LSAT Test Day: What to Eat

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Originally posted 12/04/09.

We’re less than 72 hours away from ¡THE BIGGEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE!, and one of the most important things to do is eat right on Saturday. And this is coming from a guy who eats M&Ms for breakfast everyday (in a bowl with milk, with a spoon), so believe me, I’m serious. You’re about to get a three-hour long brain humping courtesy of the good people of Newtown, PA, and you need to be on your feet. So not eating breakfast is really not an option. You want something that is going to stick with you, so granola and yogurt is probably a better option than Cap’n Crunch. Eggs are probably a good idea, hash browns maybe not so much. Coffee is obviously important, but be careful to not drink too much or you’ll have to constantly pee. I have a sort of nutty student with a Capri Sun-sized bladder who developed a system of “tea shots,” where she brews 2 ounces of extra strong tea so that she gets the caffeine without the liquid. I had another who swore by those 5-Hour Energy shots that you get in gas stations. The important thing is that you’re fully alert and energized for when section one begins, so plan out your morning consumption in advance.

But you should also bring food and drink into the testing center with you. In between sections 3 and 4 you get about 15 minutes to wolf something down, so plan wisely. After section three you might feel like you’ve just been tied to the Sadness Tracks run over by the Unhappiness Train driven by the Conductor of General Malaise, so you need some comfort food, and something that’ll energize you for round two. So I’ve come up with some suggestions.

Trail Mix: This is what I had back in September. It seemed to work well enough, because there’s a lot of energy in dried fruit, nuts, and M&Ms. Apparently chocolate can help speed up your thinking via our good friends flavonoids.

Granola Bars / Sandwiches: These seem to be the two biggest things that everyone goes for. Quick and easy and a lot of carbs. I once had a student who brought a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, which I thought sounded worse than a bowel movement croissant, but apparently it worked.

Sushi: I actually had a student bring sushi once. Seriously. She made it herself that morning, so at least it wasn’t day-old. If you wanted to do something like this, it looks like LSAC doesn’t really have a problem with it, although I’m sure her fellow examinees weren’t too happy about the smell of raw fish. But if you can’t live without your ribs, fondue, or whale steak, and can fit it in your ziplock bag, knock yourself out.

In addition to the snack, you’re allowed a “beverage in plastic container or juice box (20 oz./591 ml maximum size).” I don’t know what the hell is up with the box. Maybe a lot of people are rocking the 4 oz Mott’s. Most normal people, however, go for water. Be careful not to drink too much if your bladder capacity isn’t optimal; they won’t stop the test if you need a bathroom break. Also, if you’re taking the test at a college of some sort, there will probably be water fountains. Scout it out. If there are, you might not want to waste your drink on something as boring as water, when you can have…

Fruit Juice: This is probably one of your best bets. Hydration plus calories equals better LSAT score.

Vitamin Water: I know the claims that they make are all basically lies (sugar water doesn’t make you relaxed, balanced, focused, or more like 50 Cent), but if you’re an asshole who buys into gimmicky marketing, then the accompanying placebo effect can be very real.

Coffee: LSAC doesn’t seem to care if your 20 oz bottle is pre-sealed or not, so if you want to bring some of your own iced coffee, that might not be a bad idea, especially if you drink 8 cups a day like I do. Just remember it has to be in a box or plastic bottle, so no Frappuccinos (which you really shouldn’t be drinking anyway if you’re over the age of 15 and/or have testes).

Vegetable Juice: This sounds disgusting, but also possibly healthy. I wouldn’t know, I don’t eat (or drink) vegetables ever, because they don’t taste as good as M&Ms.

Cigarettes: I know it’s not a drink, but people ask about this one a lot. This is kind of a gray area. Tobacco products aren’t on the proscribed list of kosher LSAT items, but at most centers nobody cares and you’ll probably be able to go smoke at the break. Many people would rip out their proctor’s esophagus if they couldn’t get their nicotine fix, so if you fall into this category, be ready for the unlikely but very real possibility of having to turn in your cigarettes. Bring some nicotine gum just in case, which should fall under the category of medical products.

Wine: This is an absolutely terrible idea, but I can’t seem to find rules saying that you can’t have alcohol. The only problem is that it has to be in a plastic bottle or box. Anyone who has been drunk in CVS, however, knows that they actually sell single-serving boxes of wine for less than $4. If you’re fine with a score in the 120s, then this would definitely be the most enjoyable way to go.

What about you guys? Ideas for best food/drink? Please validate my existence by commenting.

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