Failing In Exams, Please Help

17 October, 2018
Q As-salamu `alaykum, I'm troubled and I'm thinking of quitting school. I have always been an 'A' student, but lately I have been flunking; not that I haven't studied, or that I am stressed or anything –in fact I am quite happy and very settled. I study hard for my exams.

By the time, I sit for the exam, I am calm and I feel fine. But, whenever I get my results from my quizzes and exams, I have flunked. The main reason for flunking is that I make real silly mistakes in my tests. I feel like killing myself for not realizing the silly blunders I have made. I have tried to overcome such problems by taking time to analyze the questions, answering them with consideration and in time, I even go over my paper at least three times before I turn it in.

I seem to know all the answers, yet it's like my eyes have been covered and I keep making the same mistakes. I have tried reciting some ayats from the Qur`an and du`aa's before the exams, yet I fail. This has been going on for at least three semesters. I'm 17 and in college doing a Head Start program which allows me to get my high school and college degree. I have done good so far, except for the last three semesters. I have no idea what I am doing. However, I have decided that maybe school is not for me. Please tell me if what I am doing is right or wrong.


 In this counseling answer:

“Give yourself plenty of time to pray before studying. Clear your heart and mind of any distraction when you study or sit for the exam. Make your sole intention a sincere one, for Allah to benefit you and others. Plan a  bigger objective through your studies. Don’t make the degree or mere personal interest be the objective.”

As-salamu `alaikum my dear,

I’m sorry to hear of your problem, but be assured, many people go through this, so it is not just you. Knowing where the problem is would make a good starting point to avoid searching for what may seem like a mystery.

From what you have said, you do revise your answer sheet, so there are three possibilities that I can think of:

•Do you get distracted in general by something that is completely far removed from school and your studies? Is there something on your mind that places you under pressure and blinds you from your answers? I get the feeling that this could be true because of the sudden change that has happened lately. If you are an ‘A’ student, I am sure you did not become dumb overnight. Are you feeling troubled? Try to pinpoint when this change began. Does it have anything to do with a change in your life or your family? Answering these questions can give you a clue.

•One can put one’s self under a great deal of stress while studying or in the exams. It may seem that your life ends here. I know the program you have undertaken might seem like a life’s project, but the way you say “… maybe school is not for me” sounds like suicide than a decision. It is just a step in your life and one of the many roads that you can take. Your faith and knowledge that whatever Allah wills is better for you and will help you feel more relaxed. One does one’s best and leaves the rest for Allah to arrange.

•Do you revise your answers with your previous answer at the back of your mind? Delete the first understanding of the question. Question every step you take in the answer and jot down your ideas from A – Z.

It is great to read a few ayats before the exam and before you start answering. Doingdhikr (remembrance of Allah),

boy with book on white background

boy with book on white background

even during the exam when you feel distracted will help you to calm down, because sometimes we can make ourselves believed that we are not stressed and begin everything with bis-millah.

Give yourself plenty of time to pray before studying. Clear your heart and mind of any distraction when you study or sit for the exam. Make your sole intention a sincere one, for Allah to benefit you and others. Plan a  bigger objective through your studies. Don’t make the degree or mere personal interest be the objective.

There is something I would like to add from a believer’s experience. Ask for forgiveness and question yourself. Sometimes, it is with our insistence on focusing on a specific sin that our work and effort become wasted. Is your relationship with your parents okay? Is there something that you know you are doing that is wrong, but you can not quit?

1-Never make decisions when you are troubled.

2-Follow through what you have begun, do not suddenly decide that you are a failure. Just do your best and go for the exams.

3-Maybe you will pass and at the end decide that there is something more important that you want to do? For example, some people like social work or religious studies.

By quitting school you just lose hope and put an end to any opportunities that may come your way. Decisions are likely to be wrong when they are taken as a result of disappointment.

Focus on improving your relationship with Allah, rely on His guidance and make Istikhara (prayer for guidance) before any decision you take so that Allah can facilitate what is best for you.

These are the du`aa’s that I used to make in my salat (prayers) and before studying:

“O Allah! Make useful for me what You taught me and teach me that which will be useful to me”.

“O Allah! I ask You for the understanding of the prophets and the memory of the messengers, and those angels nearest to you”.

“Allah make out tongues alive with a remembrance of You, and our hearts with fear of You, and our secrets with obedience of You”.

“O Allah! I trust You with what I have read and I that which I have studied”.

“O Allah! Be my back when I am in need of it”.

“O Allah! Do whatever You wish. You are my Availer and Protector and the best of aids”.

At the exams, say, “O Allah! Nothing is easy except what You have made easy. If You wish, You can make the difficult easy”.

There is also the Ruqya with the Qur`an that protects is from envy and all evil. For example recite Surat-ul Ikhlas, Surat-ul Falaq and Surat-ul Nas in the palm of your hands and pass your hands all over your body. Do this three times. Prophet Muhammad used to do this before he went to sleep. Surat-ul Fatiha is recited as a Ruqya. Do this and may Allah (SWT) protect and guide you.



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About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.