Forbes says studies recommend that students sleep six to eight hours the night before a test, eat foods high in protein, and hydrate themselves.
Alex Song-Xia, a freshman at New York University, says she drank Red Bull "almost exclusively" in her first semester. Though she admits drinking so much Red Bulls wasn't healthy, Song-Xia says the drink helped her stay focused in early classes and stay alert while doing homework.
"I wouldn't say there's no crash, but one can [of Red Bull] has helped me stay up all night before," she says.
Song-Xia adds that she has heard of other students selling Adderall or other prescription drugs to classmates for use as study aids. "I think it's pretty common knowledge around college campuses these days," she says.
3. What to eat: Many health professionals echo the health education professor Forbes's recommendation that test takers fuel their brains with protein. A page on the website of San Francisco State University shares time management and healthy studying tips.
"Don't eat large meals before studying," the site states. "When you eat large meals, your brain has to compete with your digestive system for blood flow. This is why many students find it hard to pay attention during classes scheduled right after lunch. Eat small, healthy snacks around study time to help you stay focused."
Lisa Young, an adjunct professor in NYU's Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, adds that students should avoid "mindless nibbling on junk food."
"Practicing portion control is important and it is also best to stay away from trigger foods, which can lead to binge eating. It is also important to incorporate healthy snacks such as fruits, veggies, low fat dairy, or hummus," she says.
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