Chewing Gum Can Help Improve Test Scores!


The solution to many students problems may only be a stick of chewing gum away. Recent studies have shown that chewing gum right before an exam may be able to boost ones score by increasing blood flow to their brain. 

A study conducted from Saint Lawrence University tested 224 undergraduates in regards to this issue. They first divided the students into three groups.One chewed gum before and during the test, another chewed gum for five minutes before being tested and a third group didn’t chew anything. They found that a few minutes of gum chewing before testing improved a student’s performance on several of the tests. Unfortunately for us, this was only for a short period. The observed peak dropped to normal levels within 20 minutes after chewing the gum. Researcher Onyper explained, “Within the 15-to-20-minute ‘window’ of the effect, the chewing-gum group recalled 25-to-50-percent more items than the controls, which is statistically significant, but in practical terms amounts to a difference of two-to-three words.” The gum especially helped with recall and memory tasks. The researchers think that this improvement in brainpower is because the chewing warms up the brain because it is doing an activity. They have named this process and phenomenon “mastication-induced arousal.” This arousal turns the brain on just before test taking, and gets more blood flowing to the head. Chewing gum is also known to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Most people are unaware but when it increases, more blood is to the brain for a total of about fifteen to twenty minutes which is when the people being tested performed the best.It can be assumed that mild exercise probably has the same effect as chewing gum in the sense that it has the ability to get ones heart rate up.The test takers who chewed gum the entire time didn’t show much improvement at all. Actually, it may not be a good idea to chew gum while taking a test. The researchers think the extra brainpower it takes to actually chew the gum takes away from the brain’s ability to take the tests and understand what the questions are truly asking. No benefits show up in test scores when the gum is chewed before and during the test. Unfortunately, it may be true that you can’t chew gum and think productively at the same time.

On the other had, the researchers did acknowledge some flaws they had in the design of the experiment which could have caused the results to be skewed favorably for anyone wanted chewing gum to improve test scores. Because the participants were specifically asked to chew the gum, it is very possible they were thinking about it a little more than they would be normally if they were chewing gum willingly. Researcher Onyper voiced, “In real-world situations the chewing might be more unconscious, automated, in which case it would take up very little cognitive resources and probably not affect performance much.”

I am sure that more studies will be conducted on this topic. So far, it has been proven that chewing gum can possibly increase alertness, improve memory, lower anxiety, and many other positive things. I think it is incredible that such a common thing as chewing gum can do so much for a chewer.


3 thoughts on “Chewing Gum Can Help Improve Test Scores!

  1. Taylor Michael Evcic

    I have always heard this was true but never heard of any real evidence that supported it. I am glad to hear that I’m not completely crazy in doing this for all of my tests! It makes a lot of sense that chewing gum wakes up the brain and makes you think a little bit harder. I wonder if the same goes for studying. Studying is a different type of activity for sure because you are reading the same things over and over again hoping to memorize them. I wonder if chewing gum, or warming up brain activity, would help to improve the rate at which you can effectively study. After looking around, it’s pretty hard to find a study that looks at the correlation between studying and chewing gum but I found a study pretty simillar. ( ) At there is a study that reports participants completing an oral memory test while chewing gum and without gum. They found that the participants who chewed gum had faster reaction times and more accurate results throughout the trial. I think in addition to your blog, chewing gum while studying might also be a good thing to try if you want an easy way to improve test scores.

  2. Jiang Shan

    I found this topic to be very interesting because I always wondered if chewing gum while taking an exam would benefit me. Based on the experiment, I now know that chewing gum can with recall and memory test. I believe these are two main factors of passing a test. I also find it interesting that chewing gum can increase heart rate and blood pressure, and this actually benefits us during a test. The experiment mentioned in your blog is well conducted and the sample size is relatively large enough to conclude a somewhat accurate conclusion. However, there are flaws in the experiment. Some flaws were mentioned in your blog, but I would like to add that confounding variables could be another flaw in the experiment. What if some volunteers were sick during the testing day? But overall, good job on the blog post!

  3. Kendall Agosto

    This is a really interesting article! I’ll have to remember this before I take my next exam. This blog reminded me about how I read an article saying that a study was conducted at Northwestern University relating how students did on tests to how they dressed. The study found that students who were dressed more professionally did significantly better on the test they were given than the group of students who didn’t dress up. Although the findings are not conclusive, the findings do seem to make sense to me because I always feel more confident when I am actually dressed compared to when I am in sweats. I remembered this study before I took the ACT’s and got dressed while everyone showed up in sweats.. Whether or not this actually helped will remain a mystery but I would like to think it did help a bit.

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