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Eat What You Eat As Usual

Posted October. 31, 2004 23:17,   


Lee, a 19-year-old one-time CSAT repeater, is visiting the bathroom every morning quite a few times these days. Kwon, an 18-year-old high school senior, is experiencing worse headaches and menstrual pains than before.

With the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) nearing on November 17, exam takers who have exhausted themselves already with studying to the full naturally show pathological symptoms.

As the test date draws closer, the stress grows heavier. In order to produce the best result on exam day, it is more important to keep one’s spirits straight that day. With the CSAT just around the corner, we are offering some tips on how to stay sane and fit.

Do Not Change Your Diet—

Many foods that are said to stimulate brainwork are luring parents. However, things do not happen overnight, no matter how effective they might be. Rather, there can be unexpected results out of that experience, such as side effects like indigestion.

It is best to keep one’s usual diet when students can be extremely sensitive, like in these days. It is also not desirable for students, who are not used to having breakfast, eat breakfast or nutritious meals for the reason of keeping their chi up.


The tension is the strongest on the exam day. Since the energy consumed in the brain that day will be great, eating chocolate or candies is recommended.

When a Stomachache Sneaks Up On You—

The stomachaches that exam takers suffer are usually neurogenic disturbances. In medical terms, it is called non-ulcerous dyspepsia. Usually, the upper stomach is aching slowly, and students have indigestion problems as well. After screening, one cannot tell what the cause of this is.

Stress is the main cause. Even with a prescription, relieving effects do not take place immediately, so the best method is to try to stretch one’s body and relax one’s mind before meals.

However, if a stomachache is chronic or if the pain is great, it is suggested you take antacid or drugs that stimulate stomach activities. In this case, take the drugs with you to the exam site on the exam day.

If You Suffer from Headaches and Insomnia—

Excessive stress causes catatonic headaches. It gets worse during the afternoon than in the mornings. The neck area gets stiff, and the back of the head is heavy and even hurting. Sometimes, one experiences a tightening sensation in the upper head or the temples.

In these cases, hot steam towel massages on the neck are helpful. Working out your eyes’ tiredness by pressing in between both eyes and looking out into the distance like the sky can be helpful as well.

If one is experiencing insomnia due to restlessness, drinking warm milk and dipping your hands and feet in warm water will help.

If Menstrual Pains Are Great—

The pains can get worse than usual. Try to have yourself at ease by listening to your favorite music. Worries can worsen the pains.

Also, putting a steam towel on your lower stomach can lessen the pains. But drinks with caffeine, such as coffee or black tea or chocolate, can worsen the symptoms, so it is better to avoid them. Rather than staying immobile, the pains can be eased by doing light stretching work and moving one’s body.

Stress can cause bleeding. However, if the stress disappears, the symptoms disappear as well, so it is not something to worry about. Taking birth control pills is a method to use if one wants to avoid menstruating on the exam date.

(References: Professor Yoo Tae-woo of Family Medicine at Seoul National University Hospital, Professor Yoo Jun-hyun of Family Medicine and Professor Choi Doo-suk of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Samsung Seoul Hospital, and Professor Seonwoo Sung of Family Medicine at Seoul Asan Hospital)

TK Sohn sohn@donga.com