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December 2, 2010

LSAT Test Day: Breakfast and Snack Recommendations

LSAT Blog Test Day Breakfast SnackAn LSAT distance tutoring student of mine recently emailed me:

"Any tips on what to eat for breakfast the morning of the LSAT? I know you say to have a big breakfast, but what? And what do you suggest for the break and to drink?"

At least one of the items pictured above is not part of a healthy LSAT breakfast.

If you guessed FourLoko, you're on your way to a top LSAT score. Congrats!

(McDonald's probably isn't part of any healthy breakfast, but there's a reason I didn't go to medical school.)

More about food in a bit, but first, coffee and cigarettes (breakfast of champions?).

I've already gone over whether coffee, cigarettes, and gum are allowed on Test Day. Now, the question remains, should you drink coffee or have cigarettes in the morning before the exam?

Answer: Do whatever you normally do. If you normally have coffee or cigarettes in the morning, don't try to go cold turkey now or you'll almost certainly find yourself with a pounding headache.

I don't know why you'd suddenly take up smoking, but now's not the time to start (if there ever was). Coffee will probably empty your intestines in the middle of the exam if you haven't had it in a while, so it's probably not a good idea for folks new to it.

You want to be fully alert, so a pre-test wake and bake isn't a good idea. What you do after the test is up to you (assuming it's for medicinal purposes, of course). Maybe California will vote to legalize next time, folks.

LSAT Blog Oatmeal
Oatmeal with bananas, raisins, or cranberries is probably about as healthy as it gets, while mild enough that it shouldn't give you any stomach issues. Eat it well before the exam starts so that you'll have time to go to the bathroom (oatmeal has lots of fiber).


LSAT Blog Yogurt Granola
Perhaps I misspoke - yogurt and granola might top oatmeal and fruit for "healthiest breakfast of the year." Again, it's mild and has carbs, but unlike oatmeal, yogurt has lots of protein as well. (Perhaps the nutritionists can chime in with their recommendations.)


LSAT Blog Raw EggsEggs have a lot of protein. However, depending upon how you cook them, you might also end up with lots of fat. Fat can make you sleepy. For this reason, lay off the butter and oil. Consider eating them hard-boiled, perhaps with a little salt for flavor. Alternatively, you can go the Rocky route and drink them raw, but don't blame me if you get salmonella.



Pancakes, waffles, muffins, bagels, cold cereal, etc. are also all good, just make sure you have also some protein.

Cold (or warm) pizza is probably good too (cheese has protein), but this is coming from a guy who sometimes eats leftover burritos for breakfast, so you may not want to listen to me on this one.

The bottom line is that you'll want to eat some carbs to give you energy, and some protein to improve your mental performance.

(This site appears to have some simple, yet comprehensive, nutrition advice. This link on it is also good.)

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LSAT Snacks For During The Break:

Try not to be the guy who brings this:

LSAT Blog Snacks








Here are some more practical alternatives that the proctors will probably allow:

Granola bars: quick to unwrap, easy to eat, sugar

Bananas: quick to peel, easy to eat, sugar

Water: reduces thirst

Juice: reduces thirst, sugar

Coffee will likely be cold by now, but I suppose it's ok if you don't care about that sort of thing.

With all beverages, don't drink too much in order to avoid bathroom breaks. Your test center may have a water fountain, which would eliminate the need to bring a water bottle. Or maybe you're one of those people who's paranoid about tap water or lives in a part of the U.S. / world where the water's unsafe to drink.

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See all LSAT Test Day tips.

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Discuss the best breakfast foods and snacks in the comments. I'm sure that most of you know more about nutrition than I do. If you know something, please comment!




15 comments:

  1. I was laughing out load throughout this entire post. Thanks!

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  2. I'm not sure about the Four-Loko thing. Alcohol can give you a great confidence boost, and the caffeine can be a great mental stimulant.

    Sure, it tastes like horse-piss, but when you're limited on ounces this beer (-like substance) packs a whollop.

    Just sayin'.

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  3. Bob's Red Mill Steele Cut Oats. They even have a gluten-free option for the gluten-intolerant out there. I eat a 1/2 cup every morning at 6:20AM, and it keeps me from feeling hungry until approximately 1:30PM.

