College student screaming

College Students with ADHD and Autism: 10 Tips for Online Final Exams


College student screaming

For centuries, college students have taken final exams. Fast forward to the 21st century: Same. Here comes COVID-19. Online classes are all the rage. Not popular for college students with ADHD and Autism…just rage.

Online classes combine learning with technology. Whether it’s computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones, teaching takes on a new form. It’s a bigger challenge for college students with disabilities. Some of these are similar to those in their traditional classroom experiences. Now there are new challenges because the classes are online.

Teens and young adults with ADHD and Autism graduating from high school have more options than ever. Transition IEPs give qualified students ages 16 and above specific skills and strategies to prepare for post-high school life. This includes college.

Executive Functioning

Executive functioning disorder (EFD) is common for people with ADHD and Autism. It’s difficult for them to manage. The best resources can be Student Support and Student Service programs available in the college or university. Hiring a personal coach or tutor may help to mitigate weaknesses.

  • Adaptive thinking
  • Planning
  • Organization skills
  • Self-control
  • Working memory
  • Time management
  • Self-monitoring

Basic Skills 

Basic skills can be a significant challenge in college. Specifically, academics are a problem as a result of not addressing troubles in earlier years. Math, reading, written, and verbal skills are particular concerns. Unfortunately, corresponding academic-support accommodations are less likely to be provided in postsecondary education.

Time Management 

Time management is a major challenge. Whether in class or personal life, getting things done is an uphill battle. Planning should be the first step. This is not always the case. Knowing the starting point and the end is the best way to find success. Strong organization skills can make things easier. Choosing digital or paper tools, they can find help discovering personalized techniques.

Getting Along With Others 

Social skills can be difficult to manage. This can result from emotional volatility. Conversations with professors, classmates, and friends can be difficult. Building self-knowledge and self-advocacy skills can help.

Online Learning: College Education of Today

Our kids with ADHD and Autism have been in the classroom for more than 10 years. Things may have been boring, but it was expected. Then came COVID-19. Next?

Today higher education largely takes place at home with their own device. Location could be anywhere. All they need is internet access and a web browser. Only one problem…What about time?

Online Tips

Colleges and universities weren’t ready last March. What about now? Teens and young adults are independent. However, they need adequate life skills to meet the requirements of online learning. Classes are both synchronous (everyone at the same time) and/or asynchronous (apart, not held together). Our kids are not prepared for these challenges. Fortunately, there are strategies for college students with ADHD and Autism.


  • Be flexible and plan ahead.
  • Establish and stick to a routine.
  • Take medication regularly.
  • Embrace learning preferences.
  • Build in exercise breaks.


  • Create a personal learning space.
  • Maintain healthy habits.
  • Access learning platforms.
  • Support social connections.
  • Use “fixation” as a break in the action.

Online College Final Exams Tips 

April and May 2021. It’s right around the corner. That means exam time. Final exam time, ONLINE. There are strategies that college students with ADHD and Autism can use. Connecting with friends helps. Check out Zoom and Google Meet (all platforms).

  • Choose a specific time and place to avoid distractions.
  • Start early to avoid anxiety.
  • Chunk work into smaller parts.
  • Develop personal study skills by practicing throughout the semester.
  • Create a healthy mind (rest, sleep, eat). 

Knowing the Subject Material

Getting to know the content is a real challenge. Executive Functioning Disorder makes it even more so. Check in with professors for suggestions. Look for classmates for fun and support. Parents can create the ultimate platform. Love helps too.

  • Form study groups with classmates.
  • Create flashcards.
  • Visualize the material.
  • Focus on abstract understanding.
  • Use review materials/sessions.

Online final exams and projects take on all new challenges. As they draw near, colleges and instructors need to consider content and format. Then, how will it be graded?

Online Exam Strategies: What Should You Do?

We can’t control everything, but we can control some things.

  • Find a good and reliable internet connection.
  • Minimize distractions (TV, background sounds, social media).
  • Run upgrades beforehand.
  • Charge all devices.
  • Keep most windows closed.

Keep your head up and stay strong. We’re all in it together during these difficult times.

Question: What will things look like in the fall semester?


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