View Full Version : ADHD Engineers- Any tips for note taking?

04-07-14, 11:37 AM
Hello all! So I've noticed lately that I have really been struggling with my notes primarily in my math classes, anyone (of any age or background) have some tips on taking notes for math classes? What I've always done (sadly, didn't get dx'd until last June) is just working out what my teacher or professor is doing along with him, but that always ends up with messiness and inconsistencies, not only from the problems, but then it just ends up becoming scratch work and not notes.

04-07-14, 11:59 AM
I guess, is depends on what the purpose of taking notes is for you.

For example,

does the process of taking notes help you focus on the class?

Are your notes reminders of what you've been told?

Are they supposed to be sufficient to learn from when you go over them again?

04-07-14, 12:08 PM
I guess, is depends on what the purpose of taking notes is for you.

For example,

does the process of taking notes help you focus on the class?

Are your notes reminders of what you've been told?

Are they supposed to be sufficient to learn from when you go over them again?

Well... That's a toughy :)

Taking notes definitely helps me focus, most of the time it helps me remember what I've been told, but only if I remember the queues, and I would love for them to reteach me what we went over.

I think I am trying to accomplish too much at once when I take notes because I am trying to get down literally as much information as possible.

It's really hard for my math classes, when I took literature and history courses I did so much better at notes because the class was genuinely interesting and didn't require recollection of other formulas, equations, theorems or the like for the problem or question to be possible to answer.

But at the same time, physics and science classes (programming as well) I take wonderful notes because I know how to apply it in my head, such as making examples.

My biggest struggle with math is remember the equations or proofs :/

I feel if I used different colors it would help when I looked at them again later, but I would get distracted with picking the colors and using them etc.

It really sucks to know your struggles and why you struggle, and know possible solutions to things, but never being able to be consistent with following through with them.

04-07-14, 12:49 PM
I was in the engineering field and now in the computer/IT field. I used to take horribly inconsistent and disorganized notes until a professor in college gave our class a few hints.

1. Don't write everything down, because you probably don't have time. Write the bare essentials and nothing more or you'll end up spending more time looking at your paper than the professor.

2. Don't cram it all in one page. Give yourself some space so you can re-read your notes without becoming overwhelmed.

3. Pre-write your notes if possible. If the professor has the board filled with notes before class starts, take the extra time before class to write them down in advance. Use any downtime where the professor isn't talking to write notes down. Then, once he starts to talk you can just soak up the lesson.

Numbers 1 and 3 were by far the most useful to me, with an emphasis on number 3. Pre-writing helped me immensely. I would make it a game to see how fast I could copy the notes down before the professor spoke.

04-07-14, 04:43 PM
I become buddies with whoever took good notes and photocopied theirs.

Sounds terrible but got good grades whereas otherwise, I would have failed.

It's really an "accommodation" if you think about it. If your professors already know of your adhd, I kind of wonder if they can help you get this kind of accommodation if you don't have any classmates willing to give you their notes.

04-15-14, 02:33 AM
I'm also in Engineering in college, the best thing for me, was to talk to someone else in the class. Most of my professors, especially in math, aren't the speakers when it comes to explaining what something means. They usually all just restate the formula or topic and think students will understand. If another student understands it, usually they are better at reexplaining in different and more understandable terms

04-17-14, 06:28 PM
Someone else has a recent thread about how their school's disabilities office helped them get notes from another classmate.

That thread poster said it has helped tremendously which like I said earlier, is my experience too.

I'll say, when you graduate, you will need good references so probably want at least one teacher to really like you(don't know how your teachers would feel about disability). So, while I do in general support getting accommodations, make sure it's right in your situation if you go the official accommodations route.

Getting a friend's notes unofficially worked for me but maybe that's not possible for you.

04-21-14, 12:15 PM
Senior EE student, with a good/great GPA. I had to decline a six month internship with a company that starts with IN and ends with TEL in California (I don't want this to be indexed on a search index) because I became really sick with a rare autoimmune disease. I am actually finishing my degree in EE online at an ABET accredited program due to my medical problems now.

Textbook Reading

* Purchase Kurzweil 3000 ( version--Mac version is not as powerful) for your computer (a screen reader that reads the books and the Internet aloud to you, while highlighting the word being read aloud).

* Before the term starts, get a solid book (4.5+ star average review on Amazon, with an adequate amount of reviews) in the subject you need to learn. Try to get the book in PDF *legally* via Load the textbook via the PDF file into Kurzweil 3000.

* If you cannot get the book in PDF, buy a paper copy of the book. A couple of weeks before class starts, go to Kinko's and get the binding of the book cut. Scan the book on the platen (glass) of the scanner, page by page, into Kurzweil 3000.

* Store the PDF of the book on your mobile devices, so you can access the book on the go. I use a tablet/slider computer, a Sony Vaio Duo 13" (, that has an extremely long battery life. I take it everywhere.

* Get noise-cancelling headphones. I use the Bose QuietComfort 20i ( for iPhone/iPad/Mac devices.

I basically use the Guaranteed 4.0 ( method, which has been given good reviews over the years on ADDforums (

* Take notes in the book:

** Anything on the test

*** is important and goes in notes

** Make bullet points, 3-5 words

*** Like a text message to friend

**** Skip a line between each bullet

** After each section

*** Reread your notes from the top

**** of the page

** For equations

*** Define all variables

Class Notes

* Right after lecture:

** Convert notes in to bullets

Corrections on Homework/Tests

* Correct all errors:

** In bullet point form

** Keep in binder

04-21-14, 12:21 PM
You can also take photos of the blackboard/powerpoints, with instructor's permission, instead of writing down the notes, if that is distracting to you.

04-26-14, 02:41 AM
Hi I am ADHD/Aspie. I am studying Engineering too. ATM I am doing solving second order diff equations using the Integral equation technique.
You tube works well as we tend to learn via visual and a tutor works very very well.

text books are useless