The good news is, you’re not alone!
When you have ADHD, homework can feel like quite a challenge, whether you are pursuing your education in a brick-and-mortar environment or online. Studying, assignments, tests, and exams demand a lot of your time, attention, energy, and organizational skills, which may feel like are running in short supply.
There are many strategies and techniques that millions of students with ADHD, just like you, have been able to take advantage of in order to improve their study skills and make their homework experience less painful AND more efficient.
So what are some tips that you can start applying right now to boost your grades and help you get the most out of your study time?
Mind Your Body
When you have ADHD, getting good sleep is incredibly important. Studies have shown that when your sleep suffers, your ability to concentrate and stay on task suffers as well. So first things first, prioritize your sleep!
Then, pay attention to the other things that your body needs to help your mind succeed. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Uncomfortable? Tend to your body’s needs first, and the rest will come a lot easier when it comes to studying and homework.
Next, are you in a good headspace? Are you angry, sad, anxious, happy? Take a moment to identify with your emotional state, and address it before you start asking yourself to concentrate on your homework. Talk it out with a friend or family member, write it down, or just take a moment to breathe. Not only will ignoring your emotions keep you from resolving them, but it will also impair your ability to learn, so make sure to take care of your feelings too.
Start With Easy Tasks
One good way to start tackling your homework is to start with the easiest tasks first. This way, you can start to build up your confidence and self-esteem right from the beginning, and build some of the momentum that you need to take on the more difficult assignments that are due.
Many students with ADHD find themselves overwhelmed when there are multiple things to do. This overwhelm can cause you to shut down because you don't know where to start. That's another reason why starting with easy, quick tasks is a good way to begin. Train your brain to default to starting off easy and it will become a positive habit.
Watch Out for Procrastination Tendencies
As soon as you are made aware of an assignment, begin! Don’t procrastinate, even though it may feel tempting or natural to you. It’s common for people with ADHD to put things off and do them at the last minute, but cramming creates stress, weakens your performance, and won’t help you retain the information in the long term. Plan to do a little of your assignment each day so that it’s nearly completed when the due date arrives.
Ask for Accommodations
Educators understand ADHD and how it impacts your learning, so don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations that can help you perform at your very best. There are many different ways that accommodations can be made in order to assess what you know on a test more accurately.
When you talk to your teacher about what accommodations are available, you may be pleasantly surprised not only by how much easier it may make your life, but how much better your performance can be.
Take Activity Breaks
Most successful strategies for online learning involve taking breaks, and when you have ADHD, this is especially important. Allow for extra time to complete tasks, and also allow yourself some regularly scheduled breaks to move around, change the scenery, grab a snack, and come back refreshed and ready to focus.
Another way you can keep activity a part of your study session is by making accommodations for yourself! You don’t always need to be seated to study; in fact, you can walk around, listen to the audio, utilize a stationary bike, a bouncy ball, fidget spinner—whatever works best for you.
Be Active in Your Learning
As we just mentioned, studying and completing assignments doesn’t have to mean sitting quietly at a desk pouring over a textbook; that’s one of the positive things about online learning. But when we say it’s good to move around, we don’t just mean your body! Take notes actively. That means highlight key phrases, write notes, write in the margins, underline things, draw pictures to highlight important concepts or data, make it your own! Try rewriting your notes, organize them in a way that works best for YOU, and see how this helps you stay engaged.
ADHD & Online Learning
Online learning can provide you as a student with many benefits, including the ability to reduce or eliminate many of the distractions that you might find in a traditional classroom. You have more flexibility to tailor your studying to your learning style and needs as a person with ADHD, but it also can provide you with the opportunity to develop skills you may not have had before, like making and keeping a schedule and learning how and when you study best!
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