What to Eat Before a Test: Student Study Tips

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When you’re planning to take a big test, you want to make sure that you’re fully prepared. You spend a lot of time studying to make sure you know the material. You make sure you get enough sleep and that you’re eating before you go, but are you eating the right things? You need to know what to eat the night before a test and more.

The important thing about eating before a test and even before you study is that you need to eat foods that are going to help your overall health and your brain. After all, you’re going to need that brain working at optimum levels. That’s why it’s essential to know the best foods to eat before a test.

Let’s jump right into what you should be eating and when you should be eating it, so you know how to get the most out of your snacking, your meals and a whole lot more. Before you know it, you’re going to be ready for that test and more prepared than ever.

After you’re done reading this, be sure to check out our other student study guides, like the one on how to study for exams or the one on how to manage your study time.

What is Brain Food and Why is it Important for Students

What is Brain Food and Why is it Important for Students?

What is Brain Food and Why is it Important for Students?

Let’s take a look at brain food first. If you’ve never heard of it, these are the foods that are going to, you guessed it, help your brain. These are foods that contain specific ingredients that your brain needs in order to be healthy and operate at optimum levels. Things like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are the most important things you can do for your brain.

Omega-3 fatty acids help your brain with building and repairing brain cells, which is definitely something that you want as much of as possible, right? And antioxidants are responsible for reducing stress on your cells and reducing inflammation as well. Thought that’s not going to be as crucial for your short-term memory and functions, it is vital for long-term function, so let’s not discount it.

Research shows that getting the right types of brain foods definitely makes an impact on your health and the way that you can perform on all different kinds of tasks. By getting plenty of these foods, you’re going to be more prepared for just about anything, including long-term (like we mentioned).

The key is understanding the right types of foods, which can include anything from vegetables and fish to berries and even coffee. But of course, you need to make sure you’re getting the right quantities of these things. Eating as much as you want of vegetables and berries are generally going to be just fine, but eating too much of some other foods could actually be detrimental to other parts of your body. So let’s take a look at what you should really be eating.

Best Brain Foods to Eat While Studying and the Night Before an Exam

Best Brain Foods to Eat While Studying and the Night Before an Exam

Best Brain Foods to Eat While Studying and the Night Before an Exam

If you’re trying to get the most out of your studying, you want to make sure that you have the right books, the right notes … and the right food. Eating before your exam and eating while you’re studying for that exam is actually going to be about as important as anything else you do, so let’s take a closer look at the different things you should be eating as good study snacks and what to eat the night before a test.

1. Coffee

This one may seem strange, but a small amount of coffee can actually help you with processing information, which is great when you’re working on learning something new. Not only that, but coffee helps to make you feel more alert, which is going to be important when you’re studying (especially if you find the subject a little boring). When it’s time for those night before the exam reviews, grab a cup and get started.

2. Oily Fish

This may not seem like something you would want to be eating before a test, but oily fish is actually full of omega-3 fatty acids. Those omega-3’s are great for every part of your body because they help to improve the function of your cells. That applies to brain cells as well and helps increase cognition and the ability to think. These are fish like salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, and mackerel. You need brain food for studying exams, and this is it.

3. Complex Carbs

I know, this isn’t really a specific item, but it’s a category of things that you’re not going to want to miss out on. Carb loading the day before the test is actually great because it’s going to give you a whole lot of energy and it’s going to make sure that you feel full. You want things like whole grain pasta, bread, or cereal to help you get a lot of carbs and feel like you’re really prepared.

4. Bone Broth

This one may sound strange, but it’s actually going to help you get the sleep that you need, which is definitely a reason to go for it. It helps you get to sleep quicker and also makes sure that you’re going to have better quality sleep, which you need in order to have your brain at optimum levels come test day.

5. Lean Meats

Things like turkey bacon or even Canadian bacon are going to be great for your overall health and for your brain when you’re getting ready the night before your test. They’re going to give you the protein that you need, but they’re not going to load you down with a lot of fat or a lot of grease, which is definitely going to help you feel a bit better on test day.

6. Sage

Okay, we’re not recommending that you just eat sage, but if you add it to the things you’re eating it can actually help you to improve your memory. Plus it can help reduce your risk of memory loss over time. Both of those things are going to be great for trying to retain the information that you need when it comes to that next test.

Best Brain Foods to Eat Before a Test

Best Brain Foods to Eat Before a Test

Best Brain Foods to Eat Before a Test

The day of your test, you want to make sure you’re eating the best foods possible in a super high-quality brain food breakfast. You need something that’s going to keep you full and focused during the test. You also need something that’s going to be good for your brain and your short-term memory. That’s where you need the best food to eat before a test. Your brain is going to be pushed to the limits when it comes to actually taking the test, but just what are the actual foods that you need for the best breakfast before a test?

7. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent food for breakfast because they’re going to give you protein that helps you stay full a lot longer, and also it’s just plain good for you. On top of that, they’re full of B vitamins, which are good for your brain. They help to keep your brain operating at optimum levels as you get older and they can help prevent shrinking of the brain. If you want brain food before a test, this is where to start.

8. Milk

This is actually a source of protein, which means it’s a great way to get some of that added energy without a whole lot of other things getting in the way. You’ll also find that milk helps you to feel full without you having to eat a lot. That definitely helps if you’re feeling a little nervous before you take that test.

9. Whole Grain

Whole grains are actually great for giving you a lot of Vitamin E, which helps improve those neural pathways and the function of your brain overall. This antioxidant is definitely one that you’re going to want a lot of for your brain health (but be careful about some of the other side effects). You can find whole grains in brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread and pasta, barley and bulgur wheat.

10. Yogurt

Did you know probiotics in yogurt are actually what’s responsible for giving you those gut reactions to things? They’re able to help you feel healthy, get the energy you need and definitely to digest your food as well, which means they’re going to be really important come test day. This is definitely what to eat before a test.

Best Brain Foods for Snacking or Eating During a Test

Best Brain Foods for Snacking or Eating During a Test

Best Brain Foods for Snacking or Eating During a Test

If you get the opportunity to eat during your test, make sure you’ve packed some of the best snacks you can, including your brain food for studying exams. You want something that’s going to be simple and easy to eat, and that means you should have prepackaged bags of small things. Of course, you don’t need to buy them that way. You can package them up yourself, just make sure that you have at least a couple of these ready to go. AmazonFresh can be a great way to get all your brain foods online.

11. Snack Bars

There are a number of different types of snack bars that you could try when you’re looking for an excellent snack for your exam day. These are things like granola bars, energy bars, protein bars, and more. Each of them gives you some energy and also makes sure that you’re getting nutrients that are going to help you stay feeling full.

12. Apples

Did you know that apples are actually full of something called acetylcholine that’s designed to help your body with sensory perception? There’s actually be research that shows that eating an apple can help you to increase your test scores and if you needed a reason to take one with you for your exam that’s definitely going to be it, don’t you think? It’s definitely also what to eat before an exam in the afternoon (which is how the study did it).

13. Nuts

Nuts and seeds actually include both omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which makes them an excellent snack for anyone who is studying or taking a test. They’re super easy to eat while you’re working and they give you better brain function, better neural pathways and a lot more. You want almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds especially.

14. Berries

Berries especially are a great thing to have if you can take a small bag or pouch into your exam. They give you a whole lot of antioxidants, and that helps with increasing the communication between cells in the brain, enhancing learning and memory and even reducing the chances of developing brain-related disorders in your older years. Of course, you need to have the right ones, and those include strawberries, mulberries, blackberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants.

15. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate actually has antioxidants in it that are able to help your cognition and reduce the chance of brain diseases over time. More than that, they help your blood vessels to grow and also increase blood flow. Plus, research seems to show that it helps with learning, which means this could be great even while you’re studying, but don’t eat too much because a lot of sugar can be bad for you on test day.

The Best Places to Stock Up on Study Foods

The Best Places to Stock Up on Study Foods

The Best Places to Stock Up on Study Foods

Ready to pick up some of those snacks and meals but aren’t sure where to go? You’re definitely going to be in luck because these aren’t difficult to find foods. You’ll have a super easy time finding them just about anywhere you want to go but if you’re looking for delivery or online order systems we’ve got a few places that you should check out first. You’ll get everything you need at a great price, and you’ll get it quick, which is essential when you’re trying to get into your studying and don’t have time to go shopping for that best food before a test.

16. Amazon Prime Pantry

If you’re looking to get some super-fast delivery and make sure that you have the best snacks (and all the options) then this is definitely the way to go. Amazon Prime Pantry gives you just about any options that you could possibly want, and they make sure you get it within 2 days (or an hour depending on where you live).

17. LoveWithFood

If you’re looking for healthy snacks that are more specialized and definitely that is healthy, you may want to look at this website to help you out. LoveWithFood has a little bit of everything, and they have a social side of their mission as well which means you help someone else in need when you get a box from them. Their pledge is for every box you get, Love With Food donates a meal to American families in need.

