Frequently asked questions for applicants and current students

Potential applicants and those holding offers

I am thinking of applying to the University of Birmingham and already have extra time in my exams as I have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD). What can I have here?

You will need to provide evidence of your Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) which meets the University of Birmingham criteria so that appropriate reasonable adjustments can be discussed. Your previous  exams arrangements may not necessarily be implemented here. You may be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) from your funding body. We can help you apply if required. 

I have a conditional offer from this University and have told you on my UCAS form that I have extra time in my exams because I have a SpLD. What do I need to do?

You will be asked to provide post 16 evidence of this.

I have an unconditional firm offer from this University.  I’ve told you I have extra time / have a SpLD on my UCAS form. How do I get my extra time when I’m at university?

You will be invited to come for an appointment with a Learning Support Advisor. If you haven’t already sent us your post 16 evidence you will need to bring it to this appointment. We will then inform your School of reasonable adjustments that need to be implemented. We will also help you apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) from your funding body if you are eligible and haven’t already done so.

I have an unconditional firm offer from this University. I have had extra time in my exams at school / have a SpLD but didn’t declare this on my UCAS form. What can I do to make sure I get this extra time at university?

Contact us to make an appointment to see a Learning Support Advisor.

Supporting evidence documentation

The University of Birmingham awards its own degrees and has its own regulations governing how these are awarded. These regulations are not the same as those of the Joint Council for Qualifications which governs GCSE, AS and A2 level examinations. Our regulations require that you have post-16 evidence of a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) before we can vary the conditions under which you are assessed for a degree.

I have a report from my school which gave me extra time in GCSEs, AS and A2 level exams. Will this count as sufficient evidence?

No. This will not count as sufficient evidence if it is a  Joint Council for Qualifications Form 8.

I have a full diagnostic post-16 report carried out by an Educational Psychologist / Specialist Teacher. It includes adult tests of underlying cognitive ability as well as tests of reading, writing and spelling and says I have a SpLD. Will this count as sufficient evidence?


I have a full diagnostic report carried out by an Educational Psychologist / Specialist Teacher but it was carried out before I was 16 and uses children’s tests of underlying cognitive ability alongside tests of reading, writing and spelling. It says I have a SpLD. Will this count as sufficient evidence?

No, not as it stands. It will need to be ‘topped up’ to become a post-16 report. This will give an update of your skills in reading, writing, spelling and cognitive processing and confirm that you have a SpLD such as Dyslexia. You will need to show us both the original and the updated reports.

Where can I get this done?

You could go back to the professional who carried out the original assessment and ask them to update it for higher education purposes. Alternatively you could contact the British Dyslexia Association or Dyslexia Action.

I do not have a full diagnostic report, what can I do?

You could contact the British Dyslexia Association or Dyslexia Action for help with this before you come to University.

Can I leave this until I am at university?

You could be assessed by a visiting educational psychologist or you could make your own arrangements. The University of Birmingham is not in a position to recommend any particular individual or organisation and cannot take responsibility for the services they provide.

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)

DSAs are grants paid to disabled students, including those with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. They are not means tested. They are paid by a student’s funding body such as Student Finance England and the NHS. You will need to provide the same evidence of your disability as you do for the University. DSAs are not available to International students.

I’ve applied for my DSA and have received a letter from my funding body asking me to book a Needs Assessment. How do I do this?

You need to contact an assessment centre (access centre) yourself – you don’t need to see a Learning Support Advisor first.

A list of assessment centres can be found on the Disabled Students Allowance Quality Assurance Group website.

I’ve received an entitlement letter from my funding body saying they have approved a supplier for my equipment. What do I do next?

Make contact with the approved supplier and arrange the delivery of your equipment, either to your university or home address.

How do I arrange the training to use my computer and the specialist software?

Contact the training provider named in your entitlement letter.

While you are waiting for your DSA

Can I borrow any equipment from Learning Support until my DSA equipment arrives?

Yes, we have limited numbers of digital voice recorders as well as some specialist software. We do not however loan laptops.

Can I extend the loan period for this equipment if my DSA equipment doesn’t arrive?

Yes, you need to contact us to request this.

Is any assistive software available on campus?

Yes. You can find details about assistive technology here.

If you already have your DSA

How do I book my Study Coaching Sessions?

You can organise study coaching when you have received a letter from your funding body authorising this. You can make your own arrangements for support or discuss this with your Learning Support Advisor. Clear Links is an agency specialising in dyslexia support which has been used by some students at this university.

Does the University provide a proof-reading service?

No. You will need to book study coaching sessions in which you will be helped to develop your own proof-reading strategies.

My laptop has broken. How do I get it repaired and will the DSA pay for this?

You need to contact the laptop supplier and ask them to arrange the repair.

How do I claim the money for my consumables from my DSA?

You can claim money for items that have been approved in your entitlement letter. You can download a claim form for reimbursement from the Student Finance England website if this is your funding body. The easiest way to find this is to put “Claim for reimbursement of costs through Disabled Students’ Allowances’ into Google. If you have another funding body you will need to check your entitlement letter from them. You will need to enclose receipts of purchases when claiming so don’t forget to keep them! Keep a photocopy of them when you send the receipts off.

Students with dyslexia who already have a Student Support Advice Document

I need an extension for my essay: can you contact my School/Department and arrange it for me?

No, you must arrange it yourself although we may be able to provide evidence to say you have a SpLD.

I should have extra time for exams but I’ve downloaded my timetable and it doesn’t show any extra time. What do I do?

You need to wait until the Central Exams Office emails you your bespoke exam timetable.

I think I may have dyslexia

My friend is dyslexic and I think I’ve got some of the same problems / my tutor thinks I may be dyslexic. How do I arrange to be tested? 

Any student can book a screening appointment with the Learning Support Team. You will, however, need a full diagnostic assessment to confirm whether you have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) such a dyslexia. You can discuss this with your Learning Support Advisor in the follow up session after your screening.

I want to be tested for dyslexia but if I book a screening appointment will my tutor/department be told?

No. The results of the screening remain confidential and are not disclosed to anyone without your permission.

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