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# GMAT Snacks

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03 Aug 2010, 06:03
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The GMAT doesn’t just test accuracy or timing. It also tests your endurance. Confronted with two 30-minute essays and two 75-minute sections, test takers will inevitably suffer from a certain level of exhaustion. Unfortunately, too many underestimate this aspect of the GMAT and lose the opportunity to perform at their best.

While we can’t entirely avoid mental fatigue, it’s certainly possible to postpone and minimize it. Some remedies are well known, such as practicing full-length CAT’s under real test conditions (including the AWA) and timing yourself with OG questions. There is, however, another important option: snacks during the allotted breaks.

It’s important to maintain energy levels as long as possible, and this can’t be done without food. You have a break after the AWA and another one between the Quant and Verbal sections. Use these to your advantage! Perhaps the most important thing is not so much what you eat, but that you eat. However, a few items are mentioned more often than others.

FOOD:
1. Bananas - This yellow fruit contains potassium, a mineral which helps to normalize the heartbeat and send oxygen to the brain. Bananas are also high in B vitamins, which help calm the nervous system. But the main benefit comes from the carbohydrates; the three types of sugar provide an instant and sustained energy supply.
2. Almonds – These nuts are high in vitamin E and magnesium, which helps convert sugar into energy. Almonds are also high in protein and fat – good sources for sustained energy. Manganese, copper, and riboflavin further help in energy production.
4. Snickers Bar - The amount of protein and fat from the nuts, as well as the high sugar content, deliver a high level of energy. Also, chocolate has been associated with relaxation and mood elevation. Plus, these candy bars taste great!
5. Trail Mix – Usually associated with outdoor hikes, this tasty combination of nuts, dried fruit, grains, and chocolate offers the complete package of protein, carbs, and fat.

DRINKS:
1. Gatorade – High in sugar and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride), this energy drink is quickly absorbed into your body. However, due to the salt content, you may become thirsty. Make sure to drink some water and visit the bathroom afterward.
2. Water - Dehydration can lead to a host of uncomfortable consequences, such as dry mouth, fatigue, and lightheadedness - all of which can distract you and adversely affect your score. Just one cup of cold water will go a long way. But it’s not just for drinking! Many recommend splashing cold water on your face during the breaks. This triggers a response called “mammalian reflex,” which slows down the heart rate and reduces the need for bloodstream oxygen. It also leaves you feeling refreshed, awake, and relaxed.

However, the time to experiment with snacks is NOT on the day of the test. Instead, try a few of them during your practice CATs to see which ones trigger the best response. Everyone will react slightly differently, so it’s important to see what works for you. During the breaks, be sure to also go to the bathroom, walk around, take deep breaths, and stretch some. These activities only take a few moments and will help to keep you alert and fresh.

While these foods have a good GMAT reputation, this list is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure that there are other great options. If you know of any, please share them with us!
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03 Aug 2010, 15:11
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nicely written!

I would be a bit wary of drinking water or gatorade lest the need to go to restroom present itself in the middle of the 75 minute session!

Best way is to practice for sure. I would also suggest other granola bars and cereal bars (or even Cliff!)
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03 Aug 2010, 17:40
Thanks for the input!

And good idea about the Clif bars. I particularly like the Builder's bars. Those have a good bit of carbs, fat, and protein. Plus, they taste good. But remember to drink some water after those. You will definitely become thirsty!
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04 Aug 2010, 10:10
are we allowed to chew gum?
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04 Aug 2010, 16:09
I got granola bars and that was a terrible idea, it was hard to chew and choke down, and made my mouth really dry. I didn't want to drink too much water either.
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04 Aug 2010, 18:46
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Thanks for posting this!

I eat a banana every morning with my breakfast and I find it helps me in the morning, so I could definitely see that.

I think fruit in general during the break (tangerine, grapes, berries - something easy to eat) would be useful. I try to have some fruit every afternoon and it helps me get through the last couple of hours of the work day.

And I'm a huge trail mix fan, so definitely support the trail mix idea.
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05 Aug 2010, 10:19
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I wasn't allowed to eat during my breaks when I took the test last year, so I wouldn't 100% count on being able to eat.
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05 Aug 2010, 11:03
i suggest 4 hour energy - i used it at both exams - no sugar overload/crash during the exam or after really. Easy to consume (like a shot) so you dont get the urge to go to the bathroom during the exam. You can get it at gas stations or grocery places.
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05 Aug 2010, 16:52
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shaselai wrote:
i suggest 4 hour energy - i used it at both exams - no sugar overload/crash during the exam or after really. Easy to consume (like a shot) so you dont get the urge to go to the bathroom during the exam. You can get it at gas stations or grocery places.

I tried that for a practice exam, and it made me really jittery like I couldn't think straight. My scores did improve though, so who knows maybe it was good for me even if it didn't feel good.

