ADHD Study Tips
Studying with ADHD can be a challenge and so we’ve pulled together some helpful tips and techniques based on research, to make things easier for you.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – or ADHD – is the term given to a common condition, defined by issues with attention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity, that interferes with functioning or development.
Students with ADHD can lose focus, making studying a very real challenge.
Recent research suggests that rather than studying more and putting in longer hours, you should rather study differently. If you can adopt specific study strategies that align with the cognitive patterns of individuals with ADHD, this may help.
If you have ADHD, you need to study smarter and not longer.
Let’s take a look at the research and pull out some evidence-based study tips for those managing diagnosed ADHD as well as those experiencing ADHD-like symptoms. This is for college students, university students and even those with busy work schedules that requires high levels of focus and concentration.
1. Practice Active Learning
One of the most productive and successful study tips for success in students with ADHD, is active learning. Passive reading, often used by students, is largely ineffective for retaining information.
So what is active learning?
Active learning involves taking notes and creating practice tests by predicting potential exam questions - often your teacher may be able to provide some example questions from previous years, so you should ask them. This method encourages engagement and reflection during the test itself which enhances memory retention and a better understanding of the test material.
Other useful tools for active learning include visual aids, audio devices, interactive elements such as group study or discussions to encourage a group dialogue and participation, integrating movement into learning, and importantly, ensuring frequent breaks to prevent restlessness and to maintain focus.
2. Distributed Practice instead of Overcramming
A common study practice with students is overcramming, but this tends to yield suboptimal results for individuals with ADHD.
The concept of distributed practice, which effectively means spacing out study sessions, proves to be much more effective. You’re therefore before off studying for shorter periods over several days to help with familiarity and memory consolidation, rather than long and often last minute sessions which will result in retaining less information.
Additionally, sleep plays a crucial role in learning; for example, reviewing material before bed aids memory retention. Sleep is important for both short and long-term memory, so be sure to get enough sleep if you want to get the most out of your study time - don’t fall into the trap of pulling all nighters, often associated with cramming before a deadline. Dream Dust is a great sleep tool that we developed with adaptogens like Reishi and botanicals like Chamomile, that’ll encourage deeper and more restful, regenerating sleep.
So, try to get good rest every night, and especially before a big test.
For people with ADHD, distributed practice can offer several benefits by aligning with their cognitive functioning and attentional challenges.
3. Work in Different Study Environments
Variety is the spice of life. Isn’t that what they say? Well, the same rings true when it comes to improving study productivity for ADHD students. Studying in different locations can improve focus and prevent distractions associated with a single study environment.
You should experiment with this, testing out a number of locations to see where you find yourself most creative, and importantly, most productive. The obvious ones include libraries, cafes, and quiet outdoor spaces, and so mix it up to try to determine where your preferred settings are that maximise your concentration.
Working in different locations and environments will help keep your brain stimulated with varying levels of sensory input, and remove boredom of working in one single place which can often be particularly challenging for those with ADHD.
You’ll need to be mindful of distractions such as noise levels, comfort and availability.
4. Incorporate physical activity
Regular exercise has been shown to improve energy and focus, in part due to the release of endorphins, dopamine and adrenaline. Participate in an exercise activity that you’ll enjoy, so whether that’s practising yoga, doing aerobic exercise like running or cycling, sweating it out down at the gym, or even a brisk walk outside for the additional vitamin D3 benefits, any exercise will sharpen your brain’s ability to concentrate.
Using physical activity as a tool to break up your study sessions can also prove useful for students with ADHD. Consider studying after exercise when your mind is more alert and receptive.
Aside from the maybe obvious benefits of exercise like physical fitness, health and well-being, there’s a whole host of brain related benefits that are super relevant to those with ADHD, such as: enhanced blood flow to the brain, improved cognitive function, increased neuroplasticity and brain connectivity.
5. Use functional mushrooms and other adaptogens for studying
There’s some research that shows benefits of application of adaptogens for ADHD. Adaptogens (ingredients that help your body manage stress) can support cognitive function. We included 6 adaptogens in Rainbow Dust, including Rhodiola Rosea which tends to be stimulating, and Ashwagandha which is calming.
The three functional mushrooms used in the innovative formula are Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps and Chaga, each dosed at 1g each, totalling a large 3g dose of mushrooms per serving of Rainbow Dust. The combination of these will induce a feeling of focus and energy to support your study sessions. Lion’s Mane mushroom is known as the “brain mushroom”, traditionally used in Far East Asia for centuries as a medicinal tonic for the brain to improve memory and concentration.
Based on the research, the combination of 6 adaptogens plus 80mg of caffeine in Rainbow Dust, proven to improve alertness and enhance short-term capabilities so that you can easily learn and absorb new information, may help students studying with ADHD.
Effective studying for individuals with ADHD involves tailoring strategies to match their cognitive strengths and challenges. We understand the natural problems that come with managing an ADHD condition, and instead of relying solely on passive study tips, reading and cramming, you can implement active learning techniques, distributed practice, mixing up your study environments, and participating in physical activity.
Final top tips would include incorporating breaks, naps, proper hydration and adaptogens into your study time to further enhance focus and memory. By embracing these research-backed study strategies, students with ADHD can unlock their full potential in school and experience improved academic performance.