How to Study with ADHD: 14 Powerful Tips and Strategies 

adhd study tips

Looking for study tips to help your ADHD child learn more effectively and achieve their academic best? Feeling frustrated about your child’s lack of focus, procrastination, poor working memory, or constant need for activity? These are all challenges that parents of ADHD children are all too familiar with.

Affecting around 9.8% of the global population (including 6.8% of adults), ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is associated with differences in attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Often, ADHD children are presumed to be lazy, disruptive or lack intelligence and find it harder to achieve their academic best in a school setting. However, this is far from the truth.

Both children and adults with ADHD have brains that work slightly differently than the rest of the population, boasting outstanding creative and problem-solving skills, can hyperfocus on tasks they are interested in, enjoy high energy levels, and have a strong entrepreneurial mindset.

In this article, we will be explaining why ADHD can make it harder to study and how to overcome these challenges for better academic success. You’ll also learn fourteen key study techniques for ADHD and have many of your questions about ADHD and learning answered.

Our fourteen study tips for people with ADHD include:

·       Creating the right environment for effective studying

·       Creating a structured routine

·       Getting organized

·       Breaking down tasks into smaller goals

·       Taking short breaks

·       Using active learning methods

·       Experimenting with study aids and technology for ADHD

·       Rewarding their wins

·       Starting to study early

·       Getting active

·       Sleeping well

·       Trying mindfulness and meditation

·       Using peer engagement

·       Getting a professional diagnosis and support

Keep reading to find out more about each of the ADHD study tips, how they can help your child focus, minimize procrastination and impulsivity, and achieve their academic best. 

Why Is It Harder to Study When You Have ADHD?

Individuals with ADHD struggle with attention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, distraction, procrastination, and organization, making it harder to study and learn more effectively.

Here’s how many of these challenges look in a learning context.

You struggle to concentrate

Children or adults with ADHD find it harder to stay on task and complete academic assignments, according to research published in the Journal of Educational Research and Practice. Despite their best efforts to focus, they may find their mind wandering frequently and find it harder to complete the task at hand. 

You’re disorganized

The distractibility of the ADHD brain means it’s harder to organize study materials and notes, manage time effectively and meet deadlines. Even if you have invested in planners and aids like calendars or diaries, the person with ADHD may avoid using them because they feel overwhelmed. The result is inefficient study sessions, stress, and rushed work.

You get distracted easily

Have you ever tried to support your ADHD child’s learning, only to find that they are staring out of the window, engaged in another task, or simply haven’t absorbed the information that you shared? This is common for people with ADHD as their minds tend to wander, making it harder to stay on topic.

You struggle with your memory

When you have ADHD, it’s harder to hold and manipulate information in your working memory. This makes it harder to follow step-by-step instructions, solve common problems and retain key information. This impacts grades and overall academic performance.

You’re prone to procrastination

Children and adults with ADHD find it harder to start a project or task, often leaving assignments or deadlines until the last minute. This causes unnecessary stress and overwhelm and makes it harder to complete tasks on time.

You can’t sit still

ADHD children tend to be restless and constantly need to be moving. This can be distracting for teachers and students at school and make it harder for them to complete homework or other assignments.

You can be impulsive

Impulsivity can cause ADHD children and adults to act without thinking and switch from one task to another without focusing long enough to understand a topic completely. For example, they seem fascinated by a topic then quickly lose interest and move onto the next. This can lead to poor study habits and often causes them to give up when they face challenges.

With the above in mind, it’s no wonder it’s more challenging for ADHD children and adults to study and learn effectively and achieve their academic potential. However, not all is lost!

In the section below, we’d like to share fourteen key ADHD study tips and strategies that will respect your ADHD child’s unique learning style, interests and talents while helping to minimize the challenges that ADHD can present.

How to Study When You Have ADHD

Here are fourteen powerful ADHD study tips to help your child exceed their own expectations, thrive academically, and get those assignments done!

Create the right environment for studying

Start by creating a dedicated study space that is free from distractions. Ensure there is comfortable seating, proper lighting, and a clear workspace to enjoy, ask them to turn off their phone (or mute notifications) and consider using noise-cancelling headphones or white noise to help them focus better.

Create a structured routine

Minimize procrastination and help boost motivation by creating a consistent daily schedule then post it somewhere where your whole family will see. Make sure you include school, sports, crafts, family time and study sessions so you can help them develop a sense of predictability and prime their brains to focus when it’s time to study.

Get organized

There are many ways you can help your ADHD child get organized, engage their creative brains, boost memory and comprehension and succeed academically. 

  • Use calendars, visual aids, and to-do lists
  • Experiment with color-coded folders, pens, and notes
  • Make mind maps and charts to make information more digestible and fun
  • Create a new page for every study session, including the date and headings
  • File away finished and graded projects
  • Encourage them to pack their school bags the night before

Break down tasks into smaller goals

If your child is struggling to get started, break down the task into smaller, more attainable goals and outline what they should achieve by each session. By doing so, you’ll boost their motivation and help them stay on track.

Take short breaks

It’s harder for ADHD children and adults to focus for extended periods of time. That’s why it can be really useful to work in short spurts of 15-20 minutes, taking a short break in between. For best effect, encourage them to get up from their desk and do something active like kicking a soccer ball around, jumping on a trampoline or simply doing something creative to help reset their brains.

