BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The Exam

Often eating before exams is the last thing you’re thinking as you prepare to sit for them.

You’ve done your studying.

Your reading.

Your writing.

Your study guide is perfect, and you know your flashcards backward and forward.

You had an early dinner, went to bed early, and got your eight hours.

You’ve now woken up feeling refreshed.

Now what?

The Final Push 

BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The Exam

Chances are, your pre-exam meal has been neglected as you scurry about making sure everything is ready for the big day.

Like carbo-loading before a race, your pre-exam nutrition is vital and can make or break your performance on the test.

A long exam is like a mental marathon, endurance is critical.

Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste just because you’ve neglected one of the most seemingly trivial aspects of a successful day: diet.

Properly eating before exams is a necessity.

Keep reading for some ideas on the best foods to ensure a great score on your exam with these 5 things you need to know about eating before exams.

BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The Exam

1. Eat, Even If You Usually Don’t Eat 

BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The ExamIf you usually skip breakfast or resort to a light snack as you run out the door, do away with that on test day.

Breakfast is EXTREMELY important, as your brain needs the energy to work at optimal capacity.

Make sure you have enough time to prepare a hearty meal that you enjoy.

Now is not the time to try a new recipe or force down something you don’t like.

If you are unable to do solid food in the morning, try a smoothie with brain-boosting fruits and natural sugars.

Remember, you just spent the entirety of the night without eating or drinking anything, so in the mornings, you’re low on fuel to keep you going.

And when it comes to exams, you want to be as alert and attentive as possible – which means your brain is going to need nourishment.

2. Time Your Meals Properly 

BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The ExamIf your test is in the morning, it is crucial to have your breakfast a few hours before to make sure you reap all the nutritional benefits.

Moreover, a few hours between mealtime and test time means you have thoroughly digested the food.

Don’t walk into an exam 30 minutes after eating a giant breakfast; your body will be in the process of digesting, and you will feel tired and groggy.

This goes for an afternoon exam as well; make sure your lunch is thorough but early enough to eliminate post-meal weariness. 

3. Eat Brain-Powering Foods 

BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The ExamMental alertness is critical during the exam.

It would be a shame if you showed up to the test foggy or groggy due to poor nutrition.

Protein-rich foods, such as nuts, eggs, and yogurts, are all excellent choices as they promote brain activity and alertness.

Fruits and whole-grain cereals are excellent as well, as they have been shown to promote quick thinking.

If it’s a post-lunch time exam, try and throw some vegetables in there as well, like carrots, broccoli, and peppers.

4. Know What NOT to Eat 

BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The ExamJust as there are foods you should eat before an exam, there are foods you should avoid at all costs.

Cookies, cakes, or any foods high in refined sugars should be on the “avoid” list.

Not only do they take longer to digest, but they can also give you an unexpected sugar rush during the test, making you jittery and distracted.

Lots of carbs can also have an adverse effect, as they can make you feel tired.

No giant pasta meal for lunch! Lastly, avoid sugary drinks like sodas and most fruit juices.

These drinks will dehydrate you and hence promote weariness.

Water is most likely your best option for test day.

5. Just Be Smart!

BrainFuel: What to Eat Before The ExamMost importantly, eat smart.

If certain foods do or don’t work for you, that are or aren’t on this list, don’t be afraid to eat what has worked previously.

In general, fast foods and sugary foods aren’t healthy for you, so naturally, they won’t help you the morning of your exam.

Oppositely, generally considered healthy foods are a good default if you are still unsure.

As long as you know what works for you and what foods don’t, you will be fine.

Good luck on your next exam!

Now, I’m passing the baton over to you.

Did you learn something new about eating before exams from this article?

Do you better understand the importance of eating before exams and the right way to do so?

Do write in and let me know!

Scott Mayer is an SEO at Benchprep, we create test prep and other subject-based interactive courses available on your computer, iPhone, iPad and Android device. Over 250,000 students use BenchPrep to excel on standardized tests and accomplish their professional and educational goals. Contact us today at

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Updated – October 14, 2020 ]