The Best Nootropics For Studying And Taking Exams

By Mark Taylor

best nootropics for studying
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You’ve done all the homework. You’ve paid close attention to every lecture. Now it’s time to take the exam. This is your chance to prove yourself. The problem is studying for an exam is usually the hardest part. Trying to get motivated and stay focused long enough to truly absorb the information you need to know can be very challenging. That’s where nootropics can really help. But with so many options to choose from, what are the best nootropics for studying and taking exams?

How to Choose Safe and Reliable Nootropics

First off, you need to make sure the nootropics you choose are safe and reliable. Not all nootropics are created the same. Nootropics are typically considered safe when they’re backed by clinical trials and they have a solid history of use with little or no adverse effects. However, a nootropic is only as safe as the process used to make it. So here’s what you need to do to be sure you’re choosing a safe product:

  1.    Only choose nootropics with high-quality ingredients, stated safety certifications, correctly designed formulas and clean labels.
  2.    Only take nootropics products the right way, using well-established stacking and dosing methods, and always following the manufacturer’s directions.

What Are the Benefits of Nootropics?

There are many reported advantages of using nootropics and people use them for different reasons. These are some of the most common benefits of taking nootropics(Harcourt Health).

  1.    Improve mental focus and increase concentration– this is extremely important when it comes to studying and exams. When you’re focused you can concentrate better and longer, which is vital to doing well in your studies.
  2.    Slow down age-related decline– like all of our body parts, the older we get, the more our brains begin to decline. Some nootropics have been shown to help slow down or reduce the signs of stress and aging in our brain.
  3.    Enhance mood– some nootropics help the mood enhancing receptors in the brain that play a role in things like social anxiety and stress. Calming these negative feelings typically leads to mood improvement. When you’re in a good mood, you can concentrate better, as well.
  4.    Increase memory capabilities– the older we get the worse our memory performs. Being able to recall important information you’ve studied is the key to performing well on an exam. Some nootropics improve neuron connectors and increase brain cell growth, which are both keys to better memory performance.
  5.    Improve overall brain health– in this technology age, our brains are constantly bombarded with information. With so much to process, our brains are under constant pressure and demand to function faster and harder. This can lead to brain fatigue and poor brain health. Nootropics can help your overall brain health by increasing oxygen flow and in some cases help brain cell growth.

What Characteristics Constitute a Nootropic

There is a wide variety of nootropics designed for many different uses but exactly what makes up a nootropic? Can simply labeling something a nootropic make it a nootropic? According to the pioneer of nootropics, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, who is credited with creating the first nootropic, piracetam, a substance must meet these standards to be a nootropic(Vitamonk):

  1. The nootropic should enhance memory and ability to learn.
  1. It should help the brain function under disruptive conditions, such as hypoxia (low oxygen) and electroconvulsive shock.
  1. The substance should protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults, such as anticholinergic drugs and barbiturates.
  1. You want it to increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms in cortical and subcortical regions of the brain.
  1. A supplement lacking a generalized sedative or stimulatory effect is preferable. It should possess few-to-no side effects and be virtually non-toxic.

What’s the Best Way to Take Nootropics?

Nootropics come in several forms. Depending on the particular nootropic, you can get them in capsules, pills, tablets, or powders. Obviously, pills, capsules, and tablets are much easier to take than a powder form. In many cases, powder forms can be taken with water and the body typically absorbs them quickly. That also means they tend to have a shorter half-life or effectiveness period.

Some varieties of nootropics are fat-soluble and should be taken with a fat-soluble substance, like milk, for example. Food will work, as well. According to, water-soluble nootropics should be taken on an empty stomach for the best results. There are also a few nootropics that should be taken by placing them under your tongue and letting them dissolve. This method allows the substance to enter the bloodstream very quickly.

Are There Any Negatives?

In general, nootropics are considered safe and they have few side effects. But some people do experience certain side effects when they first start taking nootropics or when then take them in large doses. Some of the most common side effects are insomnia, intestinal issues, fatigue, headaches, and anxiety.

