Eyes down, pens at the ready, get set, go… but what do you do mid-exam when the slump sets in. Smart snacks will keep you going over the slump, and get your concentration back to the task in hand.
It is best not to go for sweets, or any instant 'hits' of sugar - these tend to spike up your blood glucose causing your body to release insulin, which may then cause your blood glucose level to drop quickly; so having the opposite effect than what you want.
The best way to tackle the slump is to look for foods that are high in fibre, will be broken down slowly by your body to give you a steady stream of energy, but also on a practical level will be easy to eat and to carry into the exam hall. Useful snacks would be:
Fruit - bananas are a good choice as they are pretty easy to eat!
Dried fruit - like sultanas, raisins are good
Wholegrain cereal bars
The other thing to watch out for is dehydration, as this will cause you to lose concentration.
In fact a 1% drop in your hydration level will cause a 10% fall in your concentration! So, it is important to drink some fluids during your exam, but there is a happy medium; too much will make you need to go to the bathroom, which is not a very good idea during an exam if you are tight for time.
Also, don't forget the best choice is water, as any caffeine based drink will cause you to lose fluids; leading to another trip to the bathroom!
Being at your best for exams, keeping your concentration and being clear headed is vital. So make sure you avoid the slump and snack smart!
For more information on any of the issues discussed above or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact Maria at;
The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster by telephone on (044) 9353220 or email email@example.com
Cara Cunningham is a Community Dietitian with the HSE