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Old 05-02-13, 11:00 PM
ArmyVet82 ArmyVet82 is offline
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Study Tips For The ADD Mind

Thought I would make a post with some tips I have found useful for students with ADD. It is by no means comprehensive but is a good start. Feel free to share any tips you have found useful in succeeding in school and I'll add them to the list.

Make use of flashcards when you need to memorize unfamiliar or new terms. Sometimes it helps to word the cards in your own description. There are flashcard apps available for your phone. Some of these apps interface with flashcard websites such as quizlet.com a website where you can download pre made flashcards for your specific textbook saving you the time and effort of writing your own cards.

Pick the right environment to study in. For most of us with ADD studying at home is a horrible idea. We are so distractable that studying at home can provide too many distractions. If the TV, computer, gaming system, pets, ect are only a room away it becomes very easy to stop studying and switch to something more interesting (even if you only intend to take a small break). However, if you are at the library you now have to hop in your car and drive home to switch what your focusing on which can help to keep you focused on studying. Go to the library, a park, an empty conference room or anywhere where there are minimal distractions that you need to drive to reach.

Minimize distractions while studying. The main two distractions you will face while studying are visual and audible. To minimize sound distractions you can buy some earplugs or wear noise cancelation headphones. If you decide to listen to music pick only music with no vocals and a very slow and relaxing pace/feel. Classical music and very down tempo ambient electronic music can work well. To avoid visual distractions sit in a seat facing a wall so that any people or objects moving are behind you and outside of your visual range. Most libraries have cubicles with walls around them, try and use one of these if available. This tip also works for class, pick a seat at the very front so that all of your peers are seated behind or beside you so that nobody is in between you and the teacher/whiteboard.

Don't try and sit down for hours. Sitting is good when your reading a new chapter but after you have read the chapter transfer the important parts onto flashcards and then go for a walk or pace. People with ADD often find that they think more clearly while walking or pacing than they do sitting still. When doing your flashcards pace or walk while your memorizing and the task will be much easier.

Do study groups with the other students in your class. If no one in your class is doing group study then pick a good time to start one yourself. I recommend doing a group study by simply announcing to your class that you will be there an hour or two before class everyday and that everyone is more than welcome to show up anytime before class to join you. This will help those of you who have a hard time making it to class because you have now committed yourself to other people and you won't want to go back on your word and your always there before class starts. This will also motivate you to study before the last minute because you won't want to show up to a group study without having at least read the material you plan on studying with other people. I love teaching and helping people understand things and find that I'm usually the most prepared for group study and become the impromptu tutor for everyone.

Make a list of all the things you like to have while studying (pencil, paper, book, phone/tablet/laptop, snacks, a drink, headphones/earplugs) and make sure you bring them all with you. I have gotten distracted because I have forgotten to bring a drink and then I have to stop studying and go get a drink. The goal is to make sure you have no excuses for interrupting your study once you have started.

Think visually. Most people with ADD have an uncanny ability to visualize things in their head. Use this to your advantage when learning. As a simple example you probably learned how to add numbers by thinking visually. When you think 2+2=4 it's helpful to imagine taking two oranges and then adding in two more oranges then counting visually in your head how many total oranges you have. You can do this for many things you learn even highly complex and advanced subjects. Whenever possible try and take the words in your textbook and then visually try and imagine what it looks like in your head. This will increase your understanding and make it easier for you to enter a hyper focused state.

Develop an honest desire to learn. Don't goto school to get a degree, rather want to goto school to aquire knowledge. Having an honest desire to learn is fundamental in learning. If you don't want to learn something you probably won't or end up doing the bare minimum to pass. Knowledge is power and the more you know the better your brain will be prepared to deal with challenges for the rest of your life.
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Old 05-02-13, 11:35 PM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

I just went through your list:

1) flashcards. Good point. I don't use them, but I will make some today as I think it will be helpful for my test. So, thanks for that!

2) study environment. Excellent point, just made the same point in another thread. Trying to study at home is a waste of time and energy to me.

3) minimizing distractions. I do this with my headphones+music. Sometimes classical. I also listen to progrock/progmetal during studying, makes studying more exciting . And I don't hear all the other noises, which is good. Visual distractions aren't 100% cut off, but if I just look to my book I don't see much happening (and since I don't hear much with the music everything is ok!)

4) not studying for hours; another good point. A lot of people try this. I use pomodoro - 25 minute work, 5 minute break. Repeating that for 3-5 times, then a bigger break.

5) study groups - have done some, was good. But I always study in a place where there are friends, so I can have breaks with them, which is great.

6) list of things to bring - will make that and hang it from the wall in my room. Thanks, good one. Now I just do this from memory, and I don't unpack my bag that often. But I do forget something every now and then, which is unpractical.

