What Is On The ADHD Spectrum Test?

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated April 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The American Psychological Association (APA) generally defines attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as "a behavioral condition that makes focusing on everyday requests and routines challenging." It can also be seen as a neurodevelopmental disorder that may affect both children and adults. The disorder has three subtypes, including predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, predominantly inattentive, and combined. Symptom severity may vary greatly among individuals.

A recent APA article points to the possible challenges and stress that may accompany an undiagnosed condition in adulthood. If you believe you may be living with undiagnosed ADHD, taking an ADHD test online can be helpful in determining whether seeking evaluation from a mental health professional may be necessary. If the results of your test indicate symptoms of ADHD, it's generally advisable to contact a healthcare practitioner to follow up on the next steps. Another option may be to connect with a licensed therapist through an online therapy platform.

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The Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS)

The World Health Organization’s Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) was primarily designed as a short screening scale for use in the general population. It can be used for both adolescents and adults. Found on the Mental Health America site, the ADHD test asks a series of 18 questions derived from the DSM criteria of ADHD symptoms. 

For each question, you can rate yourself on a scale ranging from “never” to “very often” based on how you have felt during the last six months. One of the first questions is, "How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?" Other questions ask about your ability to remember important obligations, how often you make careless mistakes, and your propensity for distraction.

After completing the 18 questions, you’ll have the option to input demographic information before receiving your results. You may be encouraged to consult a mental health professional if ADHD is likely, and you’ll be provided with a variety of helpful resources to peruse as well.

The Adult ADHD test 

ADDitude, a trusted source for ADHD-related information, offers a self-test in the form of a questionnaire. Intended for adults 18 and over, this test was adapted from the ASRS Screener developed by the World Health Organization and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD. 

The questionnaire consists of six questions, some of which are about depending on others to keep track of details, procrastinating, and having trouble sitting still.

The article accompanying the questionnaire notes that while ADHD can present differently in adults, “clinicians’ diagnostic criteria — as outlined in the DSM-5 — does not differentiate adult vs. childhood symptoms.” It further encourages those whose results indicate ADHD to consult with a mental health provider for an evaluation. 

Clinical rating scale tests

Tests typically look for certain indicators of symptoms that can provide information about executive functioning, core symptoms, and behavioral conditions. These types of neuropsychological testing can inform the course of treatment for each individual. Commonly used clinical tests for ADHD may include the following:

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Narrow Band (ADHD symptom-specific):

● Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV (BAARS-IV)
● Brown Attention/Executive Function Scales
● Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function 2 (BRIEF-2)
● Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales (Conners-3, CAARS*)
● Comprehensive Executive Function Inventory (CEFI)

Broadband (behavioral conditions in addition to core ADHD symptoms):

● Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-3)
● Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)
● Connors Comprehensive Behavior Scale (CBRS)

ADHD diagnosis

The DSM-5 guidelines explain that a diagnosis of ADHD can only be made if someone has at least six of the nine symptoms of the disorder before the age of 12. In addition, these symptoms must generally impair a person’s functioning. Furthermore, the symptoms must not be explained by another mental health condition. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main symptoms of inattention in ADHD include the following: 

  • Difficulty paying close attention to details or making careless mistakes 
  • Challenges with attention when completing tasks
  • Challenges with listening when spoken to 
  • Difficulty following through on instructions and finishing tasks
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Avoidance of tasks that require sustained mental effort 
  • Losing things that are needed for tasks and activities 
  • Proneness to distraction
  • Forgetfulness

As for hyperactivity/impulsivity in ADHD, the CDC lists the following symptoms:

  • Regularly fidgeting or tapping hands and feet
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Constant restlessness
  • Feeling or acting as if “driven by a motor”
  • Excessive talking
  • Blurting out an answer before the question has been asked
  • Difficulty waiting one's turn
  • A tendency to interrupt or intrude on others 

However, some clinicians may object to this diagnostic criteria because it does not differentiate between adults and children, even though ADHD may manifest later in life with different features. 

Therapy for ADHD

Whether or not you have ADHD, grappling with mental health challenges that affect your life can impact your mental health and well-being. If you sense that you could benefit from the support of a licensed therapist, you may want to consider therapy with a licensed professional. 

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Benefits of online therapy

If it isn't convenient or accessible for you to attend appointments in person, online therapy could present a valid alternative. With a platform like BetterHelp, it can be possible to attend sessions with a therapist by phone, videoconference, or online chat. Being able to attend therapy from the location of your choice and choose between different modes of communication may increase your comfort level with the therapy process.

Effectiveness of online therapy

According to randomized controlled trials looking at 261 people with ADHD, online interventions for ADHD may be effective in addressing symptoms like attention deficit and social functioning.


Those with ADHD may have challenges related to emotional regulation, focus, organization, and impulse control. With three different subtypes, symptoms can vary greatly among individuals. If you believe you may be living with ADHD, taking an online test like the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale may be helpful in determining whether consultation with a licensed mental health professional is warranted. Anyone experiencing mental health challenges, regardless of diagnosis, may benefit from speaking with a therapist, and you can connect with one in your local area or through an online therapy platform.

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