ADHD Students: Success in HS
This suggestions may be helpful to many students, not just those with ADHD. Perhaps that’s because all of us experience difficulty concentrating some of the time. We all get distracted some of the time. We all get tired sitting still.
Seven Strategies for more effective learning
1. Talk to each of your teachers as soon as possible. Explain your problem and how you are dealing with it. If you occasionally need to get up and walk back and forth, you’d want to get permission first.
Do you get easily distracted during tests? If so, you might ask to sit off to one side, away from the window or the hallway. Don’t be shy. Tell your teacher that you want to do well in the class and explain how they can be most helpful. Sure, there are always a few that are unsympathetic, but all the great teachers who go out of their way to help students with special needs, more than make up for the difficult ones.
2. If you have trouble talking to your teachers, you or your parents can talk to a guidance counselor and the counselor can talk to your teachers. If is far better, however, to learn how to self-advocate, to be able to explain your problem and tell people how they can help you. Maybe you can start with the teacher who seems most friendly. Each time you do this, it gets a little easier.
3. Ask your guidance counselor to help you schedule your classes for the times of the day when you will have the least problems. The part of the day, just before you take your next meds would be ideal for gym class. It will help you get the exercise you need to settle down. And in gym classes, your extra energy can be helpful. Think about your other classes. Which classes are most difficult? Where will you need to pay close attention? Those should be scheduled, if possible at the time of the day when you have the least problems. You might also consider your best times when you have an important test. Ask the teacher if you can come before school, after school, or during your study hall if those would be better times for you.
4. Try to include at least one class every semester that is something you are very strongly interested in, something you can really get excited about. Then, go beyond what’s required. List your questions. Do research to find the answers. Develop a strong relationship with the teacher. Let him or her know how excited you are about the class. What you really want is to get so involved with this subject that you are able to Hyper Focus. Having great success in at least one class will raise your confidence and your grade point average.
5. Try to get a little exercise whenever you can manage it. While walking to your next class, walk energetically, swing your arms. You might get to class a few minutes early and do some exercises. Exercise is good for the brain. It makes your blood flow faster bringing energy and oxygen to the brain cells. This extra oxygen should help you concentrate better.
6. Plan your study time in short chunks. You will soon discover just how long you can study effectively, You might try just 15-20 minutes and take a break. Take a walk outside in the fresh air. Then you might try another 15 minutes. You will learn more, understand it better and remember it longer in two 15 minute periods when you can concentrate than in an hour all at once.
You might also find ways to study while exercising. You might be able to download something you need to read and listen as you run or walk. You could tape lectures and listen to these as you exercise. Some people can even read while on a treadmill.
7. To organize and study the material you have read, you might find it helpful to create large, brightly colored, and perhaps illustrated charts.
Try concept maps, compare and contrast charts, a matrix, or even a timeline. Copy diagrams from your text too. These are all ways of ACTIVE learning. You are using your muscles as well as your brain.
Then, review by attempting to recreate these visuals without looking at the original. Make corrections as needed. Sometimes you’ll even want to revise the original. This will help you focus on the main ideas and related details.
8. To study literature classes, try acting out the stories. You get to take all the roles, putting the conversation in your own words.
In a history class, you might act out a conversation between two or more historical characters.
In science classes, you might discuss something with a famous scientist. Tell Albert Einstein how his theories have affected the study of physics or what new discoveries have been made since his time. Ask Charles Darwin your questions about evolution. Talk to Galileo about what it was like to discover that heavy objects don’t fall any faster than light objects except when air resistance slows the movement of the larger lighter objects. He’d understand that you find it confusing.
9. For a math class, I’d suggest getting a study partner and doing your homework together. Actually, you should each do your best to solve each problem individually and then compare answers. But when one of you gets stuck, the other can certainly help out. Working together will keep your mind from wandering and you should be able to concentrate longer.
All students needs to schedule their time and be very intentional in following a schedule and getting all the work done. Students with Learning Differences need to be especially intentional.
You cannot afford to skip classes or let your mind wander during a lecture. You cannot afford to go several days without studying. It is much harder to do the next days study and also make up work you missed. Remember that you made it this far with hard work. You can continue to work hard and succeed in college.
You might want to read ADHD Strategies
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If you have other suggestions, perhaps strategies that have been helpful to you, please let me know. To leave suggestions, ask questions or leave comments you can use the section at the bottom of the page.
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