Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Below are a list of FAQs and commonly asked questions. Please click the question to go to the the answer and more details.

Q. What are the differences between assessments by educational psychologists and specialist teachers?
Q. What does assessment involve?
Q. How long will my assessment take?
Q. Is the assessment confidential?
Q. What do I need to bring with me?
Q. Will the report only be valid for a certain amount of time?
Q. I was allowed extra time for some of my exams at school / college. Does that mean I must have had a full
diagnostic assessment already?
Q. What will I be able to use the report for?


Q.  What are the differences between assessments by educational psychologists and specialist teachers?

A.  Some tests are `closed’ i.e. only available to educational (or chartered) psychologists, including the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test (WAIS) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.  However, there are other tests of cognitive ability that can be used by fully qualified specialist teachers.  Specialist teachers have the particular strength of being teaching practitioners who are often working within schools, colleges and universities, and therefore aware of the educational setting, the demands on students and strategies that may help.

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Q. What does assessment involve?

A. The assessment begins with an informal discussion, (usually over a cup of tea or coffee), about your reasons for seeking assessment. Your assessor will also ask a number of questions about your birth and early years, your educational experiences and your previous and current health. Your answers to all these questions can be very important in helping to confirm the results of the assessment.

After this discussion, your assessor will choose the most appropriate tests for you and will ask you to complete a number of these. Some tests are puzzles that you try to solve using pictures or shapes and some of the tests will include some reading and writing. None of the tests take very long and some are quite fun to do!

Your assessor will let you know how you are doing as you go through the tests and will answer any questions you have. Before you leave, the assessor will be able to give you some indication of the likely result.

Your assessor will then write a report that will include all the information collected in the assessment, unless you have asked for certain details to be excluded. Sometimes, you may be invited back to meet the assessor again so that you can discuss the report and ask any further questions. The finalised report will then be posted to you.

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Q. How long will my assessment take?

A. The assessment usually takes around 4 hours, including the discussion at the beginning. However, everyone is an individual so your assessment may take a little more or less time. The whole process is quite relaxed, with breaks between the tests and you can ask for extra breaks at any time.

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Q. Is the assessment confidential?

A. Yes. You and your assessor will be the only people who know what happens in the assessment. Once you have your copy of the report, it will be up to you to decide who you will show it to. We will keep one electronic copy of your report securely and will not share it with any other person unless we have a written request from you to do so. You will be asked to sign a Data Protection form at the assessment which will confirm these details.

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Q. What do I need to bring with me?

A. The only thing you might need to bring is a copy of any previous assessment reports that you might have. If you have been assessed before, we may not need to repeat the process. We can look at any reports you already have and advise you accordingly.

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Q. Will the report only be valid for a certain amount of time?

A. No. A full diagnostic assessment will remain valid indefinitely for anyone who is assessed after the age of 18. If you experience a major change in your life which you think might have an impact on your ability to learn, you may want to consider a re-assessment in the future, but otherwise, significant changes in your abilities are unlikely.

For some examinations, you may need an updated report in order to get certain kinds of help with those exams. We can advise if this applies to you. However, a full diagnostic assessment will not need to be done again. You will only need a short assessment of your reading and writing skills for this update.

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Q. I was allowed extra time for some of my exams at school / college. Does that mean I must have had a full diagnostic assessment already?

A. No. You may have had a full diagnostic assessment but many schools and colleges only do a short assessment to get people some help with examinations. They often do not carry out full diagnostic assessments. If you have had a full diagnostic assessment, you should have a copy of the report or you should be able to get a copy from the school or college.

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Q. What will I be able to use the report for?

A. Perhaps the most important use of your report is that it can help you to understand your own strengths and areas of difficulty. It can help to explain why you have found certain things difficult but other things easy, throughout your life. Because your assessor is fully qualified, the report can also be used as the basis for claims for support, either financial or practical, that you may be entitled to as a disabled employee or student.

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Adult Dyslexia Services (ADS)