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Does anyone have any school tips for someone with ADHD? I'm having trouble with concentration and focus (surprise, surprise). In particular, for reading textbooks? I've been highlighting as I go. Then going back and rereading what I have highlighted. But it's so hard to get through the initial reading, especially when it's a topic I'm not super interested in.

 

I'm studying a chapter right now that I have to know really well for class tomorrow b/c I have to lead a discussion group on the topics presented. I need to come up with a list of questions to incite discussion and am nervous. I have trouble with critical thinking. HALP!

Edited by Jaytea
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The candy trick might be the best idea I've ever heard.  hehe

 

Setting a timer or breaking the reading down into smaller portions helps me.  Read 10 pages, then take a break.  Read for 15 minutes, then take a break.  I try to capitalize on the rare times in which I can focus and to have extra patience with myself when I can hardly finish a paragraph. 

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Things such as the 'candy trick' may not work for everyone. If you're like me, all you will think of is the candy and rush through the text without concentrating just to eat it.

 

I don't have ADHD but I really do have trouble studying. It helps a lot to read out loud sections of what you are studying. Then explain it to yourself in your own words. Also ask yourself questions, perhaps about something you don't understand, and try and answer it yourself. I feel when I use this method I am able to become more focused and think more.

 

Try writing down the main important points as well, and going over them and making sure you understand them.

 

Lastly, if there are any, do some exercise questions on the topic.

 

Of course, as mentioned, taking breaks every 15 mins or so really helps. Just try not to let your breaks become prolonged and closer together.

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Things such as the 'candy trick' may not work for everyone. If you're like me, all you will think of is the candy and rush through the text without concentrating just to eat it.

 

 

Especially if it was chocolate... and I'd probably pick chocolate. :D

 

I used to do a few things - write notes in the margins summarizing the paragraph or few paragraphs, then take a short break. It helped commit the reading to memory and made any later review easier. When I took a short break I'd do something physical like pushups or jog or anything really to get some endorphins moving and wake me up. I'd also read out loud when I lost concentration.

 

It helps to know what time of day your concentration is at its best. My concentration is best first thing in the morning, but, of course, I put studying off to the last possible minute to give it urgency. Sigh. All nighters. Not the best strategy.

 

How did it go?

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Some study tips:

 

-Know thyself. 

 

Know when you concentrate the best. I have figured out that I am an afternoon/evening person. My best time to study is around 2pm-9pm. Before 2pm, I'm scatter brained and trying organize my day. After 9pm, I'm too tired to concentrate.

 

Also, know how long of a stretch you can focus for. I have learned that I can focus on interesting things for about 45 mins - an hour before I need a 10-15 minute break. When it comes to boring subjects, I can only focus for maybe 10 minutes, then take a 1 minute break. As well, I can't study the same subject for more than about 2 hours. So, sometimes when I'm feeling my focus slip, it means it's time to change subjects, not necessarily take a break.

 

Finally, know what accessories (not sure what to call them) you need to study. For example, I need a warm space, a snack, water, scrap paper, a blanket and my agenda. Some people need to listen to music, some people need to study by a window, some people need total silence, some people need some noise, some people need a lamp, a clock, a comfy chair etc. Know your studying 'accouterments,' if you will. 

 

-Take breaks! 

 

This one is self explanatory. There is a process called 'latent learning.' This refers to the learning you do when you are not actively engaged in the material. For example, latent learning takes place during sleep. Well, it also takes place during study breaks! Latent learning is important to committing concepts to long term memory. 

 

-Fuel your brain

 

Eat something before you study. Your brain needs glucose (sugar/carbs) to function. 

 

I am fidgety, which I believe comes from a combination of anxiety and ADHD. In addition, I am a tactile learner, meaning that I need to be physically engaged to learn best. So, I find that doing something with my hands helps me learn. This can mean typing my notes, writing while studying, even twiddling my thumbs. Here's a link to the Wiki page describing learning styles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_styles

 

Try to study according to your learning style. If you are a visual learner, draw pictures. If you are an auditory learner, say it out loud, etc. 

 

Hope that helps somewhat. :)

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I found this cool link:

http://www.lehigh.edu/~inacsup/cas/pdfs/LS_Tactile_Learner.pdf

 

The kinesthetic/tactile learning style looks like it fits for me. We did an activity in one of my classes yesterday during which we acted out something and it really helped me to understand the subject matter (poverty/public welfare). I'm going to follow the tips I'm finding for this learning style as well as the stuff you guys posted here.

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As a kinesthetic/tactile learner the suggestions of AnneMarie & Parapluie seem perfect. Making the studying physical & taking breaks seems ideal.

 

Personally, taking breaks is crucial. I am also one of those fidgety ADHDers, so being able to stop and then return is extremely important.

