Eating for exams

As a student, I’m well aware of the erratic food (and study) habits of my peers.

We are all aware that good nutrition is important at exam time, when your brain and body are under stress. But for most, eating well is the last thing on a student’s mind.

In my experience, when April comes round students go hell for leather at the books, filling the library from eight in the morning until ten at night. We are ultimately the masters of cramming. As a result our eating habits take a significant blow. Eating is more of a necessity and a chore if anything.

We have no time to eat as we have left essays, projects and study to the last minute. From my own personal experience and from witnessing my friends, there are a number of different categories for the eating habits of an exam student.

The Snacker

The Snacker will munch away all day in the library eating nuts, crisps, crackers, sweets and chocolate to keep them going. On the odd occasion they might venture to the canteen for a decent meal if studying gets the better of them.

The Treater

The Treater likes to celebrate their learning with a sweet, short break or internet break after they have learnt a paragraph or a lecture. They have packed up on so many snacks and sweets they wouldn’t bother with a dinner in the evening and head straight to bed to do it all over again the next day.

sweets on the pages of a book

(Spotted UCC Library, Facebook)

The Late Eater

The Late Eater comes home after a long day and has their dinner at ten or eleven at night. This food is usually something quick and easy like a pizza, toasted sandwich, beans on toast, fish fingers and waffles. One all time favourite of my housemates is pasta and cheese... they can live off it during study month.

The Bulker

One of the better ones is The Bulker. They make dinners Sunday night and freeze it so they can have it for the entire week. They will prepare their lunch the night before for the next day. They are organised and it has benefits. They may get sick of seeing lasagne or shepherd’s pie every day for the next week but as long as it fills them up they’re happy.

The Homebird

Lastly there is The Homebird who gets to go home to a press full of food and in most cases has a dinner waiting on the table for them. These are the lucky ones who mammy’s would rather them at home with a belly full of food rather than stuck in the library all night.


Whatever your style, there are ways you can study, eat well and stay healthy.

  • Eat breakfast. Have a healthy fibre filled breakfast and it will keep you going until lunch time. Keeping a steady supply of energy throughout the day will ensure you do not lose concentration during both your study and exam times. Porridge, smoothies, muesli, wholegrain toast and scrambled egg are healthy options.
  • Suggestions for snacks throughout the day  include nuts, fruit, seeds, crackers and cheese, soup, oat cakes, popcorn, yoghurt and scones.
  • Keep hydrated with water instead of coffee and fizzy drinks. Dehydration affects your concentration which may make it more difficult to study.
  • If you are not living at home, have plenty of healthy dinners at hand in the freezer.
  • Try to get for some fresh air and exercise even if you just take a walk around campus on your study break instead of looking up the internet. A fresh head is always better than a cluttered one.

Good luck to everyone out there who is preparing for exams!


Posted: 28/05/2014 12:50:57 by Roisin Aherne
Filed under: Exams, Nutrition, Students, Study

About Me

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Roisin Aherne
Hi, my name is Róisín Aherne and I am in my third year of Public Health and Health Promotion in UCC. I am currently on placement in safefood under the Human Health and Nutrition department. I enjoy good food, my favourite meal of the day being lunch. My most enjoyable hobby is to visit different cafés all over Ireland and the world. I have a keen interest in nature, wildlife and scenery.