The Best Nootropic Brain Supplements for Studying and Taking Tests

Nootropics, also known as smart drugs or brain supplements, are a class of drugs and supplements that have become popular among those seeking a cognitive boost. Nootropics have gained notoriety for being commonly taken by programmers and developers in Silicon Valley and have since seen widespread adoption by gamers, college students, and others who wish to increase their mental capacity. There are many different types of nootropic supplements; some are naturally derived from plants and herbs while others are synthesized in a lab with the intention of altering your brain chemistry in order to hack your brain chemistry for your benefit. Some are backed by substantial research that supports their safety while others are relatively new and could have unknown long-term side-effects. This is why it’s so important to conduct proper research before taking any nootropic substance. With the right guidance, substantial cognitive benefits such as improved memory, concentration, mental endurance, sleep quality, learning ability, focus, and reduced anxiety can be achieved.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best nootropic brain supplements for studying with more focus, better concentration, increased mental endurance, and extended wakefulness.

The Best Formulated Nootropic Drink For Studying and Taking Tests

TruBrain Boost

Nootropics Resource Score

  • Efficacy
  • Quality
  • Taste
  • Value

Pros đź‘Ť

+ Potent and Fast Acting

+ Cognition, Verbal Fluency, Memory, and Focus 

+ Tastes Great

+ Portable and Convenient

+ Premium Ingredient Profile

Consđź‘Ž

– Must sign up for a subscription (but you can cancel any time if you just want to try it out first)

– Reasonably Priced, But Must Order In Bulk For Good Discount

– Very Potent! Don’t drink before bed or you’ll be up all night.

TruBrain Boost is a 1 oz nootropic drink shot that contains a professionally curated ingredient profile consisting of nine premium nootropic substances that greatly improve cognitive performance in multiple areas. To date, it is the highest quality and most effective pre-formulated nootropic stack product I have ever tried, and I have tried every reputable nootropic product available. At this point in time, TruBrain is what I personally take every single day unless I am testing/reviewing another nootropic product.

If you’re just getting into nootropics and want to save yourself weeks of researching and testing multiple products, I highly recommend just going straight for TruBrain Boost. It’s truly in a class of its own compared to other nootropic products on the market on multiple levels including quality, effectiveness, price, and ingredient profile. TruBrain Boost provides clean energy, wakefulness, reduced brain fog, increased reaction time, ability to think clearly, better memory, and overall improved cognition. As I mentioned in my full review of TruBrain, these benefits are most noticeable while in cognitively demanding situations that require quick thinking such as studying, test-taking, gaming, wrestling, work presentations, and social interactions.

TruBrain’s ingredient profile was carefully selected to synergistically increase cognitive function while performing mentally demanding tasks such as studying and taking tests. The L-Theanine and Caffeine combination in TruBrain Boost is particularly effective at reducing stress and anxiety while increasing focus and wakefulness, which is paramount to studying sessions and test-taking. The Citicoline and Centrophenoxine help clear brain fog allowing you quickly get in a mental groove when studying or taking a test. Other ingredients include Tyrosine, Carnitine, Magnesium, Uridine, and Noopept. Tyrosine and Carnitine are both amino acids that support brain function, Magnesium supports a plethora of important bodily functions and is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in humans, Uridine promotes brain cell-membrane synthesis, and Noopept is an effective neuroprotectant and cognition booster. All of these ingredients play a major role in improving brain function while studying and take tests.

If you’d like to learn more about TruBrain check out my full, in-depth product review here.

The Best Formulated Nootropic Pill For Studying and Taking Tests

Mind Lab Pro

Nootropics Resource Score

  • Efficacy
  • Quality
  • Value

Pros đź‘Ť

+ Best Nootropic Pill Available

+ Cognition, Memory, and Focus 

+ Pill Form is Convenient

+ Portable and Convenient

+ Premium Ingredient Profile 

+ Stimulant Free

Consđź‘Ž

–  Multiple Ingredients Are Underdosed 

– Expensive (but still cheaper than much worse products)

