Studying for exams during Ramazan

Published April 1, 2023
Illustration by Ziauddin
Illustration by Ziauddin

The arrival of Ramazan varies each year and this year, the blessed month has arrived in the perfect pleasant season which is not sweltering hot; in fact, the surprising rain has made it way more pleasant than we had expected.

However, this year, in most schools, the exams are going to commence right after Eid therefore, students are left with no choice but to study, which can be real challenging for everyone who is preparing or who has to prepare for exams during this time while fasting also.

Fasting can lead to fatigue and stress, and you’re not at the peak of your performance, so it becomes more difficult to focus. But the key to achieving success in studying for exams during Ramazan is to maintain a balanced routine and sticking to it throughout the month. Students should create a study schedule, keeping in mind their fasting time, and allowing themselves adequate rest to avoid burnout and fatigue during the day.

I know there is a lot of pressure as you must be trying to juggle the responsibilities of studies and worship at the same time. So, it’s equally important that you know how to approach the new routine in a constructive and positive way and get the most out from it with the right tips and strategies. Let’s make it possible by going through some tips that can help you do it all.

Set a routine

Ramazan teaches us the importance of following rules and a strict routine. There would be many kids and youngsters feeling they are missing out on the blessings of Ramazan, since they have to go to school and study after coming back. But by making a effective schedule and routine that allows time for worship and prayers, for rest and sleep, and then for studies can make all the difference; you only have to stick to your schedule.

So start with making a proper plan for studying — what should you study and when. Distribute the course or syllabus in small segments, subject-wise, over the course of remaining weeks of this holy month rather than taking the whole bundle of notes and books at once. Write down in points with days, dates and time, and stick that paper somewhere you can see every now and then.

Gather material and organise!

The second most important thing is to gather all the study material at one place. As this is the last month before exams, you may have your notes, handouts and assignments scattered all over your room, or study area. If yes, first, try to organise it all, for instance, go through all your notebooks, assignments and papers, keep them in one place.

When you are done collecting and sorting your study material, it’s time to go through them one by one and arrange them subject-wise. This way, when you start to properly study, you will find everything at one place and there will be no need to turn the house upside down in search of a specific document.

Organising material also helps in knowing what you are missing out in any subject or topic, you can try to get it in time before the exams.

Get rid of clutter!

Cluttered study spaces work as distractions, they can also be a big demotivating factor in studying. Whenever I study, I always clean and arrange my desk, as I like to sit in a tidy, clutter-free place. This boosts my mental capabilities to study with full concentration.

So kids, take the responsibility of your sturdy space, you are old enough to clean your study area and discard any unnecessary stuff from your bag or desk.

Some of you may not realise how much clutter you have around you. I have noticed that some kids are too lazy to throw pencil shavings in the dustbin, they put it all in the pencil box; while others just dump the test papers, assignments, task sheets in their bags without putting them away in files. And when they open their bag, or look at their table, they see complete disorder. Naturally, who would get into the mood to study in such a mess.

Illustration by Faraz Ahmed
Illustration by Faraz Ahmed

Ramazan and sleeping pattern

The speciality of this blessed month is that we wake up in Sehr, eat and pray, a little rest is also needed while fasting. There can be various reasons, like sleeping late in the night and then waking up for Sehr early, that makes one too lethargic to start the day well.

But kids, this year, you have to make some sacrifices as you have school and exams coming up. It’s important to ensure you’re properly rested — not only for the sake of your grades, but for your well-being. If you sleep early, your body will get the desired amount of rest and will work actively throughout the day. Moreover, it is best to take some rest or sleep when you come home from school or college, this way your body will catch up on your sleep backlog.

The best time to study

Early morning studies: It is said that the best time to study is usually early in the morning, as your body and your mind are fresh. But it varies from person to person, some find night-time for study more feasible and productive than the morning.

In my opinion, especially in Ramazan, when we are already up so early, it is better to not sleep after starting the fast. Take this time as a staple to study. Because you already have taken your meal, there won’t be any urge to eat or munch on something for a few hours; therefore, allot some time to study before getting ready for school or college.

