Load up on the right foods to help you ace those exams



Fresh fruits anad vegetables are ways to keep your body healthy and brain sharp as you prepare for exams.

Nevaeh Hoku Medina, Staff Writer

For students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes, this week is the bringer of hell. It marks the start of the AP exams, starting at 8 o’clock sharp on Monday, May 1 until May 12. Passing the AP exam can mean getting college credits, which is what most students are aiming for. 

The clock is ticking, and students are scrambling to study as much as they can in the little time they have left. But students find that the long hours and late nights spent studying can cause them to neglect eating and taking care of themselves.

Even in the rush of cramming for tests, it’s crucial to set time aside for meals to stay healthy. Listening to your stomach growl during a test will make it difficult to concentrate, and you won’t be able to perform to your best ability. Besides eating foods that satisfy your hunger, all students who take tests–that would be all of you!–choose foods that provide a brain boost to help you ace your exams.

While you study, keep a cup of berries next to you to snack on. These include blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Studies have shown that eating berries can positively affect brain function. They are high in anthocyanins, which are believed to improve mental performance by increasing blood flow to your brain. It can also help with memorization by improving certain signaling pathways that promote nerve cell production and cellular processes involved in learning and memory. 

Citrus fruits are also a good option as a go-to snack. Oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits are highly nutritious, and their consumption has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including the promotion of brain health. They are rich in flavonoids, such as hesperidin, naringin, quercetin, and rutin, which can promote learning and memory. It can also protect nerve cells from injury and prevent mental decline. 

For the superstitious types, there are a couple foods that are believed to bring good luck in exams. And even if you’re not superstitious, it’s never a bad thing to have a little luck on your side. 

In Korea, test takers eat Yeot (엿), a sticky taffy similar to hard candy, and Chapssaltteok (찹쌀떡), Korean rice cakes. Eating sticky foods in general is believed to bring good luck, as it will make the studying “stick”. In Korean, the word for “to stick”, 붙다, is the same as “to pass an exam.” But avoid seaweed soup, it’s considered bad luck to eat it before an exam. Seaweed tends to be slippery, which could make the answers to “slip” from your brain and cause you to fail the exam. The superstition comes from the Korean phrase, 미끄러지다, which means both “to slip” and “to fail”.

Japan also has similar superstitions when it comes to taking tests. Katsudon, a deep fried pork cutlet over a bowl of rice, is usually eaten by Japanese students before an exam. “Katsu” (かつ) means “winning” and is considered good luck. On a similar note, KitKat is pronounced as “kitto katto”, which is similar to the phrase “kitto katsu” (きっと 勝つ), meaning “surely winning.” The chocolate brand might also be a suitable choice for a good luck charm. 

It’s important to have a filling breakfast before the exam so you’re not testing on an empty stomach. Consider having eggs for your most important meal of the day. Whether you like them scrambled or sunny side up, eggs are rich in nutrients that are necessary for brain function, including vitamin B12, choline, and selenium. 

If eggs are not your thing, try having avocado toast for breakfast. Besides its trending popularity in recent years, eating avocados can reap benefits in the testing room. They’re an excellent source of lutein, a carotenoid that accumulates in your brain and eyes and can improve mental performance. 

Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself, especially during the stressful testing season. Don’t neglect your body’s needs for the sake of studying; your health should always be put first. Make sure to find time to eat, sleep, and rest to maintain your body throughout the long study hours. If you take care of yourself properly, you’ll be in good shape to do your best on your exams. Good luck!