7) think visual - This important, because we can often fool ourselves that we understand something, when we really only memorized the definition or formula, not understanding how it works and what the thing looks like. I wish to add that developing intuition is important here. Yesterday I found that I forgot some rules about multiplying exponents & how logarithms work. Just looked it up on Khan Academy. Remembering the rule is not enough, like remember that 2^3 * 2^4 = 2^7, it's better to know how to get there: (2 * 2 * 2) (2 * 2 *2 * 2) = ( 2 * ... 2) = 2^7 (I did remember this rule already, but having the intuition for it now is worth a lot).

8) The desire to learn - that's essential. I love it, it's really addicting to understand more of the world and to explore new concepts every day.

* some things you could add (they were already a bit in the things I said above):
- Make studying fun; don't make it a punishment.
- Try to understand things thoroughly if you have the time for it. Don't cut corners, dive in the subject matter. Don't only learn the definitions and equations, but try to understand how they work, where they came from and what their limits are.
- If you find that you miss some knowledge for a certain topic, like how chemical reactions work or how to calculate the sides of a triangle, look it up on the internet. It's probably on Khan Academy! Don't accept that you don't know things that you think you should have learned already, just learn it now or refresh it! You can often do this within half an hour.

Thanks for your post, excellent advice!
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Old 05-03-13, 02:07 AM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

I think the following youtube videos are relevant to anyone who wants to improve their memory and studying abilities, especially us add'ers.







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Old 05-03-13, 03:56 AM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

And an interview after the lecture (see videos in last post) regarding his memory techniques and his own struggles in school.



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Old 05-03-13, 04:29 PM
ArmyVet82 ArmyVet82 is offline
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

An example of some of the distractions you fave while studying at home. Lol.
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Old 05-03-13, 05:07 PM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

Well done for skillfully highlighting around your cats paws!
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Old 05-05-13, 09:13 AM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

I actually have mastered Dominic Obriens DOMS system for remember numbers. It's really quite exceptional. All good tips, keep up the good work

I think the positive things people say about people with ADHD are demonstrated in this thread. Were absolutely at a disadvantage at maintaining concentration and the issues with our reward center and executive functions makes us so bored with the mundane, that we need the stimulus of learning or else were so restless from the underwhelming aspects of the daily grind, that we would probably develop severe depression. So these tips listed are not only good for helping you study, but also for helping you be satisfied with life....Even if you might be chasing your tail sometimes
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Old 05-05-13, 01:59 PM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

I think add'ers (and anyone else) of all ages should be taught (or should teach themselves) these skills as they could help them in their studies.

I like these videos because it shows that these techniques are quite simple to learn, but effort is still required on the learners part to utilise them (you don't get anything for nothing).

If you watched all the videos then the part he goes through the quick story (using visual imagery) for remembering pi to 10 decimal places (3.1415926535...) seems to be stuck (with a few repititions afterwards) in my long term memory.
This is relevant as I have studied some undergraduate mathematics in the past and before this only remembered pi to about 3 decimal places, and I've probably seen that number hundreds of times.

Also, its informative to hear from an 8 times world memory champion that he had similar problems in school to some of us regarding attention and dyslexia type difficulties, and believes that these memory techniques would have helped him had they been taught to him by his teachers.



I
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Old 05-09-13, 01:47 PM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

Another youtube video that explains some of the techniques and their history that were used by Dominic O' Brien in the previous videos.

Again, if the thread is about study tips then memory techniques I think are relevant.

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Old 05-09-13, 01:50 PM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

I've written a bit about this in other threads, but: Find ways to make concepts intuitive for you rather than rule-based. Coming up with visual/spatial/physical representations of concepts you've learned verbally can be crucial. This may take a little while, so you may be behind other people at first, but once you have the instinct down, you'll be quicker than them.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:22 PM
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Re: Study Tips For The ADD Mind

1. I also do all of my studying in the quiet study area of the library. I do not bring my computer at all. It's more efficient for me to do things by hand and then type them later than have the computer (re: internet) available with all its distractions.

2. I use coil ringed notebooks for all my classes. I'm not able to keep loose sheets organized at all.

3. My first week of school's study time is first dedicated to making myself organized. I put time in my study schedule for organizing my binder into relevant sections based on the textbook.

4. I always bring a hole punch with me to class. My profs never hand things out holepunched and if it goes home without being punched then it will never make it to the right place at all.

5. I use little metal rings to keep all my weekly readings joined together in my binder (all readings for one course go into one ring and then into binder) for easier review.

6. I have a large desk planner only for school related projects that I use to break down my assignments into smaller chunks and assign due dates to each section.

7. I set audio reminders on my phone using an app. It reminds me of each assignment based on my preliminary and final due dates.

8. I set a study schedule at the start of the term setting aside specific blocks of time for each course (important to be reasonable and not plan every minute of your life)

9. I use a timer to remind me to take breaks at every thirty minutes so that I don't keep working even when my energy levels are lagging.

10. I print out rough copies of essays because I find I catch the mistakes easier when they are printed rather than on-screen.

11. If I have assigned presentations I try to book the earliest available days in the term knowing that I will have a significant amount of work due at the end.
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