 

However some of times I am the classic-H and am too hyperactive to do sit down, and then get back up. Because if I get up I most likely will not return to the task. The only way to get around that one was to put myself in a hyper focus situation which was usually putting myself under pressure to complete the task. Which pretty much entails I do it at the last minute. And what that entails, I either did great or I did not do it at all. However those days are few & far between thank goodness :P

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However some of times I am the classic-H and am too hyperactive to do sit down, and then get back up. Because if I get up I most likely will not return to the task. The only way to get around that one was to put myself in a hyper focus situation which was usually putting myself under pressure to complete the task. Which pretty much entails I do it at the last minute. And what that entails, I either did great or I did not do it at all. However those days are few & far between thank goodness  :P

 

^Yep, sounds like me. Been that way way since I was a kid. I remember having to learn to play the recorder in a day during the 3rd grade b/c I had been avoiding it. I had to be able to play in a school performance so my mom helped me to rush and learn it quickly.

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Update: saw my pdoc yesterday and we're going to see if Vyvanse Starting on a low dose (20mg) and i see her again in 2 weeks to check in. I also have her # to call if i start to get manic. Hopefully it will work out! And I have an interview with Disability services on campus today. My pdoc filled out the required paperwork for the DRC at the end of out appt. Hopefully the Vyvanse and your tips will keep me on the right track. : )

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Vyvanse is a long acting ADHD med and your pdoc is starting at a fairly low dose. Hopefully, you'll do fine.

 

I could not take immediate release Ritalin because it jerked my mood around, but I am fine on Adderall extended release. I started on a low dose and worked my way up slowly to what works. It's made a real difference. Hopefully, the Vyvanse does for you, too.

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Vyvanse is a long acting ADHD med and your pdoc is starting at a fairly low dose. Hopefully, you'll do fine.

 

I could not take immediate release Ritalin because it jerked my mood around, but I am fine on Adderall extended release. I started on a low dose and worked my way up slowly to what works. It's made a real difference. Hopefully, the Vyvanse does for you, too.

 

The Vyvanse has been outstanding. Getting stuff done and not struggling nearly as much. Am able to focus and getting organized is so much easier. Some of my friends have noticed the difference and mentioned that it's awesome how much i am getting done and how I am staying on track! AND, I've been sleeping better. Which blows my mind. It's like dust has cleared in my brain or muck. Does that make sense?

 

I have noticed that I feel it wearing off by the afternoon. I'm going to ask my pdoc if this means I need to increase the dosage a little (10mg) and see if that helps. How did you know when the dosage was right for you, AnneMarie?

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I went to a university where I'm pretty sure most of the students had some or other form of AD/HD, and something that was frequently suggested was the "50/10" rule... 50 minutes of hardcore studying/cramming and 10 minutes of doing something completely irrelevant (preferably away from the computer if you can).  10 years ago, most studying was done away from the computer, but as someone who went back to academia for post-graduate education, I know that most studying can be/is done on a computer these days and it's hard to stick gummy bears onto your screen, although if you could, that'd be epic.  Heh. 

 

In any event, I used the 50/10 method during my undergrad and somehow managed a decent GPA despite having ADD and almost suicidal MDD.

 

I really hate studying/cramming/rote memorization and did much better doing my Master's degree than I did in undergraduate studies.  I did much better than my peers in my MS program than I did in my BS program, and with less effort.  That was because most Master's degree programs require creative, analytical, and original thought -- with the ability to find facts in a book if needed.  

 

But if you have to do rote memorization of random facts that your instructor comes up with and such (which I have at least one course in my PhD studies right now to do, and it stinks), try the 50/10 rule.  You can even add more break time (45/15, 40/20, whatever) if time allows.

 

You can also conceptualize these 'facts' as pictures, which I wish I did when I was younger.  But there's no changing the past, so do what's best.  I'm glad that you asked this question.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just figuring out after 35ish years of somewhat functional adulthood ... I am likely ADD ... waiting for apt to get evaluated.  Back in school and usual (unconscious) adaptive strategies were not being effective ... getting my academic ass kicked so it was suggested I get evaluated for ADD as I seem to display ... ooooo there goes a squirrel .... many traits with respect to homework and research writing; class lectures OK (sorta).  

 

Some suggestion past on to me

 

brought flip chart paper home from class ... As I read / reference, I make notes, doodles, mind-map-ish things with arrows and coloured markers so it is all right out in front of me at a glance ... the more I practice this the more refinements and efficiencies ... This is a healthy distraction for me, as is doing the dishes, 5 push-ups, make lunch for school, scratch self inappropriately, funny yoga stretch, kung fu yelling.  .... I give myself permission to be (constructively / productively) distracted.  

 

I set funny sounding timers and alarms .... SO I RETURN TO THE WORK AT HAND  .... 

 

BTW ... there is no such thing as a just a LITTLE tumblr porn ...dugh :-/ 

or being disciplined enough to eat gummie bears like that .... torture

 

thx everyone ... 

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Those are great ideas...i've been doing flashcards of what i need to get done each day & it's been such a lifesaver! Plus, I have a whiteboard calendar & use different colors for different tasks-class, due dates for school, exams, doc appts, etc. And i have a daily/weekly planner. So much easier to be organized with the Vyvanse! I still get distracted but it's easier to reel myself back in. After i allow myself mini breaks. I still get worn out by afternoon but see my pdoc in a couple weeks so hopefully I can get an increase in dosage. We'll see!

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