Study smarter not harder with ADHD

Welcome to our series for Turbo ADHD brains (watch the movie, you’ll get the reference, but the short explanation is: slow as a snail when not important to you, and superspeed when you are interested). Coffee is what gets most of us going on a Monday morning, but it’s really the super juice for ADHD brains. SO, coffee and quick tips to learn more about the ADHD brain and how to make it work in your favor.

School is a chore for 90% of people with ADHD. It’s truly a constant struggle. Thus, learning how to study smarter not harder is essential. 

In this post, I want to highlight an old concept but an effective study plan from FR Robinson (1946 book, Effective Study, if you are inclined to learn more). Truly, this is a great strategy for other students as well.

Let’s apply this to the chapter of one book, which is what most students in elementary, middle, or high-school start with. For ADHD kids, I highly encourage parents to study with them and to teach them how to consistently apply this method. No, they cannot do it on their own. Left on their own, they will do it inconsistently and everyone will still get frustrated in the process. 

I recommend this be done from 2nd to 8th grade, with less and less oversight if you see consistent progress as they get older. Robinson introduced the acronym SQ3R which stands for: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review

Survey: Go through a chapter and note the sub-headings, figures, tables, and summary paragraphs. In 3 to 5 minutes, the student should have a general idea of what the chapter is about and if they have any essay questions they have to answer, this will give them an idea where to potentially find the answer.

Question: Go in reverse and ask general questions such as: What is this chapter about? What question is this chapter trying to answer? Do I have any essay questions this chapter would be helpful for?

Read: Use the work that has been completed with "S" and "Q" to begin reading actively and purposely. This means actually paying attention and connecting the questions to the specific paragraphs that answer them. Use a highlighter for important concepts.

Recite: Try to retrieve from memory what was learned. Tell someone, a parent, a study partner, or out loud to yourself the main points of the reading, using your own words, or start writing flashcards. This part may be done either in an oral or written format and is meant to move the information into long-term memory so you can access it later on during a test.

Review: Once you reach the end of the chapter, say back to yourself what the point of the chapter was, again, using your own words. Also, include the main points and what could be the most important ideas to remember that are related to your homework or study guide. 

If you would like additional ADHD support, I'd like to invite you to the West Valley ADHD Resources & Support Facebook group. In this free community, you will gain positive connections, helpful resources, and support without judgment or criticism for parents of children diagnosed with ADHD (or on the spectrum). I can't wait to connect with you further! 

I am delighted to announce the launch of my “Own Your Happiness” membership focusing on ADHD, Anxiety & Stress, and Relationships. By becoming a member, you will gain access to a wealth of valuable resources, practical skills, and additional information that I typically only provide during private sessions. If you’d like to get on the waiting list and find out more about it when it’s ready to be launched, just add your email RIGHT HERE.

Effective ADHD training and coaching requires a different level of understanding and training on a clinicians’ part. If you know someone struggling with such a diagnosis, child or adult, give us a call for a 15-minute free consultation at 623-628-0406 or set up an appointment at

ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, stress and anxiety management, and executive coaching.