Fuel Your Mind for the LSAT: Brain Food for Test Day Success

Hungry? If you’re gearing up for next week’s June 2012 LSAT now is not the time to grab a Snickers. As the clock ticks closer to the big day you may have found yourself in the repetitive study, eat, sleep, routine. Hopefully by now you have the studying and sleeping down to a science, but it is just as crucial to keep in mind that what you put into your stomach could be just as important as all that LSAT knowledge you’ve been planting in your brain. Before you hit the grocery store this weekend, check out some of the top brain foods to add to your list as well as the best times to indulge in order to have your mind ready for optimal performance on test day.

 Fuel up on Brain Food


Sunday night’s dinner: if your body operates like most humans, your adrenaline will be overflowing and your nerves will be getting an exhausting workout the night before the exam. However, a restful night’s sleep is of utmost importance if you want to perform your very best on test day. In preparation for bed, make sure to eat a healthy dinner at least two to three hours before you go to sleep so that you have time to digest. Fill your plate with an omega-3 fatty fish (salmon, tuna, halibut) or a lean meat (chicken, turkey, lean beef), a side of nutrient-dense veggies (spinach, broccoli, kale, bok choy), and a small helping of healthy carbohydrates (whole grain bread, brown rice, sweat potatoes). Skip the soda or sugary juice tonight and be sure to drink plenty of good ol’ H2O!

The importance of breakfast: The best way to prepare for the LSAT in final hours before it begins is to have a hearty breakfast that will stick with you for the duration of the exam. As tempting as those Pop Tarts and frozen waffles look, they do not provide all of the essential nutrients that your mind and body require to perform most efficiently. The best options are meals that combine protein (for mental performance) and complex carbohydrates (for energy) and that are void of too much fat (which will make you tired and sluggish). Some healthy, nutrient-laden meals that meet these requirements are yogurt with granola, scrambled or hard-boiled eggs with a side of toast, oatmeal with fresh fruit and raisins, a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk and some fresh strawberries or blueberries. If you’re a regular caffeine junkie, you can have your coffee and drink it too, but don’t drink so much that you’ll find yourself constantly in need of the bathroom (maybe consider a small shot of espresso). While we suggest a meal that fills you up, be careful not to eat anything heavier than you normally do, as you don’t want to enter into a food coma and feel lethargic and nauseas.

Snack Time: The 15 minute break period between sections 3 and 4 of the test is probably every test taker’s favorite part of the exam! It is extremely important to use this time wisely and to use it to your greatest advantage. This means bringing food and drink to the test center to replenish your energy and to hydrate your body. Remember, you’re allowed to bring in a snack, as long as it fits in your gallon-sized zip lock bag. Be sure to pack a snack that will fit easily and can be consumed in a few bites. Energy bars or granola bars are a great choice. They are small, neatly wrapped, and provide a nice boost of energy for the remaining sections of the test. Whole pieces of fruit such as a banana, an apple, or an orange are other smart options as they are easy to peel, quick to eat, and contain natural sugars to keep your brain alert and awake. Though you may trigger some rather interesting facial reactions from your fellow test mates, consider noshing on a hard-boiled egg. They are small and easy to pack and, best of all, packed with protein to keep those stomach growls at bay. It is likely that your test center will have a water fountain but it never hurts to be too prepared (or cautious of germs), so don’t forget to bring a WATER bottle to rehydrate (I emphasize the word water to deter attention away from the “quick fix” energy drinks that will have you jittering out of your seat only to send you into a crash landing before section 5).

Though it’s not stated in the textbooks, eating the right foods is an essential element to your prep plan. As the big day quickly approaches, take a break from your prep book, get some fresh air, and take a trip to your nearest food store to stock up on the aforementioned goodies. Besides, what better way to kick off your summer than with a 180 and a trimmer waist line?

Have any foods or eating tips that worked for you in the past? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting @ManhattanLSAT or @LAWPodcaster!

Good luck on Monday!

This post is courtesy of Manhattan LSAT. Manhattan LSAT is a leading LSAT-exclusive test preparation provider. If you don’t know much about the LSAT, you can read the Manhattan LSAT intro guide or attend one of the free workshops (available in NYC and Live Online).