Best Nootropics For Studying, Memory, and Focus

Best Nootropics For Studying, Memory, and Focus

As school becomes more competitive, students around the world are turning to cognitive-enhancing nootropics.

These include nootropic supplements that can increase mental performance without the dangerous side effects of traditional study drugs.

What Are The Best Nootropics for Studying – Quick Answers

Mind Lab Pro #1
Mind Lab Pro
Science-backed nutrition for your brain
Lion's Mane Mushrooms #2
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Superfood for tackling ADHD
Bacopa Monnieri #3
Bacopa Monnieri
Protect Nerve Cells and Promote Growth of New Ones!
Qualia Mind #4
Qualia Mind
Most Nootropics Per Serving
Blood Sugar Breakthrough #5
Blood Sugar Breakthrough
Stabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levels
Oxiracetam #6
Popular synthetic learning and memory aid
Magnesium Breakthrough #7
Magnesium Breakthrough
#1 Magnesium Product
Reishi #8
A staple of Eastern medicine
Aniracetam #9
Popular nootropoic for boosting focus and mood
Citicoline #10
Get more done in your day
Noopept #11
World's #1 Selling Nootropic
Adrafinil #12
An over-the-counter version of Modafinil

Attention Deficit Disorder Drugs

It’s no secret that heavy stimulants such as Adderall have become an epidemic on college campuses.

Best Nootropics for Studying, Best Nootropics For Students, nootropics for learning, Nootropics for test
Drugs like Adderall are effective for studying but come with pretty severe drawbacks when taken without a prescription.

Although some students legitimately need these medications to manage their ADHD, many students purchase the drugs on the black market to pull all-nighters.

While Adderall abuse may have some benefits in the short term, it can come with some severe downsides.

Read more: Best Nootropics For ADHD

Natural Over-The-Counter Adderall Alternatives

While adderall or ritalin can help you “cram in a jam”, anyone who has experienced the dreaded Adderall crash will attest to how terrible these drugs can make you feel when they wear off.

Taking prescription stimulants off-label can cause potentially severe health issues such as:

  • Sleep issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

However, nootropics can be a much more sustainable alternative to abusing drugs like Adderall.

ADD Supplements

Instead of dumping excessive amounts of dopamine in your brain, nootropics work through much more subtle pathways.

These supplements can improve your ability to concentrate and retain information while you study, without health risks.

Whether you are for college student or trying to memorize all of Wikipedia for your upcoming appearance on Jeopardy, here are our expert picks for the best nootropics for studying.

Read more: Best Adderall Alternatives

Best Nootropics For Studying

Science-backed nutrition for your brain

Mind Lab Pro

  • Mind Lab Pro is a powerful nootropic multivitamin that contains nootropics, amino acids, vitamins, and adaptogenic herbs.

  • Designed specifically to boost focus, memory, mood, while lowering stress and anxiety.

  • Increased mental energy, clear thinking, and working brain cells

Mind Lab Pro is one of the most potent preformulated nootropic stacks on the market.

This stack delivers specific nootropics that work together to optimize your brain for studying.

It includes 11 cognitive-enhancing ingredients that work synergistically to boost your mind’s processing speed and working memory while improving neurotransmitter production for laser focus and concentration.

There’s also B-vitamin co-factors to enhance absorbability.

The supplements themselves are 3rd party tested and free of excess fillers and toxic ingredients.

I love this stack for nootropic newbies and experienced nootropic users alike.


