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  #106  
Old 08-05-10, 09:32 PM
Molsen Molsen is offline
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

I agree that your professor shouldn't tell you that you study "wrong". Its whatever works best for you. For instance, I am finishing my bach. in biology teacher education so most of my classes are bio, math, physics, and chem. I find that most importantly I am in a place without distractions. I have an office next to my room that I purposely keep pretty void of anything besides what I need so that I don't become distracted. Then as far as studying goes.... I make study guides by hand. I find that writing stuff down makes me remember a lot better than simply typing or browsing. Make an outline of the most important things that youre studying and write out terms or equations that you will need. Next, if it's math based make sure you do problems that you already have the answers to. That way you can do the problem and make sure you have the right answer....I feel that this is very important. When you take the test I usually do the ones I feel confident in first and come back to the ones that are tougher. Besides you'd be surprised as to how much info you might find further on in the test that pertains to a question you may have trouble with. Hope any of that helps for you.
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  #107  
Old 01-17-11, 05:38 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Honestly...

I need *time* so I frequently skip class (or try to do things during class). Unfortunately, I'm going to zone out during discussion and most lectures, and nothing will really help me on that. Plus I get really impatient too (it's this: either i'm IMPATIENT or I'm LOST. Both ways I feel like I'm wasting my time away, and time is VERY important for an ADDer). And I just choose to take classes where you can find everything from the textbook+lecture slides.

And then, reading textbooks. lmao. I literally SKIP EVERYWHERE. I always go for whatever's most exciting. Eventually, the rest of the material gets exciting enough for me to read all of it. At least during my few moments of hyperfocus. If I try to read in a linear fashion, I just stare at the damn text unless I'm in my rare moments of hyperfocus. =/

also, i google/wikipedia EVERYTHING.

I just found Microsoft OneNote last quarter and it is AWESOME.

Also, downloading all my textbooks so that I can read them on my desktop (and copy/paste clips on OneNote). Ctrl-F is really an ADD kid's friend.

Shame is a powerful motivator, too, but really only works a few times per quarter. Also, I always say things when I'm unalert, but the shame/embarrassment from the disorganized text makes me alert enough to edit it out into a better form.

Self-testing is VERY nice and is PROVEN to be the best way to learn the material. But self-testing is painful as hell, and hard to do without Princeton Review multiple choice books. Still, with self-testing, I could literally self-study entire APs in the span of several days.

Here's something I posted somewhere else:

Quote:
This is what it's like to study with ADD
it makes it difficult for you to parse what others say. you have to parse things non-linearly. generally what happens is this: you parse the most exciting things first. you flip through textbooks and first look at all the things that look "easy" or emotionally exciting or whatever. And then you get the outline before you actually have the attention span to read. That is, if you're reading at an hour when you're actually alert. if you aren't alert, you just end up staring at the book.

your style of thinking is so nonlinear that you write whatever comes up first, and then edit out. and then you have to post your post when it's then incomplete, and use the adrenaline rush (from the possible embarrassment arising from the incomplete post) in order to edit the post [after you've posted] in a way that's clearer to others (or else others can't even parse what you say). It's hard to do it without this adrenaline rush because you just aren't alert enough to edit the thing.

obviously, it presents a huge issue. You're not the center of the world, but sometimes, you almost have to act like you're at one. It's hard to follow the mental preferences of other people. Rather, in order for communication to happen, they must sort of have to follow your preference. Email is actually REALLY nice, but most people prefer online interaction. And since most people prefer online interaction, interacting with someone over email (and being patient about his initial inaccuracies) makes them sort of have to follow your preferences.

This lack of alertness doesn't come from lack of sleep. Sometimes, you're even more alert when you have less sleep, maybe since you have more adrenaline in your system due to sleep deprivation. Not even Adderall is a complete cure, but it does turn a complete disaster into something more manageable.

since these moments of alertness are erratic and unpredictable[1], the result is that you often adopt erratic/unpredictable schedules. unfortunately, while adopting a consistent schedule works for neurotypicals (and maybe some people with ADD), it does not work for all with ADD.

and this is also why we sometimes do dangerous and risky things. because we just need something to "shock" our minds into increased alertness. even though it is wise for us to adopt other behaviors.

