How Do Adults With Dyslexia Study for a Test?


Dyslexia is a common, sometimes inherited, learning disorder. People with dyslexia tend to be creative and intelligent, but they have problems with written language and reading. The disorder may be noticed in young children when they reverse letters (“b” instead of “d”) or flip letters (“b” instead of “p”). Often, there is a large discrepancy between the student’s reading comprehension and aural comprehension. While people do not outgrow dyslexia, there are learning strategies adult dyslexics can use to study for a test.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach

  • Adult learners can use strategies while studying for a test that are based on a program for reading instruction developed by Dr. Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham in 1946. Some important components of the Orton-Gillingham Approach are individualized instruction, multisensory learning, alphabetic phonics, synthesis and analysis, logic, sequence, cumulative and integrated learning that is sequential.
    Many programs that include strategies useful for dyslexic adult learners incorporate a revised version of the approach.

Taking Notes

  • One recommended strategy for dyslexic adults studying for a test is to review materials and transfer the information to clear notes. Dyslexic adults should convert main ideas and details to bullet points or a numbered list, whenever possible. In addition, adults should use a sans-serif font such as Arial for clarity, and should use a large font size. It also helps to leave plenty of white space around between paragraphs. To emphasize main points, bold font is easier to read for people with dyslexia than italic font or underlining.

Handouts and Websites

  • Many teachers are aware of strategies that help people with dyslexia, and they may supply handouts that make it easy for such people to study for a test. If a handout is wordy and presented in a small, hard to read font with italics and underlining, dyslexics should transform it into an easily readable format. They should scan the handout into a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. After creation of the document, they can change it into a different font type and size. They can eliminate distracting elements such as underlining, and add white space between paragraphs. They can change websites to a large font format for easy reading.

Organization and Format of Material

  • Adults with dyslexia will find it less complicated to study material if they divide the subject matter into small units. It helps to use logic to remember instead of rote memory. Graphic organizers, such as outlines and webs, are also helpful. Dyslexics should use diagrams and pictures whenever possible and they should study from lists and notes rather than wordy prose. When printed text is used, dyslexics should obtain large print books. Even better is to use books on tape since auditory learning is likely to be more effective than visual learning.

Eliminating Distractions

  • Once the dyslexic learner has the material assembled, it is crucial to find a quiet area free from distractions such as noise, telephones and televisions. To assimilate the information properly, the adult dyslexic studying for a test should take breaks frequently.


  • Photo Credit Studying of the book image by Aliaksandr Zabudzko from
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