  • Proven to boost overall cognitive performance including memory, focus, mood, creativity, motivation, and overall well-being.
  • Potent blend of all-natural nootropics, herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Good for Experienced Biohackers and those new to nootropics.
  • Caffeine Free
  • No artificial fillers or toxic preservatives
  • Affordable Price


  • Ingredients are lower dosed.
  • Fewer ingredients than other leading nootropic stacks

Superfood for tackling ADHD

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

  • Stimulates NGF and BDNF synthesis

  • Boosts energy levels by raising alpha brain waves

  • Improves cognitive functioning and concentration

Lion’s Mane mushroom, scientifically referred to as Hericium Erinaceus is well known for its potential to support regeneration of impaired neuronal synapses, boost neurotransmitters, stimulate neurite outgrowth and neuronal signaling.1Vikineswary Sabaratnam, Wong Kah-Hui, Murali Naidu, and Pamela Rosie David, Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help?, J Tradit Complement Med. 2013

Extracts of this culinary mushroom contain polysaccharides which have the ability to exert influence on neuronal differentiation and encourage survival of nerve cells.2Young Shik Park , Hyun Soo Lee, Moo Ho Won, Jin Ha Lee, Shin Young Lee, Hyeon Yong Lee, Effect of an exo-polysaccharide from the culture broth of Hericium erinaceus on enhancement of growth and differentiation of rat adrenal nerve cells, Cytotechnology. 2002

All of these combined properties mean consumption of Lion’s Mane mushroom stimulates learning caliber, promotes recalling capacity and assists you during the process of studying.3Kah-Hui Wong , Murali Naidu, Rosie Pamela David, Robiah Bakar, Vikineswary Sabaratnam, Neuroregenerative potential of lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review), Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012

Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Lion’s Mane.

Learn More about this Potent Nootropic: The Ultimate Guide to Lion’s Mane


  • Clinically proven to increase Nerve Growth Factor synthesis
  • Can cross the blood-brain barrier
  • Boosts energy levels and sharpens focus
  • Suitable for Vegans/Vegetarians
  • Available in powder and pill form
  • Can be mixed in with meals and beverages


  • Can contain small amounts of toxins if not purchased from reputable sources

Protect Nerve Cells and Promote Growth of New Ones!

Bacopa Monnieri

  • Increased mental processing speed

  • Increases ability to recall information

  • Improve Memory, Learning, and Cognition

  • Protect nerve cells and promote growth of new cells

  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects

  • Can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and seizures

Bacopa is an all-natural nootropic in use for millennia in Eastern cultures. It may be one of the original study drugs.

There is archeological evidence that monks and scholars used bacopa monnieri to help them memorize prayers and manuscripts thousands of years ago!

Nothing has changed all that much, and Bacopa is still a fantastic herb for hitting the books if you’re a modern student. Modern research also suggests that this nootropic is useful for studying.

Bacopa monnieri contains organic compounds called “bacosides” that may speed up mental processing and increase information retention according to research.

As another bonus for students, bacopa is an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body deal with stress and help the anxiety of studying for exams.

Bacopa can keep your hormones in balance so that you can focus effectively on the work in front of you.

We consider bacopa a must-have for any student looking for a calm and collected focus.


  • Increases acetylcholine – the most important neurotransmitter for memory and learning
  • Can also increase serotonin and GABA in the hippocampus, the brain’s hub for memory and emotions
  • Can offset cognitive decline with aging
  • May protect the gut and stomach
  • Can be taken in capsule or powder form


  • Some people say doesn’t taste good and can cause nausea or stomach upset
  • Possible interaction with the antidepressant amitriptyline, consult doctor before using

Most Nootropics Per Serving

Qualia Mind

  • Most advanced preformulated nootropic stack on the market.

  • Packed with 28 cognitive-enhancing ingredients each clinically proven to boost cognition

  • Preferred nootropic product for many top biohackers and wellness professionals

  • Available in both caffeinated and decaffeinated versions

  • Qualia Focus is the sister product to Qualia Mind and comes with fewer ingredients

Qualia Mind’s advanced formula includes 28 nootropic ingredients designed to synergistically enhance your ability study.

It boosts and efficiently synthesizes acetylcholine while increasing mitochondrial function and cellular energy.

You also get B-vitamins, vitamins C, and D3 as co-factors to optimize neurotransmitter synthesis.