[1]the reason for that is simple, actually. you're only alert after exposure to "alert-inducing stimuli". and "alert-inducing stimuli" comes at unpredictable intervals. of course, the alert-inducing stimuli also has to be relevant to your task, because ADD also hurts your ability to task-switch.
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  #108  
Old 02-20-11, 09:06 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

If you have ADD, I think you absolutely must understand and maybe even think and analyze the subject to EVER learn it. I always need to intellectually stimulate myself to learn.

Although, maybe some ADD people are different, but that's me.
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  #109  
Old 02-28-11, 10:09 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Wow guys, I can't thank you enough for this thread! There were some really awesome tips. I'm in a course right now, and the information is kind of overwhelming, especially for me with ADHD and a learning disability to boot. Unfortuntely I've relied too long on the less than reliable memorization. No it really doesn't work, but it was the only thing that seemed to make some of the information stick.

However, through a little experimenting on my own, I've read what was written here and I can say that some of these tips really do work! Guys and gals, don't underestimate the power of reading s-l-o-w-l-y. It sounds totally ricidulous, and yes you do sound like a three year old. But when I read it out loud and slowly, the ol' noggin had time to catch up!

I'm trying to also put that piece of paper under what I read, and so far so good!

I'll try a few more tips and let you guys know how they work!
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  #110  
Old 04-05-11, 12:11 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Since I don't have time to write out my study habits (or lack thereof) in detail right now, I thought I'd describe another side of study studying I find indispensable: silence and/or inorganic white noise. I use the word "inorganic" here to distinguish it from "animal white noise", which I consider to be other people's conversations, a TV, (more often than not) music, and sometimes even my cats. (The cats can go either way in that they sometimes provide momentary distractions without entirely derailing my drive to finish an assignment.) I'm in a Ph.D. program right now, and my productivity plummets if I can't drown out other sounds with fans, weather, the furnace, etc.

I used to use ear plugs with some success but found that they were uncomfortable over long periods. After moving into a new rental with (unexpectedly) loud neighbors, I've gone into obsessive searching mode to find heavier duty equipment for my sound-cancelling needs. If you're like me, here's what I've found so far...
  • The noise-cancelling headphones from Bose are overpriced and don't work well for everyone. (Some complain of a distracting pressure in the headphones when active cancellation is turned on. For me to buy them at $300, my perspective was that they better beat all of their competition by miles and allow me to summon unicorns.
  • More generally, don't search for "headphones" unless you want the capacity to play music, because that's what you're paying for. If you instead search for "earmuffs", you will find products that what the same and better noise reduction ratings (and attenuations for those familiar) as Bose offers for $10 - $40. I've found the best results searching for earmuffs such as those worn by (1) the ground crews at airports, heavy duty construction/factory workers, etc. and (2) hunters. I ultimately bought a pair of hunting earmuffs by Howard Leightner with better-than-Bose cancellation for about $20 on Amazon. Is it weird owning a dorky looking pair of hunting earmuffs when I have never fired a gun (not even a BB gun for that matter)? Yes, at first, but then you get around to wearing them when in need and no longer care.
  • Get comfortable ear plugs. The problem with the ear plugs I had tried previously was that (while made well) I didn't find them comfortable. There are ear plugs out there that don't make your ears feel pressurized, your head heavy, etc. My personal recommendation at the moment is Hearos Ultra Comfort. They are reusable (at least a few times if your ears are clean), ridiculously soft, cost me less than $11 on Amazon for 80 earplugs (a two pack of 20 pairs), and have the best noise reduction rating of any product on the market (or perhaps the second best next to another product of the same brand).
  • While you might shy away from it based on appearance (I did!), this site has a really good reputation. The only reason I chose Amazon was that I'm using my 1 year free student Amazon Prime membership.
    http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/
  • For more, this article provides info on some of the other types of ear plugs (and is where I first heard about Hearos)
    http://www.slate.com/id/2118800/

I might make a "silence guide" on here or something when I have several hours to kill...anywho, I'm enjoying reading your guys' studying techniques and hope this helps someone!

