April 12, 2021
Studying and writing exams during Ramadan
The timing of Ramadan varies each year, determined by the first sighting of the crescent moon. This year it’s expected to begin the evening of April 13, meaning that it’ll take place at the same time as winter final exams.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ramadan, it’s when those of Islamic faith fast from sunrise to sunset, and focus on contemplation and reflection. The fasting includes no drinking or eating, and also abstaining from other habits, such as smoking. This time might also be spent in prayer, reading the Qur'an or giving to charity. Eid al-Fitr is the celebration of the end of this fasting period.
If you’re a student of Muslim faith, the fact that Ramadan and exams fall at the same time this year might mean you’re studying and taking exams when you’re not at peak performance. Make sure to take care of yourself during this time and reach out for support. UCalgary’s Faith and Spirituality Centre (FSC) is available to provide online support to students during the pandemic closures.
Projects, assignments and exams during the month of Ramadan
If you’re observing this religious holiday, you might experience reduced energy levels, less patience and diminished concentration because of fasting and interrupted sleep schedules. You might want to plan ahead by making a special schedule during the month of Ramadan for your projects, assignments and exams. Seek guidance from the FSC if you need more support during the month of Ramadan.
A former UCalgary student finds it helpful to schedule study time early in the day and take short naps in the afternoon. Below we’ve compiled some more helpful tips from the FSC community to help you during this time:
- Plan your study breaks around prayer times.
- Shower as a way to wake yourself up and as a way to clean yourself before prayer.
- Switch the topic that you’re studying every hour, since fasting can make it difficult to focus on one subject for long periods of time.
- Clean your space before Ramadan begins to keep you free from distractions while studying.
- Set up a study space away from your bed. You’ll be tired as your sleep schedule gets shifted and the temptation to sleep will be greater than ever. Instead, plan nap times and stick to the schedule.
- Make sure that you’re properly rested to keep your mind sharp. Take advantage of scheduling nap times.
- Join a virtual study group so you can hold each other accountable for your study times and prayer times.
- Eat healthy foods during suhoor (pre-dawn meal) to give your body and brain the nutrients you need to study and retain important information.
- Connect with peers through UCalgary Students’ Union associations like the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association (AMSA), the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and the Women's Ahmadiyya Muslim Students' Association (WAMSA), and/or through off-campus communities like the Calgary chapter of the Muslim Association of Canada.
- Practicing gratitude can help put your fast into perspective. Check out this free gratitude printable or join the Calgary chapter of the Muslim Association of Canada for their 30-day challenge.
- Check out this handy video guide from Islamic Relief Canada to help you get ready for the month of Ramadan.
UCalgary’s Faith and Spirituality Centre (FSC), in conjunction with Enrolment Services, has put together a helpful brochure with information about this year’s Ramadan.
During this blessed and holy time when the focus is on reflecting and giving to others, make sure you’re taking care of yourself too.