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Studying for MCAT while fasting...

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by DrDotooMuch, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. DrDotooMuch

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    Hey guys.

    I was wondering if anyone has any tips on studying for the MCAT while fasting. I'm sittiing for my examination on Sep 2 and the holy month of Ramadan is starting tomorrow.

    Anyone done this before??

    Any tips on how to survive?

    Anyone else in the same predicament?
     
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  3. Majik

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    I'm in the same situation, however this is a retake for me. I know from personal experience (at least for me), I was more thirsty that I was hungry. My advice would be to wake up early and eat a good breakfast and make sure you stay hydrated days before you approach your test. ...and pray! :)
     
  4. mohad

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    lol looks like I'm in the club too. My test is actually during Ramadan and on a friday, so hopefully that will be a perk hahaha. I just plan on locking myself up in a library and doing work all day. I tend to feed off of the environment (pardon the language), and get in the mood for working if I see others doing the same. There is no need for long breaks cause I don't have to eat, so I think I'll actually get more work done during the next month. Hopefully it will all work out in the end.
     
  5. whiteshadodw

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    i'm planning on eating healthy at suhoor, and waking up early and getting all of my studying done while i'm somewhat nourished. as the day continues, you simply cannot study, especially with the long 16-18 hour fasts we'll have (depending on where you're located). so my advice would be to just get all you're studying done early that way you can enjoy the evenings.
     
  6. muhali3

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    Well...

    This may not be exactly permissible...

    But I'm not fasting on the day of my MCAT, I will make up that fast later on.

    Even when I'm not fasting, I get cognitively fatigued towards the end of a practice MCAT.
     
  7. DrDotooMuch

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    Salam guys and girls.

    Its so nice to hear I'm not the only one. I plan on eating a huge breakfast and staying up after that to get at least 5 or 6 hour of studying when I'm at my best (well feed and not thirsty.) Sleeping after studying, and working out for a little until its time to break my fast. I've accepted the fact that it will be impossible for me to get anything done after about 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

    At least we will have the almighty on our side....

    Good luck... :)
     
  8. blue0rchid

    blue0rchid meh!
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    Holy cow! You guys are seriously going to fast while taking the MCAT? Sorry, I'm not religious so I don't know... But from my personal experience, I took a practice test once, while skipping breakfast and lunch, and I did horribly!!! During the test, I was sooo fatigued and tired and just wanted to give up. If you can somehow skip fasting just for the test, once, then make up for it like extra days after or something, I think you should do that... If you're not allowed to do that, then good luck!
     
  9. mcarrick

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    I'm not Muslim but I've read that pregnant women and people whose jobs would be negatively affected by fasting are exempt from doing so. The woman could fast after having giving birth as long as it was before the next Ramadan. I strongly think you guys should do similarly - hold off the fasting until your MCAT is over and then make it up. That way you aren't really messing up your MCAT chances nor your Ramadan fast.
     
  10. PhaseShift11

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    Well guys, my exam is about a week before Eid so I have some time right now.

    What I might do right now is, completely invert my sleep schedule - study after Maghrib until the morning, then do Fajr, and then perhaps study some more. Then go to sleep until Zuhr and then if you can, study, and if not, then just relax because there's not much more you can do.

    However this can only work for so long as you have to train your body to be ready to go on the actual time of your MCAT. So I will likely take a break a week or two before my actual MCAT, to re-invert my sleep schedule back to normal.

    You guys are intense for fasting even on the day of your MCAT lol. Personally I think if you can do it, great, but if not, I wouldn't worry about it and make up the rest of the fasts after Eid.

    If fasting completely messes you up in terms of studying I don't think it's worth it to study for 2 months and then completely ruin your MCAT score because you can't focus on an empty stomach.

    Just my thoughts.

    Good luck though guys ^_^
     
  11. MShopes

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    Salam guys, I'm in the same boat as you all. My test is sept 10 thank god but I can't take a full 5 hour test without any snacks or water. I get a headache. I usually study best from 12 am to 5 am when everybody is sleeping. During ramadan, I will take the practice test from 11 to 3.30 or 4 am before suhoor so that I can stay hydrated and nourished. I have heard that those that are allowed to break fast are those that are ill or traveling. Pregnant women aren't exempted from the best of my knowledge.
     
