Dyslexic Exam Tips


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During my first semester as an undergraduate I used to get test anxiety. As a dyslexic student I found tests to be extremely stressful, however, with practice you can turn the tide on test anxiety, and do well. To help you perform well on tests it is important that you receive every testing accommodation that you are entitled to. As a high school student everything was taken care of for you by your teachers, in college everything is different.

In college it is up to you to first approach your college disability service office and provide the required documentation. What may surprise you is that your high school documentation may not be up to date, and you will need to obtain a new report from an accredited professional. Do not wait to the last minute for this, which I learned the hard way when I transfer to a four-year university, from a community college.

The disability service office gave me a list of qualified local professionals that I should contact for new testing. The problem was that there was a 2-3 mouth waiting list for most professionals. Finally a retired professor took pity on me and conducted half an evaluation, leaving the other half up to a school psychologist. The total evaluation cost my parents approximately $3,000, since it was last minute, and conducted by two professionals. While I was waiting for my new report I did not receive any accommodations, because my last evaluation was out of date, speak about test anxiety.

Once you have your current documentation, and register with the disability service office, it is generally up to you to contact your professors to arrange for you accommodations. Please do this at the beginning of the semester, during the first week of classes. You will find that your professors have a very busy schedule. Not only are your professors required to teacher several classes, with hundreds, or even a thousand students total, your professors have a lot of other responsibilities.

Many professors are required to publish or perish, constantly apply for, and running grants totaling hundreds of thousands, or millions of all dollars. With all this responsible your professors will have little to no tolerance to find out that you need last minute testing accommodations. So please, do this the first week of class for all your classes.

Before you take tests

As your professor’s for an exam schedule the first week of class. Once you know how many exam you will have for the course ask your professor what type of exam’s are going to be given, multiple choose, short answer questions, long answer questions, etc.

Attend each and every class. One of the primary differences between students who earn A’s and students that earn C’s is attendance. Most A students will miss only 1-2 classes for the entire semester. Think of it this way, if you are attending a private university, with tuition of $20,000 a semester, taking five classes that meet for 45 sessions per semester, this equals out to 225 hours of classes per semester, or approximately $89 per hour of instruction. Each time you miss a class you are wasting $89.

Do not pull an all nighters before the exam, instead relax and take the night off, get a good night’s sleep. Please read the articles on setting up a study schedule for the semester. If you follow the advice in those articles there will be no need for you to pull an all nighters studying. While several of your classmates will be up cramming for the test the night before, arrive for the exam sleepy, you will take the night off and see a movie. Arriving well rested and prepared for the test, who do you think will be earning an A for this test?

There are several other tips that you can read about and fallow. However, nothing ever came’s close to solid preparation. When I was an undergraduate I always tried to buy the test books for the upcoming semester well in advance. My goal was to completely read every textbook, in detail, before the start of the fall and spring semesters.

During the first class would raise my hand and ask a question that I was confused about that would not be discussed until well into the semester. The professor was usually happy that a student cared enough to read the entire book before the first classes started.

I found that after making this first impression, when I meet the professor during their office hour’s that many of the professors would take the time to answer my questions. When it finally came time for the exam I was prepared, I understood that I learned the material, and I was ready. No more test anxiety, at least about knowing the material.


Dyslexia and College