10 Super Simple Concentration and Study Tips for People with ADD/ADHD

Concentration and Study Tips

If you live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD), you know that it can cause problems with learning at any age. Fortunately, a wide variety of study strategies can help you stay focused, engaged, and motivated—academically and otherwise. Whether you were diagnosed as a child or later as a teen or young adult, it’s never too late to start implementing new concentration and study tools and start achieving all your goals.


An estimated 4.4% of adults in the United States have ADD/ADHD, which equates to about 10 million people. In addition, approximately 6 million children in the US have been diagnosed with the condition, which is considered a health crisis among kids and adolescents. From an educational perspective, those with ADD/ADHD are found to have increased challenges with learning, incur more school absences, and experience social difficulties with their peers.

Left untreated, adults with ADD/ADHD can struggle with reduced earnings and have challenges with success in higher education. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities suggests that college students with ADD/ADHD take a longer time to graduate, have lower GPAs, and have higher attrition than students without the condition. And symptoms can continue throughout adulthood and get in the way of career success.

College students with ADD/ADHD take a longer time to graduate, have lower GPAs, and have higher attrition than students without the condition, but a wide range of helpful tools can help mitigate these risks. Click To Tweet


People with ADD/ADHD can experience a wide range of symptoms that can have a profound effect on academics and learning, such as:

1. Difficulty concentrating and staying on task.

Research published in the Journal of Educational Research and Practice found that children with ADD/ADHD were less likely to stay on task and complete an academic assignment than those without an ADD/ADHD diagnosis.

2. Memory loss.

Forgetting a fact or figure during a course exam is a common occurrence, but those who live with ADD/ADHD are significantly more likely to suffer from deficits in working memory, according to findings in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. This impacts grades, overall academic functioning, and career performance.

3. Impaired attention.

A review of current literature relating to ADD/ADHD shows robust evidence that college students are particularly challenged with long-term academic success due to inattention symptoms. This behavior can include procrastination and a chronic inability to focus.

4. Trouble with organization and time management.

Although not the case for everyone with ADD/ADHD, some will invest in several organizational tracking systems like calendars and planners then never use them because they become overwhelmed with the idea of tracking their time. It can be deeply frustrating and negatively impact studies and course grades.


While the challenges that come with ADD/ADHD can feel daunting, there is a wide range of tools that can be implemented to support the academic process and result in great success, whether in middle or high school, college or graduate school. These same strategies can also be beneficial for continued education, learning new skills on the job, or stepping into a new position in the workplace.

1. Create serene scenery.

Your physical environment can lend itself to a successful study session. Make sure there aren’t too many distractions. Take down any busy artwork and replace it with photographs of the ocean or mountains. Surround yourself with colors that help you feel calm and tranquil. Clear your workspace before you dig into your studies to facilitate an organized space.

2. Sit front and center.

Sitting at the front of a lecture hall, classroom, or conference room can help you avoid being distracted by others and your focus can remain with the teacher, professor, or speaker. Data from a 2020 study show that students who sit farther from the front of the classroom had a decline in grade performance compared to those who sit closer to the instructor.

3. Turn down the volume.

A study in Plos One shows that a noisy environment decreases attention in people who have ADD/ADHD, so keeping the music turned down or wearing noise-canceling headphones can be a helpful way to stay focused.

4. Put on the brakes.

Taking short breaks helps with focus and concentration, as is working in short spurts of 15–20-minute intervals. Walk away from your desk and be careful not to fill this break time with scrolling on social media or other use of screen time. Resting your eyes, avoiding stimuli, and spending time in nature are ideal during break time.

5. Get moving.

Physical exercise is shown to have a positive effect on lowering ADHD symptoms according to research in the Journal of Attention Disorders. Get outside for a walk or run, dance to a song or two to shake out some excess energy, and keep your blood flowing. A 2019 study in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that movement has a significantly positive effect on attention in people with ADD/ADHD.

6. Be creative.

A study in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, people with ADD/ADHD are shown to have creative abilities that people without the condition do not. Take a few minutes out of your study time to explore a new hobby such as crocheting or learning how to play a musical instrument to fire different areas of your brain. Just make sure it’s relaxing and enjoyable rather than overstimulating and stressful.

7. Don’t cram for exams.

It might be tempting to put off studying until the last minute, but it is detrimental to academic performance. Rather, provide yourself plenty of time to study in shorter bursts rather than long, exhaustive hours of studying the night before an exam.

8. Get some zzz’s.

Getting a full night of restful sleep will help optimize focus. If you’re mid-study session and find that you’re sleepy, take a break and close your eyes for as little as 15 or 20 minutes to refresh your brain and reset yourself mentally.

9. Have a snack.

Not just any snack! Ditch the chips and cookies and be sure to stay away from all foods with artificial dyes, preservatives, processed sugar, soy, dairy, and gluten. Instead, fill your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables, “clean” carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein.

10. Rewrite to reinforce learning.

Rather than re-reading your notes, which can give a false sense of understanding information, re-write them as a way of relearning each time you do so. The familiarity of already-written notes can deceive you into thinking you know the material, but when you spend time using a pen and paper, slowly rewriting notes helps process the information more effectively.

ADD/ADHD and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

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