Bring a bottle of water with you to your next exam and you may boost your test score, according to a new study from the University of East London. Students who brought water with them did better on an exam than those who forgot their water bottles.
Photo by Kevin Vertucio
The researchers accounted for the 447 undergraduate students’ prior grades, so it’s not just a matter of smarter students being more likely to bring a bottle of water.
Lead researcher Dr Chris Pawson explains there may be a couple of reasons for this link between bringing water (and presumably drinking it) and better grades:
- Drinking water might have a physiological effect on the brain’s cognitive functions. (Previous studies have shown that a dehydration level of just 1 per cent of your body weight reduces your thinking functions, so it makes sense that being well-hydrated is important for your mental performance.)
- It’s possible also that drinking water can reduce anxiety during test-taking. Psychology Today explains: “By offering a momentary distraction, [taking a sip of water] can break a chain of thoughts and free the mind to focus on the task, leading to better performance.”
Drinking water might also also just active a placebo affect, Psychology Today suggests. If you believe water boosts your brain power, that belief alone could improve your performance.
Either way, don’t forget that bottle of water on your next test.