Since many of you will be taking the LSAT this coming weekend, I thought it was appropriate for me to channel my inner Jamie Oliver and make some dietary recommendations to all the February LSAT’ers (if you haven’t seen Jamie’s TED talk, check out the first few minutes) out there. Truth is, we probably all should heed more nutritional advice from the likes of Jamie O – so why not let the LSAT be the incentive for change in your dietary habits? After all, chances are the exam has controlled every other aspect of your life for the past several months!
While I am by no means a medical expert or professional nutritionist, I do consider myself a highly skilled ‘Googler’, and I took some time to wrangle some helpful pre-exam tips from across the web to keep your mental steam throughout the entire LSAT exam:
Breakfast is essential. Nearly every expert that offered an opinion on what to eat before an exam started with the first meal of the day: breakfast. Some suggestions for a healthy pre exam breakfast are non-sugared cereal with fruit (try raisins, blueberries and/or or bananas), or if you prefer a hot breakfast, go with an egg sandwich with whole wheat bread or whole wheat English muffin. These selections will have the simple sugars (from the fruit) and complex carbohydrates (from the cereal/grain) to keep your energy levels up. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, is the protein element of your breakfast that should come from eggs or beans (more on that in a minute). Be sure to avoid sugary cereals or excessive caffeine before the exam, as these foods tend to result in a “crash” over time, meaning that you may not have the energy to make it through the writing section of the exam – the horror! Speaking of caffeine..
Have your coffee, but scrap the Red Bull. Energy drinks are loaded with sugar and caffeine and are a recipe for test day disaster. Be sure to get enough sleep for two or three nights prior to the exam so that you aren’t reliant upon these gimmicky and unhealthy sources of temporary energy.
As far as coffee is concerned, if you are a habitual caffeine drinker (i.e. you have a cup of Starbucks coffee every single morning) do not all of a sudden break from your routine, as your body is probably reliant on that daily intake and the effects of cutting your body off from this common drug on test day can be damaging to your law school aspirations.
Protein Protein Protein. Another point on which all of the experts agree is that protein is an essential ingredient for test day mental fitness. Foods rich in protein will literally feed your brain during the exam, so don’t skip out on this essential aspect of a balanced breakfast.
Call in backup. Take full advantage of the LSAC’s willingness to allow you to bring a clear one-gallon zip lock bag in the exam room with you by packing it with a juice box and a snack. It’s a long exam, almost always spanning through lunch time, so a granola bar and an apple juice can be essential to keeping your energy levels up throughout the entire test.
Get off the sauce. Seems obvious, right? Make pains to stop drinking during the run up to the exam. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is generally not a great idea for your health, so it stands to reason that getting plastered a few days before the exam is not the most sound plan for a successful exam day. Besides, think of how fantastic that celebratory drink(s) will taste when you get your 180 score back from LSAC!
In summary, good nutritional practices in the days leading up to (and morning of) the LSAT will give your body the fuel it needs to sustain your focus throughout the pressure cooker that is the LSAT exam. Feel free to share your own exam day tips; what has worked (or hasn’t worked) for you on exam days throughout your academic career? Do you have any strange exam taking superstitions that you follow? We’d love to hear about them!
This post is provided by Manhattan LSAT, a leading LSAT-exclusive test preparation provider. To hear more from Manhattan LSAT, listen to Law School Podcaster’s full shows, The LSAT: Everything You Need to Know About the Test and Conquering the LSAT: Tips for Tackling the Test.