If you're like me and are looking for other ways to seek silence nirvana on a budget, we should exchange tips!
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  #111  
Old 04-23-11, 01:46 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

News clip about ADHD coaching

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  #112  
Old 04-29-11, 03:39 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Lots of ADHDs have processing issues, me included. I start researching all around the perimeters of the subject as soon as I get new info. Have trouble reading, especially dry academic stuff so I get it put on CD with the read aloud software. I am visual/kinesthetic/verbal in that order so I try to diagram alot.Also, if there is somebody you can talk to about the subject you retain way more. I always scope out the other ADHDs in the room (just watch for the other students with note takers)and form a study group on first days of class. Sometimes I just stand up at the end of first class and announce that anyone who would like to form a study group can come tell me. I also find Utubes on the subject and listen while making supper,.
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  #113  
Old 05-21-11, 01:20 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowpoke View Post
Hey peeps,
The issue wasn't as much verbal (talking) as much as STRUCTURED content.
I've actually been doing a LOT of reading on time awareness; thinking patterns; and other stuff that affects how I absorb information...

I actually tried something new the other day...
AND IT WORKED!!!

here are my general findings:

1. AD/HDers THINK differently.

most of the stuff in school is presented in a chronological format... meaning "first this happens, then this and then this, and then what happens is this"
That way doesn't help us, b/c we need to SEE the big picture in terms of RELATIONSHIPS, not events.

That means that if we are able to (which with a short term working memory LD, I can't very well) keep our eye on the big picture during a lecture when the prof presents it at the beginning of the class (if we are that lucky...) it would help a lot.

Since it takes me time to understand the big picture to begin with, the typical way of reading a big long book just was making it realllly hard for me to see the relationships.

Having also read about being active in studying in order to really learn material, I came up with a way that requires me to do that. (No matter how hard I tried to 'remember' to be active and keep stepping back to ask questions, I would end up reading all the words).

READ BACKWARDS.
on several levels...

I have a book critique from last semester (April) that is again overdue... it's been really hard, as it's super detailed based on research. Really interesting topic though.
So that threw out the notion that it needs to be interesting.
Also, in order to write the report, I had to understand details in a way so I could do the critique. So I couldn't just do the 'don't need to know every detail' attitude.
I had to know details to a certain extent.

So, I was getting stuck and confused about where it was all going and where the author had already been in his arguments and reasoning etc...

I got frustrated and just thought, geesh, I should just read the conclusion to figure out what the whole point is...

I read the conclusion instead of continuiing, and it was better than going through it in chapter order... but still not clear enough.

So then, I tried something else, and this time IT WORKED!!

What I did was:

READ BACKWARDS BY PARAGRAPH.

sounds silly and confusing, but it really helped me a lot.

For some reason, it actually made the main points and arguments stand out really clearly - probably b/c you read the main points taken from the previous chapter first, and then the details.

Reading it backwards also forces me to flip back and forth and locate where the author is drawing the ideas from. I end up having to scan the last paragraph quickly to see where something was mentioned, and also the paragraph before the one I'm currently on.

Taking it down to reading the paragraph backwards by sentence also works really well in this case.

I'm not sure how it would work in textbooks, but I'm thinking it might help if I were to take the material topic by topic, but still read the summary paragraph first and then work backward from there.

This sounds really weird, but I've been looking for the best way to ensure that I UNDERSTAND material (b/c that's the only way to ensure I'm getting what I'm paying for...) and this is the only thing that has helped so far... hopefully it will work for other academic kinds of reading.