I would say try your snacks first on a prac test, don't eat/drink something for the first time for the real thing! You don't want to eat a yogurt bar and realize too late you're lactose intolerant!!
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05 Aug 2010, 19:09
boogs wrote:
I wasn't allowed to eat during my breaks when I took the test last year, so I wouldn't 100% count on being able to eat.

This is very interesting and important. Thank you for your input.

I would advise anyone who hasn't taken the GMAT yet to contact his or her test center and inquire about this. If you're not allowed to eat snacks during the break, then make sure to eat something before taking the test. Again, practice this with your CAT's.
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06 Aug 2010, 06:30
trunksli wrote:
shaselai wrote:
i suggest 4 hour energy - i used it at both exams - no sugar overload/crash during the exam or after really. Easy to consume (like a shot) so you dont get the urge to go to the bathroom during the exam. You can get it at gas stations or grocery places.

I tried that for a practice exam, and it made me really jittery like I couldn't think straight. My scores did improve though, so who knows maybe it was good for me even if it didn't feel good.

I would say try your snacks first on a prac test, don't eat/drink something for the first time for the real thing! You don't want to eat a yogurt bar and realize too late you're lactose intolerant!!

it does give you a "wow" effect once you drink it. I didnt feel any jitters but i drank like 30 mins before exam since i was waiting. but I think with all the snacks/drinks suggested, try it out around the time of the exam ahead of time and see how your body reacts to it.
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06 Aug 2010, 07:06
Bottle of lucozade and a snickers worked for me. Had 1/3 of each during each break.
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06 Aug 2010, 07:13
shaselai wrote:
trunksli wrote:
shaselai wrote:
i suggest 4 hour energy - i used it at both exams - no sugar overload/crash during the exam or after really. Easy to consume (like a shot) so you dont get the urge to go to the bathroom during the exam. You can get it at gas stations or grocery places.

I tried that for a practice exam, and it made me really jittery like I couldn't think straight. My scores did improve though, so who knows maybe it was good for me even if it didn't feel good.

I would say try your snacks first on a prac test, don't eat/drink something for the first time for the real thing! You don't want to eat a yogurt bar and realize too late you're lactose intolerant!!

it does give you a "wow" effect once you drink it. I didnt feel any jitters but i drank like 30 mins before exam since i was waiting. but I think with all the snacks/drinks suggested, try it out around the time of the exam ahead of time and see how your body reacts to it.

My exam is end of this month and I plan to buy a 6 pack of the 5 hour energy drink to test on practice tests leading up to the big day. I've heard bananas and/or candy bars are good too. Would love to hear feedback from prior test takers.

http://www.target.com/5-Hour-Energy-Pom ... B002YU4HKS
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14 Aug 2010, 11:56
Been a "lurker" for about a month now and this is pretty fun topic! Yeah, just stick with almonds and banannas. Both are all natural.
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29 Oct 2010, 07:05
what about the following combination for each break?

banana half + 1 granola bar + 1/3 red bull + 2 sips of water

+ splashing water + loo

I m thinking of following the above. I hope I m not planning something that will do more harm than good.

I often feel hungry, even post food, if I study.
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29 Oct 2010, 07:13
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gurpreetsingh wrote:
what about the following combination for each break?

banana half + 1 granola bar + 1/3 red bull + 2 sips of water

+ splashing water + loo

I m thinking of following the above. I hope I m not planning something that will do more harm than good.

I often feel hungry, even post food, if I study.

that just looks so complicated. Just drink a bottle of 5 hour energy max and you are all good to go throughout exam with no crash.
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29 Oct 2010, 07:16
yea it is complicated. I m not sure whether 5-hour energy drink is available in my local store.

cant we compensate it with red-bull?
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29 Oct 2010, 07:24
gurpreetsingh wrote:
yea it is complicated. I m not sure whether 5-hour energy drink is available in my local store.

cant we compensate it with red-bull?

hmm you could try gas stations if not maybe convenience stores but it might not be in india... Redbull supposedly has a sugar crash so i am not sure - you could try sugar free red bull and see how that goes. I like 5 hour energy because it is tiny bottle so very efficient.
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29 Oct 2010, 07:54
shaselai wrote:
gurpreetsingh wrote:
yea it is complicated. I m not sure whether 5-hour energy drink is available in my local store.

cant we compensate it with red-bull?

hmm you could try gas stations if not maybe convenience stores but it might not be in india... Redbull supposedly has a sugar crash so i am not sure - you could try sugar free red bull and see how that goes. I like 5 hour energy because it is tiny bottle so very efficient.

I will check it.

I m giving gmatprep tomorrow with red bull in between to simulate the environment. Lets see how it goes.
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21 Dec 2010, 14:07
Has anyone lent any thought to long-term diets that help brain function and information absorbtion over 3-4 months?
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