View Full Version : How do some people with untreated ADD/ADHD do incredibly well academically?


mrh235
04-15-14, 05:22 PM
One example I think of is someone I know who got a 40 on the mcat (a very difficult test that requires intense focus,
Working memory, and reading comprehension) untreated and was like "imagine what I could do now that I'm being treated". This is an extreme case, but it just confuses me that some people with untreated ADD can do so well. How do some people with untreated ADD/ADHD do incredibly well academically?

Before I was diagnosed and treated the only subject I was able to do well in was math and even that was difficult for me because it was impossible to follow explanations of the problems and I had to cheat :( and rely on teachers sympathy to succeed. I'm very curious about this because even when I hyper focused on something I still had issues with reading comprehension and didn't get as good of an understanding as most people who just studied for it or read about it. It just really confuses me.

ginniebean
04-15-14, 05:49 PM
Some of us have no problems with reading or retaining information.

Ganjin
04-15-14, 06:45 PM
I flunked out of high school, being completely uninterested and unable to perform in those conditions.

About 7 years later I started college. Totally different story. When I was highly interested, I could really excel in my academic work. Finished my BA, MA, and PhD all before I was diagnosed. But I did it in the most unhealthy ways. Many all nighters, last minute papers, etc, etc. But I managed.

We're all different though. My focus and concentration issues really only become huge problems under certain circumstances.

BellaVita
04-15-14, 06:52 PM
I did very well in school.

I think my OCD played a part, but also intelligence which is separate from ADHD. (Which not saying you're not...goodness hope this doesn't come out wrong.)

I remember I spent *at least* 6 hours on homework every day after school...so that was the hard part.

The easy part for me were tests and quizzes.

Greyhound1
04-15-14, 10:17 PM
I was able to use anxiety and OCD of failure and a lot of hard work to graduate from a good University with average grades.

I often wonder how much better school and life could have been, had I been treated.

sarahsweets
04-16-14, 05:06 AM
Of course! expecially when they sleep with their processors...:lol::rolleyes:;);)

Fortune
04-16-14, 06:25 AM
In college I tended to really enjoy my classes and I'd do my homework before even leaving the campus. I'd get straight A's like this.

Then I'd hit a wall and be completely unable to function in my classes because I put so much time and energy into them to that point I had nothing left. But hey, at least I had one term of 4.0 GPA.

I think if I'd had accommodations and a better understanding of my limitations I might have done well longer, but I am not sure.

stef
04-16-14, 06:32 AM
I did well in school; but it was really the ONLY thing I could do!

addthree
04-16-14, 10:41 AM
I did poorly in school until I got to college. And once I got back on the medication I did really well and graduated with honors. But without medication my grades were pretty mediocre. Some people just have a brain for school.

Krhollan88
04-16-14, 11:01 AM
I excelled in high school and was valedictorian due to my OCD at the time. Late in college I was diagnosed with ADD and my world was changed with adderall. I have always had ED as well and I used that to regain control a lot of times.

someothertime
04-16-14, 11:52 AM
Good question. This made me seriously doubt my fathers "adhd"-ness...

Although many other things jump out.... he managed to complete doctor training and specialist training... 7 years uni!... Interestingly... he is incredibly overse to anything physical...... sports, cleaning.... moving a chair.... Perhaps these characteristics are on the same curve...

I'm very mechanical... perhaps study is merely a learned outlet... both enjoyment wise and technique wise... ha! and wise wise ;)

Jenmomofem
04-16-14, 12:29 PM
My sister got her pharmD in three years. As I did my research while my daughter was being diagnosed with ADD I began to realize that my sister probably also had ADD. She now believes she has undiagnosed ADD (not on meds). She works longer hours and harder than her co workers but it was a big lightbulb moment for her and it brings her relief knowing why. She is so smart and is very successful at her job (hospital pharmacy manager). The rest of her life is a mess, her house, bills and her lifestyle but outside of that she's managing quite well!

willow129
04-16-14, 04:56 PM
I was a little all over the place in school personally, 504 plan for math in middle school, had to go to summer school in high school, As in math in high school (huh?) As in French, F and then a D+ in social studies...I mean, I don't even know.