  12. MD Odyssey

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    I tried to come up with a response that didn't sound biased, but I couldn't. Suffice to say, starving yourself 16 hours a day for a month and then taking the MCAT is pretty foolish if you ask me.

    But, if you really want to practice awful dietary habits for a full month prior to taking the most important exam of your undergraduate career, knock yourselves out.
     
  13. MD Odyssey

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    Then you need to study your own religion a bit more.
     
  14. MShopes

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    So what you think should be done? It is something out of our control. I was going to take the MCAT first on Aug 23 and break fasting on that day because I had to drink and eat snacks during the exam but I would feel guilty for that since it is not an excuse. I postponed because of fasting and also because I wanted more time to study...not gona lie about that. It's pretty hard if you ask me!
     
  15. MShopes

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    Hey dude, I know what my religion exactly says. Pregnent women aren't allowed to break fast unless they feel their health due to pregnany is affected badly and her baby might be affected.

    Here: With regard to the pregnant woman: it is permissible for her not to fast if she fears some harm which she thinks will most likely affect her and/or her baby. Breaking the fast becomes obligatory if she fears that she may die or be severely harmed if she fasts. In that case she has to make up the fast later on but she does not have to pay the fidyah. This is according to the consensus of the fuqaha’, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):

    “And do not kill yourselves”
    [al-Nisa’ 4:29]

    “and do not throw yourselves into destruction”

    With that in mind, only two conditions for people to be allowed to break fast must exist. The first is if the person is traveling and the second is if the person is ill. Other than that, there is no excuse. I know many pregnant women including my own sister who used to fast.
     
  16. MD Odyssey

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    Well, religions are absolute. There aren't exceptions for people that need to be focused on studying for exam. I suppose it all depends on which is more important -starving yourself for a month or studying for the MCAT.

    If fasting during daylight hours for a month makes you a faithful Muslim, then you don't have much of a choice. If you rationalize an exception for yourself, then you might as well throw the rest of your entire religion out the window. That's the rub with being devout - you don't get to change the rules when they're inconvenient.
     
  17. MD Odyssey

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    Yes. This is true. Not what you said earlier. Of course, modern medicine might differ with the "feelings" of a pregnant woman, but that doesn't really factor into the calculus expressed here.
     
  18. MD Odyssey

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    Agreed. Then there's no point in the debate. You either fast the month of your MCAT and suffer the consequences, or you don't. If you don't, you're in disobedience.

    And this was dangerous to her child and could have ultimately killed it. This says a lot about your views on science and medicine.

    Edit: Clearly, I hold man-made religions in contempt. Feel free to dismiss me as an atheistic humanist.
     
  19. MShopes

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    Exactly, that's why we are forced to be fasting no matter what are the conditions around us. And I'm trying to find a solution to this obligation which is to study at night. The other thing is we aren't allowed to sleep more than 1/3 of the day so no one can use the whole day as sleeping just to waste time.
     
  20. whiteshadodw

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    i've always learned my religion to be extremely convenient. do what you gotta, do what you want to do, God knows best. no reason to bash on people and their extremely diverse religious beliefs. there are people who are extremely orthodox and there are people extremely liberal, and everything in between.

    lets keep to the topic though. OP asked for some advice, not an opinion on whether what he is doing is foolish or not.
     
  21. MShopes

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    She has asked and checked her health with her doctor many times to see if she can fast and the doctor allowed her, considering the fact that she was healthy. It is completely okay for a pregnant women to break fast and make it up later though if she wishes but if she can fast then she should. Our religion have mercy for such conditions.
     
  22. MD Odyssey

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    True. This is probably a good time for me to respectfully bow out of the discussion, since I tend to have a negative outlook on all organized religions (and I've had a few pints of ale). I don't want to be perceived as a tool, and I don't want my reputation to be tarnished because I take a minority opinion.

    But, the assumption here is that science trumps all the rest - so, it's probably unwise to ask a bunch of scientists whether we think that going against modern medicine, for the sake of religion, is a good idea.
     
  23. whiteshadodw

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    who cares. let's stick to the topic. OP asked for some advice, OP is planning to fast, and wants some advice about how to go about this. OP didn't ask for opinions about who should fast and who shouldn't, if you want that go to your local masjid and ask the imam.

    ramadan mubarak to all, and good luck, it will be a long but fruitful month.
     