Has anyone else used this?
Does it work?
If you havn't tried it, please try it out and let me know if it does make things easier...
I'm curious to see whether or not I'm an oddball...
This was really, really useful thankyou.
I never was able to pinpoint the problem with my learning, and it was exactly because of the whole 'big picture' type thing. There was no point being told X if i didn't know how and why X fitted into the course. I was always the first in class to ask 'What's the point of this?'.

So i massively struggled with learning something i couldn't see how it fitted.
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  #114  
Old 05-21-11, 03:11 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

the only thing that has ever worked for me so far, i really haven't tried much studying yet, is a glass of whiskey, mellow outside vibe, highlighting key points in your notes, then making mindmaps .... I LOVE MINDMAPS!!!
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  #115  
Old 06-27-11, 10:44 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

I like to study all my materials at least an hour or two a day. I know the standard is one hour per every class hour, but I find that un-necessary.

I write down whatever was written down on the board.

I write down and focus on stuff that sounds really obscure to me.

I sit up front in class, mostly because I have bad eyesight and my hearing is bad, but hey whatever works eh

I never hesitate to ask a question about something gone over in class that freaks me out and scares me.

I talk to my professors about my difficulties in the classrooms and they accommodate with me without having to take away from other students or placing me in disabilities.

I seek study places aside from my house, because I can't study at all from home.

I peek at my old notes every now and again just to keep old information fresh in my head.
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  #116  
Old 06-28-11, 10:11 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarOut View Post
Ding ding ding! We have a winner here. The main issue of having ADHD and studying is not technique, it's not getting around to doing enough of it. We are not stupid! We have a comparable amount of knowledge about studying techniques than our non ADHD peers. Teaching us more techniques is not going to solve the problem, because the problem is not lack of skills. It's lack of doing.

Quote from: http://www.oberlin.edu/psych/studytech/tsld077.htm
This is specifically where the main problem lies. It's not about decisions or lack of discipline. It's about serious and complex deficiencies in the executive functions. Lack of focus and concentration and poor working memory are tiny issues by comparison. Techniques described here and in this thread are all fine and dandy. I'm sure most of them will improve the results when applied. But they all basically boil down to this:

If you learn these things really well, you'll remember them in the exam.

Well gee wiz, this previously unheard bit of wisdom really blew my mind.

...well not really.

I'm going to pose a suggestion here, that actually might blow some gaskets:

Instead of thinking about solutions that will help your studying performance, think about everything not directly connected to the actual study performance. Elements peripheral to the studying behaviour. Things like where and when. And how you will get to where and when. And the most important question: Why?

Where? For me it is definitely not here at home or anywhere with competing sources of stimulus that would distract me from studying. Computers and TVs are the worst for me. Places with lots of people, especially familiar people. A medieval monastery or jail cell would be fine, but I'll settle with my university's library. An inferior, but attainable solution. A change of environment also brings you to a location where you haven't yet developed inappropriate behavioral patterns.

When? When you're not tired and hungry. Usually it's after waking up and eating. Choose a time when you're least vulnerable and most receptive. However, realize that there is no such thing as 100%. Choose a time period when you spend most time functioning at over 60%. Usually it's 60-80%, sometimes we get lucky and achieve 90%. In those situations, cancel all previously planned appointments or activities and capitalize!

Oh yeah, for us with irregular sleeping patterns, finding the solution to the where part might often become a big obstacle. Libraries aren't open during night. It would be most convenient to follow the rhytm of life of mainstream society. Personally I'm poorly motivated to wake up early in the morning, but I know if I have a previously agreed appointment, >90% of the time I'll make it. Even if a bit late. This is where family and friends can really help, either by calling you in the morning (even once or twice a week might be enough to prevent sleep pattern from changing) or by being the other party of an agreement "I'll go to class with you tomorrow morning 7.45 AM." Another part of this equation is preventing excessive naps and avoiding excitable behaviour during night. If you're bored and can't sleep, read a book. Don't watch TV, play video games or surf online. Avoid bright lights too! (Or computer monitor.)

