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What do/did you eat when taking the MCAT

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by tle1093, May 17, 2008.

  1. tle1093

    tle1093 2+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    I just want to know what your routine pre-MCAT meal/snack is, whether it's a practice or the real thing. I know you have to eat a good breakfast before you go in, and as long as the food isn't too ridiculous or obtained from Taco Bell, your energy level should not be an issue. However, I still would like to know what food gets you into MCAT mode.

    Oh yeah, any suggestions on snacks would be great too.
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  3. physics junkie

    physics junkie 5+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Fiji Water Bottle
    King Size York Peppermint Patty
    Nature Valley Cereal Bar
    Naked Juice

    All my comfort food.
  4. ferreed

    ferreed 10+ Year Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    I didn't want to get sleepy or hungry during the test, so this is what I did:

    - Starchy dinner the night before, with protein (chicken parmesan over pasta)
    - Starchy, bland breakfast with limited sugar (a little cereal, some muffin-type things, and plenty of water)
    - Snacks at every break (a little gatorade and part of a granola bar at each one)

    Overall, it worked out well. The gatorade helped keep me from having to run to the bathroom too frequently and the breakfast followed by pieces of granola bar kept me fueled, prevented me from getting hungry, and didn't make me sleepy.

    I also tried to eat well and get plenty of sleep for the two or three days before the exam, and I could feel my energy and concentration picking up. Whatever you do, don't forget to get a good night's sleep before the MCAT! Make yourself go to bed early.

  5. mterp45

    mterp45 Banned Banned

    Jun 2, 2007
    I ate two full chicken melt bagels. I wanted a big breakfast and that was a bad idea. I almost fell asleep at the wheel. I didnt think I was going to be able to stay awake during the test but thankfully, the epinephrine kicked in and helped me stay awake.

    Lesson learned: Don't eat a Big breakfast, eat just enough to satisfy your hunger and bring snacks.
  6. tdjn

    tdjn 7+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2006
    best post evar
  7. tle1093

    tle1093 2+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Because food turns you on? (the desire for scientific and verbal reasoning, that is)

    Well, I just tried a 100 grand bar before a practice test today. I got homesick in the middle of the PS section. Never doing that again.
  8. WinterLights


    Sep 15, 2007
    I plan on having a coffee two hours before I actually take the test and a bar of chocolate right before I check in.
  9. HaveHope

    HaveHope 2+ Year Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    Breakfast: I'm a coffee addict, so coffee (but a couple hours before I start the test so i have plenty of time to go to the bathroom) along with oatmeal with apples, cinnamon, and sugar. Maybe a hardboiled egg depending on how my stomach is feeling. Oatmeal is solid, keeps me full for awhile.

    Snacks at each break include: water, gatorade, Gogurt (can suck it down quickly and still have time to run to the bathroom!) string cheese, more coffee, jelly beans, energy bars (kids Cliff "ZBars" are very easy to chew/eat quickly). Obviously not all of that at every break, but I want to make sure I have everything available to me: caffeine, water, sweet stuff/carbs, salty, protein etc....with making sure its all stuff thats easy to eat/can be eaten quickly and is gentle on the stomach.
  10. Little Etoile

    Little Etoile 2+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Bump for those of us getting ready to take the test!
  11. Raryn

    Raryn Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist Physician 7+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    I had chips/soda during the breaks. Soda at all 3 breaks, chips after the PS and writing sample. Hey, it worked for me didn't it? :p
  12. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

    Jul 23, 2007
    I took water and a box of granola bars. Had a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Nothing special.
  13. unsung

    unsung 10+ Year Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    I'm planning on having some green tea, or maybe one of those green tea mango smoothie things from Caribou. Also an egg. I don't know what else... not really a fan of cereal. Hopefully a nice starchy meal the night before. Maybe some B-vitamins, as they do seem to help me concentrate better.
  14. AsuKa

    AsuKa 2+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2008
    this thread rules.
  15. studiddy

    studiddy 10+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Foie gras, truffles, a snickers bar and some Cognac. Either that or some bagels and eggs. Not sure yet, as the second option would require a trip to the store.
  16. LovelyBRass

    LovelyBRass Eternal Internal Physician 7+ Year Member

    May 30, 2008
    I would say you should stick to comfort foods the day of. I ate pizza for breakfast/lunch and brought another slice to the exam, but I wasn't hungry at all during the test (good chance you won't be either)!
  17. stixx

    stixx 5+ Year Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Meh, I ate breakfast but nothing there.

    Going through the hassle of getting your stuff, waiting in line to sign out, fingerprint and all, scarfing down something in about 1 minute, waiting in line to sign in and running to your seat doesn't really constitute a "break" to me. But then again I know my centre was sh*ttier than most.