  24. MShopes

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    Hey man, I wasn't trying to change any one. I just wanted to point out the conditions because it is not actually called "do what you gotta do" because then no body should follow any religion. I wanted also to point out that our religion has mercy so no one thinks negatively. That's all!
     
  25. whiteshadodw

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    unfortunately, we sometimes have confrontations between science and religion. best thing to do is just stay politically correct, especially if WE are going to represent science and medicine. not much else we can do. trust me, my blood boils when some people in my religious community say stuff, but i remember that i represent not only my religious community but also my scientific community.
     
  26. MShopes

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    I can't believe you are approaching ramadan with such attitude. What you mean who cares and quoting my words about my sister? Dude have some respect. Plus I was talking to MD odyssey and explaining what it is like in our religion. You aren't the OP so you can't really decide what we should say and what we don't. Any ways, ramadan mubarak dude.
     
  27. MD Odyssey

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    Then her doctor was wrong or misinformed. There is a growing amount of scholarly evidence which suggests that the dietary habits of pregnant women have a large effect upon the fetus.

    Of course, none of that matters when you have the divine comment on the issue.
     
  28. MD Odyssey

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    Agreed. Ethnic slurs and mud-slinging are beyond the pale. He just lost any credibility he might have ever had with me. I truly hope he's never my doctor.
     
  29. PingPongPro

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    Can you guys just pm each other if you guys really care that much. I think the OP has started a thoughtful thread, but you guys are just derailing it now. In the end noone is going to change their mind, so whats the point of arguing here.

    FWIW I got hungry reading this thread, and just started eating some chicken quesadillas. :)
     
  30. MShopes

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    Please don't think that I'm going against science in here. Of course conditions differ and there are some circumstances when we don't have to follow religion completely. And I agree she shouldn't be pregnant during fasting but well she decided to. And I gave the quote above about religion saying that pregnant women can break fast if they want.
     
  31. MD Odyssey

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    I was thinking the same thing. I'm sort of drunk right now and I don't want people to ignore what I have to say on other topics because they think I'm a bigot. I think that all religions people are deceived and misguided. Thanks for the reminder - I'm going to restrain the urge to respond to any other public comments on the subject. PM here or on my blog will, of course, be responded to rationally and without personal comments.


    No kidding. I had to open a bag of those really tasty potato chips... You know...the baked ones with the sea salt? So tasty.

    Edit: My email address is [email protected] - I am slow to respond to email, so if it takes a long time, don't feel ignored or slighted.
     
  32. MShopes

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    I hope people don't see me as trying to make problems here. MD odyssey said a wise comment that seems logical and I tried to explain what is the rule in our religion. It's always good to have knowledge about other religions. Then this dude jumped saying who cares and keeps talking about OP only. Well I think OP got the answer already...

    P.S, we still have about an hour to eat and drink so I'm trying to eat too lol. Next time I will eat is tomorrow at 8.30 pm or around that time.
     
  33. MD Odyssey

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    I just finished off a bag of potato chips...and a four pack of Unibroue Maudite. Belgian strong dark ale. Incredibly tasty. Super-rad.
     
  34. MShopes

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    I can never eat chips dude...They make me very thirsty when I wake up !
     
  35. MD Odyssey

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    I have developed a taste for plain yogurt and dried strawberries. My girlfriend sent me an MCAT care package a couple of days ago and it had dried strawberries and dried figs. Probably one of the best pairings I've ever tasted.
     
  36. MShopes

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    Anything with fruits is very good and actually don't make the person thirsty...I eat a lot of fruits any ways....I think that after half an hour, you shouldn't mention any more foods since I will be fasting lol.
     
  37. NOORALLAH

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    OH thanks god i saw the postings... I thought I was alone and was freaking out!!!! but together, I believe we can totally do it.... I love you guys! lol
    Happy Ramadan
     
  38. MShopes

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    Lol ramadan mubarak.
     
  39. MD Odyssey

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    Pretty intoxicated right now.

    Edit: Feel sorry for the OP. We totally hijacked this thread.
     
  40. Linette

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    Signed up for the only local Sept 2nd test.. finally a seat opened up but will have to drive like an hour for an 8 am test.

    I am working out a schedule for review/and practice for this upcoming month...which falls in Ramadan.

    I just hope that iA I'll manage sticking with my schedule to be ready by 9/2 !!!

    Good luck to all :p
     
  41. MD Odyssey

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    Chocolate covered blueberries are nasty.
     