I talking to my mom about my psychologist saying it seems I have ADHD and she was like "How the heck did you get summa cum laude with ADHD?" But studying music in college was great and I kind of overdid things wanting to be involved in everything...It's not that I wasn't good at the work, and practice, and playing instruments, just I was unorganized and forgot what I needed to do, lost things, couldn't keep track of time...

My half-brother has ADHD (mom and I have traced it to grandpa lol, her dad) and he didn't do quite as well in school I think. Mom said he had a hard time understanding and following directions.....

Studying something you're passionate about makes a big difference I think

daveddd
04-16-14, 07:11 PM
idk really

high school was easy enough, i never did homework so got Bs mainly

college , i didn't buy a book the first two years and only went to tests, got Cs and As only in my psyche classes

then i needed to do more work, i didn't and other emotional regulation issues took over and i failed out

i probably wouldn't have been able to write longer papers anyway


funny part, 2 years into a psychology degree(4 or 5 classes specific to it) i didn't learn 1/1000th of what the people here know

mctavish23
04-16-14, 09:55 PM
Individual Aptitudes + (Possible) Accommodations.

Doesn't Mean They Can Do Chores, Make Friends, Or Drive Safely Though.

Saw This Many Times Over Last 30 Years. Definitely Happens.

Good Question. Thanks.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

USMCcop
04-16-14, 10:49 PM
Before I was diagnosed and treated the only subject I was able to do well in was math and even that was difficult for me because it was impossible to follow explanations of the problems and I had to cheat :( and rely on teachers sympathy to succeed. I'm very curious about this because even when I hyper focused on something I still had issues with reading comprehension and didn't get as good of an understanding as most people who just studied for it or read about it. It just really confuses me.

I think there are a couple of reason:

1). Intelligence isn't necessary tied to ADD.

2) The ADD-er with a mean or lower so-called intelligence has the drive, motivation, and desire to do well.

I am not inferring that the remainder of that remaining ADD subgroup is lazy.

In my case, although far from a genius, I excelled in school and college, but I was self taught. I could not always grasp the way my teachers taught especially math and my later degree in accounting. My brain grasped things in my own way. It's hard for me to explain. Kinda like my inability to read a map unless I face north first.

I used to get straight A's, but I remember in 10th grade I was bored with it (school) and purposely got C's and D's. Next year I decided I was in the mood to do well again, and receive straight A's again.

FroGpants
04-17-14, 05:11 PM
I totally blew high school. The only reason I graduated was because my mom put me in an alternative school.

I was 27 when I went to college. Totally rocked it. I was determined. I had felt like such a failure because of high school and after high school I didn't have success at anything so I really needed the validation.

So how did I actually do it? I memorized the heck out of everything the night before the test. I would write it out and go over it and over it and over it. I didn't retain much that way but I passed.

Stevuke79
04-17-14, 05:42 PM
I had no accommodations but overall I did pretty well in school, probably similar reasons to bella and krhollan.

You can have very severe ADHD and be absolutely brilliant and do extremely well in school. You can also be OCD, or have a crazy work ethic.. how you do in school is an equation with a ton of variables.

AshT
04-17-14, 06:29 PM
I'm dyslexic.
Spent pretty much 12 hours a day in labs.
Messed up my schedule a bit this week though. Just finished a 30 hour stint lol.

acdc01
04-17-14, 06:52 PM
I found ways to accommodate myself in college. Accommodations can make a HUGE difference.

I made friends with the best note taker in my class and copied their notes.

I realized I could work easier in silent, empty rooms with white washed walls.

All the engineering students in my class split up homework assignments so one person would do one problem and then we'd copy the rest of the homework from each other (giving me more time to study and relax).

Homework/study groups (aka body double for us ADHDers)

I didn't work while in school - not overloading myself.

I wasn't diagnosed back then so I went about getting accommodations by myself. But if your school has a disabilities office, maybe they can help you.

As a warning, my engineering teachers would have seen disability = weakness and when I graduated, none of them would have given me a good reference if I had disclosed. I totally support getting official accommodations, but I do think you should really consider your situation before you do.

USMCcop
04-17-14, 10:05 PM
I had no accommodations but overall I did pretty well in school, probably similar reasons to bella and krhollan.

You can have very severe ADHD and be absolutely brilliant and do extremely well in school. You can also be OCD, or have a crazy work ethic.. how you do in school is an equation with a ton of variables.

