Do you take forever to do your homework? Are you always the last one to finish tests when you have them in class? Many teenagers and college students have the exact same experience as you and may have difficulty with processing information efficiently. Psychologists and teachers may will tell them that they have slow processing speed. The most important thing you need to know about slow processing speed is that this does not mean that you are not smart but simply that some things might take you a little longer to complete than you would like.
You’re probably experiencing slow processing speed because your brain processes information differently. Neuroscientists believe that slow processing speed may be related to the composition of neurons (brain cells), the size of the space between neurons (synapses), or the way neurotransmitters (chemicals released in the brain that help brain cells communicate with each other) respond in the brain. These brain-based differences may help you in activities where speed is less important than accuracy or creativity. Unfortunately, school often requires that you work fast.
Here are a few suggestions for teenagers with slow processing speed:
Ask for additional time to complete tasks when you know that you process information slowly. You may want to ask a teacher for additional time to take a test when you tend to process information slowly. Assistance in note taking can also be a powerful tool for those who process information slowly.
Keep yourself alert and energetic in order to complete tasks efficiently. It is important that you have enough energy and focus when doing homework and other chores. You may want to have a snack, give yourself a break before starting, or engage in brief stretching or exercise to help you be efficient in your work.
Learn how to monitor yourself. How much time do you spend on tasks? Keep a running diary of how long it takes you to complete tasks and then determine how you might improve your capacity to work quickly and efficiently. Take a look at the tasks that take you the longest time to do and what you might do to change that.
“Overlearn” information. One of the best ways to become more efficient at completing schoolwork and processing information is to become very familiar with what you are trying to learn. Over learning so that things do not need to be “processed” can be very helpful in moving more quickly.
Read this article to learn more about slow processing speed. Your brain works differently when you’re a teenager anyway, and these videos can help you understand how.