– Takes 5+ days to see noticeable benefits

Mind Lab Pro is a branded combination nootropic pill that contains eleven nootropic ingredients. It is currently the ONLY branded combination nootropic pill on the market even worth considering. In general, companies that sell branded nootropic pills are sketchy at best, and down-right sinister at worst. Most will throw tiny doses of 20+ nootropic ingredients in a pill with no regard for proper dosing or drug interactions just so they can say they have 42 science-backed ingredients in their pill. Then they’ll go and pay celebrities, influencers, and websites big affiliate commissions to pedal their products to uninformed consumers. Mind Lab Pro takes what I consider to be a much better approach to their nootropic pill formula. There are only 11 ingredients, 3 of which are simply B vitamins.  The other eight include Citicoline, Lion’s Mane, Phosphatidylserine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, and Maritime Bark Extract.

Citicoline is a great nootropic for improving cognitive function and clearing brain fog, though it is fairly under-dosed at 250 mg per serving compared to the standard dose of 1000mg. Next is Bacopa Monnieri, which is an excellent nootropic supplement for improving memory, and therefore an excellent nootropic for studying and test taking. It’s dosed at 150 mg with 24% bacosides, which again is underdosed compared to the standard dose of 300 mg with 55% bacosides. Next up is Lion’s Mane, excellent for both cognitive and immune function, at a dose of 500 mg per serving, which is half of the standard dose of 1000 mg per day. The next ingredient is a 100 mg dose of Phosphatidylserine, which lowers the stress hormone cortisol and improves memory, making it one of the best nootropics for studying and test taking, though it is once again under-dosed compared to the 100 mg 3x per day recommendation. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, an amino acid that prevents stress-induced memory deficits (great for studying and test taking), is dosed at 175 mg compared to the standard range of 500-2000 mg. L-Theanine, my personal favorite nootropic supplement of all time is properly dosed at 100mg per serving and is an excellent nootropic for studying and test taking as it reduces anxiety, increases alertness, and improves focus. Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb that reduces fatigue and exhaustion (perfect for pushing through long study sessions). In Mind Lab Pro, it is properly dosed at 50 mg per serving. Lastly, Mind Lab Pro contains an appropriate 75 mg dose of Pine Bark Extract which is known for its benefits of improving mental function when taken for long periods of time (3+ months).

It’s important to understand that Mind Lab Pro is a long-term approach to improving cognitive and mental health. It is very unlikely that you will see noticeable benefits from this formulary until you have taken it for 5 to 30 days. The recommended dose of Mind Lab Pro is two pills daily. With how underdosed some ingredients are, I had better results taking one pill, three times per day.

Summary: Mind Lab Pro is the only combination nootropic pill worth trying in a sea of shady supplement companies. Though many of the ingredients are underdosed, long-term use should yield positive results for most people with minimal, if any negative side effects.

The Best Simple Nootropic Stack For Studying and Taking Tests

 

Caffeine + L-Theanine

Nootropics Resource Score

  • Efficacy
  • Quality
  • Value

Pros đź‘Ť

+ Best Nootropic Stack For Most People

+ Cognition, Memory, Focus

+ Reduced Anxiety

+ Pill Form is Convenient

+ Premium Ingredients

+ Suspended in MCT Oil

+ Very Affordable

Consđź‘Ž

– Pricier Than Other Brands (But Contains MCT Oil)

Caffeine + L-Theanine is THE BEST nootropic stack for the vast majority of people and is consistently under-rated due to its lack of ingredient quantity. Many people think that many ingredients are needed for a nootropic supplement to be effective, and nothing could be further from the truth. Caffeine and L-Theanine synergistically combine to create one of the safest and most effective nootropics stacks for studying and taking tests whether you’re in college or high school. 

Caffeine is easily the most popular mental and performance-enhancing substance on the planet, providing benefits including increased wakefulness and concentration, increased adrenaline levels, higher power output, higher aerobic and anaerobic endurance, and increased metabolic rates. Caffeine is a widely-used and thoroughly researched substance that is generally recognized as safe by the FDA when consumed in appropriate doses. L-Theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in green tea that provides numerous cognitive benefits when taken orally in concentrated doses. L-Theanine is highly synergistic with caffeine as it helps reduce anxiety and promotes relaxation. The two substances are often taken in conjunction with one another. Additional benefits of L-Theanine include increased focus, improved attention span, and better sleep quality. L-Theanine is a heavily researched dietary supplement and generally regarded as safe by the FDA. When taken together, Caffeine and L-Theanine promote a calm feeling of focus, energy, and wakefulness while reducing anxiety. 