  42. geeyouknit

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    Hey

    Salam. Happy Ramadan to everyone. I usually study late at night, so I think I'll have to change my schedule a bit, sleep from 12-5, and then study from 530 to 9 instead of studying at night.

    I'm also taking it Sept 2nd, but might switch to Sept 10th since I"m a bit behind.
    I don't think that the I would be worse off, since Ramadan will be over before then. If you are taking it in the month and your test is in the afternoon, you could eat at dawn then sleep till the test. Or if you're taking the 8 am, just don't sleep after breakfast or take a short nap.
     
  43. geeyouknit

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    I'm going to ignore the anti-religious parts of this post and address something else.
    We don't starve ourselves for 16 hours. We essentially wake up early, and then eat a big breakfast that gets us through the day. And then we eat again at dusk. People have been doing this for centuries, and I don't imagine most have been starving or dying of thirst. There are of course exemptions for those who are sick, traveling, etc. People who do get sick during it or need to are allowed to break fast and make it up later.

    Ramadan is more about practicing self-restraint and discipline in all areas of life, not just food (although that's the most highlighted area). You should def learn more about it if you're open minded to new ideas and not old stereotypes.
    And I think the dietary habits of most undergrads students couldn't get a lot worse. Eating less might even be better : )
     
  44. DrDotooMuch

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    Not fasting. Is not an option.

    Its currently 4:50am right now. I ate breakfast and I'm about to start a full length practice test.

    Can't stop my life because I'm fasting....
     
  45. salim271

    salim271 Patience is tough. :/
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    Yeah... I picked my testing date before I thought about Ramadan coming up. To be honest my plan is to fast, and if on break I feel like my mind is losing concentration I'll just break it and drink a 5 hour energy and granola bar. Hopefully I wont need it though. I'm going to try and take AAMC 10 today without stopping for my usual granola bar and energy drink and see how I feel.
     
  46. ak21

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    what a neat thread! lol. I decided to fast today. But really OP its up to you. I know muslims who have done it both ways. My first MCAT, I fasted the days I just studied but days I took a practice MCAT I didn't fast. I didn't fast the day of my real test either. This time around I am fasting everyday until my real MCAT (aug. 5th). Days I didn't fast last year I made sure to read more Quran if that makes any difference at all lol. and of course I made them up as well. inshAllah it'll all work out for all of us. Salaam everyone, and Ramadan Kareem.
     
  47. paul411

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    Although as an infidel I can just eat what's healthy, if I were to be subject to divinely imposed fasting, I would rearrange my study schedule to align it with test day schedule.

    What I mean by that is, if you're going to take the 8AM exam, I would start studying everyday at 8AM. This is good because you can eat breakfast before you start like you would on test day. It is imperative to acclimatize yourself to test day conditions so that you can focus on taking the MCAT and not on adjusting your mind and body to the test environment.

    If you train yourself for a month to focus on studying for 5 hours starting at 8AM, test day shouldn't be a problem.
     
    #46 paul411, Aug 1, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  48. altered states

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    Salam guys and Ramadam mubarak to all! Its Good to know Im not the only one...My plan is to study from after taraweeh to sahoor, i usually study late to iA this shouldnt be too much of a problem.

    And remember brothers and sisters that the month of Ramadan is a time for us to strengthen our connection to Allah so make sure you make some time each day to get closer to our Lord.

    May Allah accept all our fasts and prayers and make it easy for us iA
     
  49. pancakesyrup

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    You should try to delay the test until September, if you can.
     
  50. AM90

    AM90 I am delta G negative.
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    I'm on the same boat as most of you here! Fasting isn't that bad for me -- it's basically like skipping lunch and having a very early breakfast -- and on normal school days, I generally skip breakfast and lunch anyways (yeah, I know, healthy.)

    Anyways, I plan to stay up after suhoor and just study all the way through until 6. But we'll see how that goes considering mornings are my worst enemy.

    And I agree with you. I probably wouldn't fast on the day of my MCAT either. God knows your struggles and your reasoning for doing so and He's merciful. I'm sure people would beg to differ, but just my two cents.

    holla and ramadan mubarak to all =)
     
  51. macsta

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    OP- I only know of one muslim and he was on my football team. When he fasted he was worthless. I would try to either break the fast or take the 8am test. That way you can eat before the sunrise and take your exam.
     

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