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    I'm a mature student studying a science-based subject in the UK. I'm also diagnosed with Asperger's.

    During my years of working various types of jobs I learned a lot of coping skills and I'm well on top of things like sensory issues, working in groups, concentrating in lectures, meeting deadlines, and so on.

    Even though I left school at 16 many years ago and have no previous experience of higher education, my grades so far have generally been well into the First range. That is, when the assessment format is a multiple choice quiz, a short answer question type exam, or writing an assessed report or project at home without any time pressure. When faced with an essay format exam, I rapidly see all my hard work and careful revision go down the drain, and I'm getting very stressed, as nearly every exam in the second and third year consists of essay questions. Those are the years that will count towards my final classification, and the thought that I might end up with a degree classification based on my ability to write under pressure instead of my actual subject knowledge is freaking me out.

    The disability advisor has recommended that I get extra time, but I'm not sure how much it will help. The difficulty centres around being presented with an unseen question in an area that I have only had the chance to do very general preparation for, and having to think up a thesis for the essay on the spot that answers that question, and devise an essay plan that is well organised and structured while time is rapidly ticking away, then have to write the essay concisely, cogently and with no editing possible, under tight time restrictions. The extra time only addresses the very last issue.

    Since I seem to have no problems with other types of exam formats, can I request that I get MCQ/short-answer question type exams instead of essays as a reasonable accommodation?
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    (Original post by mrsbloggs)
    I'm a mature student studying a science-based subject in the UK. I'm also diagnosed with Asperger's.

    During my years of working various types of jobs I learned a lot of coping skills and I'm well on top of things like sensory issues, working in groups, concentrating in lectures, meeting deadlines, and so on.

    Even though I left school at 16 many years ago and have no previous experience of higher education, my grades so far have generally been well into the First range. That is, when the assessment format is a multiple choice quiz, a short answer question type exam, or writing an assessed report or project at home without any time pressure. When faced with an essay format exam, I rapidly see all my hard work and careful revision go down the drain, and I'm getting very stressed, as nearly every exam in the second and third year consists of essay questions. Those are the years that will count towards my final classification, and the thought that I might end up with a degree classification based on my ability to write under pressure instead of my actual subject knowledge is freaking me out.

    The disability advisor has recommended that I get extra time, but I'm not sure how much it will help. The difficulty centres around being presented with an unseen question in an area that I have only had the chance to do very general preparation for, and having to think up a thesis for the essay on the spot that answers that question, and devise an essay plan that is well organised and structured while time is rapidly ticking away, then have to write the essay concisely, cogently and with no editing possible, under tight time restrictions. The extra time only addresses the very last issue.

    Since I seem to have no problems with other types of exam formats, can I request that I get MCQ/short-answer question type exams instead of essays as a reasonable accommodation?
    i doubt they will change the format of the exam just for you.

    i also have a disability, which puts me at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the class.

    and in the first years i always made use of the extra time given me

    but now i am coming to the end of the degree, i find i am able to complete most of the required activities to the general standards of the other students, without using the extra time. as i said it is simply a question of raising your game.

    good luck!
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    Yes, I agree. I don't think they can change the exmas in that way just for you. I'm not too sure what to suggest, really.
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    (Original post by mrsbloggs)
    I'm a mature student studying a science-based subject in the UK. I'm also diagnosed with Asperger's.

    During my years of working various types of jobs I learned a lot of coping skills and I'm well on top of things like sensory issues, working in groups, concentrating in lectures, meeting deadlines, and so on.

    Even though I left school at 16 many years ago and have no previous experience of higher education, my grades so far have generally been well into the First range. That is, when the assessment format is a multiple choice quiz, a short answer question type exam, or writing an assessed report or project at home without any time pressure. When faced with an essay format exam, I rapidly see all my hard work and careful revision go down the drain, and I'm getting very stressed, as nearly every exam in the second and third year consists of essay questions. Those are the years that will count towards my final classification, and the thought that I might end up with a degree classification based on my ability to write under pressure instead of my actual subject knowledge is freaking me out.

