Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

313D313
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Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:55 pm

This is for all my muslim brothers and sisters who will be studying for the LSAT while fasting during this blessed month as well as any fellow TLSers who find this information useful.

The month leading up to this important test it will be Ramadan and I will be fasting. What would be the best time to study during Ramadan? Is there any foods that would be helpful to eat at suhoor (pre-dawn meal) because my studying will be very intense and last many hours at a time? I know some people consider not fasting because they consider the test very important to their future, is this even allowed in Islam?

I plan on fasting the whole month, but if you could please provide not only me, but the many Muslims that will be preparing for this test advice on how to go about studying during the blessed month.
Thank you very much

This is a very good question. First off, I can assure you that anyone who is in good and balanced health should have no problem functioning during the time of fasting. many people find that they actually function better during the time of fasting because their minds focus more. When we eat different foods those effect us in different ways such as:

- When we eat often we may feel tired or not as alert after consuming a large meal.

- If we eat a meal or snack high in sugar or processed foods we may feel a lot of energy and then feel a large plunge in energy.

- If a person is allergic or sensitive to certain foods they may experience any range of emotions or energy levels during the times they are eating.

The positive aspects of working or taking a test while you are fasting is that your blood sugar and body chemistry reach a balanced point soon after suhoor and are not disturbed again until you eat the evening Iftar (break fast). So you are actually at an advantage during testing and studying because you are able to focus in a steady manner instead of being at the whims of your physical body’s reaction to food you may be eating during the day. People who consume sugar, candy bars, sodas and coffee during the testing days will be in an even worse mental state.

This is not true for every activity. If you were lecturing all day in front of large groups, or performing physical tasks that cause you to lose a lot of fluids, you would be putting yourself under a larger emotional, mental and physical strain. However, during the studying and test taking period your body will go into a “relaxed state” and you will be living in your mind, which is exactly where you need to be for studying and test taking. It is actually more risky to eat during the testing time. The wrong foods could cause a lot of focusing problems and even create feelings of wanting to sleep (usually around 1-3pm).
This said, there are two things to be cautious about.
First, you need to remember that this holds true only for people who are in good health. If you have hypoglycemia, anxiety, depression, hyperglycemia, anemia, or any other condition, it may actually cause trouble for you to fast. In this case you do have permission in Islam to refrain from fasting.

Secondly, you need to remember that although your body will only show significant effects of food at night after you eat (that urge to sleep after iftar, etc…) that what you eat during the evening will affect you in some small or larger ways either right away or eventually during the month of Ramadan. The first few days or week you may be able to eat anything and feel fine during the day. However, eventually your body will start to feel the lack of nutrients if you are not feeding it well at night.
To keep your body health and strong during Ramadan, and your mind alert I would recommend the following formula:

1.Absolutely no caffeine during Ramadan. If you must, only one cup of decafffeinated coffee or tea.

2. No smoking during Ramadan.

3. When eating iftar, do so in stages. Start with dates and soup and then pray. Come back and eat the main dish or salad. Take another break before desert and do not overindulge in desert. If you cannot decide which of the delicious sweets to choose from then take small pieces of each one. Drink one glass of water before eating, before the main dish and after desert.

4. Before you go to sleep make sure you have some more protein and vegetables. Have one more glass of water.

5. For suhoor drink two glasses of water. Do not have any sugar or processed foods at all during suhoor. Do not have wheat bread, white rice or white flour. Instead eat grains such as brown rice, oats, barley, spelt, or kamut. Eat protein such as eggs or beef. Always have some yoghurt with suhoor as it will help you retain your water during the day so you do not get dehydrated. Eat a normal amount. If you eat too little you will be hungry all day. If you eat too much your stomach will stretch and expand and you will feel empty long before iftar.

6. Do not follow any low fat diets during Ramadan. However, of course you should keep fat and salt intake at normal levels. Often people eat a lot of salt during Ramadan because many special meals and soups are made with a lot of salt. Try to avoid having excess salt. Keep your meals special, without adding more salt and oil to them.

7. The best times of day to study will be during the day after you have eaten suhoor, gone to sleep and then woken up again after that. You will be able to get a very intense period of studying in there. The second time you can study with the best focus will be after taking a break from your morning studies and the second hour before iftar. Avoid the 30-60 minutes before iftar and right after iftar. Avoid the time right before Suhur. After you have Iftar and desert and have given your body an hour to digest the food (a walk would be perfect or chatting with family and/or friends) you will have another ideal time for study.

8. Always remember that studying is only effective if you have a clear mind. If you find yourself falling asleep on the books, not able to focus or otherwise distracted you need to close your books and take a nap to conserve your energy for later. If you study when your body is alert you can absorb information at a rapid speed. If you study when your body is tired this speed is greatly reduced. Think back to a time when you were writing short papers. If you are alert you can write the first draft in less than an hour. If you are not alert it may take you the entire day and more of the next three days. Consider efficiency more than time this month. So if you study for 8 hours one day, but you are tired this is not work as much as 3 hours of alert study. Don’t get caught up in the “need” to study long hours. You don’t need long hours. You need efficient hours.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby KibblesAndVick » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:57 pm

You don't say?

313D313
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:58 pm

KibblesAndVick wrote:You don't say?


???