The caffeine also adds a boost of mental energy. A caffeine-free version is available too.

This stack is great for any student who needs a boost in brainpower.

Caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions are available.


  • Most advanced nootropic formula on the market
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Clean formula: No toxic fillers or necessary preservatives
  • Many positive user testimonials
  • Option for less potent Qualia Focus Available
  • Over 50% off 1st Bottle
  • Use “15INSAVINGS” For Additional 15% Off


  • Large dose of 7 pills
  • More expensive than most other nootropics
  • More ingredients not always better.

Stabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levels

Blood Sugar Breakthrough

  • Helps stabilize blood sugar levels

  • Supports cognitive function and helps improve focus/attention span

  • Natural ingredients help stabilize the body’s glucose metabolism

  • Easy to take capsules help you focus without the hunger or jitters associated with Adderall

Blood Sugar Breakthrough is a complex formula consisting of several ingredients which have been linked to the enhancement of cognitive processes such as memory, concentration and studying.

Ingredients like biotin, chromium, and alpha lipoic acid found in Blood Sugar Breakthrough can improve the responsiveness of the body’s cells and tissues to insulin and hence have an overall positive impact on brain health.4NIH, Chromium, NIH. 20215Mitra Hemmati, Homa Babaei, and Mohammadreza Abdolsalehei, Survey of the Effect of Biotin on Glycemic Control and Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Type 1 Diabetic Patients in Kermanshah in Iran (2008-2009), Oman Med J. 2013

Some ingredients in the Blood Sugar Breakthrough Formula have antioxidative properties which also aid in the improvement of intense cognitive exercises like studying.6Supatra Porasuphatana , Suthi Suddee, Atinuch Nartnampong, Julraht Konsil, Busakorn Harnwong, Adichai Santaweesuk, Glycemic and oxidative status of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus following oral administration of alpha-lipoic acid: a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled study, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2012


  • Contains natural ingredients that have been clinically proven to help lower blood sugar levels
  • Has been shown to help people lose weight
  • comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can feel confident that you’re not wasting your money if it doesn’t work for you


  • Can be a bit pricey

Popular synthetic learning and memory aid


  • Can help increase attention span and cognition

  • Studies show that it can improve memory

  • People report feeling more focused and motivated to study/work

  • Boosts levels of neurotransmitters in the brain

Oxiracetam is a synthetic racetam-type nootropic, meaning it modulates the AMPA and NDMA receptors in your brain.

It increases the amount of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which can ultimately help you study better.7Gouliaev AH, Senning A. Piracetam and other structurally related nootropics, Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1994

Oxiracetam has clinically proven benefits for cognition, and many users note that it can increase their attention span, information retention, and overall cognitive processes.

In short, it can help you get “in the zone” while studying.8Fordyce DE, et al. Enhancement of hippocampally-mediated learning and protein kinase C activity by oxiracetam in learning-impaired DBA/2 mice, Brain Res. 1995

This nootropic also has a mild stimulatory effect that can keep you alert and on task. However, it is not nearly as powerful as a drug like Adderall, so you don’t need to worry about crashing later.

Oxiracetam achieves its effects through much more subtle and sustainable means so that you can take it frequently without fear.

Learn More Oxiracetam for Studying

#1 Magnesium Product

Magnesium Breakthrough

  • Magnesium restores balance to the mind and body

  • Improves symptoms of ADHD in some people

  • Triggers relaxation response

  • Steadies the mind for restful sleep

Magnesium is an essential mineral for various cognitive functions, including studying. We know that studying is an extensive process requiring deep concentration, learning and memorization.9Kateba Al-Ghazali, Sana Eltayeb, Ayesha Musleh, Tamara Al-Abdi, Vijay Ganji, and Zumin Shi, Serum Magnesium and Cognitive Function Among Qatari Adults, Front Aging Neurosci. 2020

Research suggests that increasing the intake of dietary magnesium can help in enhancing our cognitive abilities such as learning, focusing and memorization.

