With so much pressure on students to achieve high grades these days, it’s not surprising that 60% of Scottish students are ‘very stressed’ about exams. If you are also dyslexic and have difficulty reading or concentrating, this can add to your anxiety while revising for final assessments. Before you start your revision, ask for support and advice and make sure you take advantage of all the resources for dyslexic young people that are now available.
You may struggle with organisational skills, but if you take the time to make a revision plan, you will find it much easier to stay on top of your work. This is just one of the many useful skills that can help manage dyslexia. It will also ensure that you don’t leave revision to the last minute. Cramming the night before an exam is rarely of benefit to any student, especially if you usually need more time to process information. If you find it difficult to remember what you have learned, natural supplements may help with memory and eating well, exercising and getting a good night’s sleep will all mean your mind is performing at its best.
Once you’re ready to settle down to work, look out for different ways to engage with revision material. Simply reading the text and copying out information isn’t always the most effective way to help material sink in. Exploring unusual and diverting educational materials like comic strips or creating colourful mind maps can keep your attention and help you to retain more information. It may be that you use a laptop or tablet for your studies and there are many revision apps available that you might find useful.
Listening and speaking
If you write slowly, asking someone to test you verbally is a quick way for you to check how much you have learned. Having to explain a topic to someone is also a great way to fix that information in your mind. Resources such as podcasts and short internet lectures are an invaluable way to absorb new material and revise without having to read or concentrate for too long.
Revising for exams is difficult for everyone but it’s important to discover a method that works for you. Finding the best way for your mind to absorb and retain information and accepting any help with revision techniques can ensure that you fulfil your potential during your exams.
Jennifer Dawson, Dyslexia Blogger
One thought on “Discover your own way to revise with dyslexia”
‘Dyslexia and Learning Style 2nd edition’ by Tilly Mortimore gives lots of advice on how dyslexic people can learn / memorise things. It’s quite academic, not designed as a self-help resource. I dip into it for specific purposes as I would find it difficult to read from cover to cover. But I find it helpful (as a dyslexic adult) in understanding how I might best learn as a dyslexic learner. This then informs my approach to learning.
In my case, learning as I went along was the major challenge for me. I really didn’t learn throughout the year of each course of my schooling and higher education. There was too much volume of learning material and at that stage I didn’t know I was dyslexic so didn’t realise that I needed to find my own approach to learning it. So when it came to exams, it wasn’t just a case of revising but of learning.
I think if I could have learned as I went along, then used revision to bring what I’d already learned to the front of my mind, it would have made academic success more achievable for me. So that would be my tip for young dyslexic people now – learn as you go along, which means working out how you need to do that. Writing it out over and over again in linear notes probably won’t work – it certainly didn’t for me. So find other ways and the book I’ve mentioned above might give the people supporting you some helpful pointers.
Perfomance poet Jenny Lindsay is going to be giving a workshop at this year’s Dyslexia Scotland education conference on ‘Bringing poetry to life for dyslexic pupils’ (aimed at educators at primary and secondary stages). The workshop will explore the use of poetry as an alternative tool to deliver key curriculum outputs and how poetry can be used to engage dyslexic pupils in literature.
I certainly find that I can remember something that has rhythm and visual imagery to it better than abstract concepts in prose. If I’ve written the poem myself, it’s even easier because I’ve become so familiar with it by the end of the editing process that it’s already started to ‘go in’ when I come to memorise it. It also gives me a feeling of ownership of my learning.