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  #76  
Old 08-18-09, 05:33 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Study? What's that?
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  #77  
Old 09-06-09, 03:12 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

My two best study tricks.

1) Make a list of everything that needs to be done. Large tasks should be itemized into bites that can be done in less than half an hour (preferably 20 mins). When I work, I can do so in a non-linear manner picking any item on my list and hacking at it. The short time frame of each task eases my desire to procrastinate. The act of crossing off tasks also is a huge morale booster for me and makes me want to do more homework. I included an example below.

Code:
log onto CS website and print final assignment description
do chemistry homework
          -4 problems from section 5-2
          -Read 5-3
start english assignment
         -Look up 4 sources
     -annotate souces
     -write an outline
         -write half my rough draft
2) Record lectures; this is difficult to do with a standard tape recorder because accessing a particular point in the lecure is laborious, but it works nevertheless. I recently got a Livescribe pen which links audio to text, this makes reviewing lectures much easier. Often, if I am getting lost, I will just draw a star on the page so I can tap it later and re-listen to what my prof is saying.
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  #78  
Old 09-06-09, 06:08 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

I try to make lists but I always lose them or forget to look at them...it's really weird. I don't understand why I do that.
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  #79  
Old 09-06-09, 06:23 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

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Originally Posted by Escape Artist View Post
I try to make lists but I always lose them or forget to look at them...it's really weird. I don't understand why I do that.
I encountered that problem at first, but the trick is to think like a blind person. By that I mean, blind people would loose everything they own if it were not always put away in the exact same place every time. We are lucky enough to have sight, but we still need to keep our most important things in the same place.

I bought a small notebook at Target (the kind that people keep journals in) and put it in the rearmost pocket of my backpack. I never loose my backpack (probably because the size) and I never have my notebook elsewhere unless it is in my hand. Every time my to-do list is too long or cluttered, I tear out a few pages and rewrite the list with all the clutter removed
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Old 09-17-09, 04:28 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

One of the most important things I learned about studying was to toss out the BS advice my undergrad school gave. Things like "chose a quiet environment" and "keep your back to windows and doors to avoid distractions" and "keep your workspace free of visual stimulation". As an undergrad I took this advice, figuring that anyone else was more of an expert in studying than I was ... and it drove me CRAZY. It felt like I was being punished.

In grad school I learned to make my study environment as pleasant as possible -- even to the point of lighting candles . It was a much happier thing.
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  #81  
Old 09-17-09, 12:09 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

i'm an undergrad right now.
it's impossible to study in my room, there are too many distractions.
so, i like to go to either the my college library or one of the local libraries.
i like the library at my school the best because they have small individual study rooms that you can rent out. combine that w/ my headphones & i'm able to get a couple solid productive hours of studying in.
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  #82  
Old 10-02-09, 06:02 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

You know how I study? I'm an undergrad and taking all my classes online. I have a tendancy to wait until the end of the week to turn in all my assignments, i.e. procrastination. To battle it I do two things: one, I set a simple normal kitchen timer for 30 minutes and force myself to study hard during those times.
The other thing I do is a result of an unexpected benefit of buying a new MacBook last year. It came with a service called "one to one", where I can schedule to attend any number of teaching sessions at my local Apple store. They also have a number of 'free form' sessions, where one attends with their own projects, and instead of learning about iWork 09, or GrarageBand, or anything like that, we work on our own projects. We are provided with couple of Apple experts, and we work on our own stuff. For me, it's school (graphic design stuff) work. I've made friends with a couple of the staff members, and explained my situation, and they are great at making sure I stay on task for the 3 hours the session lasts. Sort of a forced, policed study period. As a final benefit, if I run into questions about something in Photoshop or Corel Painter, they can help me solve it, including coming up with ideas for assignments that I'm to pull out of my own imagination.