This postulation is supported by extensive clinical evidence suggesting that insufficient levels of magnesium in the body are associated with cognitive impairment.10Inna Slutsky , Nashat Abumaria, Long-Jun Wu, Chao Huang, Ling Zhang, Bo Li, Xiang Zhao, Arvind Govindarajan, Ming-Gao Zhao, Min Zhuo, Susumu Tonegawa, Guosong Liu, Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium, Neuron. 201011Jürgen Vormann, Magnesium: nutrition and metabolism, Mol Aspects Med. 2003

It is well known that different forms of magnesium can have different bioavailabilities; hence, a complex formulation consisting of various forms of elemental magnesium such as those found in Magnesium Breakthrough can significantly increase the likelihood of receiving all the cognitive benefits of magnesium.12Abdullah M. Al Alawi,corresponding author,Sandawana William Majoni, and Henrik Falhammar , Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions, Int J Endocrinol. 201813Jan Philipp Schuchardt and Andreas Hahn, Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium-An Update, Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2017

A staple of Eastern medicine


  • Promotes long-term focus and mental energy

  • Stimulate neurogenesis

  • Boosts immune system

  • Calm effects on central nervous system

Reishi is a medicinal mushroom with many therapeutic effects ranging from improved cardiac function to enhanced cognitive abilities.14Sissi Wachtel-Galor, John Yuen, John A. Buswell, and Iris F. F. Benzie, Chapter 9Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. 2011

The most appealing feature of Reishi is its neurostimulating effect on intense cognitive processes such as memory building, concentration and studying.15Karen S Bishop , Chi H J Kao , Yuanye Xu , Marcus P Glucina , R Russell M Paterson, Lynnette R Ferguson, From 2000 years of Ganoderma lucidum to recent developments in nutraceuticals, Phytochemistry. 2015

Studies have demonstrated several positive cognitive effects such as improvement of mood, boost of focus, increase in clarity, ability to concentrate for long hours and ability to grasp concepts quickly among users of Reishi.16Najeeb Khatian & Muhammad Aslam, Effect of Ganoderma lucidum on memory and learning in mice, Clinical Phytoscience. 2019

Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Reishi.


  • May help improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels
  • Can be consumed in many different forms, such as capsules, powders, teas, and tinctures
  • Used in Asia for centuries as a medicinal mushroom


  • Common side effects include gastrointestinal upset and nausea
  • Not recommended for people with autoimmune disease or taking immunosuppressive medication

Popular nootropoic for boosting focus and mood


  • Improves brain connectivity and helps with focus

  • Highly sustainable- no need for tolerance build up

  • Helps to avoid the sudden crashes you see with other drugs

  • Minimal side effects, can be taken every day

Aniracetam is a cousin of oxiracetam and is also a racetam. It works through a similar mechanism, but it does have a few distinctions.

Like oxiracetam, many people say that aniracetam is great for stimulated-but-controlled focus and memory. And, there are plenty of clinical studies to back this up.17Shirane M, Nakamura K. Aniracetam enhances cortical dopamine and serotonin release via cholinergic and glutamatergic mechanisms in SHRSP, Brain Res. 2001 18Ingvar M, et al. Enhancement by an ampakine of memory encoding in humans, Exp Neurol. 1997

It is also famous for elevating mood. Feeling an emotional boost could put you in a better headspace to crack open the books and get to work. Keep in mind this is not the manic high of a drug like Adderall, but a more gentle effect.

Aniracetam and oxiracetam are both great choices, but aniracetam might be better if you are looking for a mood boost as well.19Nakamura K, Tanaka Y.. Antidepressant-like effects of aniracetam in aged rats and its mode of action, Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001

Learn More About Aniracetam for Studying

Get more done in your day


  • Increases attention and focus

  • Improves memory, mood, and dopamine levels

  • Combines well with cholinergic nootropics like racetams

This nootropic is an excellent, stimulation free source of energy for your hungry brain.