Discover new junk-free snacks every month and help fight childhood hunger

18. FitSnack

If you’re looking for healthy snacks that are designed to help you get in better shape, then you’re definitely going to want this subscription box. They’re designed to help you get the fitness help that you need, and they work on giving you snacks that are super healthy and come from some great brands that are located all around the world. So you’re getting a little bit of everything here.

Wrapping Things Up Key Takeaways on Brain Food and What to Eat Before a Test

Wrapping Things Up: Key Takeaways on Brain Food and What to Eat Before a Test

Wrapping Things Up: Key Takeaways on Brain Food and What to Eat Before a Test

So, what should you know about brain food for memory and what to eat when you’re preparing for that test? There are a number of different foods that are great for you in more than just one way too. Each of these foods that are going to help your brain is also going to help you feel full even longer, and they’re going to help you be healthier all around. That’s definitely worth it when it comes to brain food for testing, right?

19. Fruits, Vegetables, and Seeds

You should definitely have fruits and vegetables like blueberries, sunflower seeds, dried fruits, and figs. These foods are all going to give you vitamins and minerals that your body needs, and that is going to make you feel more alert and more focused all around. The wide array of vitamins and minerals in different types of fruits, seeds, and vegetables focus on different parts of the body.

20. Dairy Products

These include things like yogurt and cottage cheese, and they’re great for keeping your brain working and functioning the way that it should. For a long time, no one really recognized dairy products of any kind as being good for brain health, but we’re starting to see how they can make a big difference in the way the brain functions over time.

21. Don’t Skip Breakfast

Even if you usually don’t eat breakfast, it’s important to eat something before you go into a test. Eating something is going to help you stay full and stay focused on what you’re doing rather than being distracted by hunger. It’s also going to make sure that you get that last bit of brain-boosting help that you definitely want.

22. Avoid Foods that Impair Brain Function

These foods include anything with white flour or refined sugar. Foods that combine protein and starch or those that contain l-tryptophan are not good for you when it comes to test day or any time that you need to remain alert and focused.

Drink Plenty of Water

23. Drink Plenty of Water

It’s definitely essential to get plenty to drink while you’re trying to study and throughout your test. Drink as much water as you can and make sure that you’re not getting a lot of sugar. Staying hydrated is going to help your concentration, and it’s going to keep you from getting tired or even lightheaded while you’re testing.

24. Skip the Surprises

If you’re coming into this list on test day and you’ve never tried some of these foods before this is not the time to try them out. You never know what foods your body might have an intolerance to or what foods you might not like. Trying something for the first time on exam day is definitely going to be asking for trouble. Make sure you’re sticking to things you’ve tried before.

25. Don’t Drink Caffeine

Caffeine is something that has a lot of negative connotation to it no matter when you drink it, but it’s even worse if you’re studying for or taking a test. It can make you jittery and nervous, which is definitely not going to help you when it comes to test day. Of course, if you usually drink caffeine, you should still have a little to make sure you’re not suffering withdrawal during the test.

26. Avoid Grease and Sodium

These things are definitely not going to help your brain, but they’re also not going to help any other part of your body. If your body is struggling to digest all that stuff that’s really bad for you, it’s definitely not going to be helping you to remember what the square root of 75 is and that could be a problem (depending on the type of test you’re taking of course).

27. Don’t Drink Alcohol

Alcohol can have a number of bad effects on you, and that’s why it’s imperative that you’re not drinking it when it comes to test day. You could end up feeling ill or getting a headache, or you could be completely drunk when it comes time to take your test, and all of those things are going to make it hard for you to focus on what you’re supposed to be doing.

28. Don’t Eat Too Much

You may feel like you should eat a large breakfast before you head to your test, but that’s actually not the case. Eating too much can make you feel tired and worn out. Think about the last time you really went to town on a meal and how you felt after, would you have wanted to take a big exam at that point? Eating something small and light is going to help you feel great going into the exam.

29. Have Extra Snacks

Make sure even if you think you’re not going to be hungry that you have some extra snacks available. You definitely don’t want to end up hungry in the middle of the test with nothing to eat.

When it’s time to take that next test or to study for that upcoming test, make sure that you’re doing everything you can to get yourself ready. Knowing the best food to eat while studying, like nuts, yogurt, eggs, and oatmeal, is going to make a massive difference in how you perform, whether you realize it or not (and you will after you’ve finished the exam). Make sure you’re eating right, and definitely that you’re not skipping meals and you’re going to be off to a great start. You now know what to eat before a big test, after all.

Looking for more study tips? Check out our posts on how to study for exams or how to manage your study time.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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