9 ADHD Study Tips to Work Smarter & Boost Grades


Studying can be a challenge for any student, but if your child has ADHD, it may be even harder for them to do well in school, and they may spend a lot of time trying to study with poor results. However, this doesn’t mean your child isn’t smart, since bad grades may simply be due to difficulty concentrating on and retaining information. 

Students with ADHD often struggle with Executive Function skills, which are life management skills that everyone needs in order to plan, initiate and achieve daily goals. If your child is struggling with Executive Function, they may:

  • Have difficulty managing their time
  • Show a lack of organization
  • Procrastinate until the last minute
  • Have an inability to initiate tasks
  • Exhibit a lack of focus
  • Find it harder to manage stress


For a student preparing for a test, Executive Function skills can help them figure out how to study so they remember the material they’ve learned and also help them learn that material in a timely manner, which can decrease stress from procrastination.

Studying doesn't have to be stressful for students. With the right tools and training, your child with ADHD can make and execute a study plan that can help them get ready for that upcoming test. Let’s take a look at some study tips for ADHD that may help!

Free resource: ADHD Success Kit



Study techniques for students with ADHD

Studying is more than just sitting down to review notes. In fact, there are many study techniques that students with ADHD can use to help them study more effectively. 

If your child has ADHD, they might need to use a variety of study techniques to understand the material they’re trying to learn, so here are a few study tips that can help minimize frustration and set your ADHD student on the path to success.

Start ahead of time.

Set up a study plan with your child before they’re overloaded with assignments. If you wait until the last minute to try to implement new ways of studying, it may be more difficult to get your child into a new routine. Involve them while you plan their study routine. If they feel part of the planning, they’re more likely to engage when it comes time to study.

Additionally, last-minute cramming isn’t a good study method — your child is much less likely to remember the material if they’re trying to rush through all of their notes the day before the test. When they start ahead of time, they’ll be prepared long before the day of the test.


Minimize distractions.

Distractions can get anyone off track. And since people with ADHD are more likely to get distracted, it’s especially important to remove distracting elements from study time for children with ADHD. This may include doing things like:

  • Putting their cellphone away during study time
  • Limiting internet access on their laptops or Chromebooks
  • Choosing a calm study environment
  • Studying in a part of the house that’s away from distracting family members


As you work on studying together, you’ll learn what distracts your child the most, which can help you determine what parts of their study time may need to be changed.


Set up rewards.

Rewards can be an incentive when your child is struggling to stay on task. If you offer a reward for a set amount of time they’ve studied or a certain number of practice problems completed, they’re more likely to accomplish those tasks. Here are a few examples of rewards that may motivate your child to study:

  • Participating in a hobby
  • Talking to a friend
  • Enjoying a special snack or drink
  • Watching TV
  • Scrolling social media


Rewards don’t have to be huge. Even a small reward can be motivating, and the more motivated they are, the more likely they’ll be to study for that test.


Stay active.

Exercise is a great way to boost cognitive performance and increase dopamine levels, which is especially important for people with ADHD, who may deal with a dopamine deficiency. A few forms of exercise that can be helpful include:

  • Going on a short walk
  • Doing jumping jacks
  • Skipping rope
  • Dancing to a fun song


Exercise can also offer a break from sitting at a desk or at the table. If your child stays in one place for too long, they may get bored. Occasional breaks for exercise and movement can help your child study for a longer period of time overall. 


Get enough sleep.

While sleeping may feel like the opposite of studying, sleep is essential to help students retain information, and if your child is well rested, their cognitive performance may be better. Here are a couple of ways you can help your child get enough sleep:

  • Set a bedtime to help your child stay on a good sleep schedule.
  • Suggest naps if your child isn’t sleeping enough during the night.


Our brains convert short-term memory into long-term memory while we sleep, so when your child gets enough sleep, they’re more likely to remember what they studied the day before. 


Stimulate the senses.

While it’s important to minimize distractions during study time, too much quiet can also make it harder for your child to stay focused. Mild forms of stimulation can be especially helpful for people with ADHD. 

Listening to music can enhance concentration and performance for people with ADHD, so white noise or quiet music may be a good form of stimulation for your child. However, too much noise can create more distractions, so you may need to play around with different kinds and levels of noise and music.


Schedule study time.

If you want your child to stop procrastinating, you have to help them schedule study time before their test occurs. Your child may want to put off studying until the last minute, but they’re more likely to do well on a test if they prepare well in advance.

Some children do best with a set weekly study schedule, while others may prefer to switch up their schedule every week depending on which subjects have tests or quizzes coming up. You may want to try out a few different schedules to see what works best for your child.


Set realistic goals.

It’s great that you want your child to succeed! But if you set unrealistic goals for them, they’re more likely to get frustrated when they can’t achieve those goals. Children with ADHD often struggle with a limited attention span, so setting smaller, more realistic goals may help them accomplish more. This can give them a sense of accomplishment and make them more likely to stick to their new study habits.

Smaller aims may include: 

  • Setting goals for each unit or page of information
  • Setting goals in time intervals such as five or 10 minutes
  • Setting goals for daily study time


You can also have more than one goal in a day! Setting smaller goals doesn’t limit your child’s potential; it just gives them more markers to see their gradual success.


Get creative!

Switching up your child’s studying strategies can help them retain information better, so don’t just read through the textbook or notes repeatedly. Instead, find creative ways to memorize and practice that information. You may want to try:

  • Recording study notes as voice memos so your child can listen to them instead of reading them
  • Creating practice tests to mimic the information they’ll need to know
  • Making colorful flashcards to stimulate their visual memory
  • Turning information such as lists into songs or acronyms that may be easier for your child to remember


Every child is different, and their study methods may be different, too. What’s important is to find the study techniques that work best for your child. 


Set your child with ADHD up for success

Helping your child with ADHD learn how to study can be frustrating and challenging, but with the right tools and training, your child can figure out a study routine that works for them. At Beyond BookSmart, we have Executive Function coaching services to help develop and improve the skills students need to create an effective and workable study routine.

Executive Function skills are coachable, trainable and can be applied for success. Whether you have a learning difference, an emotional challenge, such as anxiety, or you’re just struggling to reach your Executive Function potential, Beyond BookSmart services can help you see what you’re capable of.

Contact our team today for more information on Executive Function coaching.

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