It is a form of choline, which is a crucial nutrient for overall brain health and cognition.

Citicoline is the perfect addition to your studying stack if you are going to use oxiracetam, aniracetam, or noopept.

Those nootropics can use up the choline stores in your brain, meaning it’s a good idea to supplement with an additional source.

The racetams can then turn it into acetylcholine, improving your focus and memory in the process.

Also, if your brain starts running low on choline, you run the risk of a headache. This pain is obviously something you DON’T want while studying for an important test.

We recommend always combining racetams with something like citicoline for this reason.

Learn More about Citicoline for Studying


  • Great choice for students or anyone looking to boost their cognitive performance
  • Improves focus, attention, and impulse control in people with ADHD
  • Generally well tolerated and side effects are rare.
  • All-natural supplement
  • Easily found online or in health food stores


  • May cause stomach upset, headache, dizziness, and insomnia

World’s #1 Selling Nootropic


  • Improves brain connectivity and helps with focus

  • Highly sustainable- no need for tolerance build up

  • Helps to avoid the sudden crashes you see with other drugs

  • Minimal side effects, can be taken every day

Noopept is very similar to the racetams listed above, in that it’s a synthetic nootropic that can improve studying through the acetylcholine system.

It also stimulates what’s called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF).

BDNF and NGF are the processes that grow and repair new neurons.

Building and repairing neurons is critical for maintaining the health of the brain and forming new memories.

By increasing these abilities, noopept can help you retain whatever you’re learning so you can recall it easier come exam time.

Noopept is also famous for its stimulating effects. It is one of the most potent nootropics out there, increasing the energy even in minimal doses.

Learn More About Noopept for Studying

An over-the-counter version of Modafinil


  • Increases energy and productivity

  • Helps to stay awake and focused over long periods of time

  • Prolongs sleep cycle so you can get a better night’s rest

  • Improves your overall mood

Adrafinil is an excellent alternative to Adderall if you are looking to stay up all night cramming.

This nootropic is actually a prodrug of the prescription drug Modafinil meaning that your body turns adrafinil into modafinil, but you do not need a prescription to buy it.

Adrafinil was initially created as an anti-narcoleptic drug to keep people up and alert for long periods.

This nootropic is used by militaries around the world to stay focused during taxing operations, and these effects can translate to studying for exams.

Adrafinil works by mildly stimulating your dopamine receptors (among others), although not nearly to the degree of Adderall.

This stimulation can give you an increase in focus and motivation while you study for long periods.

Adrafinil is legendary for its anti-fatigue effects, and it can help you power through a last-minute crunch.20Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review, Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 21Milgram NW, et al. Oral administration of adrafinil improves discrimination learning in aged beagle dogs, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000 22Müller U, et al. Effects of modafinil on non-verbal cognition, task enjoyment, and creative thinking in healthy volunteers, Neuropharmacology. 2013

It is also pretty sustainable, without any serious crash to worry. Be mindful that it can cause insomnia in too high doses or taken too late at night.

Adrafinil has a relatively low side-effect profile for the most part.

Learn More About Adrafinil For Studying


  • Adrafinil has been shown to improve working memory, executive function, and vigilance in healthy adults.
  • In one study, adrafinil was found to be as effective as methylphenidate (Ritalin) at reducing ADHD symptoms.
  • May also help to improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
  • Can help you stay awake longer


  • Most common side effects reported are headache, nausea, and anxiety.
  • Adrafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance in Canada and is classified as a prescription drug.
  • not currently approved by the FDA

Wrapping Up

As we’ve seen, these supplements can improve your ability to concentrate and retain information while you study. They also help the brain function more efficiently without any of the health risks that come with addiction or dependency on drugs like Adderall.

If you are considering using nootropics as a student, it is important to be aware of how they work in order to avoid potential side effects.

Comment below if you have used them before!

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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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