Studying in the afternoon: Some kids find it better to study in the afternoon. While this may be a good idea in normal days, but won’t be practical in the month of Ramazan, at least. After attending school or college, your body is too drained and while fasting you can’t even refresh yourself by eating and drinking. So it is time to rest as studying at this time may not be productive. It is better to completely skip studying during the day. Take rest, worship and do some little household chores.

Studying in the evening: Studying in the evening after breaking the fast is a good idea, so if this works for you, follow it; I would suggest kids to make the most of this time by taking assistance from your elders on any topic that needs guidance.

Study cycle

One of the most important aspects of study is making a proper study cycle, which is not just allotting time to study; but also the manner of studying that you are going to follow. The study cycle includes breaking study-related tasks into reading or reviewing, attending classes, active studying and checking your understanding all over again.

For instance, you know yourself more than others, you know which tricks work on you or which ways of study work best for you. Some kids like to write while reading their notes, while others don’t. They simply take out the important points and memorise them. Find out yours and stick to that.

Read first!

After you have decided which subjects to study every day, read all the notes, lecture notes, assignments and textbooks. Reading everything will make it clear which topics you are good at and which need more attention, which information is missing that you need to arrange.

Read one subject a day or finish up reading a subject in not more than two days, then switch to another subject. While reading, make notes of the important points, what more you need to do, the topics you are good and bad at, etc.

Active study

Active study is not simply reading texts or notes. While reading is an important part of pre-studying, learning requires actively engaging in the material, that is taking out the meaning from the text and connecting it with the notes you have taken from the lectures, etc.

Active study involves

• To come up with your own questions and short answers and quizzes topic-wise.

• Become your own teacher: read or say the information aloud, as if you are teaching someone.

• Picking out examples from around your surroundings and relating them to your text.

• Brainstorm a topic; mind map into sub-topics or examples.

• Work out some symbols and icons that can relate or represent the topic you are studying.

Are you a good note-keeper?

Let’s admit, not all of us are good at taking notes. So, when you study or read your notes, you will realise if you need help from your friend or your teacher. The best thing is that you still have time and you can ask for help. Always compare the topics being covered by you and your friends, if you have covered a topic by making its notes in two pages while your friend in six or maybe eight, then it is likely you may have missed a point or two of understanding. Go through the material related to that topic again and see if there are still some important points to note.

Review syllabus

Always compare your notes and lectures to your syllabus. Check if you have covered all the topics being given in the syllabus. For additional information, you can Google and read more about the topics. The explanations of topics are often different on Google than those given in the academic books, but going though both can lead to a better understanding.

Quiz yourself

While there are many ways you can test yourself, quizzing oneself has proven to be very effective way of learning and preparing for exams. You can make an objective-type questionnaire for yourself with blanks, short question answers, choosing from multiple answers, etc.

Practice makes perfect

You may have heard this saying several times before, but it’s true! When you keep on studying every day and reviewing your progress repeatedly, your brain gets used to it and will absorb more knowledge more efficiently than when you first started studying. It will boost your confidence regarding your exams preparation and you will also be sure that nothing has slipped through the cracks.

Things to avoid

• Stress. Try to avoid stress as much as you can, as this can only make things hard on you.

• If you feel your studies are not going well or if you still can’t get the concepts clear, try to relax and unwind for a few hours before starting on your preparation again. And you can always seek help from your teachers, parents and friends.

• Try not to stay up all night studying, because this will cause more strain on your body and make it difficult for you to remain active the next day, especially when you are fasting.

To sum up, it’s important to remember that Ramazan is not just about fasting. It’s also about being mindful of your health and well-being. Preparing for exams during Ramazan can be challenging, but with the right strategies in place, it’s possible to cover and study everything by maintaining a balanced study routine and managing stress. You can achieve your academic goals while still honouring this holy month.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 1st, 2023



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