I particularly like the Sports Research brand of Caffeine + L-Theanine because it comes in an MCT Oil based softgel that is easy to swallow. MCT Oil has been studied for numerous energy benefits surrounding energy and exercise. Though there are no clinical studies to support it, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence and pseudo-science that suggests the presence of MCT Oil slows down the absorption of caffeine and creates a “smoother flow of energy”. While I personally do not put much stock in this theory, there is so much discussion around it at the moment that it’s worth mentioning. Caffeine + L-Theanine supplements are already so inexpensive that I don’t mind paying an extra dollar or two for a premium softgel with MCT Oil in it.

Summary: Caffeine + L-Theanine is the best simple nootropic stack for studying and taking tests, especially for those who are seeking a safe, effective, and fast-acting solution. 

 

The Best Single Ingredient Nootropic For Studying and Taking Tests

Nootropics Resource Score

  • Efficacy
  • Quality
  • Value

Pros đź‘Ť

+ Best Nootropic Stack For Most People

+ Cognition, Focus, Concentration

+ Improves Brain Function

+ Very Affordable

+ Pill Form is Convenient

+ Side Effects are Mild and Uncommon

Consđź‘Ž

– Not Everyone Responds The Same Way To Piracetam

Piracetam is a synthetic nootropic substance designed in 1964 for the purpose of improving cognitive function. The benefits of taking Piracetam include improved cognitive function, increased focus, and enhanced memory which are both vital for effective studying sessions and test taking. Piracetam works by increasing cell membrane permeability and fluidity in the brain.

Piracetam is a frequent recommendation made among nootropics users based on extremely positive experiences with it, though benefits and effectiveness can range from person to person. Piracetam is a nootropic substance that one has to try to fully appreciate its effects and gauge whether or not it is worth taking as results will vary greatly depending on the person and dose. I have personally experienced substantial cognitive and verbal fluidity benefits from taking 800 mg of Piracetam per day with no side effects aside from not being able to fall asleep if I take it too late in the evening.

 

The Best Single Ingredient Nootropic For Studying and Taking Tests: Honorable Mention

Nootropics Resource Score

  • Efficacy
  • Quality
  • Value

Pros đź‘Ť

+ Clears Brain Fog

+ Improves Cognition and Memory

+ Improves Brain Function

+ Stacks Well With Other Nootropics

+ Pill Form is Convenient

+ Natural Chemical Found In The Body

Consđź‘Ž

– If Your Diet Is High In Choline, You May Not See Benefits

Citicoline, also known as CDP Choline or Cognizin, is a nootropic substance that increases the levels of choline in the brain. Your brain uses choline as a raw material to function properly; when you run low on choline, brain function suffers and you get ‘brain fog’ where you feel like you can’t quite think clearly. Do note that this is a bit of an elementary explanation for the sake of not diving too deep into the details in this article. Citicoline is commonly used for enhancing memory, improving cognition, and most notably for eliminating brain fog. Cognizin, the brand name for Citicoline, is an excellent nootropic for studying and taking tests for these reasons.

Citicoline stacks very well with many different nootropics, including those mentioned above (Piracetam and Caffeine + L-Theanine). For most people, Citicoline is effective at eliminating brain fog when taken by itself, however, it is often paired with another nootropic that increases focus, as its main function is to clear brain fog. Choline levels can be naturally increased through eating foods high in choline such as eggs, meat, and peanuts, broccoli, and milk. Personally, Citicoline has such a positive impact on helping me think clearly that it’s a necessity in my daily routine. I eat eggs and/or broccoli on a daily basis as well as supplement and additional 250 mg of Citicoline through drinking TruBrain Boost each day. If you’ve ever sat down to study or take a test and just felt like your brain wasn’t ‘working’, you may benefit from supplementing Citicoline or increasing your dietary intake of choline.