9 Tips and Techniques for Studying if You Have ADHD

If you have ADHD, it's important to find somewhere comfortable where you can study and concentrate. Then, with the right techniques, you will be able to meet the challenge!
9 Tips and Techniques for Studying if You Have ADHD
Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 18 July, 2022

There are different metaphors to explain what attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is and how it impacts a person’s daily life. One of the most frequent has to do with the image in which a little mouse is spinning on a wheel incessantly. In that context, of course, it becomes very difficult to study if you have ADHD.

The brain of a person with ADHD works non-stop. Situations that are simple to resolve on the surface can become enormously complex.

For example, paying attention to a conversation without being distracted by something else is very difficult. Along the same lines, studying is twice as tedious because of what the activity itself means and because of all the previous detours to get to do it.

Nevertheless, there are strategies and techniques that are useful for studying with ADHD. Let’s take a look at some of them.

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What is attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD)?

Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity hinders the optimal performance of executive functions. That means it hinders those that allow us to stay focused, fulfill our obligations, initiate and complete tasks, plan, organize, make decisions, and control our impulses.

These are basic skills for life in society, especially if we seek to join academic or work environments. However, studying with ADHD is not an impossible task. Nevertheless, it is true that it requires some additional strategies and reinforcements to compensate for those processes or activities that cost a little more.

The best tips for studying if you have ADHD

Here are some recommendations to keep in mind to study if you have ADHD. It’s important that, in the case of children, accompanying adults also consider these techniques to make the process easier.

Niño con TDAH intenta estudiar.
Studying with ADHD requires extra effort. In the case of children, this effort must also come from the adults who accompany the process.

1. Divide your tasks into smaller ones

By dividing your tasks, it will be easier to focus and maintain attention. There are different techniques in this sense, such as the Pomodoro Method, which involves concentrating for a block of time (usually 25 minutes) and resting for another block of time (5 minutes).

This alternation allows your brain to concentrate and rest without exaggerated demands. In addition to the benefit of feeling like you can mark a task as completed, it boosts your motivation and helps reduce the anxiety involved in sitting down to study.

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2. The earlier, the better

Don’t wait until the last moment of the day to complete an activity or until the last few days to sit down and study. It’s best to approach your tasks gradually.

3. Rest

Being hyperactive and with the brain excited all the time isn’t good for those who have this type of disorder. It’s very important to seek balance, to find moments of rest and distraction. This way, we can have the necessary energy to sit down and fulfill our obligations.

4. Ask for help with studying if you have ADHD

For example, if you go to college and there are many subjects per semester, you may want to ask for an opinion from someone who already has experience. Their information may help you to know which subjects are most important and demanding. This way, you can get a better idea of your priorities.

It’s important to know that you won’t always be able to do everything. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 

If you’re starting your studies, taking small first steps can help you get organized and also help you gain confidence in understanding how to manage. Expectations that are too high or unrealistic often lead to frustration and demotivation.

5. Give yourself time

Don’t put pressure on yourself. It’s not necessary. The important thing is that you can enjoy the process and your choices of study.

Don’t add one more problem to your life, but on the contrary, add a learning circumstance to improve. Finally, it’s also important that you can get to know yourself and identify when you work best.

If you know you have trouble getting up early, for instance, then don’t set unrealistic goals, such as getting up early to do a final review.

6. Identify a place where you can study

Environmental conditions are also key to maintaining focus and concentration. That is why it’s essential that you can find a place that offers less stimuli where you can feel at ease, with good ventilation and lighting conditions.

A library can be an ideal place to study.

studying if you have ADHD in the library
Libraries are closed spaces with little noise and fewer distractions. They can help a person to concentrate.

7. Learn to identify your preferred study techniques

People have different types of intelligence. Thus, some people learn better when they listen to others talk, while others are more visual and need some kind of support or graphic resource. This is why it’s important that you can explore different ways of studying and retaining information until you find the one that makes the task easier.

8. Be consistent with your medication

If you take any medication, it’s important that you maintain your treatment. Avoid skipping doses or reinforcing them in order to calm down or perform better in an exam.

9. Learn relaxation techniques when studying if you have ADHD

It’s necessary to learn to stop and to recognize that we need a break or a mental pause. For that, relaxation and breathing techniques can be useful, since they are simple, short and guided.

You can be successful when studying if you have ADHD

Many people with ADHD feel that studying or achieving their goals will be an impossible mission. In fact, sometimes those around them line up to compensate or perform certain functions for them to avoid frustration.

However, it’s important to know that someone with ADHD is capable of carrying out their goals and projects. Perhaps this path may be longer or slower and require additional support and greater dedication, but it’s possible. In this same sense, working on self-esteem and security in people with ADHD, as well as building their confidence is essential for them to continue believing that they’re capable.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Llanos Lizcano, L. J., García Ruiz, D. J., González Torres, H. J., & Puentes Rozo, P. (2019). Trastorno por déficit de atención e hiperactividad (TDAH) en niños escolarizados de 6 a 17 años. Pediatría Atención Primaria21(83), e101-e108.
  • López, E. F. (2016). Entrenamiento en Mindfulness para pacientes con trastorno por déficit de atención con hiperactividad (TDAH): Una revisión descriptiva. Revista de psicoterapia27(103), 203-213.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.