These sessions run at least 2 times per week, sometimes three, and they are at all hours, from 8:00 until 10:30 or 11:00 pm. It's a perfect solution for someone like me.
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  #83  
Old 10-14-09, 05:44 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

B.D. (before diagnosis)

When I was at high school, even during the "university entrance exam" (here, we have one, I guess they are equivalent to your SATs) times when students didn't have to go to school, I'd go to school so I could solve my maths problems (which I would never do at home) and find the teachers there to help me with my questions as soon as I had them (otherwise I'd always get frustrated and stop doing anything at all.) As an undergrad, I never really studied anything *as a lesson*. But I had a lot of classmates to tutor, so while tutoring them, I would learn the stuff myself too.

If I really really had to study, I would close all the curtains, make the room totally dark, go under the table, light a light and try to study "everybody-else-style" (And I always got very low grades that way)

*

When I'm learning a language I usually learn like a baby. I learn a few words, then the connections and then the subtle but important differences (i.e. "in the house" and "at home") and I get help from my internet friends that I give the authority to correct me as soon as I write something wrong.

I am very obsessive about writing things correctly, so I guess it also helps. (And please correct me if there's anything wrong with my English )

*

And for my PhD quals (molecular biology&genetics), I studied the things by making them into little equations, or making scenarios out of them to tell my mom (architect).

*

After having been diagnosed (been two weeks only):

I now have to study for a very very difficult exam that I cannot use any "intellect" but I have to read and memorize everything. I think the whole "study the stuff in a way that you can tell them to other people" strategy is a nice one. Considering the job I'll be returning to (medicine), I guess it is also essential that I learn things that way anyway.

One problem is, that all the "get ready for USMLE" (TUS, the Turkish equivalent) books in my country are made for people who can and will study the classical way. They are dull, unimaginative and they don't give you any idea how the human body works or gets sick. They throw in words to keep on one's mind, and that's it! I need good, imaginative (and colorfully illustrated!!) books, and they are usually unavailable. :-(

And the other problem is, I never tried to study under Ritalin, and I don't really know my "renewed" self's strong and weak points yet.

Wish me luck people!!
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  #84  
Old 10-27-09, 11:37 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

I've always had a devil of a time trying to get myself to study for any length of time

One thing that worked for me in undergrad was flashcards. Any type of concrete fact I needed to know went straight on one of those bad boys.

The biggest advantage of flashcards for me was I could carry them with me and use them to study for short spurts, even just 5-10 minutes. This took advantage of my ADD. I may not be able to focus for long stretches, but in short spurts I'm like a laser.

The advice about being able to teach the material is really good too. Make friends in your classes and study together, it's way easier to talk to a person about something than to have to read about it. I think the very act of discussing concepts helps to create and cement a lasting understanding of them. Also, found the social guilt helped me stay on task (at least a little more).
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Old 10-29-09, 10:28 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenFoldsNerd View Post
Give the chapter(s) a good skim. Look at the bold print, charts, colored boxes, and picture captions without reading the paragraphs. Close the book, and then ask yourself to recite everything in your head (or aloud) that you remember from the chapter. It will be enough to surprise you, I promise. Then, give it another good skim, looking at "just a few more things" this time. Ask yourself again, "what have I learned now so far?"
I tried this method, but it assumes that you can recall what you just read or what you just skimmed. What about those of us, who, no matter how much we skim or read, can't remember what we just read? I can't seem to get enough material from short-term memory into long-term memory, no matter how many times I ask myself, "what did I just learn?" or no matter how many times I review or read or skim. It doesn't stick very well. In this context, we are equating learning = memory/recall. If you can't recall it, does that mean you didn't learn it?

To make matters worse, for those times that I am able to memorize and recall during an exam, I get flustered about all the material that I cannot recall -->makes me nervous --> do poorly on exam. Later when exam is over, the information that I couldn't recall --most of that information comes back.
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  #86  
Old 10-29-09, 02:07 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

After graduating from a traditional two-year college, I'm finishing my undergrad online. I've found that time management and distractions are my biggest issues with studying.