    The disability advisor has recommended that I get extra time, but I'm not sure how much it will help. The difficulty centres around being presented with an unseen question in an area that I have only had the chance to do very general preparation for, and having to think up a thesis for the essay on the spot that answers that question, and devise an essay plan that is well organised and structured while time is rapidly ticking away, then have to write the essay concisely, cogently and with no editing possible, under tight time restrictions. The extra time only addresses the very last issue.

    Since I seem to have no problems with other types of exam formats, can I request that I get MCQ/short-answer question type exams instead of essays as a reasonable accommodation?
    As others have said, they are unlikely to change the questions just for you. The best you can do is when revising, look at past papers and prepare mock answers to the longer questions and memorise the answers. This isn't always the case, but sometimes the same or similar questions come up regularly. If you are struggling to structure mock answers it is worth going to see your tutors for help.
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    (Original post by mrsbloggs)
    I'm a mature student studying a science-based subject in the UK. I'm also diagnosed with Asperger's.

    During my years of working various types of jobs I learned a lot of coping skills and I'm well on top of things like sensory issues, working in groups, concentrating in lectures, meeting deadlines, and so on.

    Even though I left school at 16 many years ago and have no previous experience of higher education, my grades so far have generally been well into the First range. That is, when the assessment format is a multiple choice quiz, a short answer question type exam, or writing an assessed report or project at home without any time pressure. When faced with an essay format exam, I rapidly see all my hard work and careful revision go down the drain, and I'm getting very stressed, as nearly every exam in the second and third year consists of essay questions. Those are the years that will count towards my final classification, and the thought that I might end up with a degree classification based on my ability to write under pressure instead of my actual subject knowledge is freaking me out.

    This sounds really hard, but unfortunately, if lecturers feel that a course is best assessed by closed book long answer examinations, there's not really a comparable form of lower pressure assessment. I understand your difficulties are more severe, but nearly everyone gets stressed and worried about these types of exams. Reasonable adjustments are only supposed to level the playing field with other students, not give you an advantage.

    If you have any optional modules, can you chose any where the assessment isn't so exam focused?

    The disability advisor has recommended that I get extra time, but I'm not sure how much it will help. The difficulty centres around being presented with an unseen question in an area that I have only had the chance to do very general preparation for, and having to think up a thesis for the essay on the spot that answers that question, and devise an essay plan that is well organised and structured while time is rapidly ticking away, then have to write the essay concisely, cogently and with no editing possible, under tight time restrictions. The extra time only addresses the very last issue.

    Do you have access to past papers or sample exam questions? For my third year exams especially, I found looking at past papers several questions came up nearly every year, or every other year. If you can look at past papers and question spot, it's unlikely that you'll be facing totally unknown questions.

    Even for a first, lecturers aren't expecting perfection- they know an essay written under exam conditions won't be perfectly planned, or have as good a structure as one written for coursework.

    Extra time should help with your issues to a point. You'll have more time to think, plan, edit and time to take breaks to deal with anxieties. Some unis offer up to 50% extra time- have you discussed how much you might get, and could you take a mock style practice to see if it makes any difference at all?

    Since I seem to have no problems with other types of exam formats, can I request that I get MCQ/short-answer question type exams instead of essays as a reasonable accommodation?

    I think there's no harm in asking, but I would expect lecturers to say these exams test a different type of skill, and substituting one exam type for another won't test all the skills they want to test.
    I've made some comments in bold. I hope you find some of them helpful.

    Do you have any evidence (e.g. an educational psychologist report?) that shows your difficulties with this are much more than a neurotypical person would face?

    I think you have to accept that it's very unlikely that you'll get the exact outcome you want, so could you think of other adjustments that might help you. You say you don't think extra time will help, but I think if it's a decent amount (25-50%) it could make some difference. Would working in another room, or on a computer (so you could edit your answer more easily) help at all?

    Could you ask for help with a learning mentor focused on how to answer essay questions in an exam?
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    You might be able to ask about rest breaks rather than (or as well as) extra time. I got them for anxiety which meant that I could effectively 'stop the clock' for 10 minutes for ever hour of exam time (in one long break or shorter ones). This meant I could try to de-stress without the worry that I was wasting my exam time.
 
 
 
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