Published: 13 March 2024

Eating for exam success

Discover what you should eat - and what you should avoid - to help you perform your best during revision and exams.

What to eat during exams

Dr Adam Collins from the Department of Nutritional Sciences shares his top healthy eating tips to help you stay on top of your game during exam season.

1. Eat proper meals

Meals with slow release carbohydrates will help fuel your revision. If you study during the day, make sure you have a good breakfast and lunch. If you’re a night owl, make sure you have a good lunch and dinner.

2. Keep hydrated

Drink plenty of fluid. Go for plain water mainly, with the occasional diluted fruit juice or squash.

3. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

Use fruit and veg as a healthy snack instead of crisps, chocolate or fizzy drinks. 

4. Watch your coffee intake 

Caffeine acts as a stimulant and may aid concentration in small doses (the equivalent of one to two cups) but overdoing the caffeine will dehydrate you, can cause palpitations and may disturb your sleep. 

5. Try to avoid energy drinks

High-sugar, high-caffeine drinks may appear to give you an instant buzz but are a poor substitute for proper food and fluid. 

6. Avoid too many ‘treats’

Don’t overindulge on fatty foods, sugary snacks (crisps and chocolate) or fizzy drinks. 

7. Don’t overdo the alcohol

You might feel more relaxed, but alcoholic drinks dehydrate you, disturb your sleep and can wreck your concentration the next day. 

Revision and exam tips 

Check out our advice on how to study better and how to sleep better, and read our tips on exercising for exam success

Ranked in the top 3 for nutrition degrees 

Surrey’s programmes in the field of nutrition and food science are ranked 2nd in the UK by the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 and 3rd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2024. Read more about Surrey in the league tables.

Learn more about our nutrition degrees and other undergraduate programmes.

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