I've tried to regulate both by studying at work (during overnights or long boring shifts with clients) because there is a clearly defined time frame (3-4 hours, whatever) and virtually no distractions.

I can handle the distraction of other people going about their business, but at home it's too tempting to want to play with the dogs, vacuum the floor, watch tv, work on a knitting project, make something to eat.

It hasn't solved all my problems, but it's made a big difference in my ability to get things done.
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  #87  
Old 12-12-09, 09:15 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

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Originally Posted by jonnyjboy View Post
What are your techniques when you know you have to study, nothing is really stopping you, but you just never get down to doing it? For me, getting started is the hardest part. Once I get started, I usually get in to the swing of things, but I find it ever so difficult to just get myself together, sit down on my desk and open up my law books and study. (to be fair, most of the law books i study are of an extreme level of boredom!).

Having to study off the computer doesn't help much either, because its so easy to get distracted by literally everything on the internet.

Sometimes I challenge myself and turn the internet off, but usually its back on within a matter of minutes!!
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
Quote:
It’s your education. You decide if it’s worth spending some time on it.
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.
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  #88  
Old 12-12-09, 08:22 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

I study in the bathtub a lot - that way I don't a) play on the computer; b) watch TV; c) get up constantly and get distracted. Also, I read easier stuff on an exercise bike. If only I could take tests. I just took a final yesterday and failed to bubble in the last 9 or 25 questions. I have problems transferring answers, and ran out of time even though I started bubbling when I was told there were 5 minutes left. Kind of makes studying unrewarding, but some day I'll find a way to control myself
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Old 12-14-09, 10:17 AM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

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Originally Posted by FarOut View Post
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.
Praise the 'insert prophet' !

You have made a very valid argument that less time should be put into reading twelfty different study guides but in actual studying.

Trough experience I thought I had everything down, except the environment was often causing problems. I used to study in the living room and was distracted when my girlfriend came home from work and walked about or even when she sat in the sofa reading a book. So I set up a small room, it's big enough to fit a small desk and a bookrack.

So I'm away from any distractions as it is up one level, there is no radio, no tv, no internet. It's just me, a timer so I don't forget to take breaks, a bottle of water and ofcourse my books. I was amazed by the impact the change to a clutterfree, minimalistic environment had on my abilities to study. Before I changed my brain fuel ran out after only 4 or 5 hours of studying. Not because I had a small tank but because the bad environment caused me to waste so much excess energy trying to focus.

Quote:
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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.
And again, spot on.

if you fall, get up and try again. And when you look back (which most of us do), look at the things you did accomplish. They often far outweigh the things you didn't accomplish.
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Old 12-16-09, 12:02 PM
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Re: College and ADHD-How does everyone study?

Quote:
Originally Posted by formax View Post
Praise the 'insert prophet' !

You have made a very valid argument that less time should be put into reading twelfty different study guides but in actual studying.

Trough experience I thought I had everything down, except the environment was often causing problems. I used to study in the living room and was distracted when my girlfriend came home from work and walked about or even when she sat in the sofa reading a book. So I set up a small room, it's big enough to fit a small desk and a bookrack.

So I'm away from any distractions as it is up one level, there is no radio, no tv, no internet. It's just me, a timer so I don't forget to take breaks, a bottle of water and ofcourse my books. I was amazed by the impact the change to a clutterfree, minimalistic environment had on my abilities to study. Before I changed my brain fuel ran out after only 4 or 5 hours of studying. Not because I had a small tank but because the bad environment caused me to waste so much excess energy trying to focus.
Thanks for the feedback. I'm happy that you've found ways to change your study environment for the better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formax
And again, spot on.

if you fall, get up and try again. And when you look back (which most of us do), look at the things you did accomplish. They often far outweigh the things you didn't accomplish.
I don't think there is an alternative to this. Those of us who "fail" often, have to learn how to start again and focus on situations where we do succeed. Keeping a journal of the things you do serve as reminders so that when we face setbacks, we don't have to rely on subjective memory that changes with our moods.
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