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students studying on laptops

Study Tips for Students Struggling with Executive Function Disorder

Taking a test can be a daunting task, especially for students who struggle with Executive functioning. Current Gow students struggling with organization, time management, planning, and self-discipline, have found the best way to prepare for a big exam is to follow six study tips.

1. Make a plan. Making a plan can help students see everything that needs to be done in an organized manner. Although this can be difficult for students with learning differences, they find that this helps them achieve their goals. Asking teachers what format the test will be helps students visually map out the exam. Using a planner to help organize all your commitments helps plan out your studying time as well as other commitments you might have. The plan will not work if you don’t hold yourself accountable and have self-discipline, something that students who lack executive function struggle with. Setting time aside in your planner for each individual class and meeting with the teacher during their free time will help you stay on top of your studying plan. Our current students that struggle with executive functioning have found that Gow’s tutorial is beneficial since it is specially for meeting with teachers and getting homework done.

2. Re-write your notes. Notes act as an opportunity to preview the information that is going to be on the test. Reading through your notes and marking the terms, formulas, or problems you are unsure about will allow you to know which topics you need to go back to and spend more time on. After silently reading through the topics you don’t know, read them aloud over and over again until you are able to memorize the card. Then move onto the next. Students with EFD find that the use of multi sensory tactics help them the best, using their sight hearing and tactile senses to their advantage.

3. Make Flashcards. Making flash cards is an easy yet effective way to study as most students have been using them since elementary school. Flashcards however don’t work for every topic or subject. Students with EFD must first decide if the information at hand would make a good flash card. Flash cards often help with vocabulary, formulas, dates and RL cards but not critical thinking and writing questions. Once the flashcards are completed start drilling them. For the cards that you know the answer to say the answer aloud to make a connection between the word and the definition. The cards that you are unsure about read the definition and then set the card aside. Continue to go back to the cards that you are unsure about until you know them all.

4. Review old quizzes and test. Reviewing old quizzes and tests allows for you to be prepared for the type of questions your teacher has asked in the past and the format of each question. If you have questions on your old tests that are incorrect, go back through your resources and find the correct answer. If you are still unsure about the question, ask your teacher for clarification. Students who struggle with Executive functioning have found that the use of colored pens helps when reviewing. Circling the questions, you know, don’t know, or are unsure about helps students differentiate between the questions and tells the student to slow down when they come to a question they don’t know.

5. Create your own review packet. Although this can be a little time consuming this tip is found to be effective when studying for exams. Going through old tests and exams and finding questions that have been repeated on each test will give you a sign that it will probably be on the final. Once you have figured out the possible questions for the exam, go through and make up your own possible questions as a review packet. Once you have come up with the questions, have your teacher check it over to make sure the answers and problems are correct.