    I went to the bathroom at the first break and was like "ugh, never again." Took the rest of my breaks at my desk and was too nervous to be hungry.
  18. Raryn

    Raryn Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist Physician 7+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    We all started at different times so there was never a line to sign out. Just walk up to their desk, sign your name, and put your finger on the scanner for a few seconds. Then 10 minutes of pacing around the lobby eating/drinking and/or a bathroom break.

    It was a good break from just sitting at the desk...
  19. bonoz

    bonoz 7+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    I had Fruit Loops and tea for breakfast. After PS I drank some gatorade. After Verbal I ate a banana, and drank some gatorade. And after WS, because I had only one more question to go, I decided to throw caution to the wind and drank up Red Bull. I felt electric.
  20. Raigon

    Raigon This is an emergency. 2+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2008
    Are eggs good or bad prior to the MCATs?
  21. utjsm08

    utjsm08 7+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    New York
    I ate tons of bacon
  22. Artimacia

    Artimacia can do stuff real good 2+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Whenever I had to take a big exam, my professors would say to eat eggs before we went. So I did. I ended staying awake and focused during the day (not saying I did well, but you get my point).

    I have yet to take the MCAT though. I'm worried about needing to go to the restroom a lot. I think I have a bladder issue and worry about certain drinks. What are some good drinks that help you stay awake without the constant need to run to the bathroom?
  23. Balistic


    Jul 2, 2008
    I ate a sausage biscuit meal from Mcdonalds before, water and banana for breaks and some coke and rum at the end!!!
  24. Artimacia

    Artimacia can do stuff real good 2+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Nice :p
  25. MonsterAddict

    MonsterAddict 7+ Year Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    a banana and i pretty much shotgunned a monster. It was funny to see all the middle school kids waiting for their moms to pick them up at this testing/learning center as they stare at me sprinting to the bathroom, only to pound a monster and run back in.
  26. Artimacia

    Artimacia can do stuff real good 2+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2008
    Hahaha, thats funny. Isn't it also funny to see middle school kids and remember when you were in middle school? Ah, so many years ago.
  27. MonsterAddict

    MonsterAddict 7+ Year Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Yeah middle schools were the awkward years. Good times though. Also in the testing center there were 2 couches that were facing each other and 3 of them were sitting on one side with their geometry books while i was just staring at them trying to take all 10 min of my break. Did everyone take there breaks? It seemed like the people i took the test with never even took their breaks and got done super early.
  28. Raigon

    Raigon This is an emergency. 2+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2008
    Gatorade I've heard. They give you the energy to stay focused without having to worry about needing to piss.
  29. STXGregor

    STXGregor 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    Yeah, I was the first one in, and the 2nd to last one out. I took the full time for every break except the last cause the writing section always felt like a huge break to me anyway.

    The night before I didn't eat anything special, McDonald's I think (I've been a fast food junkie for the last month, definately needs to stop). But for breakfast the day of, I went to IHOP. I got their whole grain pancakes (which were the best pancakes I had ever had). I also had some hashbrown and eggs I think with a glass of orange juice. I ate until I was just satiated, so it wasn't too much food. This seemed to work for me.

    And what I did for the breaks was I got a couple of bananas and one of those Starbucks iced coffee drinks you get at the corner stores. I put some ice in a ziplock, and then put the bag of ice, bananas and coffee into a tupperwear to keep in the locker. I ate a banana at each break and a few sips of the coffee. I didn't drink enough to get any buzz, but the cold drink and coffee taste with a bit of caffeine helped keep me awake at each break.
  30. What up doc

    What up doc FLASH 7+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    chewy bars
    snickers almonds
    gatorade rain: red
  31. MDTurk


    Mar 8, 2008
    I ate one of those high calorie and high protein energy bars, plus some energy drink... Fastest way to consume a meal... make sure it has enough calories in it to count for a meal....
  32. Doctor D

    Doctor D 7+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    I would eat a big meal the night before because I was so nervous in the morning I could hardly eat! I wasn't even expecting to be that nervous. I ate chewy bars and drank OJ during the breaks.
  33. Sandlot13

    Sandlot13 ER = love 5+ Year Member

    oatmeal in the morning before, then went straight rockstar coffee energy drinks before and during (two tall boys total)...... protein bar during breaks as well..... talk about a crash afterward, haha! ;) i was going super strong the entire time though!
  34. LonghorninSA

    LonghorninSA 2+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Did not eat breakfast. My job has conditioned me to go long periods without food. I ate a heavy starchy meal the night before.
    As for test day:
    1/2 of a 5 hour energy bottle before the test.
    breaks: dried mango, walnuts, dried ginger, bits of a kashi bar, swigs of 5 hour energy. This regimen got me through the day just fine.
  35. ofoshoukno

    ofoshoukno Cram it up your cramhole 2+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2008
    Curious how is the kick in those 5 hour energies? To me they seem tacky and trying too hard to compete with the established big boys(aka Monster and RedBull).
  36. LonghorninSA

