Circling back to "the best test day snacks," the College Board advises students to arrive to the test by 7:45 a.m. I usually arrived a half hour early (nerves). That meant, breakfast was consumed by approximately 6:45 a.m. (i.e. not a time of day I'm up for a hearty meal).
Each of the 7 SATs I took let out somewhere between 1 and 1:15 p.m., which meant that I wasn't looking at lunch until 7+ hours after I'd eaten breakfast. Now, I don't know about you, but that does not work for me. I'm a snacker and I can't think straight if I haven't had at least a nibble every three hours.
This is where the three little breaks come in.
Students are given three, five-minute breaks during the SAT at which time snacking and bathroom breaks are allowed. I attempted to sample everything I could think of that would enhance performance, from Red Bull to peanut butter, to everything in between. In the end, the list of foods below is what I found to be most effective in warding off hunger and boosting energy, though it’s possible that simply believing they are effective is the secret sauce.
The Three Little Breaks:
*Dark chocolate. Try for 70% or higher cocoa content-for example, one Willie Wonka-sized bar.
*Water. I’m certain water makes me think more clearly.
*Sliced red apple. A story on calorie restriction in The New York Times reported that apples are superb at warding off hunger in people eating 25% fewer calories than they normally consume. Even people who, at the study’s beginning, disliked apples ate them because they were effective. My “research” concurred: apples fill the belly.
*Listerine strips. An energizing pick-me-up, like taking a shower. You get to start over, feeling refreshed.
Yes, I realize I'm probably the only one thinking about snacks and the SAT (it's the mom in me), but trust me, you'll be thanking me on test day when your stomach is growling.
Tomorrow I'll write up the 5 test-day tips you've probably never thought of.
I wrote a book about the SAT journey I took with my son and everything I learned along the way. Harmony books will publish The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT in February of 2014.