Dubai: It was a bittersweet moment for many UAE students as they started their final term exams on Sunday right after the nine-day Eid Al Fitr holiday.
Families celebrated an extra-long Eid holiday this year but also had to cut some leisure time to make room for exam revision. Some left studies for the last day of the holiday while others spaced out revision more evenly over the break.
While some students and parents saw the extended holiday as an opportunity to revise, others had mixed emotions, feeling caught between preparing for the exams and enjoying time together.
Some tour companies had told Gulf News fewer families from the UAE were going on Eid holiday abroad this year because of the looming exams.
Educators have also shared timely advice to help students cope with the abrupt change of having to dive straight into exams after several days off. Preponing the exams before the Eid holiday would also not have been easy as many students were fasting in Ramadan. However, some grades in some schools had already started holding exams before the Eid holiday.
Most schools in the UAE following the Ministry of Education’s curriculum as well as international schools are holding third and final term exams in June. Schools will be off for the two-month summer break in the first week of July.
Indian and Pakistani schools start their new academic year in April and are now in their term one. Many of them are also holding unit or periodic tests for most of June.
While some students and parents saw the extended holiday as an opportunity to revise, others had mixed emotions, feeling caught between preparing for the exams and enjoying time together
School principals pointed out the syllabus or portion to cover in the exams is not as vast as the term only began in April. To make the situation easier for students, some schools are holding the easier exams first and spacing out the tougher exams with gap days in between.
As students continue to revise and sit exams this month, educators have provided tips for effective studying habits. The most common tip is “don’t cram” and take short breaks. They also underscored the fact that parents too shoulder a responsibility alongside teachers to support students academically and emotionally, especially during exam season.
Shabina K., an Indian mother in Sharjah, said: “My son in grade five had exams before the Eid holiday and now is sitting exams again after the holiday. I allowed him a lot of time off to play and have fun but I knew he would have to study sometime during the holiday. So it was something at the back of my mind as I’m the one who helps him revise.”
Another mother, a Lebanese expat in Dubai, said she and her husband “didn’t go anywhere” this Eid holiday so they could stay at home for their daughter, who studied for several hours every day for her exams.