How? This is the planning part. The goalsetting, presenting criteria for evaluating performance and forming a schedule. Having schedule is better than not having one, even if you fail to follow it. Atleast then you can evaluate your performance and identify weak points. Having a plan helps internal motivation and successful goal achieving will feel very rewarding. Basically a schedule will help a person prepare for future events. "Time nearsightedness" is right at the core of life management difficulties for people with ADHD and this is where a schedule helps.

There are many guides for doing schedules so I wont go too deep into that. Just make sure to have a long time period schedule where you have all the deadlines, figure out how much you need to study, then divide the hours required between days. E.g. exam is in 20 days, I need 100 hours to prepare, so I'll study 5 hours per day. Really simple. Long term here means roughly next week forward.

Then you need an intermediate-term schedule where you put all your important appointments such as doctors' visits, compulsory lectures/practices etc. By intermediate I mean the day after tomorrow forwards.

Long term and intermediate schedules should be very simple, clear and without any elaboration. That's what short term schedule is for. The short term plan for tomorrow. That's where you put EVERYTHING you will do tomorrow, almost right down to a minute. Estimate how long it will take to drive/walk to your planned study location, when and where you will eat, how many hours you will study and what subject etc. Preferably this is done the previous evening so there is as little lag between planning and doing as possible.

There is no point in doing detailed week schedules, because in my experience the "change of plans" rate goes exponentially higher every day after making the plan. Even the next day you should be prepared to adjust your schedule on the fly so perhaps you'll only meet 60-80% of your objectives. It's alright, because 60-80% success rate is adequate. Sometimes you'll do better, sometimes worse. Don't let setbacks depress you, adjust and move forward. Prioritizing goals will help limit damage to where you can afford it!

Now, if you have a computer, print your long term, intermediate and short term schedules, and attach them to a wall or door where you'll see them constantly. One right next to another. This is also why you need to keep them simple: detailed long term schedules would be messy and wouldn't fit.

Attention!

Now I'm going to state that the previous points are absolutely useless without internal motivation. This is the hardest part to achieve and where ADHD takes its greatest toll. Why are you doing this? To graduate, to become a lawyer, to become a police officer! Just thinking about the glorious day when all hard work will be rewarded should be enough!

Wrong. We all know it. Most of us just keep pretending it's true. And yet even people with fully functioning frontal lobes have big problems with motivating themselves this way. That's why we reward ourselves on shorter time frame. That's why every course has its own exam, and that's why we're graded. After hard work we reward ourselves by getting drunk or having a vacation.

For people with ADHD the answer to question why must be concrete and it has to be imminent, directly connected to the performance part. Think about punishing a dog 5 minutes after the fact. What good is it for? ADHD is only slightly better in this aspect. The lag between performance and reward should be as small as possible.

Why? Money. It's the simplest and most convenient reward following desired behaviour. It's concrete. It's material. Find a way to connect your studying performance with your income so they're directly correlated. The more work, the more money. Ideally you would have someone else pay you money, but you can do that by yourself. Just form an extra account that you can use, and "pay yourself" with money from the other account that you can not use for any other purposes but to transfer money to the other account. This requires self discipline and if you have problems with it, take your ATM/credit cards and internet account details to your parents/spouse or a safety deposit box. You can still access them. The point is time and effort buffer. You have time to think before you rush to spoil yourself with unearned rewards.

There are other kinds of rewards that you can use to supplement or even replace money. Computer/TV time can work as a reward very well. Feedback from parents, partner or friends is good, but again should be correlated with effort. In any case, an account of study hours is essential. A simple book will function well as a log. Recording hours in itself can be rewarding. But as the novelty wears off, and it wears off quickly for people with ADHD, some kind of reinforcement has to happen. Most convenient solution is accountability to somebody else that you respect and would understand the importance of the log. Again, this wont prevent you cheating, but will make it less likely.

Let's recap:

Things peripheral to the actual studying performance are more important than studying techniques, because even if you have exceptionally inefficient studying habits, you'll learn something if you spend time studying. Whereas no brilliance in technique will help if you don't actually do anything.

