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Mastering Time Management During Exams for Teens with ADHD: The Analogue Watch Strategy


Managing time during exams can be particularly challenging for Australian teens with ADHD due to "time blindness," a common issue stemming from the impact of ADHD on executive functions. These mental processes enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. For teens with ADHD, difficulties in these areas can make time management in high-pressure situations like exams especially tough. However, overcoming these challenges is entirely possible with the right strategies and tools. This blog aims to help parents in Australia effectively navigate time management for their teens during exams. REACH ADHD Coaching and Consultancy in Perth, WA, can assist in refining these crucial skills.

Understanding Time Blindness

What is Time Blindness?

It's difficult to estimate how much time has passed or will be needed for tasks, often leading to procrastination or difficulty completing tasks within set time limits.

Impact on Exams: 

During exams, this can mean misjudging the time needed for each question, spending too long on some parts, and not having enough time to complete others.


The Analogue Watch Strategy

An analogue watch can be a surprisingly effective tool for managing time during exams.

Here's how to implement this strategy:

Before the Exam:

   Equip your teen with a simple analogue watch. The visual representation of time passing is more concrete than digital displays.

   Practice estimating time intervals and checking these against the watch to improve their time awareness.


Planning Time Allocation:

   Before starting the exam, encourage your teen to read through the paper and jot down how long they plan to spend on each section. For example, "Section 1 - 20 mins 10:00 am - 10:20 am."

   This plan should be written at the top of the exam paper or on a separate note if allowed.

During the Exam:

   Teach them to regularly check their watch or the exam hall clock to assess their progress against their planned times.

   If they notice they're spending too long on a question, they should move on and return later if time permits.


Why This Works

Visual and Tangible:

Analogue watches provide a visual and tangible representation of time passing, making it easier for teens to manage their exam time effectively.

Promotes Independence:

This strategy empowers teens to take control of their time management, fostering independence and confidence.


It's a flexible approach that can be tailored to the length and structure of any exam or assessment.

Time management is a skill that can be developed, even in the face of challenges like ADHD. By incorporating strategies like the analogue watch method, parents can help their teens survive and thrive, especially during exams. Remember, practice, patience, and persistence are the key. With the proper support and tools, such as the specialised ADHD coaching available at REACH ADHD Coaching and Consultancy in Perth, WA, your teen can overcome the hurdles of time blindness and achieve their full potential.

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