master's program soon and would love some tips on staying on task. I utilize audiobooks and text-to-audio features which has helped a lot, but I could benefit from any other tips that you've used to help you on your college journey. What resources have you found that have been beneficial to you? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

7 Replies

I dunno if I got your message right but it is what I used for study (and soon will be back to it when I find reliable partner): I organized a joint studying/working with another person. We arranged what time we meet (in my case it was virtually through whatsapp chat, the girl was from another part of the world so we had to keep in mind the time difference), say, at 3pm. Before 3pm we picked up some tasks we wanted to do and prepared our space for it so we can start straight at 3pm. Then we set stopwatch for 30-40 mins. We do our things without allowing ourselves to pay attention to anything else. Then we have 10 mins break. Then we have another 30-40 mins and a break (as many as we needed). Every time we discussed little bit what we been doing during our break. SOMEHOW both of us were able to focus and do the shit we would be procrastinating starting/finishing for long! I have done my homework etc. Smh having someone's else presence actually really helps me to collect myself. (We did not have calls etc. It was just communication thru text. I believe videocall can be distracting also). So you might try. Good luck!

purplerunner1 profile image
purplerunner1 in reply to Bina_

Great idea! Thank you for the tip!

Hi! I'm going to give a stereotypical answer and say scheduling is your best friend and also worst enemy. It's so difficult to do and stay on top of a schedule, but it's extremely helpful. I find that working with another person can sometimes help. My go-to trick is keeping an environment only for studying. For me, that's coffee shops, and a specific music playlist used only for studying. After the first few times, hearing that music and sitting in the coffee shop kinda clicks my brain into gear. That's saved me in my own adventures in grad school. I didn't realize how much I relied on that until COVID shut down in-person coffee shops and I really struggled with adapting to working only from home.

You could also combine these - in undergrad, I had a few friends that did "fancy studying" with me - we'd dress up nice and go to coffee shops on Sunday morning and get a whole bunch of work done together. I always feel a little more productive when I wear nice clothes to study - probably a placebo, but whatever works, right?

I use a timer for intervals of studying and breaks, 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off. I change the intervals accordingly. I find that I get more done efficiently this way. It also helps that I do most of the heavy (mental) lifting in the mornings. I have a routine that helps me get in the zone. When I have something really important I need to get accomplished I have my checklist of morning to-dos and that helps me get focused. I have noise-cancelling headphones and I turn my phone off or have an away message. I can tell when my brain is just drained and at that point, I just stop for the day because my work gets really sloppy. I also have very specific playlists of music to keep my head focused. It is usually music that only has instruments in it and does not have varying loudness levels. I need a mellow atmosphere. I also have a friend that I check in with to keep her updated on what I am doing and that helps me stay on task and responsible. And I have a specific space for studying or doing work. Sleep is also key to keeping your symptoms manageable. There isn't one magical "tip" for me. It is an accumulation of things that I need to stay on task.

Are you on medication? If not you need to talk to a doctor about it and if you are you still need to talk to your doctor about it and see if you need to change something with your prescription(s).

I found that many Universities provide. help for us. I went to JFK University, which I highly recommend esp for ADD/ADHD and other disabilities. I found that using a tape recorder, sitting up front(it decreases distractions), some times I used other students notes. These are all OK thru the disabilities office.

Hi purplerunner1!you know, I was about to give you some of my great suggestions, and then I remembered that I'm supposed to be writing a final right now. Oops! 🤷🏽

If you, like myself, do most of your work on the computer and find yourself blown in wayward directions by the winds of your ADHD brain, I do have one suggestion: the StayFocused extension! As my presence here would indicate, it only works if you remember to turn it on, but when you do it can be quite helpful. You can block distracting sites, set an allowance of time for those distractions, set days and times when it will block said sites, and more. For me however, the most helpful tool on it is the nuclear option. You have to be kind of careful with it so you don't lock yourself out of websites you need to access for your work, but it basically works like this- you set an amount of time and then click it, and for that period of time, depending on how you have it set, the extension will block every site except those you whitelisted, or just the sites you've blacklisted. I think there may also be a setting where it blocks the internet altogether, but that might be an issue if you write your papers on google drive 😂

Best of luck to you! (and to me on this paper)

wait one more thing actually! Figure out what time of day you're most productive during, and plan your day around that time. For me it's early in the morning, so I will go to bed early if I know I need to do a lot the next day (even though I'm a night owl 🦉)

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