Young people * Healthy living

Water during exams may help to boost grades

Water during exams may help to boost grades Findings could affect exam policies

Taking a glass of water into exams may help students boost their grades, according to the latest research.

Researchers from the universities of East London and Westminster found that students who took water into exam halls scored an average of five per cent higher than those who did not.

The findings could have implications for exam policies on access to drinks during examinations at all levels of education, they said.

In the study the researchers recorded the behaviour of 447 psychology students during exams and monitored what types of drinks they brought with them, if any. The students were in their foundation, first and second years at the University of East London.

Some 25 per cent of the students carried water with them into the examination hall.

On average, those who brought water into exams scored around five per cent higher than those who did not. But among students in the foundation year who took water into the exams, this figure increased to 10 per cent.

The academic ability of the students was taken into account by looking at the students coursework, to rule out the possibility that more able students were more likely to bring water into the exam.

Dr Chris Pawson from the University of East London said that drinking water may have a physiological effect on thinking functions which can lead to improved exam performance.

He suggested that drinking water during an exam could help alleviate anxiety, which is known to have a negative effect on exam performance.

He said: "The results imply that the simple act of bringing water into an exam was linked to an improvement in students' grades.

"Future research is needed to tease apart these explanations, but whatever the explanation it is clear that students should endeavour to stay hydrated with water during exams."

The study findings will be presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in London.

This article was published on Wed 18 April 2012

Image © Irochka -

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