This year, Muslim students in the UAE and across the world are faced with a particularly challenging time: the pressure of end-of-term exams during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
For those who are fasting, dealing with exam pressure is going to add to what is already a tough fast, what with the long summer days ahead of us. Nonetheless, students the world over are keen on shining through the dual challenge, and we want to help.
If you’re amongst this amazing set of students set on making a success out of your exams this Ramadan, then you’re probably going to need as much advice and support as you can get.
The taddrees® team has put together a few tips and considerations that will help you do well at your exams, continue to fast during Ramadan, and make the best out of both.
1. Set a daily schedule that works for you
With the change in your eating and sleeping patterns, it might take you a few days to settle into a schedule that you can make the most out of. Plan your day and identify the times that your energy and focus are the highest, and when you’re more lethargic, tired or hungry.
In the UAE, your fast starts a little before 4am every morning and ends just after 7pm, with slight variations in timing over the course of the Holy Month. Write down your meal times, the hours you need to rest, and then plan your revision hours accordingly.
You’re unlikely to be able to get in any real revision when you’re not focused, so plan wisely. Work around your natural clock so that whatever time you do set aside to study is quality time.
2. Eat healthy, balanced meals and hydrate as much as possible
If Iftar is a big feast of heavy, fried foods in your home (we love the good stuff, too, so we understand!), then this might be the year that you should set some new rules for yourself. Try a different approach. Eat wholesome, balanced meals and drop the Coke. Drink plenty of water until sunrise.
Heavy foods are going to weigh you down, and keep you from making the best of the few hours after the meal when you’re full, energized and ready to study. Avoid caffeine if you’re used to using it as a pick-me-up. Coffee and tea are diuretics and will only dehydrate you.
Remember: whole foods, balanced meals and hydrate with water and fresh juices.
Here’s a great list of ‘brain foods’ to help boost focus and concentration.
3. Establish a sleep pattern
Rest is extremely important. Make sure that you factor enough sleep into your schedule.
Cramming in the 24 hours leading up to an exam is not going to be a solution this year, with your changed schedule during Ramadan. It shouldn’t be a solution other years either, but that’s a tip for a different blog post.
If you don’t sleep enough, even though you feel like you’ve put in extra hours studying, it’s unlikely that you will be able to center your mind and write your exam well. And if you can’t do that, then you’ve missed the whole point.
So take breaks, and program a solid few hours of sleep into your schedule.
4. Use your energy wisely
Try not to exert yourself physically. You need all your energy and usable attention to tackle those exams. Try to give yourself plenty of time for everything – don’t run for the bus or rush around the house. Avoid intense physical activity, and definitely no unnecessary quarrels with your little brother or sister!
To get yourself moving a little bit, a short evening walk after your Iftar meal might be great, but that should be about it. You can even record some notes and listen to them while you walk, for some extra exam-time productivity.
5. Stay positive, revise with your friends and share in the joy and happiness around you!
You can overcome the toughest challenges with the right mindset and the right people around you. Ramadan is a time for you to be thankful, positive and spend quality time with your family. This year, with the extra revision hours, the quality family time might be a little less than usual, but share in the happiness all the same!
Help your friends with their exam revision, go over notes together and you’ll find it’s much easier to succeed when you’re not constantly thinking about how hard the situation is.
If it helps, you could also reach out to your private tutors, or look through the database on the taddrees® app, to get in touch with and see if tutors in your area have study groups, revision sessions or other helpful tools for you. Several of our certified private tutors around the UAE do, in fact, run student support groups and study groups so be sure to ask your tutors when you see them next.
6. Do everything you do mindfully and dedicatedly
Ramadan is a time for you to reflect and be mindful. Whether you are resting, studying, praying, fasting, or breaking your fast, do everything mindfully and dedicatedly. That is what is going to help you to make the best out of this time.
Take a look at this great article on mindful studying for some useful tips and tricks.
Remember, as difficult as it may seem, you have the opportunity to do some wonderful work at one of the most auspicious times of the year. Coming out of your Ramadan fast this year, after having successfully tackled your exams alongside, is going to make you feel extremely accomplished. Think of the extra-special Eid celebrations that are going to follow!
So stay focused and dedicated, and remember that you can achieve anything you set your mind on achieving.
Ramadan Kareem and we wish you the very best with your exams!
Keep Learning, always.
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