Utilize active learning

ADHD children learn more effectively when they can actively engage with the material. Try asking questions, encouraging them to summarize what they have read, do activities and quizzes, or even teach the information to someone else. By doing so, you help boost attention and focus and help them remember more effectively.

Use study aids and technology

Support your ADHD child to study more effectively by using study aids like digital organizers and apps for time management and planning, audiobooks, text-to-speech software and the patented Forbrain headset for auditory learning and visual aids like mind-mapping software, games, and educational apps to meet their need for visual, engaging activities.

Reward their wins

Instead of being frustrated or even angry with your child when they struggle to concentrate, look for the positives instead. Congratulate or reward them for their study successes and you’ll help boost their confidence, self-motivation, and future academic success.

Start studying early

Although many children with ADHD procrastinate and delay starting an important project until the last minute, it’s better to encourage them to start early. This will help reduce their stress levels, avoid late nights cramming for an exam and help boost their grades.

Look at when the assignment or test is due then plan backwards, scheduling something small for every day. By breaking it down into smaller chunks and doing a little bit every day, you help them learn more effectively.

Do physical activities

Your ADHD child is likely full of energy and struggles to sit still. Instead of berating them for their need for movement, encourage them to use it! Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day and you’ll boost your child’s production of neurotransmitters which can help them focus and think more clearly. Go outside for a walk or bike ride, encourage them to dance or practice a sport or simply include as much physical movement in their learning activities as possible.

Ensure your child sleeps well

Sleep is vital for short and long-term memory, focus and brain function. Therefore, ensure your ADHD child is getting an optimal amount of sleep for their age by having a regular bedtime routine, turning screens off at least two hours before bed and making sure their room is cool and dark.

Try mindfulness

Mindfulness practices can help improve your ADHD child’s focus, reduce impulsivity, and help alleviate stress and anxiety. Why not download a mindfulness and meditation app like Headspace or Calm and try it for a few weeks to see the improvement?

Use peer engagement

You can better motivate your ADHD child by seeking support and accountability from others. Ideally, partner them with a peer and encourage them to work together to meet their academic goals, whether that’s completing an assignment on time or finishing their homework.

Seek professional help

We highly recommend that you consult with a healthcare professional to obtain a formal diagnosis and explore therapy options or discuss medication that can help your child better manage their ADHD symptoms and excel academically.

Using Forbrain to Help With ADHD: Unlocking Learning Potential

Forbrain is an innovative auditory stimulation headset that can help adults and children with ADHD to enhance their studying and learning experience. Unique and effective, it can help improve focus, attention and comprehension when used for just 10-20 minutes per day.

Its cutting-edge technology harnesses the power of auditory feedback, helping the individual with ADHD to self-regulate better, reduce distractibility and impulsivity, and improve concentration.

Forbrain can also boost memory and strengthen the neural pathways associated with language and learning, making it easier to learn and remember information. Include our patented headset in your study routine for ADHD and you will help your child excel academically.

Buy your Forbrain headset here.

ADHD and Learning FAQs

Do you have questions about how ADHD affects study and learning? Keep reading to discover our key insights and practical tips.

Do ADHD students learn differently?

Yes, studies suggest that ADHD students have unique learning preferences and often benefit from teaching methods that engage their senses and provide hands-on interaction, not by listening to lectures or memorizing.

Do ADHD people learn faster?

No. Although the ADHD brain operates differently, people with ADHD don’t think or learn at a different speed than people without it.

What subjects are people with ADHD good at?

Adults and children with ADHD tend to prefer arts, creative writing, science, and architecture as they require creativity and spatial awareness. Having said that, every child is different and should explore their own unique skills and talents.

Are students with ADHD more stressful to teach?

Yes, teaching a child with ADHD can be more stressful. Having said that, with the right understanding, expectations and approach, parents and educators can reduce this stress.

What subjects are hardest for people with ADHD?

Children and adults with ADHD are most likely to struggle with subjects that require memorization, drills, and organization. This includes reading, writing and math.

How do I motivate my ADHD child to study?

If you break tasks down into smaller steps, set clear goals, create a structured routine, and celebrate your ADHD child’s successes, you can better motivate them to study.

What are the best majors for ADHD students?

Every student should choose the major that inspires them and engages their curiosity. This is often arts, teaching, PR, physical education, computer science, entrepreneurship and even accounting.

Are there any dietary changes that can help with ADHD symptoms when studying?

Yes! You can help with ADHD symptoms when studying by giving your ADHD child a healthy balanced diet rich in omega 3. This can help them to focus better, remember what they are studying and learn more effectively. 

Final Words

When you have ADHD, it’s much more challenging to study effectively but not impossible.

By understanding the unique challenges that individuals with ADHD face, seeking the right support and implementing the ADHD study tips and tricks we shared here, your child can excel at school and look forward to a promising future.

Used alongside the Forbrain headset, you can minimize the challenges they face and remind them that their ADHD doesn’t define them. The sky’s the limit!

Charlotte Witts

Charlotte is a linguistics graduate, ESL teacher and parent of a teenager with ADHD. She’s passionate about sharing her expertise in speech therapy, ADHD, and language acquisition so everyone can reach their full potential.