It’s the day of the big test. You’ve kept up with your work all semester, spent the last week studying your heart out…and still aren’t completely confident. You want to perform the best you possibly can.b
This is where nootropics come in. A “smart drug” class of cognitive enhancers, there are a broad range of selections depending what brain functions you’re looking to improve. So if you’re a student, here are the five best nootropics to supplement with on the day of the test.
Caffeine should be familiar to just about anybody. There’s nothing quite like that morning cup of coffee to give you a crucial energy boost. Caffeine mostly works by antagonizing adenosine production: a neurotransmitter that causes sedation and drowsiness. By blocking it, caffeine gives you that alert, stimulated edge.
Caffeine does more than just make you feel more alert though, and are in fact a viable nootropic. In one study, caffeine-dosed mice performed significantly better than a control group at recognizing objects. A caffeine supplement is great all-around foundation to any test-acing nootropic stack.
Piracetam is one of the most widely researched nootropics, and the original ‘racetam nootropic. Piracetam boosts membrane fluidity, and has been found to increase communication between the brain’s hemispheres. This pays off on the academic end by boosting focus and alertness. It also increases blood flow in the brain, which translates into boosted efficiency. Best of all, it’s synergistic with caffeine: take them together for a boosted, enhanced effect on both ends.
Choline is a nutrient which functions as a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is crucial to learning and cognition, and performance in both areas is limited by low choline levels. Not only does choline pair well with piracetam, it can give you same-day boosts in acetylcholine activity.
Studies have shown that healthy amounts of CDP choline significantly boost verbal recall and visual memory. Since acetylcholine underpins everything your brain is going to be doing while taking a test, you can’t really go wrong with a nice dose of a choline supplement.
Vitamin B12 shows up in a typical diet, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting enough of it. Recent studies have found that B-12 deficiency are fairly common, and can have pretty bad consequences. Included among them is impaired cognition.
Odds are you could be heading into your test with low B-12 — and there’s no need for that, since it’s a safe, inexpensive supplement. It also pairs well with piracetam, caffeine supplements, and choline supplements.
Trials have found that boosting deficient B-12 levels can improve memory and cognition, and even alleviate depression. Use it to make sure your brain is in peak performance mode for your test.
You can round off the above supplements by dosing with bacopa the night before the test. Bacopa is an herb native to India long known to aid memory, concentration, and learning. Bacopa monnieri benefits cognition in several ways, most notably improving memory and recollection.
Studies have not only suggested that it improves memory retention (increased ability to remember new information), but significantly improved working memory. This means the brain gets better at recalling stored information.
To get ideal bacopa benefits, it’s best to take it the night before the test. It’s non-toxic and interacts well with other nootropics, but it can make you sleepy! Not exactly what you’re looking for on test day. Also, before bed bacopa will help you better retain all the information you’ve been cramming.
Any of the five supplements listed above will give you that crucial extra edge to let you do as well as possible on that big important test. You’ve worked hard all semester – why do any less than your best? With that nootropic boost, you’re primed to maximize your ability to get a killer grade.