20 Exam Tips for Students
By Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
The Muslim student puts his trust in Allah seeks His help when facing the tests of this world.
“The strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to attain that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 2664)
Among those means are the following:
- Turning to Allah by making du’aa’ in any way that is prescribed in Islam, e.g.: “Rabbiy ishrah li sodri wa yassir li amri (O my Lord, expand my chest and make things easy for me).”
- Getting used to sleeping early and going to exams on time.
- Preparing all required equipment (e.g.: pens, rulers, calculators and watches).
- Reciting the du’aa’ for leaving the house: “Bismillaah, tawakkal-tu ‘ala Allah, wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa Billah. Allahumma inni a’udzu bi-ka an adhilla aw udhalla, aw adzilla aw udzalla, aw azhlima aw uzhlama, aw ajhala aw yujhala ‘alayya (In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah, and there is no strength and no power except with Allah. O Allah, I seek refuge with You lest I should stray or be led astray, lest I slip or be tripped, lest I oppress or be oppressed, lest I behave foolishly or be treated foolishly).”
- Seek your parents’ approval, for their du’aa’ for you will be answered.
- Mention the name of Allah before you start, for mentioning the name of Allah is prescribed when beginning any permissible action; this brings blessing, and seeking the help of Allah is one of the means of strength.
- Fear Allah with regard to your classmates, and do not be affected by their anxiety, for anxiety is a contagious disease. Instead, make them feel optimistic by saying good words.
- Remembering Allah (dhikr) dispels anxiety and tension. If something is too difficult for you, then pray to Allah to make it easy for you.
- Choose a good place to sit during the exam, if you can. Keep your back straight, and sit on the chair in a healthy manner.
- Studies advise spending 10% of the exam time in reading the questions carefully, noting the important words and dividing one’s time between the questions.
- Plan to answer the easy questions first, then the difficult ones, write notes and ideas which you can use in your answers later.
- Answer questions according to importance. Start by answering the easy questions. Then move on to the questions which carry high marks, and leave till the end the questions to which you do not know the answers, or which you think will take a long time to produce an answer or which do not carry such high marks.
- Take your time to answer. “Deliberation is from Allah and haste is from the Shaytaan.” (A hasan hadeeth. Saheeh al-Jaami, 3011).
- Think carefully and choose the right answer when answering MCQ. Deal with them in the following manner. If you are sure that you have chosen the right answer, then beware of waswasah. If you are not sure, then start by eliminating the wrong or unlikely answers, then choose the correct answer based on what you think is most likely to be correct. If you guessed at a correct answer then do not change it unless you are sure that it is wrong. Research indicates that the correct answer is usually that which the student thinks of first.
- In written exams, collect your thoughts and write an outline for your answer with some words which will indicate the ideas which you want to discuss. Then number the ideas in the sequence.
- Write the main points of your answer at the beginning of the line, because this is what the examiner is looking for.
- Devote 10% of the time for reviewing your answers. Resist the desire to hand in the exam papers quickly, and do not let the fact that some people are leaving early bother you.
- If you discover after the exam that you answered some questions incorrectly, then take that as a lesson in the importance of being well prepared in the future, and not rushing to answer questions. Accept the will and decree of Allah and do not fall prey to frustration and despair. “If anything befalls you, do not say, ‘If only I had done such and such.’ Rather say, ‘Qadar Allah wa maa sha’a kaan (the decree of Allah and what He wills happened),’ for saying ‘if only’ opens the door for the Shaytaan.” (Saheeh Muslim).
- Note that cheating is haram. Prophet s.a.w said: “Whoever cheats is not one of us.” It is a haram means of attaining a degree or certificate, etc., that you have no right to. Reject all offers of haram things that come to you from others. Whoever gives up a thing for the sake of Allah, Allah will compensate him with something better.
- Remember what you have prepared for the Hereafter, and the questions of the examination in the grave, and how to be saved on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever is saved from the Fire and admitted to Paradise will indeed have succeeded.
Excerpted and edited from Islam QA.