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The specials

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 01 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:0805186
  1. Simon Graham, foundation year one doctor1
  1. 1Leeds General Hospital, Leeds LS1 3EX

Simon Graham was diagnosed as having dyslexia late in his medical education

No matter what medical school you study at, you cannot escape one thing—the end of year exams. Medical students everywhere share the same dreaded fate, and having completed five years, I know what a nightmare they are.

Everyone piles into the same exam hall, like cattle into a slaughter house. Some students are still revising the anatomy of the pelvis until the last possible moment. Many are staring into space, with dread in their eyes as if walking towards the guillotine for execution. And usually a small group is in tears, and you know that they will fill the top 10 places when the results are published in a few days.

But a handful of students each year seem to escape this chaos—“the specials.” Not only do they get to sit their exam in a more relaxed atmosphere, usually a small room away from the intimidating conditions, but also they get extra time for each paper. The reason? They have dyslexia.

Dyslexia is often looked upon as a bit of a joke, unless …

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