If you ask any Muslim student what’s on their mind at the moment, it will probably be Ramadan and exams. When Ramadan is in the late spring or summer months, it coincides with exams for many of us, which some may view as a burden, but I would say it’s a blessing in disguise. Now, the advice I have to offer may not work for everyone because there is no “one size fits all” solution! What I’m offering up here is simply a little bit of advice to help this clash of the titans — exams and Ramadan — seem a little less overwhelming.
Of course, it is always important to remember not to get down on yourself if you feel as though you’re struggling. Taking these mammoth tasks on simultaneously is no easy task! Having said that, lo and behold, here are some answers to three burning questions my fellow students may ask about exams and Ramadan. I hope they offer some sound guidance:
1. Will I Be Able to Concentrate in My Exams Without Food or Water?
Last year, I was sitting my GCSE’s during Ramadan, which meant that for every exam I sat, I was also fasting. That was around 20 exams whilst fasting! I did SO much research on the effects of fasting on the brain and posted the same question in so many student forums because I didn’t know if I would be able to get through the period and get the grades too!
Turns out, I was stressing over getting headaches and migraines for no reason (typical)! Although I knew it was going to be difficult, I put my faith in Allah that he would guide me through this time and make everything easy for me.
The most important thing is to make sure you’re properly hydrated, and to eat nutritious foods during the periods you can eat. But each person is different, so if you do feel as though fasting will seriously affect your exam performance, then it’s perfectly fine to take a break.
2. When Will I Be Able to Revise If I’m Tired During the Day Without Food?
I totally get this point. I had a chemistry exam on the first day of Ramadan and the night before my mind kept flitting between, “I need to prep myself for fasting tomorrow” and “I also need to revise tomorrow!”
To combat this, I would recommend creating a revision plan. I would sometimes work between Maghrib and Taraweeh, but mostly I knew what I had to do during the day and broke it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. On the days I had exams, I wouldn’t do any extra work afterwards (because, I mean after sitting in an exam hall for two hours, who would want to carry on working?!) I know friends who would sleep during the day and work during the nights, but personally this didn’t work for me. If you can, get all your main revision done before Ramadan starts so that you’re just recapping things!
3. How Can I Balance School Work With My Spirituality and Faith?
Let’s not forget the importance of Ramadan and all the blessings that come with it. It’s a month where we can come closer to Allah, strengthen our faith, and gain rewards. If you are someone like me, with exams during Ramadan, focus your time wisely so that you do what’s necessary to get the grades you deserve, but also appreciate every minute of this sacred month.
Something I remember that always helps me get through is, “Effort lies with me, results lie with Allah.” If you’re stressing about results, then just know that turning to Allah is the best thing to do because you know you’ve put in the hard work, so all you can do is make duaa! And on top of everything, remember that there is absolutely no shame in feeling like you can’t do it all. After all, Allah is the most benevolent!
Editor’s note: Tryna to get those good deeds in for Ramadan? We’ve got you, bae!