That was me... crazy work ethical. I even had it at age 12. Been employed since 12.

As a teenager, my mom and then stepfather (real P***k) would threatening to takeaway my job (busser, dishwasher, etc). What kind of parenting is that??? :scratch: most people (maybe that's extreme), especially kids these days, don't have any.

Stevuke79
04-17-14, 11:02 PM
You sound like my kind of guy usmccop. I didn't hold jobs when I was quie that young, but I worked my butt off struggling to get homework done.

I think there's a certain message or image out there that does kids these days a real disservice. I try to instill my daughter with a sense of responsibility and work ethic.. Without damaging her too much in the process. It's a tough balancing act but I can't simply let her take in the message that's out there - it's a recipe for disaster unless you're extremely lucky.

Anyway I'm rambling as usual. Good for you though!! :goodpost:

ana futura
04-18-14, 12:04 AM
I test well, I'm an excellent BSer, and I majored in Art.

I also managed to skate by without ever writing a paper longer than 5 pages.

If I ever got a class where it looked like the teacher would be demanding, or the syllabus had lots of work on it, I'd drop it right away.

And when I did do poorly in a class, I'd boost my GPA by taking way more art classes than I needed.

I feel like I grifted my degree. Aside from English, which I learned to take seriously after failing it twice, I pretty much learned nothing in college.

My dad got through in pretty much the same way.

daveddd
04-18-14, 06:01 AM
i aced billiards too, seriously, a class where we played pool in college:scratch:

Jupinterupption
04-18-14, 08:35 AM
I did well academically. But I still, to this day, don't know how.

I have a very good memory, and teachers never checked homework in school, so I passed high school easily.

Then I did something I majored in something I love for university which did not require intense notes and tests. I still did not apply myself the way that I should have, and bob knows that I did not deserve some of the grades I got... But there ya go. I like to call my BFA a BS.



As far as tests... Does anyone remember regents tests, where they'd make you sit in a room for three hours despite the time it took you to do the test? Torture.

Jupinterupption
04-18-14, 08:36 AM
i aced billiards too, seriously, a class where we played pool in college:scratch:

I got one for ya:

Clowning.

Juggling. Balancing feathers. Making balloon animals. I hang my head in shame.


(Fun Fact: I still can't juggle.)

ana futura
04-19-14, 10:46 PM
Yoga, Aikido, Guitar, The Study of the Occult...

Just to name a few.

sarahsweets
04-20-14, 11:03 AM
I just slept with all of my teachers so my grades were great.;)

mctavish23
04-20-14, 05:32 PM
Majored in (and Ace'd) Advanced Cheech and Chong Studies :D

Minored in Foosball, Frisbee, and Intramural Sports (on drugs) :yes:

Oh well :p


u r welcome :cool:

execfunc
04-20-14, 08:00 PM
Speaking for myself, it depends on the factors of novelty, and the amount and intensity of other stressors and responsibilities in my life beyond school. Years ago when I first started school, I had essentially zero responsibility beyond my own simple living expenses, and I hadn't been in school in a very long time. It was new, fun, exciting, and it was a chance to vindicate myself after my horrible slacker performance in high school. I was not treating my ADHD symptoms. Years later – last year, to be specific – I was finally able to return to school, but this time with a family, lot of debt, stress, pressure to succeed, etc. added to my life. Big difference. This is what pushed me to seek help for my ADHD, and it worked. I'm still stressed, but I don't feel like giving up.

Waitingame
04-21-14, 03:16 AM
Being an athlete in high school probably helped - tons of physical activity to wear down the hyper factor. Lots of last-minute adrenaline on everything - have never finished a project early.

In HS, scared to bring home anything less than stellar grades, so maybe that was a little extra adrenaline to make it all happen.

Seems like ADHD got worse as I got older. Took forever to get BA. Graduate school was great, but I wish I could do it over again, medicated.

My last doc asked me how on earth I had a master's degree if I had ADHD. Well, told her I should officially have two, but only have one because I never finished a thesis for one, and the one I do have completed was fueled by an extraordinary amount of caffeine, nicotine, and other kinds of self-medication.

Doesn't mean I went about it in ANY kind of organized fashion, though. I keep thinking one of these days I will organize all my grad school notes, and that just has not happened... :giggle: