As Muslims we should strive for academic excellence with the belief of that the true reward and salvation will be achieved in the Hereafter. Our efforts and aspirations in this world should be undertaken with our intention to succeed in the Hereafter.
Studying + Commitment = Success
Bismillah: Always begin studying by reciting Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem. Make Dua for guidance and success.
Niyyah: Correct your Niyyah (intention). Know that you are studying for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, to earn a Halal income and to benefit humanity at large.
Timetable: Begin your preparations well before the examinations. Plan out a REALISTIC timetable that will enable you to cover all the material well before the first exam. Use the time closer to the exam to look at past exam papers.
Teachers: Speak to your teachers. If you have a problem, ASK!! You will find teachers eager & happy to help (and may also give hints as to what's in the exam paper!)
Revision: Always revise with a sheet of paper at hand so that you can build up a list of points or questions to discuss with the teacher. Do not rely only on your memory.
Notes: When revising, make notes. It may seem as though you are just reproducing your notes, but persevere. Believe it or not what you are doing is one of the most effective ways of exam preparation.
Sleep: Get sufficient sleep so that you don't 'burn out'. You need to relax, even on the night before the exam.
Meals: Maintain a balanced diet and eat well, preferably light meals that are not too oily. Increase fluid intake. Do not resort to excessive amounts of coffee, tea, and other drinks that are high in caffeine. As for popping stimulant pills, know that this is harmful in that it could lead to addiction.
Breaks: Give yourself regular breaks, but make sure that they don't go on for longer than intended. Remember, discipline is pivotal to success.
Disturbances: Make sure you are not disturbed whilst studying. This means turning off the radio or television and asking others to answer the phone. Listening to music takes the Barakah (blessings) out of your studies.
Worries: Distinguish between constructive worry that pushes you to study effectively; and destructive worry that merely robs you of sleep, keeps you from eating and drinking and prevents you from achieving. Seek counselling if the latter is the case.
Read two Rakat Nafl Salah (Salat-ul-Hajat) prior to the exam and make sincere Dua for divine assistance.
Be early for the examination. Make sure you are properly equipped with the necessary stationary.
Should you experience anxiety or panic on the day of the exam, remind yourself of the ultimate examination before Allah Ta'ala on the Day of Judgment. Keep busy with Zikr and send Durud (salutations) to the Prophet r. This will, Insha Allah, dispel anxiety and stress.
Before beginning to write the exam paper, supplicate to Allah, asking Him to grant you success and make your task easy. Then begin in the name of Allah, by reciting Bismillah.
Glance through the exam paper first. Spend some time reading the questions carefully, noting the important words and dividing one's time between the questions.
In a written exam, collect your thoughts before starting to answer. Write an outline in draft with some key words that will indicate the thoughts which you want to discuss. Then number the thoughts in sequence before commencing the final answer.
Understand the wording of a question, e.g. “state and explain”, “explain and critically evaluate”. The word 'and' in such cases splits the requirement into two and the format of your answer should reflect this (e.g. state your point then explain, with reference to real life examples/studies, or a sub-section to explain a theory and another sub-section to critically evaluate the theory).
Start by answering the easy questions and then move on to the questions that carry high marks. Leave the difficult questions and the one's that will take longer to answer until the end.
Write the main points of your answer at the beginning of the line. This is what the examiner is looking for as he may not see what he is looking for if it is in the middle of the page.
Devote 10% of your time to reviewing your answers. Resist the desire to hand in the exam paper quickly, and do not let it bother you that some students leave the exam room early. Never rush to leave.
If you get stuck for ideas, go back and read over what you have already written. This way you are rechecking your answer as well as trying to jog your memory for any additional points to add.
CHEATING IS HARAM. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Whoever cheats is not one of us.”
As you come out of the exam hall, remember to thank Allah under all circumstances. If it didn't go as well as you had hoped, put your trust in Him. Know that conditions are sent to test us and are an opportunity for us to shed some of our sins and show our contentment with His Divine Decree. After all, it could have been worse!
Avoid discussing details of the exam with your friends, because as a result of this, you may realise a mistake that will make you despondent. It's not as if you can put it right anyway. Rather express your thanks to Allah Ta'ala that the exam went as well as it did.
Remember you've done your 'bit'. Now turn to Allah in supplication and ask Him to grant you success.
Perform two Rakat Nafl Salah after the exam as Shukr (thanks to Allah) for granting you the strength and ability to complete the exam.
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