    A standard 1/4 cup serving takes about 10 minutes to cook on the stove and gives you:

    Total Fat - 3g 5%
    Saturated Fat - 0.5g 2%
    Trans Fat - 0g
    Cholesterol - 0mg
    Sodium - 0mg
    Total Carbs - 29g
    Dietary Fiber - 5g
    Sugars - 0g
    Protein - 7g

    per http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/nutrition-calories/food/bobs-red-mill/steel-cut-oats-cereal/

    - Willy Bob

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  4. I would suggest not drinking coffee. The caffeine along with the adrenaline of waiting to take the test does not go well with your bladder. There is no way you will be able to concentrate if you're thinking about your next bathroom break.

    Have a substantial breakfast. Along with waiting and the test itself, you're not eating for a good 4-5 hours. Don't stuff yourself so that you'd get tired, but be prepared.

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  5. I would go with falafel. The LSAT is bound to be a horrible experience so might as well make it as good as we can from the morning. Some of us get real happy from good food.

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  6. Best thing: stick to your routine.

    If you don't normally eat in the morning and have survived college exams well like that, then don't eat.

    If you do eat, stick to what you usually eat, but cut down the amount to two thirds. Most people can eat less than usual when in a nerve wrecking state. You may not have the time or capacity to eat to the fullest extent. Chew well.

    If you don't normally eat healthy stuff like oatmeal, don't suddenly eat it just for this day. It can make you go for #2 more frequently and/or at an irregular time.

    Steve's suggestion not to skip anything you normally do, like not drinking coffee just for that morning, is excellent. Don't underestimate the impact of withdrawal. You can get headache, or feel drowsy.

    Drink as much fluid as you normally do, but only up until half an hour before you have to register. Empty your bladder right before you register.

    And frankly, many people discount this, but I'd suggest start to actually eat your breakfast a full hour before the exam. That way,you will spend 15-20 minutes of breakfasting well, as opposed to having to gulf it down and increasing your chance of indigestion. Plus, this leaves some time room if you have to do #2. Do laugh, but still take the advice :)

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  7. I went Clif bar + a gatorade prime 30 minutes before the test and then the same again at the break. The Gatorade Prime's are great because they're full of good stuff, thirst quenching and at only 4oz each theres no risk of having to go to the bathroom mid-test.

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  8. I took excedrine and tums prior to the test to help prevent headaches and having to go #2. Worked well for me...no headache and didn't have to go #2 until I got home

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  9. Really, who cares what you eat for breakfast?

    Obsessing over things like: "Am I eating the right breakfast? What kind of pencils should I use? Snack food? Study the day before or not? Use meds? Painkillers for my neck? What should I wear?" Etc. will merely stress you out and make you anxious over the test.

    Just chillax. You've studied, you've taken practice tests, and you're ready to go.

    Just do it!

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  10. I'm taking Caleb advice on the Fourloko's.lol

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  11. lol after the test, this entire post and the comments seem ridiculous

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  12. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! I have decided on a garlic bagel and butter, oatmeal, orange juice and coffee for breakfast. I might eat breakfast at the Dunkin' Donuts opposite the test center and then walk across the street to take the test. For the break, it will be the granola bar, juice box and banana that Steve suggested. There is a water fountain right outside the test room door so I'll just use that. I may replace the juice with Gatorade. I'll probably take an Ibuprofen in the morning, since my shoulders and neck hurt during PrepTests.

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  13. the first/previous time i took the test, it started at 1 pm (took it abroad), i am not an afternoon person so i 'carefully strategized' and drank 2 red bulls that morning. i went to the restroom right before i registered but forgot about the prolonged caffeine = diuretic effect. had to pee so badly the first 3 sections that i couldn't focus on anything else. also have a chronic pain syndrome and the anxiety from having to pee set off the pain and then i ended up obsessing over that. sad chain of events all because of my 'over-thinking'. this year i refuse to think about the test as anything other than a random prep test and besides having a desk, watch, pencils, eraser and chocolate snack, i don't strategize much more for those :)

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  14. Snickers during the break has worked for me!

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  15. from my personal experience, be careful when it comes to increasing stomach acid (the un-cited reason for going easy on the coffee). for me personally, the combination of "brain foods" like whole wheat (fiber) + eggs (cause gas) + orange juice (acid) = having to run to the bathroom.

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