STUDY HARD OR STUDY SMART? WHY NOT BOTH?

Duas For Exams And 13 Simple Yet Effective Tips To Help You Study Better

Is this your break-time from studying? 

Or are you procrastinating by googling how to study? 

Relax. 

I’m not going to beat you up, my friend. 

In fact, I want you to take home the following tips that are genuinely effective so that you won’t need to google anymore.

Around the subject of studying, I have a few core beliefs (And they are NOT random quotes):

  • Don’t just study to clear an exam. Study to learn and empower yourself with knowledge.
  • Rely heavily on the power of Dua for exams.
  • Tell your mind there’s no end to learning. When you think you have learned it all, you have stopped growing.
  • Study smarter AND harder.
  • Observe. Listen. Absorb. Apply. Fail. Repeat. And you will surely Learn it.

 

With that said, let’s dive right into it!

Oh wait.. before you dive in, I have a Duas For Exams printable for you to download! I know you won’t be able to remember all the dua’s I’ve compiled in this article by reading it once and you won’t have the time to keep coming back to this post. So.. Voila! I made a printable for you! 

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE Duas for exams printable!

1) Fix your intention and start with Bismillah (In the name of Allah)

Having a clear intention is more important than you think it is. Don’t just randomly invest all of your precious time into studying for an exam or a test. 

Take a step back, zoom out a little. Now think about why you are learning. Is it just to be a position holder in class, get ahead of your nemesis and other such goals? 

Whatever it is you are studying, study to become knowledgeable, and credible Muslims in your field.  

Purifying your intention is necessary even when you make duas for exams. Make dua in front of Allah with sincerity. 

Another key point is to start your study-session with a “Bismillah!“. Great, now you have Allah as your helper while you study!

2) Make Lots of Duas for exams:

Allah says in the Qura’n:

“And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you'”

[Surah 40: Ayah 60)

Before you even begin studying, or sitting for an exam, it is essential that you connect yourself spiritually to Allah. What better way to do that than prayers and duas?  

We all speak different languages. But the beauty of spirituality crosses all the barriers of language, race and colour. For maintaining a connection with Allah, you don’t specifically need to make duas in Arabic.  

We should make duas in whatever language we are the most comfortable in and feel a stronger connection with Allah. 

However, there are quite a few important duas Allah mentions in the Quran specifically for us and many more that our beloved Prophet (S.A.W) has mentioned in his Sunnah. We should gain benefit from them as well. 

 

Here are a few of those golden duas for exams, studies, interviews, vivas, or any other sort of trial you are going through. 

 

Remember: No examiner is too big in front of Allah. And no exam is bigger than life itself.  [ Click to tweet ]

a) Duas for gaining knowledge:

Allah says in the Qura’n:

رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي  وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي  وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي  يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي

“O my Sustainer! Open up my heart and make my task easy for me, and loosen the knot from my tongue so that they might fully understand my speech.”  [ Surah Taaha -20: Ayahs 25-28 ] 

Allah teaches us in the Qura’n:

رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا 

 “My Lord Increase me, and increase me in knowledge.” [ Surah 20: Ayah 114 ]

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي حُكْمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ   وَاجْعَل لِّي لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ فِي الْآخِرِينَ   وَاجْعَلْنِي مِن وَرَثَةِ جَنَّةِ النَّعِيمِ

 “My Lord, grant me wisdom, join me with the righteous; give me a good name among later generations; make me one of those given the Garden of Bliss.” [ Surah Ash-Shu’ara- 26, Ayahs: 83-85. ]

قَالُوا سُبْحَانَكَ لَا عِلْمَ لَنَا إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا  ۖ  إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ

“Glory be to you, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.”[Surah Baqarah- 2: Ayah: 32]

b) Dua for studying something difficult:

The Prophet (S.A.W) advised us to recite the following dua in any time of trials. We can read this dua for exams, studies, or for any other type of trials that we are facing.

اللَّهُمَّ لاَ سَهْلاً إِلّاَ مَا جَعَلّتَهٌ سَهْلاً وَأَنّتَ تَجّعَلَ الحَزَنَ إِذَا شِئتَ سَهْلاً

“O Allah, nothing is easy except what You make easy. And if You wish, You make the difficult easy.” [ Hisnul-Muslim]

c) Duas when suffering from stress, tension or anxiety:

The Prophet (S.A.W) said that one should recite the following dua for exams, studies, or in any other times of stress or trials.

اللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَ الْحَزَنِ ، وَ الْعَجْزِ وَ الْكَسَلِ ، وَ الْبُخْلِ وَ الْجُبْنِ ، وَ ضَلَعِ الدِّيْنِ وَ غَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ

“O Allah! Certainly, I seek refuge in you from concern and grief and I seek refuge in you from inability and laziness, and I seek refuge in you from cowardice and miserliness and I seek refuge in you from the overpowering of debts and from the subjection of man.”  [ Sahih- Bukhari, Hadith: 6369 ]

اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أَرْجُو فَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَا أَنْتَ 

“O Allah, I hope for Your mercy, so give me not over to my self even for as little as wink of an eye, and set right all my affairs, there is no God but You”  [ Sunan Abu Dawood ]

Here is the arabic word analysis of both the duas for anxiety mentioned above.

d) Dua for exams ( before or during exam):

Allah says in the Qura’n: 

وَإِنْ يُرِيدُوا أَنْ يَخْدَعُوكَ فَإِنَّ حَسْبَكَ اللَّهُ ۚ هُوَ الَّذِي أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصْرِهِ وَبِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“….verily Allah is All-Sufficient for you. He is the One Who has strengthened you and the believers with His help.”

[Surah: 8, Ayah: 62]

d) Dua after exam:

Allah says in the Qura’n:

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

“who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.””  [Surah Baqarah-2, Ayah: 156] 
CLICK ON THE BUTTON TO SIGN UP AND DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE Duas for exams printable sheet!

3) Space your study sessions according to Salah times

While most of us are so absorbed in our studies, Duhr goes by, so does Asr, and by the time it’s Maghrib you are almosst done (just a little bit left). It’s the middle of the night, and you are STILL not done. Wonder why? 

Allah takes away baraka’h from our tasks. So remember that 20 mins of praying 5 times a day, is a blessing in the form of mental rest from Allah. 

He also adds barakah in the rest of your time and you end up sleeping at night saying.. Wow! How did I do all that in one day?  

Bonus Tip: One of the best times to make some serious du’a is tahajjud. I know it’s very difficult for most of us to wake up so early. It becomes easy once you shift your sleep-cycle so that your sleepy-time is around Isha’a and wake-up time is tahajjud.  

The Prophet said, “Our Lord descends each night to the nearest Heaven when only the last third of the night remains, and says: ‘Is anyone praying that I may answer him? Is anyone seeking forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is anyone asking, that I may give to him?’, and this continues until dawn” (Tirmidhi).

4) Understand yourself and your capacity

Are you someone who can sleep 4 hours and function like a super-mega-human? Or are you someone who can NOT wakeup before 6-8 hours of beauty-sleep, even if your roomies throw you out the window? ( Notice how I use the word “can” and not “want to”).

Ask yourself, can I study in groups or do I retain better when I study alone?

Am I a night-owl and become dysfunctional when I try to study in the morning or am I a morning buddha bursting with energy?

Waking up early in the morning has plenty of benefits. But depending on your study habits, you can choose to study till late at night for exams as long as you don’t miss fajr!

Ask yourself.. Do I learn better when I’m hopping from one place to another, or am I more of a “still” person who likes to be glued to one place while studying?

Listen to yourself. And not to the snobby topper who rants on about how he/she aces it. What works for someone else might not work for you at all. 

5) Sticky-notes, white-board, colour-codes and what not?

Get your game on. Use a whiteboard, highlighters, sticky-notes or/and flashcards.

Whatever suits you best. But be sure to make notes.

When you are making notes, you are writing as well as reading. And that aids in your memory encoding process.

Colours also help in memory conversion.  But if you are that neat little person who uses a lead pencil with a ruler to underline important stuff, then I salute you. 

You, my friend, are playing a serious game.

6)Make a Timetable

Rather than stuffing your plans for a whole decade in your head, just jot them down on a piece of paper.

Divide your time into manageable portions. Think of completing one portion at a time. 

When you complete a task, cross it out or highlight it or give it a big tick. And when you are DONE with all of it, tear that paper into as many pieces as you want to feel goood!