Hedwig
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby Hedwig » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:05 pm

I'd just like to point out that the benefits of fasting over eating really only hold true if you're not eating a healthy, proper diet. If you have food allergies or sensitivities, don't eat food you're allergic or sensitive to. If you're really sensitive enough to be thrown off by the food, you probably would have noticed by now that a specific food affects you negatively. If you're planning on studying, you're probably not planning on feasting on a giant bag of skittles and a chocolate bar right before, since we're all pretty well aware of how sugar rushes and crashes work. People also aren't likely to have a huge heavy meal and then go study.

Obviously that doesn't matter if you're fasting for religious reasons, but I'm not that impressed as to how whoever wrote this suggested that fasting is better for concentration than eating, lol.

d34d9823
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:09 pm

Unless you normally eat a pork chop while poring over Logic Games, I don't think it will matter much.

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Sh@keNb@ke
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby Sh@keNb@ke » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:17 pm

Fellow Muslim here. Good luck!

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crysmissmichelle
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby crysmissmichelle » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:22 pm

The good thing is you'll have another three and a half weeks or so after the activities of Ramadan to study.

Good luck!

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blhblahblah
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby blhblahblah » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:42 pm

9. Don't forget to pray diligently for that elusive 180 as well

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DeSimone
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby DeSimone » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:49 pm

313D313 wrote:
1.Absolutely no caffeine during Ramadan. If you must, only one cup of decafffeinated coffee or tea.

You know that decaffeinated coffee/tea still has caffeine, right?

d34d9823
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby d34d9823 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:27 pm

DeSimone wrote:
313D313 wrote:
1.Absolutely no caffeine during Ramadan. If you must, only one cup of decafffeinated coffee or tea.

You know that decaffeinated coffee/tea still has caffeine, right?

That can't be right! The fabric of the universe would be torn by such an occurrence.

313D313
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby 313D313 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:16 am

crysmissmichelle wrote:The good thing is you'll have another three and a half weeks or so after the activities of Ramadan to study.

Good luck!



yea thats going to be really helpful

MJMD
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby MJMD » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:09 am

LSAT lunch hour was my danger zone: low blood sugar and hunger pangs affected my performance just before, and the diversion of blood from my brain for digestion affected my performance just after (almost all of my incorrect responses came near the end of Section 3 and the beginning of Section 4). You, at least, will avoid the second of these perils (which is a real one): if you can train yourself to ignore the first, or eat something before dawn that keeps your blood sugar and other levels stable for a period encompassing the entire test, you may well perform better than someone who eats during the break period. The general fasting rules for Ramadan that you've listed (no caffeine, no cigarettes, balanced diet of protein and whole grains, etc.) sound like excellent general rules to follow in preparing a pre- and day-of-LSAT diet in any case.

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Balthy
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby Balthy » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:25 am

I know that you can fast during a later month if you are sick or on a journey. If I were you, I would interpret that "journey" as including metaphoric journeys, like studying for the LSAT. Or become a non-believer; you won't have to make up the days.

Mike088
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby Mike088 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:55 am

Salaams bro,

i posted about this earlier. i've found the best time for me to study is immediately after suhoor. I eat a decent meal, have a glass of orange juice, coffee, and water, and then get on it (as i'm about to do right now). I go for a few hours until about 10/11, wait a few hours till duhoor, then take a nap. After that i feel a bit refreshed, get up and do some more studying. If you're going to take any practice tests i suggest doing it right after suhoor.

You really need to create a schedule that allows you to maximize your God time and you LSAT time. I avoid staying up late, get up early, and handle my business.

313D313
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby 313D313 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 11:56 am

Mike088 wrote:Salaams bro,

i posted about this earlier. i've found the best time for me to study is immediately after suhoor. I eat a decent meal, have a glass of orange juice, coffee, and water, and then get on it (as i'm about to do right now). I go for a few hours until about 10/11, wait a few hours till duhoor, then take a nap. After that i feel a bit refreshed, get up and do some more studying. If you're going to take any practice tests i suggest doing it right after suhoor.

You really need to create a schedule that allows you to maximize your God time and you LSAT time. I avoid staying up late, get up early, and handle my business.


Thank you, i find sleeeping for a hour or two after suhoor also helps. But like you said its important to not forget god time, it is ramdan after all.

Heat
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby Heat » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:13 pm

I actually read an ESPN article about an NFL player who fasts for Ramadan. It doesn't specifically address the question but it does reference that Islam is making exceptions.


"Last month, however, an Islamic organization and German soccer officials determined that a Muslim player may break his fast for matches during Ramadan. They decided a player may do so if he is obliged to perform under a contract that is his only source of income and if fasting harms his performance."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/trainingc ... id=5447211

313D313
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby 313D313 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:49 pm

Heat wrote:I actually read an ESPN article about an NFL player who fasts for Ramadan. It doesn't specifically address the question but it does reference that Islam is making exceptions.


"Last month, however, an Islamic organization and German soccer officials determined that a Muslim player may break his fast for matches during Ramadan. They decided a player may do so if he is obliged to perform under a contract that is his only source of income and if fasting harms his performance."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/trainingc ... id=5447211



Yea, if you have a job that is very physically demanding and that is your source of income than you are allowed not to fast.

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rahimali
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Re: Studying for the LSAT while fasting...

Postby rahimali » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:53 pm

Mashallah! Ramadan Mubarak! love the post! But..studying is getting too intense for me so sometimes I have to just break my fast.




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