    LonghorninSA 2+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    It's a pretty good kick. It's ok if you split the bottle in 2-3 servings. 1/2 a bottle at once is a little much for me, but I know everybody's different. The annoying commercials are true--there is no crash with the stuff. The taste is not so great, but ounce-for-ounce it's better than the big cans of Monster or Red Bull.
  37. mulletmudbogger

    mulletmudbogger 2+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    I eat fear flavored granola bars when I'm taking a break from the real mcat.

    Maybe thats why I was so worked up when I left that test. :uhno:
  38. bumblebeepirate


    Apr 28, 2011
    I like your style...
  39. Bayonetwork

    Bayonetwork 7+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2010
    Holy threadurrection! Bzzzzaaaarrrr! or whatever noise bumblebeepirates make, Ive only ever seen 1.
  40. Sharpies


    Mar 1, 2011
    I'm not a morning person, so LOTS OF COFFEE... I had to pee by the time every break rolled around, but I think it worked in my favor! Normally, I'm extremely distracted by everything around me, but the urge to pee actually HELPED me focus on the task at hand and wanting to finish. Don't know if it works for everyone of course :)

    I was too nervous to remember to eat during the breaks. Also, I find that chewing gum and eating hard candy like cough drops helped me focus for other standardized tests.
  41. Im Learning

    Im Learning

    Sep 24, 2010
    I'm interested if anyone practiced a routine where they ate the something for weeks in advance. For example, if your test fell on a Thursday, did you eat the same thing the previous 5 Thursdays? I'm thinking about doing this.
  42. Y88

    Y88 7+ Year Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    I did. The eating routine was in conjunction with my practice tests, so every saturday I'd get up around 5am, play piano for 1-2 hours, drink few sips of coffee, eat a fruit-->take test, during breaks eat something small, either a piece of deli meat or fruit. keep taking one or two sips of coffee or herbal teas. come test day it was same routine except i drank more herbal tea, less caffeine so less jitters.
  43. muhali3

    muhali3 7+ Year Member

    May 6, 2009
    This is a good idea. You should replicate the testing environment as much as possible when taking practice tests. Then when it comes to the real thing, everything becomes automatic and ritualized.
  44. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    Deep in the heart of Texas
    YES. I emulated my practice FLs as much as possible, including the snacks that I ate and when I ate them. I highly recommend that you do this so that you get used to the effects (especially if you're doing caffeinated products; I always felt a little jittery during BS but it wasn't a huge deal since I expected it).

    For the test, I had a sugar-free Red Bull before the test and another one with a Powerbar granola bar after verbal. For breakfast I just had some cereal, nothing I didn't usually eat.
  45. clausewitz2

    clausewitz2 7+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Coffee, no breakfast (I usually don't eat breakfast anyway, and I had an afternoon exam). Had a vegan turkey sub for lunch, and then showed up to the testing center early enough that they turned me away and told me to come back later. This gave me a bit of a case of the jitters, and since I had about 40 minutes before they would let me in, I ended up having a beer at a bar down the street.

    I am sure I looked like an alcoholic, sipping on a pint at noon on a weekday, but whatever. Optimal level of alertness is inversely correlated with task complexity within a reasonable range, so it was probably helpful. Certainly felt much more relaxed!

    Water at every break, and a spinach pie after the writing section.
  46. Higher


    Jan 18, 2011
    breakfast: yogurt, fruit, coffee
    snacks: coffee, banana, clif bar
  47. cnfz

    cnfz 7+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    Breakfast: protein shake
    Lunch: sandwich
    Snacks: hard-boiled eggs, apples, ton o' coffee
    And a nice, yummy, stout for celebration.
  48. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2009
    Stupid question: So I am a caffeine addict and take nary a full length without sucking down some caffeine on at least 1-2 of my breaks. I can't get into the energy drink/bottled ice coffee thing. I need the real stuff! For other caffeine junkies/snobs, what did you do? I guess I could bring a thermos if worse comes to worse, but... yecch!
  49. muhali3

    muhali3 7+ Year Member

    May 6, 2009
    Caffeine pills from your local CVS/Walgreens. They're pretty cheap.
  50. drgioiadds

    drgioiadds DDS c/o 2002; DO c/o 2016 7+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2010
    southwestern ontario
    Had a 5 hour energy shot before verbal and scored a 9, when normally scored 6/7 on practice tests :)
  51. ilubse7en

    ilubse7en 2+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2009
    beef jerkey, awesome!!

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