Now it’s that time of year when most students are living in the library, hiding out with the books and stressed with the dreaded word: ‘EXAMS’. Not to worry – in this article we’ll focus on how you can best prepare for your exams. [ Check out the previous articles in this series – Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 ]
Different students have different ways of preparing for exams. Therefore, you really need to find out which ones suit you and then, stick to those methods. Let us look at some of the ways through which we can prepare for exams insha’Allah.
• Keep a schedule of exams so that you are able to prepare on time.
• Start preparing as early as you can. Do not wait for the night or hour before. Many have the habit of studying one day before the exam. That is ineffective forcertain subjects, such as Law, and not wise as a whole.
• Do not memorize everything. How much will you memorize? You must memorize certain details but try to understand the concept so that you can explain it and elaborate upon on it on the exam paper.
• Teach/repeat the lessons to others. This has effects similar to those of revision, and is good for remembering.
• Avoid distractions, such as phone calls, Facebook, too much noise, insufficient lighting, etc.
• Avoid nervous people. Panic is contagious. If you become too nervous, you will forget most of what you have learnt, and being nervous never really helps in getting a good grade. There are people who start a tirade against the teachers or just start wailing right before the exam. Advise them to calm down and to utilize that time into last-minute revision. In case if you do become too nervous, remember that you have done all that was possible for you to do for a good grade, and place your trust in Allah. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) will decree only that which is good for you. Drink water/juice and splash your face with water. Take deep breaths and smile.
• Read text-books, online and library resources, along with the teacher’s lecture sheet and your class notes. These resources assist you to put the lessons into practice. Most of the questions come from such sources.
• Grow a habit of summarizing everything. Break down notes into diagrams, flash-cards, graphs or other pictorial representations. Underline the important lines in your text-book or write down the most important points of a chapter. Summary is great for remembering long, tedious notes/chapters as well as covering/revising a particular chapter in a relatively short time.
• Practise mock-questions. This is good for revision and for overcoming the fear of exams.
• Practise as much as possible. This is especially true in case of subjects which involve mathematical sums and diagrams, such as Biology, Accounting, Economics, etc.
• You can choose to study in groups only if you are certain that you will not be wasting time. Ask your guardians to monitor you. I personally prefer studyingindividually to avoid losing focus.
• Keep everything in order. This encourages you to study and concentrate. This will also save your time as you will not be searching for things right before the exam.
• Ask your friends how they prepare for exams. You might be able to pick up additional tips from them.
• This may sound absurd, but some people are able to study/revise notes properly if they walk (at a normal pace)!
• Start your exams in the name of Allah, and with du’aa for knowledge and concentration. For example, “My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance], and ease for me my task.” .
• Read the instructions properly. There have been many instances where the students were asked to answer just 3 questions, but failing to read the instructions carefully, many of them ended up answering all!
• Read all the questions properly. If you are not clear about a particular question, ask the teacher for clarification. Moreover, the last questions might be easier to answer than the first ones, so read through all of them before deciding which ones to answer.
• Attempt to answer the easier questions first. This saves time and enables you to score easily.
• Do not adopt unfair (and haram) practices, such as cheating, lying to delay exams, etc. What good are grades/certificates which do not reflect your skills? You may get highly paid, but at the end of the day, you will feel guilty for claiming rights to earnings which you do not deserve! Again, do your best, and trust the rest to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
• Complete within time. In some cases, completion is more important than the quality/quantity of your content. This is one of the most important reminders. Sometimes, you may get no marks if you leave an answer mid-way, even if whatever you have written is of the best quality. Sometimes, you may get no marks if you do not mention the most important points, even if you write 10 pages for one answer.
• Try to answer neatly. Neatness may carry bonus marks, and you don’t want to put your teacher in a frustrated mood by struggling to read your writing.
• Revise your answers if you have time. You may save a lot of marks if you are able to correct any mistakes during revision.
• If you feel that you have not done well in your exams, do not despair.Despair will not help you to overturn the past. Instead, learn from your mistakes. Also, if you have more exams left, concentrate on those.
Next time we’ll look at more great study habits to develop and continue from there insha’Allah…
 Qur’an 20:25-26
About the Author:
Khadeejah Islam, writer at Habibi Halaqas