Exam time is always stressful, but when it falls during Ramadan there’s often added anxiety around how to perform to your best during a time of fasting. Let’s not forget, however, that Ramadan is a month of immense blessing! We’ve put together these handy tips to help you approach your exams with confidence:
1. Plan ahead - Develop a ‘study planner’ to distribute study and rely less on cramming.
2. Don’t just read - Use practice retrieval when studying rather than passively reading books and notes.
3. Pack in the protein - Protein is essential in helping to keep you fuller for longer as well as providing energy that can be released throughout the day so make sure you get enough at iftar and suhur.
4. Get enough sleep - Do get a good night’s sleep before exam days. Sleep is just as important in keeping you strong and focused as food and water.
5. Mix your revision up - For example, one day use flash cards, another try summarising the information you’ve read or completing a quiz on it.
6. Keep super hydrated between fasts - Aim to drink at least two litres between iftar and suhur and rather than gulping a load of water down at iftar time, sip through the night to keep your body and mind hydrated.
7. Don’t spend too long revising any one topic - Try giving each topic no more than 45 minutes at a time before moving onto the next subject. This will avoid cognitive overload.
8. Eat water rich foods at iftar time - This will keep you hydrated for longer than just drinking water.
9. Schedule regular breaks during revision - This will stop your brain from getting tired and help you focus more when studying.
10. Don’t underestimate the power of du’a - Here are some useful dua’s you should regularly use:
For Seeking Knowledge:
﴾ رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا ﴿
’Rabbi zidnee ‘ilman’.
‘O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge!’ (Qur’an, 20:114)
Powerful du’a of Yunus (as):
﴾ ﻵَ إِلَــٰهَ إِﻵَّ أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّــٰلِمِينَ ﴿
’La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu mina-z-zalimin’.
‘There is no god except You. Glory be to You! Indeed I have been of the transgressors’. (Qur’an, 21:87)
“For indeed no Muslim supplicates his Lord with it [du’a above] for anything at all except that He responds to him”. [Tirmidhi]
For Studying Something Difficult:
« اَللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلاً وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزَنَ إِذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلاً »
’Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja-’altahu sahlan wa anta taj‘alu-l-hazana idha shi’ta sahlan’.
‘O Allah! Nothing is easy except what You have made easy. If You wish, You can make the difficult easy’. [Ibn Hibban]
« اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَوْدِعُكَ مَا قَرَأْتُ وَمَا حَفِظْتُ فَرُدَّهُ عَلَىَّ عِنْدَ حَاجَتِي إِلَيْهِ. إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ مَا تَشَاءُ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنْتَ حَسْبِيَ ونِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ »
’Allahumma inni astawdi’uka ma qara’tu wa ma hafidhtu. Faruddahu ‘alayya ‘inda hajati ilayhi. Innaka ‘ala ma tasha’u qadeer wa anta hasbiya wa ni’ma-l-wakeel’.
‘O Allah! I entrust You with what I have read and memorised. [O Allah!] Then bring it back to me when I am in need of it. [O Allah!] Indeed You are All-Powerful of what You wish and You are All Sufficient for me and the Most Excellent Protector’. [Not taken from Hadith]
Just remember, it’s all about perspective. Rather than looking at this as an overwhelming challenge, think of it instead as the opportunity to reap the rewards of remaining committed to your ibadah even in difficult circumstances. Plan in advance, look after your health and remember Allah (swt) and not only will you have a productive study month, but you’ll gain the benefit of a productive Ramadan, in sha'Allah.