Skip to content

Toggle service links

Studying with Dyslexia Specific learning difficulties (SpLD)

Studying with dyslexia can have its challenges. The key will be to develop effective study strategies and find the one that works best for you. We can support you through your study journey and help you develop effective techniques to study.

Each individual experiences the impact of dyslexia differently. It primarily affects reading and writing. However, it can also cause difficulty in processing and remembering information you see and hear, which can affect learning. Dyslexia can also affect other areas such as organisational skills. 

In this video OU student Alex Wise talks about how having dyslexia affected his study. 

Impact on studying with dyslexia


Alex: Dyslexia prevents me from really organising my notes or organising my argument when writing an essay, so organisation skills are a real weakness with my dyslexia.

Grammar, punctuation, argument, development and things like that are hindered, but it's also my ability to take notes during tutorials, or my ability to engage fully in a tutorial because I might not be able to copy the work off a board, or I might not be able to keep up with a PowerPoint presentation as quickly as other students, and it can leave me feeling very vulnerable in a situation such as a tutorial

Here are some areas you may need to think differently about, with some help and advice on how to do that. 

Reading your study materials 

It can take you much longer to read, and you may find you have to reread everything several times. Allow extra time for reading and consider reading what is essential first. You may also find some of these tips for studying on a screen useful. 

Taking notes  

Good note taking is key to successful studying. Note-taking usually means doing several tasks at the same time – listening or reading, understanding, and writing. There are many ways to take notes such as writing in margins of module materials, using highlighters or even recording your voice on your mobile phone. You may also want to try visual techniques such as mind maps. Take a look at our article on note-taking techniques

Writing your assignments 

Although you may have good knowledge and understanding of your module material you may find it more difficult to organise and structure your work, or struggle with spelling and grammar. Think about the stages of writing an assignment to help you get organised.

  • Reading the question to identify what you are being asked to do 
  • Gather your ideas 
  • Plan the structure, perhaps group ideas and topics together 
  • Draft  
  • Review 
  • Final edit 

For more tips take a look at Preparing assignments

Organising and prioritising work 

Juggling study time and other commitments such as work, family and regular leisure activities can be demanding. Students with dyslexia often find that it helps to be even more organised. You’ll need to organise your computer by setting up files, manage your study materials and plan your time. It’s well worth spending some time thinking through the skills you use in different areas of your life. You may be surprised at how many strategies you already have that you can use for your studies.


The skills you’ve developed for note-taking can be useful when attending tutorials. As an alternative to taking notes, you may want to watch a recording of the tutorial afterwards.  All tutorials have one recorded version. This won’t necessarily be the one you attended, but it will cover the same subjects. To find a recorded tutorial see Find and view recorded tutorials

Revision and exams 

Revision and exams can be difficult and stressful for anyone, especially if the last exam taken was a long time ago. Dyslexia can compound the problems, as all the stresses seem to come together and there is added pressure on memory skills. Look at your specimen exam paper very carefully to find out as much as you can about your own exam and consider if any problems might be caused by its format. Have a look at our collection of articles on revision and exam techniques. You may also need to ask for adjustments to exams

Support available 

The OU aims to make study as accessible as possible, and a range of adjustments and support are included in modules for all students as standard. Further adjustments are possible if you tell us about your dyslexia and supply supporting evidence. For more information on how the OU can help see Adjustments and support available through the OU

You may also be eligible to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). For more details see Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)


Last updated 56 seconds ago