Thursday, June 27, 2013


TOEFL Test... what to eat?

My EFL students are always looking for any extra edge they can get for the test so this is what I advise them in regards to eating and drinking the day of or the day before the test.

I KNOW that taking the TOEFL is stressful and that you have lots of other things going on in your life, but to make sure you do your best you need to fuel your body. You need to get enough sleep and feed your body "good" food. The LAST thing you want is to fall asleep during the listening section!

(NOTE: I am NOT a nutrition expert. Please use common sense when following these guidelines and do you own research if needed)

The snack enjoyed by E.T.
Reminder 1: Bring a Snack
    • Don't start eating your pencil during the test. See if the testing center will let you bring in something small (not a subway sandwich). A candy with some protein (like peanut butter M&Ms, or Reese's Pieces), some gum (not a food, but sometimes the flavor helps) or  some almonds. Be sure your snack is QUIET ruffling a candy bar wrapper will not make you friend. Sometimes it helps to open it before hand and move the snack into a quieter zip-lock bag. (If you plan this right your snack can even help you remember things you studied.)
Reminder 2: Hydrate or Die!
    • One of my roomies in Spain, used to always remind us to drink water constantly. Dehydration tends to cause headaches and make people feel tired. Make sure to drink a lot throughout the day. However, you don't want to have to go to the bathroom during the listening exam, so about an hour before the test you may want to stop drinking
Reminder 3: Coffee isn't ALWAYS the answer

Oh sweet caffeinated liquid
    • I know you have a lot of test and projects going on right now. Sleep is essential, and caffeine is NOT a successful replacement. If you normally don't drink coffee don't start today! If you drink a cup of coffee early, you may find that around lunchtime the effects wear off and you start to feel more lethargic. Instead of having a venti from Starbucks in the morning, grab a few tall cups throughout the day. If you normally drink coffee don't stop today! If you stop drinking you may start exhibiting withdrawals. Like with water try not to have coffee right before, it may make you want to run to the bathroom during the test.
 Reminder 4: Forget your diet, rock the fat  
    • Fat is hard for the body to digest and thus is one of the best ways to regulate your blood sugar (in comparison to letting it drop and spike).  So go for eggs compared to cereal. Your teacher didn't lie to you fish is great brain food too, and I've had tuna fish sandwiches for breakfast, but many people think that's weird. 
 Reminder 5: Don't make your stomach angry! 
    • This seems obvious, but essential so we'll touch on it. If a certain food sometimes gets you sick AVOID IT. Don't take any chances! Taking the TOEFL is already not very fun. Taking the TOEFL while you feel sick is just painful! This also means don't over eat the night before or starve yourself. You want your body (and mind) performing at its peak.
If you have any other suggestions let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to share them with my students.

Good luck!

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