Any tips handling ADHD as a student?

Posted by barige @barige, Jun 14, 2023

Im currently 21 and got diagnosed with a severe case of ADHD last fall. So bad that even my evaluator was stunned at how my condition being this intense had gone unnoticed for almost 2 decades. Accepting and understanding the diagnoses has been a real eyeopener for me like any other adhd individual. However, this diagnoses being right smack at the peaks of my educational career has been a real headbanger to say the least. Understanding how an "adhd brain" learns, diverts, and how to control it has unfortunately taken a toll on my grades and my self confidence as a result. Additionally, as a premedical student, figuring this out or at least having a dependable mechanism of practices to help is crucial before I go into medical school any future cutthroat environments. Tips anyone?

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@barige welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. ADHD is a tough one but not insurmountable. You mentioned having an “evaluator”. Perhaps this person can also give you some information on ADHD. At this point you must be somewhere into your undergraduate studies. What school do you go to, what year? Is there a resource at your school that can offer any “tips” for you? (The psych, education or social work departments, placement, student counseling)


@barige These are good questions. I applaud your willingness to try skills and strategies that can support your academic success.

I was a university professor for many years before retirement and had many conversations with undergraduate and graduate students about study skills. Some of these students were diagnosed with ADHD so I hope my suggestions might be useful.

1. Always take notes during class. Write your notes by hand, not on the computer. Ask your professors in classes that you find more challenging if you can “record” the discussions/lectures. If the lectures are always on line, then that’s even better. If you record lectures then you can go back and listen to the lecture again while filling in your notes. Yes, it’s laborious but it really pays off as this method gives you additional input and slows the processing time you will need to remember what you’ve heard.

2. Do you use a highlighter when you read your assignments? This method is too passive. Use an active method such as taking notes while you read. Now this you can do on the computer if you want. Again this method slows processing time and provides an active way of reading. If you are like me and most everyone, your mind wanders while you are reading because reading is a passive activity. Taking notes while reading helps focus and makes reading an active process.

3. When you study for an exam again use an active process. Reading over your notes is passive. Re-writing your notes and condensing them is an active way to learn.

These are a few suggestions that might be helpful to you. What do you think? Have you tried any of these in the past?


Managing ADHD as a student can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help. First, create a structured routine by establishing a consistent daily schedule for studying, attending classes, meals, exercise, and relaxation. Break tasks into smaller steps to make them more manageable and minimize overwhelm.

Use organizational tools like planners or digital apps to keep track of assignments and deadlines, and set reminders for important tasks. Find a quiet, distraction-free environment for studying and take regular breaks to avoid burnout. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration. Practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques to reduce stress and improve focus.

Seek support from friends, family, teachers, or counselors, and consider joining a support group for students with ADHD. Don't hesitate to discuss accommodations with your teachers or school counselors if you're struggling, and prioritize self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, and managing stress. Remember, managing ADHD is a process, so be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress along the way...

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