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March 28, 2022


It’s been a strange couple of years for students observing the month of Ramadan. Juggling exam season with the fasting period can be a little tricky as it is but throw in the impact of Covid-19 over the past couple of years and it’s just not been a picnic!

While a sense of normalcy has returned to many of us here in the UK, for students, there’s still the question of how to effectively navigate the most important season in the academic year, and the holiest month of the Islamic year.

Ramadan is ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and it’s the month in which the holy Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muslims are required to fast for 29/30 days depending on the sighting of the moon, as the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar. This is also why Ramadan appears to shift forward approximately 11 days each year as it corresponds to the Gregorian calendar.

This year, the holy month of Ramadan falls on either the 2nd or 3rd of April and ends on either the 1st of 2nd of May. For many students during this time of the year, exam timetables are released, revision begins, and some exams are even underway, but for everyone fasting here in the UK, the weather is a little warmer and the days are getting longer. There’s a lot to contend with!

It’s a safe to say that it can be a little overwhelming, and naturally, many will be on the hunt for effective ways to manage everything – but the number of tips out there can be equally overwhelming! Not to mention, it can be a favourite form of procrastination for many…

Simply put, if you’re observing the month of Ramadan and you’re also in exam season, you have multiple priories to contend with – each deserving of your time and dedication. So, dealing with the issue at hand, we’ve put together some tips to help students get through Ramadan and exam season.

3 simple and solid tips for students to through Ramadan and exam season:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

This tip for students for Ramadan underpins much of everything else that’s written in this blog piece, as the key to tackling multiple priorities is in the planning!

Modern day presents us with many challenges to our time and planning and preparing is a key feature of navigating it with a sense of wellbeing. While it’s not realistic for everyone to keep on top of planning all the time, if there’s one time of the year it would be helpful for students to prepare and plan for their month ahead, it’s now!

Here are some effective ways to prepare for the month ahead:

  • Create a solid calendar that breaks up what you want to be spending your time on in the month ahead, so that you know when you need to rotate out of revision and into some spiritual time and then maybe some social time during the day as well.
  • Keep your environment simple and clean! Doing so can eliminate the time you spend tidying or getting stressed with an increasingly chaotic space. Make your space work for you and what you want to achieve – if that’s studying and prayer, clear your desk space and keep it tidy, and build a prayer space in your room. Remove the barriers to entry and you’ll be as efficient as you can be!
  • Eliminate distractions. If you know that you’re not going to be as social as usual, save yourself from pleading conversations by making your social circle, workplace and maybe even your family aware that you’re observing Ramadan and studying and that you are carving space for yourself this month to achieve what you want to achieve. Letting others know in advance can avoid many distracting conversations or miscommunications.
  • Prepare what you want to eat for the month. Whether you’re a student living away from home, or living at home with your family, think about putting a plan in place to ensure you’re eating well throughout the month of Ramadan. Doing so can help you avoid opting for non-optimal food choices when you’ve run out of time to prepare something!
  • Plan your days effectively. Assign your hardest tasks to when you have the most energy throughout the day. Know when you’ll be eating, sleeping, out and about, and plan your overall time according to what works best for your energy levels.

 

2. Eat for your health

meat

What you put in your body can significantly impact your energy levels – fasting or not! Clean eating basically stipulates that you rely on whole foods to fuel your body, and that you avoid highly processed foods that contain copious amounts of refined sugar, salt, and anything that’s there to make you addicted to food!

You might not be eating all day, but when you do eat, make sure they’re foods that will fuel you the next day (and whole foods do just that!). Making good choices when it comes to what you eat will benefit you as you dedicate yourself to revision, exam sitting and setting some time aside for your religious duties. As previously suggested, perhaps set aside some time to plan your meals in advance, maybe even a week at a time, so that you’re never lost for what to eat and make a non-optimal choice.

Perhaps also include some individual research around fasting and energy! This can help you manage the anxieties many can develop around not having enough energy to perform well during revision and exams. Every day, cutting edge research surfaces around the positive effects of fasting, and pioneers at the frontline of medical research are now publishing findings that were promoted by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 years ago!

 

3. Balance your time and be realistic

One of the biggest challenges to those who have multiple priorities is knowing how to effectively manage their time. Ramadan and the exam period take up a relatively short period of time in the year – but knowing how to manage your time effectively can-do wonders for your life.

It’s all about balance. Figure out what nourishes you – is it alone time? Is it spirituality? Is it recreational time with friends and family? Is it doing your favourite hobby? Is it cooking great tasting food?  It’s important to factor some time for everything else that nourishes you too so that you don’t burn out – this includes taking time to recharge, rest and eat well.

Since Ramadan and exam season are the main priorities here, dedicate some time in your day for each first, and within them, set realistic goals for what’s most important for you to achieve.

For example, it may be that you want to read the entire Qur’an. That’s an incredible goal! Set some time aside each day to do it and you’ll have it covered by the end of Ramadan. Be realistic with how many goals you set for yourself no matter what you want to achieve this month and you’re more likely to achieve them, rather than spreading yourself thin and not achieving what you want to achieve. Be intentional and you’ll see results.

Ramadan Mubarak from everyone here at Islamic Relief! We pray that you’re able to navigate this season with ease and that you achieve whatever good you set out to do, Ameen. Don’t forget to share these tips for students for Ramadan and the exam season, so others may benefit too.

Make Sadaqah a part of your goals this Ramadan! Learn more about the work Islamic Relief are doing to uplift communities across the world. Donate now.

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