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Kristin Beck, a writer and editor at Office.com, offers personal advice to students with ADHD about study habits, deadlines, and taking exams.
As finals approach, many students are feeling an intense pressure to perform. There’s so much at stake, with college or graduate school looming in the distance. And when you’re trying to function within “typical” educational systems with “atypical” brain wiring, the march to the end of the year can feel more like a climb to a high altitude, where the oxygen is thin – exhausting and confusing.
I know, because I went through it as a student with (yet undiagnosed) ADHD. The pain and frustration of being behind with my work still stings, 25 years later. I’ve picked up some good habits over the years, however, which I will share with you.
As you study, write (or type, if you’re working on a computer) on sticky notes and attach directly to the page you’re reading. Look for and jot down:
Keeping yourself on track is usually the biggest hurdle to achievement when your executive functioning is compromised. The diagnosis of “Attention Deficit Disorder” is, from my perspective, a misnomer. Our problem is not that we have too little attention, it’s that we have too much: All stimuli are competing for our immediate attention, regardless of where they rank in our priorities. Here are a few coping strategies to help you stay on target and not miss important deadlines:
There’s no need to rely on a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” approach when it comes to being a student with ADHD. There are many resources for you to take advantage of, from securing a social support system, to books, articles, and websites. Here are a few such sources:WebsitesADD Resources: Great information and regular updates about ADHD to keep you up on the latest in the field.Great Schools: An excellent repository of resources for students with a variety of learning challenges.ADDvance: For college students and young adults with ADD.
Articles Bright Hub: Articles about how to teach to ADHD students' strengths, useful for students to read as well.10 Tips for College Students with Disabilities: A review of the book Survival Guide for College Students with ADHD or LD.BooksSurvival Guide for College Students with ADHD or LD, by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D.ADD and the College Student: A Guide for High School and College Students With Attention Deficit Disorder, by Patricia O. Quinn, M.D.--Kristin Beck
Kristin is a writer and editor on the Office.com Content Publishing team. She knows many children and adults who thrive after a diagnosis of ADHD, and believes that “an ADHD life can offer more advantages than headaches.” Thanks for sharing your wisdom and passion with us, Kristin.
Love it, Kristin--and such great advice for anyone stuggling (or who think they might be struggling) with ADHD. Well done.
Thanks, Crabby! I appreciate your comment, especially about those not diagnosed. Clearly, it's not just people with ADHD who struggle with studying and tests... hoping this helps anyone who has a hard time in those areas.