5 Test Taking Strategies for Students With ADHDFebruary 24th, 2018 by Christine Chadwick
Students with ADHD can excel academically. The key to their educational success lies in their preparation for tests. While educators can make accommodations for students with ADHD, practicing these test-taking strategies can give students the confidence to succeed.
1. Review the material in small chunks
Students with ADHD should never cram for an exam. Breaking up the material into small, manageable components has two primary benefits. First, it can enhance the student's comprehension. Complex ideas can be a challenge for any student, but students with ADHD respond best to learning one step at a time. This method also improves their ability to retain the information. Apply this strategy by spending fifteen minutes to review the material each day.
2. Quiz yourself daily
Daily quizzing can improve a student's test-taking abilities. One strategy is to take brief oral quizzes given by a parent or tutor. Active involvement on behalf of a parent or tutor can help the student recognise areas that need further review and also help the student gain confidence. When a student begins an exam feeling confident about his or her understanding of the material, he or she may experience less symptoms of ADHD during the test; and, an enhanced focus can lead to better grades.
3. Practice good sleep hygiene
A proper night's sleep is an often under-looked component of strong test-taking strategies for ADHD students. Students should aim for at least eight hours of sleep the night before a test. Plus, students with ADHD are more prone to exhibiting symptoms when fatigued.
4. Avoid classroom distractions
When choosing a seat in the classroom, students with ADHD need to be aware of environmental influences that can trigger ADHD symptoms. Some students need to sit in the front of the classroom, while others feel self-conscious and prefer being against a wall or in the back. A self-conscious student can be distracted by the seating arrangement, preventing the student from focusing on the teacher.
Physical discomfort is a distraction that influences test-taking. Common distractions can be a ceiling fan, sitting by the window, or beneath an air conditioning vent. Of course, sitting by talkative friends can also distract a student during class. A student may require help identifying the physical distractions to his or her education, and a tutor can recognise the student's distractions and provide advice to prevent them.
5. Begin the test with confidence
Slowly read the directions. Students with ADHD have a tendency to skip portions of the directions on a test. After the student completely reads the directions, he or she should use a highlighter to identify the question. Review the directions of each portion of the exam. Many tests will include multiple choice, fill-in the blank, and short answers.
Teachers will often let the student complete the test sections in any order. To boost confidence during the test, a student with ADHD should begin with the section he or she is most confident about. For example, some students excel at eliminating wrong answers in a multiple-choice exam. Beginning with the section that the student is strong in can build confidence. Tutors can also help a student recognise his or her test-taking strengths and give personal tips to tackling areas that are more challenging.