How to Keep Up With Studying and Attending Finals During Ramadan

By: Ali Sakr

As the holy month continues on, dragging alongside it our finals, we must accept the fact that we’ll have to prepare for (and actually attend) our exams without coffee. I guess food is important too, but it’s not really the main issue here. Or well, it actually is, too. While this isn’t the first time I personally have to do this, I’ve never had almost all of my exams in Ramadan, so for now, I’m pretty damn clueless. This isn’t the end of the world but it’s problematic to say the least, so hopefully by the time I finish writing this I’ll have actually found out anything useful, because I need this just about as much as you do.

First off, we’ve got the elephant in the room – no food. Not only will you be oddly irritated if you’re used to eating away at a snack while studying, but you’ll also have lower blood sugar levels; worse concentration. The key to this is to make most of the only meals you’ll have all day. Specifically suhoor. Having some light sweets or dates to eat right before dawn can help give you the sugar you need to survive the next day, though too much of it can often cause blood sugar level spikes and generally some unneeded complications. You also want to avoid salty foods – thirst can be a very overpowering feeling and can leave you demotivated if there’s nothing to do about it.

So we’ve hopefully eaten a nice healthy meal for suhoor- what next? Well, I’m assuming you’ll have at least attempted to reduce coffee consumption before Ramadan, so we’ll continue from there (and like if you didn’t think about doing this, what are you even doing bro). Since we now ever so unfortunately can’t rely on coffee in the morning, we’ll just have to avoid sleep deprivation. I know, it’s easier said than done, but it better be done because there aren’t really many alternatives. There’s also a great immediate substitute for coffee known as a power nap. A quick 10 to 15 minutes of shut-eye can be just what you need to help you push through the next 2-3 hours. If you start losing focus afterwards, then sleep again. Just make sure you don’t go too overboard with this and actually try making the naps as short as possible. Any more than 20 minutes, and it’s not a “power” nap anymore.

If you can’t, for some reason, rest a few minutes every couple of hours, then try to at least get an afternoon nap before you eat. Let’s think of it this way: how high the sun is in the sky is how much energy you have before you eat. By this logic, you’re always most tired by sundown, and most productive in the morning/at noon. This is why you want to schedule all your most important tasks as early in the day as possible, leaving only the less mentally demanding tasks (or sleeping) to right before el fetar. And before we move onto what to do after eating, we need to keep in mind what to do during. Yes, you’re hungry. Very hungry. But please, for the love of God, don’t eat so much your stomach feels like an inflated water balloon. Focus on exactly how your it feels while you’re eating, and the moment you feel a slight sensation of pressure, that’s when to stop.

You still ate too much and are feeling as lazy as every after el fetar. Well, I have some news for you – coffee is now okay to drink. While I’d personally recommend avoiding coffee altogether this month, just because of how late you’ll be drinking it which can really take a toll on your sleep cycles, you do you bro. It’ there to help if it’s absolutely necessary, not to mention the also newfound availability of a friend that we often forget. Water. I don’t want to be that guy, but you absolutely need to stay hydrated if there’s any chance you’re going to be getting things done. Finally, once you’re done feeling like you’ve just devoured a bowling ball, grabbing yet another light snack can also be a great way to boost your energy. I know you’ll probably eat konafa regardless of whether or not this is related to studying, but at least I tried.

Notice how this whole article (apparently about studying) is revolved around keeping your body healthy when fasting; that’s about the only difference this month anyway, so I don’t really know what you expected. Your brain can’t focus if you’re body is collapsing, so make sure you’re not the reason you can’t concentrate. During the actual studying process, there isn’t really much that’ll change, except maybe that you should prioritize the weather and environment you’re in. You generally want to avoid any minor inconvenience that can end up making you even slightly irritated.

In short, be healthy – nail finals. That’s about it.

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