Exams during Ramadan? A Student's Survival Tips for Revising whilst Fasting!

As someone who's had to fast during most of my GCSEs, A-levels and now University exams, I can totally understand the struggle! A lot of Muslims find it difficult to balance fasting with studying, as schools and universities often don't take into account the circumstances and religious obligations for Muslim students.

I know it can be hard to fast whilst studying, but here's the good news! Allah will put more Baraqah in your studies and support you more if you do fulfill your religious obligations during Ramadan (i.e fasting is compulsory on you once you reach the age of maturity/puberty.) This is a true test of your determination, faith and belief! At the end of the day you have to ask yourself these two questions and answer them truthfully and honestly:

  • Which test is more important for you to pass? The test your teacher sets you? Or the test Allah sets you? (They might as well both be important to you and I'm not telling you that your dunya exams don't matter, because they do, I'm just trying to make the point that you need to prioritise your values! You shouldn't give up on the REAL test Allah has given you to get to the Akirah because it is MORE important!)
  • Would Allah want bad or difficulty for you? The answer is NO! Of course not! Allah makes fasting easy for the believers, especially during the month of Ramadan! If you're thinking to yourself, fasting is just not for me - I can't do it. Think again and put your faith and trust in Allah! Allah has prescribed fasting for all the believers in this holy month, because he knows that we can take it. After all Allah does not burden people with a test more than they can bear.

Trust in Him because He has the power to make you pass both your dunya and akhirah exams, in sha Allah!

Here's 3 student survival tips on how to get through exam season during Ramadan:

1. Make a pure intention and clarify the reason for your studies!

Anna Schultz-Girl In Contemplation On Sand DuneEven studying can be an act of ibadah and worship if you make the right intention! It's important to think about your purpose for studying in the first place. For example you may have the intention of studying so that you can get a degree, get a good halal job, so you can get a pure source of income so that you can one day provide for and support you family. Another intention may be that you want to work in a field that will help benefit the Muslim community or make the world at large a better place! These are fantastic intentions to have for studying so make sure you write them down or say your intention to yourself, so you can remember them! Make your intention personal to you and your situation! Before you sit down to start studying again, remind yourself of it and renew your intention.

2. Read your duas for studying and ask Him for help and guidance!

water in handsOnce you have made your intention, remember to read your duas before you start studying! Here's a link to some 'duas for students' that are specifically designed to help you study, ease your anxieties and help increase your memory! Remember that Allah has designed this world and everything in it. All knowledge comes from Him and he has commanded us as Muslims to learn about the world He has created so that we can reflect on the magnitude and power of Allah. If you're studying biology, reflect on how Allah has created the human body, plants and animals in such perfect forms and gives them sustenance (e.g antibodies in the blood to restore your health). If you're studying maths, think about how the world is made up of equations and formulas and this is even reflected in the world all around us (e.g Fibonacci sequence). If you're studying the humanities, study the meaning that exists all around us and look at how Allah has diversified people and societies. Reflect and analyse what it means to be alive (e.g psychologically, philosophically, emotionally and historically) in a way that brings you back to your Creator.

3. Call upon Allah swt's 99 names and do lots of Dhikr!

flowers at sunsetAllah has many names for a reason. Use them to call upon Him and ask specifically for his help when you are making duas. These names in particular will help you when you're studying:

  • Al-Fattah (The Opener) - if you read 70x after Fajr = victory e.g you could say this during your dua: 'Al-Fattah, you are the opener to the doors of success, so please open it up for me during my exam.'
  • Al-Khaaliq (The Creator) e.g you could say this during your dua: 'Al-Khaaliq, you are the All-knowing creator and you can make the impossible possible, so please grant us the knowledge we need in our exams.'
  • Al-Hadi - (The Ultimate Guide) e.g you could say this during your dua: 'Al Hadi, you are the ultimate guide so please guide our pens in our exams towards the right answers.'
  • Ar-Rahman (The Most Beneficient) / Ar-Rahim (The Most Merciful) - if you read these 100x = your memory will increase

WORK HARD, PRAY & THEN PLAY!

a woman sits at a wooden desk writing in a notebook. there is an imac in front of her.

Remember the Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught us to "Tie your camel first and then have faith in Allah." From this we can draw that we must take action first and leave the rest up to Allah. In this case, this means we need to study our course material, work hard and then we put our faith in Allah that He will grant you the best result for your Deen, dunya and akhirah. This means you can't blame Allah swt if you fail because you didn't work hard enough because "Indeed Allah will not change the condition of a people, until they change what is in themselves." [13:11] You need to actually put the effort into working hard if you want good results. There is no easy way out of it, sometimes you just need to put your head down and get on with it! Draw out your schedule and make time for studying around your prayers and religious obligations. Trust me you will find there is so much more baraqah in your time, if you do this! Personally, I found working/studying after Fajr time the most beneficial for getting more revision time in and it's actually a Sunnah to do this!

Please do look after yourself though when you're revising. Keep hydrated and eat lots at Sehri and Iftar. My pro-tip if you are like me and find it hard to eat first thing in the morning - have watermelon! It's healthy, it's sweet and most importantly it will keep you well hyrdrated and energised throughout the day! Dates are also scientifically proven to be good for your memory/learning as well so have lots of these during Ramadan when you're in between fasts. Get lots of sleep as well so you can be well-rested for your exams.

drinking from water bottle on beachFollow these tips, don't give up on fasting even if you have exams and, in sha Allah, Allah will help you through even the toughest of times! I can totally understand the stress and anxiety that comes with exams, it can honestly feel like the world is ending. I went through it myself and Alhamdulilah live to tell the tale and now I'm telling you, you can do it too! ;)  It is very possible to do well in your exams whilst fasting! In fact, I think I actually did better because of my fasting, because I knew that Allah would reward me more in this life and in the next if i did. I also found it much easier than I thought I would to revise whilst fasting because it meant I could spend more time doing revision and not wasting my time on cooking, eating etc.

May Allah swt make it easy for all of us Muslim students who are revising whilst fasting. May He put Baraqah in our time and May He shower us with lots of blessings and rewards. May Allah swt help us to pass all our tests with flying colours, both in this life and in the next. Ameen <3