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ADHD/ ADD and Studying?

jddckeryjddckery Alum Member
edited November 2014 in December 2014 LSAT 25 karma
I was recently (as in 2 days ago diagnosed with ADHD) been studying for about 3 months (taking the Dec Test) and having a few issues. Makes sense now with the diagnosis. I was just wondering if anybody else is dealing with this and how you're handling studying? Are you asking for special accommodations on the test or are your meds helping enough? Any tips or idk general info would help. Thanks.

Comments

  • edited November 2014 15 karma
    Thanks for sharing. Have you tried any meds. I've heard riddalin or Adderall work well for this diagnosis. With this diagnosis you should be able to get prescriptions from your Doctor. There's also nootropics.
  • shinny117shinny117 Alum Member
    69 karma
    @jddckery I recall from one of the lsat tutors that LSAC provides additional time to those who have ADHD and have the medical proof. You should look into it!
  • mes08mes08 Alum Member
    edited November 2014 578 karma
    If you can, get ahold of Adderall. I live abroad and so I don't use it, but I have found other things help with my focus. Breaking up study time with 10-15 minute breaks every two hours (or every hour on bad days), exercising, getting full rest, meditating 10 minutes before studying or taking PTs, and studying in a room with no distractions. Good luck!
  • MPeabodyMPeabody Alum Member
    edited November 2014 82 karma
    To be honest, I wouldn't bank on accommodations. I wouldn't even apply. Personally, I have had *several* qualifying disabilities--including ADHD--heavily-documented for well over a decade. I first took the LSAT a few years back and didn't even apply for accommodations because A) The LSAC is notoriously stingy when it comes to giving out accommodations B) It costs about $2,000-$3,000 to get the complete testing done that they require and it's still a huge gamble and C) They flagged the scores for those that got extra time and I didn't want schools to look at my score differently.

    I am currently studying for a re-take and while most of A and B are still true, extended time tests are no longer flagged and folks who have had previous accommodations are able to basically get reciprocity if they had those accommodations on the SAT, GRE, or whatever. Although I didn't have it on the SAT, I had formal accommodations (IEP, 504, etc.) in high school that suggests I SHOULD have and decided to give it a shot. My file of documentation is very thick and current (I have a lot of records that show how these disabilities are impacting me presently) and did pay to have the extensive testing done (and luckily found someone who had a sliding scale.) That said, I'm still not holding my breath and am preparing for my test under normal time constraints.

    You can see just how many requests they got and how many they granted by disability and accommodation via their own report here. It's up-to-date through the February 2012 test:

    http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/research-(lsac-resources)/tr-12-01.pdf

    (Make sure to copy and paste the link)

    I understand that they are trying to be the most fair by only allowing accommodations to those that would not gain an unfair advantage. And I'm not saying that you (nor I) would gain an unfair advantage with accommodations. I think that by trying to protect the validity of the test, they often screw over individuals--but I get where they are coming from.

    The fact that ADHD became so trendy and people used it as an excuse for everything and many HAVE tried to game schools, tests, etc. with it sucks. My point is that even with about 15 years of documentation including less "popular" diagnoses than ADHD, I'm not counting on accommodations. I've been prepping for my re-take for over a year and it took about a solid month to put together all the documentation/get the required testing. (No exaggeration.) You're welcome to cut that time out of your study schedule if you want to pursue it, I just want you to realistically think about the cost-benefit ratio. (Obviously for me, I did ultimately decide it was worth it.) (Oh, and you should know that the deadline for applying for accommodations is generally about a month ahead of the exam, so even if you randomly had all of the paperwork laying around, you wouldn't be able to apply for accommodations on the December test--it closed yesterday.)

    I do not deny that your ADHD is real or that you probably were suffering for a long time without diagnosis. It sucks that you don't have a paper trail and it is commendable that you are getting through/got through undergraduate without accommodations and probably had to work harder than others without ADHD. But your chances of getting accommodated are slim-to-none, particularly without a long history of documentation.

    As for other strategies--what has been working for you up until now? As I said earlier, although you are just getting diagnosed, my guess is you've been symptomatic for quite some time. How have you dealt with it in the past? As for meds, they can be very helpful, but to be honest, it may take time to find the right dosage. I know with the December test coming up, this may not be welcome (or feasible) advice, but it may be best to postpone the test to February or June for optimal test taking conditions--which would result in sitting out the current cycle.

    It's also best to do some reflecting and/or scientific methoding about how you study best. Do you study best in a library with other people around or a silent apartment? Do you have more focus in the mornings or afternoons? Is it best to have no distractions available ( like music) or is the silence deafening? As you get closer to the test date, you will need to practice in simulated conditions and will want to leave plenty of time to acclimate, but if you want to maximize your time while getting the foundations built, focus (pun intended) on what works for you. Capitalize when you ARE able to focus. (Study breaks are great but sometimes when I get into the "groove," I can study for hours on end and if I stop and take a break, I find it hard to re-enter that mode.)

    I would also ask whomever diagnosed your ADHD to tell you a bit more about it--is it the inattentive type? The impulsive type? Each has different consequences for how it impacts your test-taking and they should be able to offer some tips.

