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ADHD Teen Problems: The Unknown Truths About Studying While Having ADHD

Studying while having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can be overwhelming. The ADHD mind is not programmed to handle pressure and stress, which is why any school-related activity can be pretty daunting. Fortunately, new research has been made saying student's don't have to study harder and longer. Instead, they should have a different approach to studying.
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ADHD Teen Problems: The Unknown Truths About Studying While Having ADHD


Studying while having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can be overwhelming. Studying is one of the ADHD teen problems. The ADHD mind is not programmed to handle pressure and stress, which is why any school-related activity can be pretty daunting. Fortunately, new research has been made saying student’s don’t have to study harder and longer. Instead, they should have a different approach to studying.

Janice and Jasmine are identical twins with ADHD. They are currently in the same social science class. In their recent examination, they studied at precisely the same amount of time – 3 hours. However, the results weren’t as close. Jasmine got an A+, while Janice got a C. With the amount of study time being the same, why are their scores completely different? Let’s take a look at how things went during their study periods.

Janice studied for three consecutive hours on Sunday, the day before the examination. She reread her social science textbook, her notes, and the study guide provided by their teacher. She studied under the solitude of her room. Jasmine, on the other hand, studied for the same amount of hours but did it over the course of four days – from Thursday through Sunday. She made use of an old quiz, her notes, and the study guide to create a practice exam. She studied in different locations, which included the school library, the park, and at the local cafe.

From looking at how the twins approached their study duties before their exam, we can see that they did it at the same amount of time but on different approaches.

According to studies, 84% of students study their lessons by rereading their textbooks, similar to what Janice did. Rereading is considered by most experts to be the most ineffective way of studying. Reading, by itself, is already a very challenging way for an ADHD brain to absorb information. Most experts also consider reading as a passive way of learning. It’s like learning how to play football by watching Manchester games on YouTube.

Research has already concluded that the best way to study is by making a practice test. By creating a mock-up test, ADHD students are more likely to acquire information and learn from the topic they are studying. To create your very own practice test, you should do the following:

  • Review a study guide
  • Utilize some old quizzes,
  • Identify relevant parts on your notes
  • Ask your classmates about what they think is important.

The information you gather will enable you to create a practice test. Aside from that, there are other truths about studying with ADHD that you should know:

Cramming is not the Solution

Going back to our sample twins, Jasmine took her time and studied for four days before the exam. what she used is a concept that professional educators refer to as “distributed practice.” In simpler terms, Jasmine didn’t cram. This method works for two reasons:

  • Jasmine reviewed the study materials several times, enough for her to gain familiarity with each item.
  • She slept on it to refresh her mind and make room for more information.

Another mistake that most students take for granted is the latter. Little do we know is that sleep helps your brain learn and acquire more information. Your brain is a lot more active during the night compared to during the day. When you’re asleep, your mind replays the events that happened during the day. This mental process rehashes the information you learned. In Jasmine’s case, she repeated the social science materials through sleep in a total of four times.

On Janice’s case, she worked hard to study for the exam as well. On Sunday evening, she went to her room and started focusing on the materials. She stayed in her room for three straight hours without even taking a break. However, no matter how much Janice focused, the elements of distraction present in her room (phone, computer, television) got her off track of what she was supposed to accomplish. Because she was already cramming for her exam, Janice wasn’t able to regulate her attention accordingly.

Jasmine acknowledged her ADHD. She was aware that she needed a shorter work period and a different study place to keep her focused and interested in the task. She utilized the concept of metacognition. This concept is about knowing when to use particular methods for learning. At the end of the day, it wasn’t about having time; instead, it was about using time differently.

Review Before Going to Bed

Studies show that a person – with or without ADHD – can remember more when they review what they studied ten to 15 minutes before going to sleep. This doesn’t imply that students need to study all of their lessons minutes before bedtime, but reviewing what was studied allows them to process information as they sleep.

Exercise to Sharpen your Focus

Doing 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day can improve focus and executive functioning skills, especially for ADHD diagnosed students. If you are a parent who has an ADHD-diagnosed student-athlete of a child, encourage them to study while he/she travels for an event. Studying right after practice is also considered an efficient way to study.

If your child isn’t athletic and doesn’t play any sport, encourage him/her to do other physical activities, like jogging, or simply walking up and down the stairs before they sit down and start studying. Ballet, yoga, and tai chi are some notable exercises for students with ADHD.

Take Naps and Breaks

To retain a regular flow of memory in your brain, most people need to sleep for seven to eight hours a night. However, for teenagers, it might be more. An afternoon 30-minute nap is super helpful, but make sure your siesta doesn’t exceed 30 minutes since it can hinder sleep during the night.

Breaks can also help students learn more, especially the ones with ADHD. Studies have shown how students learn and remember more when they are regularly taking breaks between their study sessions compared to studying straight for extended periods. Having some downtime enables a student to review the materials and information, even when they’re unaware that they’re processing it.

Take a Sip of any Sugary Drink

Taking a sip of any sugary drink can help improve studying performance. Sugar produces glucose – the primary source of fuel to the brain. If you’re already low on glucose, you won’t be able to focus on any tasks and perform we


Encouraging ADHD-diagnosed students who are struggling with their studying to implement these easy-to-use concepts can make a huge difference in their overall performance at school.

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