7) Sit in the company of people with similar goals

If you are aiming to ace the exam, then hang around with the big-fish.

But if you just want to pass it, don’t overwhelm yourself with the company of high-achievers.

There is nothing wrong with setting a low study-target. Focus on your goals and accordingly surround yourself with people.

8) Teach what you learn

One of the best ways to reinforce what you learn is to teach it to someone. Ideally your friends/classmates or roomates are the best targets. This way you will benefit them as well as yourself, a win-win!

9) Take multiple short breaks

Take a break. Not from reading this juicy article..  Take a break from studying between every session.

I have personally used the “Pomodoro technique” for yearss. It’s amazing how productive you can get AND enjoy breaks every now and then, by studying in small time intervals called “Pomodoros. It also helps immensely in beating procrastination.

But I won’t be able to cover the details of that technique in this article. Let me know in the comments section below if you want me to write another article on that!

10) Reward yourself with a treat!

Chocolates? A big fat juicy burger or a cheesy-pizza?

Or maybe something really light like a fruitjuice? (only if you are a health-freak like me). Yum-tums!

When you set yourself a goal with a treat at the end, you have something sweet to look forward to.

That little morsel of reward motivates you to keep going! Moreover, it brings you a sense of satisfaction that you have achieved something.

On a side note- Don’t have really heavy treats after every task. At that rate, you will swell up like a balloon. True story.

11) Experiment new strategies of learning

I recommend that you try all of these to figure out what works for you best:

  • Watch videos of lectures or documentaries. Give something visual from your study-topic to your memory
  • Listen to a recitation of Quran or Nasheeds in your break-time. It will help de-stress you.
  • Draw it out! Whatever it is you are trying to understand, illustrate it on a piece of paper (don’t worry if drawing is not your thing- it’s just for you not for the millennial art gala).
  • Change or modify your study environment. It helps elevate the mood!
  • BE LOUD. Yes. You heard it. That’s cause I said it out loud.

When you are reading text, listening to audio, watching videos, writing notes, AND saying it out loud (maybe not all of those together cause that would be too crazy), imagine how many senses are being used!

The more you make use of those senses Allah has given you, the more chances of imprinting or better, engraving that piece of information on your brain!

12) Eat memory-enhancing foods

Rather than mindlessly munching on crackers that make you bloat later, eat the foods that are proven by the Sunnah of our Prophet (S.A.W).  Honey, Olive Oil, Figs, Dates, and pomegranates are among those foods that enhance memory and improve concentration!

But MOM…I only got 49 out of 50! Why me? I wanted a 50! I am such a failure…

OMG, girlsss listen up! I did it again! Why do I ALWAYS manage to top everything even though I never really study? haha! I must be really smart I guess… 

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Aren’t both of those situations messed up?

And I didn’t make them up. People say that (maybe not in those exact same words). There are two kinds of people I mentioned above.. 

One extreme is never being satisfied with where you are. And the other is trying too little and being arrogant. Allah does not like extremes.

Just try to be somewhere in the middle. Say Alhamdulilah and understand that no matter how smart you are, it’s a blessing from Allah.

And no matter how much you are lacking behind.. there are people in much worse situations. It’s not the end of the world. 

Allah says in the Qura’n:  And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]….(14:7)  

So are you ready to DREAM BIG and begin studying the right way?

I have personally tried almost all of the above to help me throughout my student life and still follow most of them whenever I study anything.

So I strongly recommend you try as many as you can.  And take it easy.

Just don’t forget to make du’a for exams every day till your exam (even more so after) and put in a little effort to show Allah you really want it!

Oh and before you leave, don’t forget to download your Duas For Exams printable sheet!

Grab your Duas for exams free printable!

I wish you the best of luck! If you liked this article, share it with your friends/family members so that they benefit from it too Insha’Allah.

Did you try following any of the tips? Let me know what works best for you in the comment section below. You know how much I love reading and replying to your comments!

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Founder & Author l Muslim Youth Programme
Aimen is a Medical Doctor who teaches self-development to young Muslims struggling with the fitnah of this century. Her aim is to educate and empower Muslims with practical advice on self-development, productivity, studies and health, with insights on Islamic psychology. Jumpstart your productivity and take action on your goals by signing up to her latest FREE productivity Bootcamp for Muslims.
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