    If you (or others) would like to know more about the accommodations process or studying with disabilities, feel free to message me. I probably went into more details than wise in a public forum, but I love 7Sagers and the fact that they tend to be pretty positive and supportive and not so jerk-like about things like ADHD and accommodations and I know the process is kind of confusing and nebulous on purpose.
  • lbalestrierilbalestrieri Alum Member
    edited November 2014 110 karma
    I have ADD so also struggle with focusing when studying. I take medication and it does help, but its still something that I struggle with. I find that it takes me much longer than it should to be productive, and many days I find I get nothing done at all because of it - which is very frustrating. I am not planning on asking for accommodations. I'm seeing my doctor again shortly and I'm hoping that adjusting my medication may help more. I have adjusted to this by allowing myself more time to study - once I get focused and going I find that I can continue to work fairly well, however, it takes a lot of time to get to that point. It helps when I eliminate all possible distractions around me - such as electronics and other people - on my computer I temporarily block social network sites and other things I get distracted by through an app. I also make lists of even the smallest tasks to keep myself focused - it also helps prevent me from getting frustrated because I can see my progress better. And actually, signing up for this course has been very beneficial because its easier for me to pay attention to the videos than it was for me when reading a prepbook - it holds my attention more and keeps moving whereas it was easier for me to pause when reading. I struggle the most on the Reading Comprehension section because it is difficult for me to pay attention for the longer passages. It may sound obvious, but for me, a lot of it comes from just forcing myself to keep going and "practicing" paying attention as well as "faking" interest and attention in the passages. I am nervous for the fact that there will be other people in the room making noise during the test and creating distractions, so I am considering studying at least part time in public places such as coffee shops to practice working around that. Good luck!
  • k.catwalkerk.catwalker Alum Member
    7 karma
    You may have a better chance now, seeing as LSAC was just sued for multiple violations of the ADA.

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/law-school-admission-council-agrees-systemic-reforms-and-773-million-payment-settle-justice
  • LeoFiro8LeoFiro8 Alum Member
    edited November 2014 244 karma
    Adderall. ADD or no ADD helps focus with studies. Planning your day/week out also works, setting up times to make sure you attend your plans.
  • nullmeyerdnullmeyerd Alum Member
    13 karma
    You should have a much better chance now at getting extra time because of the lawsuits mentioned above by k.catwalker and the tests are no longer flagged as having been given extra time.
  • jddckeryjddckery Alum Member
    25 karma
    Thanks everyone for the feedback! I just got an Adderall prescription today so I'll see how it goes! And I'll also look into the accommodations as I went through all of the necessary testing and have everything documented. Thanks again!
  • Quick SilverQuick Silver Alum Inactive Sage
    1049 karma
    You do have a better chance at accommodations now - LSAC reformed it's process thanks to the DOJ
  • cbm100cbm100 Alum Member
    13 karma
    I am so glad someone wrote about this. I struggled for years with ADD and it has ironically made me excel at work where I can multitask so I didn't use the medication but when taking an intense focus test such as the LSAT or just studying in general I have struggled for months. I go to the library to take practice tests and get distracted by someone gulping water - "squirrel?" Why do they charge so much more for accommodations?
  • tsamvelyantsamvelyan Alum Member
    431 karma
    I have ADD and I use adderall. It helps me calm down more than anything. Like @cbm100 said I have no problem multitasking, if anything, I prefer a work environment like that, but when it comes to concentrating on a single task for too long, I get irritated, anxious and distracted. Adderall has helped a lot.
  • burstei6burstei6 Alum Member
    138 karma
    Does anyone know the likelihood/percentage of people who apply for accommodations and actually get them? I have ADD and take medication for it and I took the test in June 2013 under regular conditions, assuming I would not be granted the accommodations even if I applied in addition to knowing my score would be flagged. Does anyone know if that would that increase or decrease my chances of being granted accommodation? I have never received accommodations for any other standardized test but the LSAT is much different than other tests, and getting extra time/any accommodation seems worth the attempt to apply through LSAC.
  • SullysMomSullysMom Alum Member
    12 karma
    I have no clue about testing accommodations. Personally, I was diagnosed a year ago and have been on Ritalin for about a year. I do not have a paper trail and have not received accommodations in the past. I recently looked in to giving my Dr. the forms for LSAT testing accommodations, and they require extensive testing and paperwork.

    I'm kind of stumped when it comes down to taking PT's. There is usually between a 15 and 20 point differential between my original score and the blind review. Has anyone else had this problem?

    I've incorporated meditation, prescribed meds, and the Pomodoro method. I can tell the combination of these things have helped, but I am still running out of time and am oftentimes overcome with anxiety that prevents me from concentrating.

    I am considering postponing my test until Feb :( I would like to take the test, as planned, in December. Any advice/comments are welcomed!
  • Kimber77Kimber77 Alum Member
    30 karma
    What is the Pomodoro method? Sullysmom, I have had the same problem as you also with the difference between my test and blind review. I am really curious if this is normal?
  • SullysMomSullysMom Alum Member
    12 karma
    http://pomodorotechnique.com
    Apps available to help you keep track on your phone.
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