I received a third in my undergraduate degree due to my poor performance in exams, I really struggled to finish in time which would cause me quite bad exam anxiety. I have since been diagnosed as dyslexic and the extra time I now receive has helped me go on to receive a distinction in a masters degree. I would really like to continue on to do research, but I’m not sure that I’m a suitable candidate due to the classification of my undergrad degree. Are there any further steps I can take to improve my qualifications/suitability before applying to PhDs?
Your distinction during your Masters trumps the undergraduate degree. A masters degree is far harder so doing badly during your undergrad isn't bad as long as you can give a good excuse. Having undiagnosed dyslexia ruining your exam skills is a very good reason. You can definitely apply for PhDs with a Master's level distinction.
I don't know about academia in general and hopefully other people can guide you as well but no-one will judge you for having dyslexia. As fixing spelling is relatively easy compared with doing good research. The people I know with dyslexia just ask for help proof reading their drafts and usually someone will help proof. I don't think you should worry about it, as long as you are prepared to do the extra work.
Don't worry at all about your undergraduate. Most uni's in the UK will look past it if you have performed well in your Masters. If you want to boost your chances before applying, I would say deepen your knowledge in your chosen research area. Do some really focused reading and volunteer with a relevant organisation. If you can show the selection panel passion, focused knowledge, and commitment to researching independently, you will do just fine. The Masters distinction can be used to support and compliment these. In fact, the improvement from undergrad to masters shows your determination and may work in your favour!
I did terribly at undegrad and was overwhelmingly unmotivated throughout - even retook one year. It was only after pursuing something I was more passionate about that I was able to, like you, get a distinction in my Masters. I've since started my PhD.
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