By Joe, a University of Exeter graduate (2022), Penryn campus


I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 10 and through most of my school years it was ignored, which in turn made it much harder to achieve the grades that my peers were getting. Due to my dyslexia, it took me much longer to read and absorb important scholarly materials, and I wasn’t getting extra time in exams, which further limited my chances of getting higher grades throughout my GCSEs in particular when I had multiple subjects and coursework to complete.

However, since leaving the independent school system and joining Exeter University, my dyslexia has been taken much more seriously. Initially, this required me getting re-tested for my dyslexia, and through Exeter’s ‘AccessAbility’ team I was given a choice of four or five local Educational Psychologists who could re-diagnose me. Once I selected a psychologist, I was able to get re-tested within a month. The test included being asked to read certain words, and a few different problem-solving tasks including reconfiguring certain shapes to form boxes or 3D shapes. Once the test had been completed, by the next month I had received my results, which the Exeter AccessAbility team then use as a basis for my ILP.

This ‘Individual Learning Plan’ attributed me with 25% extra time in exams and meant that referencing and spelling could not be marked down in my essays. It also meant if I needed to extend my essays deadlines, due to my dyslexia, I could. This meant that I had additional time to complete the background reading and to be able to digest it properly and was not under pressure to complete my essays and course work. It goes without saying that with this additional support it has massively helped me to be able to achieve my maximum potential at university and this has been reflected in my grades. However, it should also be mentioned the team at Exeter can also test for Dyspraxia, ADHD and many other disabilities that may impact your grades or ability to achieve your full potential whilst studying at Exeter University. It is also worthy of note that ILP’s will always be different and are specifically tailored to each student’s individual learning needs.

Now I’m in my third year at Exeter Penryn and so far, my experience at the University of Exeter has been amazing! In my view the AccessAbility team has been wonderful too! They have always been extremely quick to respond to any questions or concerns I had throughout the re-diagnosis of my dyslexia, and even through the last two years of lockdowns. Moreover, I was also assigned a Dyslexia Officer, who you are allowed to choose and they will help assist you in anything dyslexia related: including help with essays, such as creating plans and helping you put together your arguments in an ordered way. There are also officers assigned to be able to help and accommodate every disability. It has been a life changing experience and I do not regret seeking their help and support. Thank you!

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