Hierarchy of elements that will effect the probability of studying aka probability factors:

1. Internal motivation, because without this nothing will happen.
2. Planning, so you'd know how to prepare for future events. Connects time and place.
3. Study environment, because without this you'll be distracted easily.
4. Well being, because without this your performance will be poor and it will have negative impact on internal motivation.

These will not prevent failure every time, but they'll make the occurrence of desirable behaviour much more likely if in order. There are other factors aswell, but these just popped to my mind as the most obvious. And of course for each individual, the factors might differ, and different people have different bottlenecks where performance is hindered most.

After these basic elements are in place, study techniques will have a more consistent and reliable impact.

Finally, I know this might seem patronizing, but be persistant! Failures are bound to occur. Everybody fails. It's the time spent between failing and trying again that makes the difference in the long run. If you fall, get up and try again.
I cannot thank you enough for how helpful this was for me. It was actually the perfect remedy after being up all night stressed out over completing a research paper at the end of this week. At 4:30am I was pounding on this keyboard drawing from your words and typing up pages on various ways for me to apply it. It's going to be complete hell on earth but I feel good about it.

Problem is Persistence and Patience is a real b*tch and money has never really motivated me. Only a passion to learn more about the various things I'm interested in. In addition, I've recently realized my well-being is starting to really light a fire under my ****. I understand both requires the luxury of time. Eventually we get to a point in life where money equals time. But after that the logical sequence ends because in the end money brings a whole other bucket of ups and downs. But then again, I'm a white 25 male from an American middle class suburban family.

I do admit though, in college (as with life) I never treated my ADHD as the disorder it is. I took extra time, leveraged even more time, then worked some BS excuse to leverage more time, and such. This would go on until 1. I could cheat my way out (NOT ADVISABLE nor RECOMMENDED)

2. Overcompensate by meeting and exceeding well beyond the assignment, to the point of overcomplicated and even missing out in learning the material of the assignment (My personal favorite, though again NOT recommended)

3. Get the *****ing thing done, reviewed, turned in, graded, and reviewed again in order to learn from mistakes. Nice and simple, yet I think I've only done this once or twice.
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Old 06-28-11, 12:55 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Aside from getting started, I basically break absolutely everything down to bullet points, as even if there is the most basic information, it will be a cue to whatever else is related to it. Depends on the amount of the material, I then just memorise the bullet points.

In case of essays, I do it vice versa - write down a vague word of phrase for each planned paragraph, and then build aruound it. First, my own ideas, then scan the planned reference material for anything relating to it, then pull it togeter with my own ideas.

I used to think you were supposed to do it this way..
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  #118  
Old 06-28-11, 10:42 PM
Squirrely Seth Squirrely Seth is offline
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

god where was this thread when I was in college taking out all my negativity with booze, drugs, partying, and sex. I still do not believe they're going to let me walk with a piece of paper. I've gotten to the point of paranoia that their going to take back the diploma some way via legal action or whatever. Stupid bozo out of control thesis project.
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Old 11-06-11, 10:13 PM
Faramir Faramir is offline
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

For how long should I study and how long should my breaks be?
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  #120  
Old 11-10-11, 03:34 PM
uncle shrek uncle shrek is offline
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

i had a breakthrough today.had training for my new job as a carer.watched training dvd instead of reading textbook.i was saturated with information and seem to have retained more than i usually do.the dvd was broken down into sections with key points and summaries, which is exactly how i write my revision notes.i wrote my notes along with watching the dvd too ,which i can refer to at a later stage.my tutor tested me afterwards and answered any questions.i find it best to ensure you understand the question fully before giving an answer.tomorrow they will throw in some hasnds on practical training too.ive also been provided with plenty of breaks throughout the day.i like to go out for fresh air and clear my head.this also helps me when im working too.its sad how office staff take their lunch breaks at their work desk.everyone needs to take themselves out of the work environment during breaks to improve their concentration.if i spent all day at a desk id get cabin fever!!what are your views on this?
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