What Is Nootropic Stacking?

So what about nootropic stacking? What is it, how does it work, and is it safe? By definition, according to, a nootropic stack “is the combination of two or more supplements that have beneficial effects on memory, learning, focus, or motivation, in order to create a synergistic effect in the brain greater than any increase in cognition than the supplements you ‘stack’ could create on their own.”

You can “stack” in two ways. You can purchase a pre-formulated stack or you can buy several different substances and create your own stack.

If you choose the pre-formulated method you get the convenience of an all-in-one dosage with proven stack results. But you lose the advantage of mixing and matching substances and doses and finding the right combination for you.

That is the benefit of creating your own custom stacks. The downside is you might not know where to start, which substances to stack and how much to take.

Seven Nootropics for Studying and Exams

So, with that background knowledge, what is the best nootropic for studying and exams? There are many options to choose from but these are some of the top choices.

1. Caffeine and L-Theanine

    1.    What is it – L-theanine is an amino acid that people use to reduce the negative effects of stress. It is also known to increase energy levels. Studies have shown that it effectively helps increase focus and support brain health.
    2.    Dosage for studying – 200 mg of L-theanine is recommended daily dose. But it’s not uncommon to find 250 mg dosages in the supplement market.
    3.    Why is it good for studying – Quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, L-theanine works by targeting the neurotransmitters responsible for affecting cognitive processes which are important for studying. This helps improve your focus by putting you in a very relaxed or meditative state.
    4.   What to stack with – Many people that use L-theanine have found the greatest benefit comes when combined with caffeine. Although not a nootropic, caffeine is a stimulant so when you take these together you get the added benefit of being mentally stimulated and creative, to go along with a calm feeling.
    5.   Our Recommendation Zhou Nutrition

2. Modafinil

  1.    What is it– Unlike most nootropics, modafinil is a Schedule 4 controlled substance and is a prescription drug. Therefore, it’s illegal to use or possess the drug without a prescription.
  2.    Dosage for studying– The recommended prescribed dose for modafinil is usually a 200mg tablet, but it is also available in 100mg pills. It is ok to take once a day but should be taken at the same time each day with or without food.
  3.    Why is it good for studying– Modafinil has been shown to help keep users alert, focused and motivated for several hours at a time. In fact, because it does those three things so well, it is one of the best nootropics for studying.
  4.   What to stack with– It has been shown that combining modafinil with a natural nootropic stack or a high-quality choline supplement can help reduce the occurrence of headaches and burnout.
  5.   Our Recommendation – Afinil Express

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3. Lion’s Mane

    1.    What is it– Lion’s mane is a type of mushroom known to have medicinal qualities. Scientific research has shown that lion’s mane possesses several substances that promote better health, including beta-glucan and antioxidants. It has also been shown to improve overall brain function.
    2.    Dosage for studying– The proper dose depends on the strength of the extract. For Lion’s Mane 10:1 extract (30% polysaccharide), the daily dosage is 500 – 1,000 mg taken 1 to 3 times per day. Other common dosages of Lion’s Mane range from 300 mg to 3000 mg dosed 1 – 3 times per day. It’s always a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when first using the supplement. Start with the lowest dose possible to evaluate how you react.
    3.    Why is it good for studying– Using Lion’s Mane has been shown to help stimulate Nerve Growth Factor, which increases cognitive ability and memory. It also has been shown to help reduce and relieve depression.
    4.   What to stack with– Lion’s Mane is actually a great stacking substance for other nootropics. In fact, it compliments several other nootropics, including Alpha GPC, Aniracetam, and Omega-3’s. Together these stacks can help give an instant cognitive boost.
    5.   Our RecommendationGenius Mushroom

