Monday, 28 May 2012

Exam Fever

Sigh... its that time again. Look around and you'll see a mixture of students stressing, frantically burying themselves in piles of notes and some not studying at all. Yup, its exam time!

Personally, I'm wondering when it will end. Don't get me wrong, I love university, but I mean seriously, this exam thing is getting really old. We've been taking exams since kindergarten, and its still painful. So, to alleviate my utter boredom, and to take a much needed break from the horrors of studying, I decided to compose a list of really awesome studying tips.

Planning for Exams

1. Well, I've been told (multiple times) that making a schedule is a good idea. Never works for me. If it does for you, well that's tip #1. If not move to the next.

2. Read through your notes. This will give you an idea of how much you have to study, where your weaknesses are (and if your weakness is the entire syllabus, don't panic, take a deep breath, and get started), what the important topics are etc.

3. Divide out your work. Don't leave everything for the last minute (yup, learnt this the hard way in today's exam)

The Studying

1. Ok, Rule Number Satu (1), eliminate all distractions. If this means taking drastic action like turning your phone off and locking it in your drawer, so be it. Don't worry, it's scientifically proven that it is possible to survive without a mobile phone...

2. I read about this really great technique for studying called the pomodoro technique. What you do is take a timer, or alarm, and set it for 25 minutes. During those 25 minutes, put your full concentration in what you're studying. As soon as the alarm rings, take a five minute break. Repeat. Every four times you repeat, take a longer break. I love this technique!

3. Wherever possible, try to understand the work rather than memorizing. It will stick way longer in your head this way.

4. Using memory aids. If your studying consists of a lot of necessary memorization try techniques for memorization. Each person has their own unique way of remembering stuff. Experiment with different techniques such as mnemonics, making mental images etc. Be creative (or you could just look up memory aids on Google, but where's the fun in that???)
One of my ways of memorizing stuff is to make it into a song to the tune of a nursery rhyme. (Caution: Do not do this out loud when your roommate/siblings are around... it can be potentially embarrassing!)

5. Make your own notes. Even if you are studying from a textbook or printed notes, writing important things down will really help.

6. Teach it to someone else.Whether its your eager young sister/brother, your long suffering roommate or even to an imaginary audience, teaching your subject will really make it stick in your head.

The Exam (Sudden boom of thunder)

1. Make lots and lots of dua. Start your exam with Bismillah.

2. Skim through the questions.

3. Answer all the easy peasy questions first.

4. Keep a close eye on the clock. Preferably bring your own watch, just in case you're seated waaay behind.

5. Don't panic.

6. Bring enough stationary. Do you know how annoying it is when your only eraser falls off the desk and rolls away during a multiple choice exam?

Other Studying Musts

1. Before your exam make lots of dua for both you and your friends, and everyone taking the exam.

2. If you have time, pray Nafl (voluntary) prayers.

3. Make sure your intention is right. Ultimately you should be doing this exam to please Allah.

4. When things get extremely frustrating or extremely boring or extremely annoying (well you get the picture),   remind yourself of the reason you are taking these exams.

5. Take frequent breaks. For every hour of studying, take about ten minutes off.

6. Stay healthy. Trust me, its no fun being sick during the exam. Keep your habits healthy, eat breakfast, don't study too late at night, and make sure to eat healthy.

7. DO NOT STRESS!!! Stressing is counter productive, don't even study with friends who stress too much. Stress is a contagious disease.

8. If you ignored above rule, and are totally stressed out and depressed, stop studying. Take some deep breaths and do something else. Personally, I find that a really good therapy for depression is to stand in front of the mirror and smile. Or make funny faces. Jumping up and down a couple of times works as well. Just don't blame me if your roommate has sudden concerns for your sanity.

Anyways, so that is a (not so) brief guide to studying. The most important thing is to do the best that you can, put your maximum effort into it, and then leave the rest to Allah. And don't worry if even after eons of studying, you still didn't do as well as you wanted to. There is Hikmah (wisdom) behind everything that happens. Be patient, Inshaallah, Allah will grant you something even better.

All the best for your exams!!!


Do you love writing? Have an old essay, article or short story that you did for an assignment? Want to share your opinions with the Ummah? Send your writings to, and Inshaallah I'll post it up a.s.a.p.

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