Foods to Eat and Avoid Bar Exam Day

After all this preparation and time you have put in, make sure you keep yourself fresh, energized, and perky during bar exam day!  Your physiological state can have a big impact on your mental state and energy.  And you already know your mental state and energy can impact your test-taking ability.

Here’s a list of Top foods to keep around and avoid bar exam day!


                Foods to Eat

                1) Lentil beans – These are loaded with protein and are very filling, keeping you energized!

                2) Eggs – Protein, energy, and filling.

                3) Fresh fruit – Not all fruits are created equal.  Personally, I think a banana is great.  It’s loaded with good energy.  Apples are also a great way to wake up.

                4) Wheat toast – Some toasted bread and honey.

                5) Honey – either take a spoonful or two, or spread it on some wheat toast.

                6) Oatmeal cereal – Some oats and grains as part of a hearty breakfast.   

                7) Orange juice – A nice, tall glass of OJ is loaded with nutrients.

                8 ) Water – Have a glass in the morning and throughout the day, including lunch and on breaks.  Some auditoriums will have cups of water by the restrooms, if you’re taking a quick break.

                Foods to Avoid

                1) Nothing – Go in on an empty stomach and you’ll feel hungry, which can distract you.  Hungry people may have less patience and be more easily angered.

                2) Plain cereal – Plain cereal by itself probably won’t give you the brain power and energy to be your best.  Remember, the cereal commercials we saw as children? Cheerios was only a part of a complete breakfast.  Add some fruit, bread, and juice and you’ll be ok.

                3) Just some fruit – Make your breakfast complete.  You’ll need three hours of sharp, morning brain power.  Have more than a piece of fruit or two.

                4) Coffee – This one is iffy.  If you’ve been drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, then continue doing so.  Don’t add any more or less than you have been doing come bar exam day.  If you haven’t been drinking coffee, bar exam day wouldn’t be the day to begin.

                5) Greasy foods – too much greasy bacon or sausages won’t leave you feeling great.  A little bit is ok; however, try not to overdo it.



                Foods to Eat

                1) Chicken breast – A chicken breast sandwich with some vegetables on ciabatta bread = delish.

                2) Kidney beans – These are loaded with nutrients and protein.

                3) Salad – These are great. Make sure it’s not too small so you’re not hungry during the afternoon portion.  Include some broccoli, lemon juice, and tomatoes.         

                4) Sandwiches – If you’re getting a sandwich, make sure it’s not too heavy.  A light sandwich with some fruit, orange juice, and some snack items (see below) will be better and not weigh you down.

                Foods to Avoid

                1) Heavy soup – Soup can be great, so long as it’s not too heavy, thick, or large.  Lots of liquid in the system can fill you up and make you feel lazy and lethargic.  Not to mention you may need to take more than a frequent bathroom break in the afternoon.

                2) Large meals – In Spain they eat their largest meal of the day during lunch.  You can be  a Spaniard come bar exam day, but remember they only eat the large meal because they know their two-hour siesta is coming up right after!  Save your cultural experimentation for a post-bar trip.

                3) Nothing – You have 100 MBE’s or a 3 hour performance test coming up after you just had a 3 hour test.  Afternoon energy is more important than ever.

                4) Fast Food – I probably don’t need to tell you what kinds of stuff they put in fast food. I love Del taco; however, I’m going to need something to keep me energized for the next four hours (three hours plus lunch break).  In my experience, fast food hasn’t quite done the trick.  Your lunch break might be 90 minutes long, so you shouldn’t be in too much of a time crunch.  Eat fast food only if you must.  It’s better than nothing.




                Foods to eat

                1) Heavier meals – If you want to load up on your pasta, steak, chicken, meat, and other heavier food, do so at dinner.  And, you’re going to want to fall asleep soon anyway.

                2) Fish – Fish is known for its brain enhancement power.  Grab some fish during and before bar exam day.

                3) Tea – Have some chamomile or Good Earth tea before sleep, and it will keep you calm and grounded.  Make sure the tea is not caffeinated.



                Foods to Eat

                1) Oats and nuts – Trail mix, dried fruit, unsalted almonds, green oat bars, etc. These are perfect to munch on during lunch or waiting until the next exam sessions begins.

                2) String cheese – This is a great snack to help keep the stomach filled and not wanting food.

                3) Vegetables – A small bag of carrots or celery.

                4) Yogurt – A small pack of yogurt is great.

                5) Fresh fruit – Some apples or berries can keep you refreshed and focused.

                6) Happy Food – Have at least one small, happy food item around.  It can actually boost endorphins making you happier, more at ease, and relaxed.  A granola bar, some m&m’s, or a small cookie can do just the trick.  Note, I said SMALL.  Too much and you’ll go on a sugar rush, which can cause a drop in energy after the sugar burns up.

                Foods to Avoid

                1) Anything sugary or greasy – You won’t feel great after and too much sugar can cause your energy to fluctuate.  That means no greasy potato chips.


Other tips

                1) Where to Shop? – Take a stroll through Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods market.  You’ll find plenty of great and affordable snack items.

                2) When to Shop? – Go shopping the weekend before, so you’re all loaded and ready for the week.  Shopping can be a great and therapeutic break as well.

                3) It’s mostly best to stick to your routine or up it a bit.  Don’t make drastic diet changes on bar exam days.

                4) Warm up the body – A quick morning jog or 100 jumping jacks the morning of the bar exam can get the blood flowing and your energy and body warm.

                5) Avoid the negative talk – The bar exam can have people with negative energy.  Try to avoid negative conversations about the exam or with others.  You’re not really here to make friends, and negative talk can be draining on your body’s energy levels, without providing much value in return.  If you’re going to talk about the exam, at least do so with someone supportive!

                6) To relax, close your eyes either before the exam or on your lunch break.  Ten to fifteen minutes of doing nothing can be very relaxing and help your mind focus.

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Best of luck with the bar exam!

“This name appears on the pass list”

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Dustin Saiidi, author of The 7 Steps to Bar Exam Success, graduated in the bottom half of his class, but passed the bar exam on his 1st attempt. He shares how he overcame those challenges and gives tips, advice, and strategies so you can pass your bar exam, stress-free.

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