4. Ashwagandha

    1.    What is it– Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs used in Ayurvedic healing. People have used this herb for thousands of years for numerous purposes and to treat many conditions. It is best known for its rejuvenating and restorative benefits.
    2.    Dosage for studying– The recommended dose of ashwagandha root or leaf powder is 1–2 tsp twice a day. you should boil it in water or mix it with milk, buttermilk, or honey. But the more convenient and most common dose is to take 1–2 capsules twice a day.
    3.    Why is it good for studying– some studies have shown that ashwagandha may improve memory, task performance, reaction time, and overall brain function.
    4.   What to stack with– If you’re looking for more mental and physical energy, you can try stacking Ashwagandha with Rhodiola, for even better results.
    5.   Our RecommendationElemental Origins

5. Aniracetam

  1.    What is it– Aniracetam triggers your right brain, which controls things like imagination, creativity, and feelings. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your mood. Ideas flow more freely and your ability to think abstractly increases.
  2.    Dosage for studying– The recommended dosage of Aniracetam varies between 750-1500 mg. It’s best to start with the smallest recommended dosage and then increase it as needed.
  3.    Why is it good for studying – Studies have found that Aniracetam helps shield the brain from the negative effects of a lower oxygen supply. It motivates brain receptors to take in more glucose and oxygen.
  4.   What to stack with– Aniracetam is most effective for studying when stacked with Oxiracetam. When you combine these nootropics you are likely to have improved verbal functioning, as well as increased sensory perception and logic.
  5.   Our Recommendation – Get a prescription

6. Alpha GPC

    1.    What is it– Alpha GPC — glycerylphosphorylcholine or choline alfoscerate — naturally exists in our bodies, but in small amounts. It is used to enhance memory and reduce the negative effects of aging in the brain.
    2.    Dosage for studying– The recommended daily dose of Alpha GPC is 300-600 mg. Although, many people have found larger doses to help even more, without any negative side effects. For example, taking between 300-1200 mg in one dose or split into two is considered safe and effective.
    3.    Why is it good for studying– This is one of the best nootropics for studying because it helps boost your memory and enhance neuroplasticity. This gives you a greater ability to comprehend the material you’re studying. Choline is essential for memory function, as well as many other cognitive functions, including focus, concentration, and the ability to learn.
    4.   What to stack with– Stacking Alpha GPC with other nootropics, specifically those in the racetam family, has been shown to be even more beneficial for studying.
    5.   Our Recommendation – Double Wood Supplements

7. Bacopa Monnieri

    1.    What is it– Bacopa monnieri is a natural nootropic that comes from the Ayurvedic herb water hyssop and is used for its anti-fatigue properties and ability to improve alertness and wakefulness.
    2.    Dosage for studying– The recommended dose is 300 mg per day, but only if the total active compound makes up 55% of the supplement’s total weight. If you go with powder or leaf form, the recommended dose goes up to 750-1500 mg a day.
    3.    Why is it good for studying– If you want to be more alert and make studying easier bacopa monnieri is a good choice. This nootropic enhances the growth of dendrites, which improves synaptic communication. The better your neural impulses travel, the more alertness and cognitive functioning improve.
    4.   What to stack with– Bacopa monnieri by itself is good for studying, but when stacked with piracetam, phenylpiracetam or other racetams, it can really give you a boost for studying. Increased physical energy, reduced anxiety, and cognitive stimulation are all benefits of stacking bacopa monnieri with racetams.
    5.   Our RecommendationElemental Origins

And the best nootropic for studying is…

Each of these nootropic options offers positive benefits for studying and taking exams. But if you’re looking for better focus, more alertness, enhanced memory, and increased motivation, then modafinil is the clear winner. Studying and taking exams can be challenging. Being successful requires all of these attributes. That’s why modafinil is the best nootropic for anyone who needs to improve his or her studying and exams.

That being said, as with any supplement or medication, no two people are exactly the same. You might respond differently to one nootropic than you do to another. However as long as you choose safe and reliable nootropics, have a clear idea of the different benefits you’re seeking, and know when and how much you should take, you should be able to find the right combination to improve your studying and exams.

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