Does Chewing Gum Help you on Exams?

There are many “study hacks” that circulate around the internet. Thousands of articles populate the internet on the exact subject of how to conquer exams, do well during finals week, and generally improve your grades. One method I noted was that chewing gum can help you on exams because the gum helps you retain information. In high school, I was always told eating mints or chocolate can help you do well on exams because it stimulates the brain. But I never heard anything about gum. So I wondered, can gum really help you do well on exams? And how does it help?


The initial claim is that chewing gum while you’re studying, and then chewing the same type of gum during an exam will trigger a reaction in the brain that allows you to recall certain information. According to NBC, an experiment was conducted by undergrad students of St. Lawrence University. In the experiment, they divided participants into two groups: those who chewed gum and those who didn’t. After five minutes of chewing gum, the two groups completed a few tests. The results of the experiment showed that the participants who chewed the gum did better on the tests than those who did not chew gum. The enhanced memory benefits are not long term however, and lasted for about 20 minutes. Why does chewing gum improve memory and the brain though?

According to Scijourner, the motion of chewing makes your brain more alert and aware. Chewing gum during an exam can make you attentive and pay closer attention to the questions that you are given, and therefore improve your overall test scores. This makes sense too. According to livescience, chewing gum causes blood to circulate through the head and brain. As blood continues to flow through the brain, it causes you to focus more.

There were a few negatives to this experiment however, that make the overall hypothesis not as worthwhile. According to, The study noted that the reason improved memory only lasted a short 15-20 minutes, is because chewing gum takes away energy that could be used to answer the questions instead. Chewing gum requires energy, but so does thinking about the test questions and coming to an answer. So, while chewing gum can be effective in allowing your brain to have a short burst of energy, this will not last forever and the effects will wear off in time.


5 thoughts on “Does Chewing Gum Help you on Exams?

  1. Taryn S Linker

    Hey Christina! I really enjoyed your post. I’m constantly chewing gum, so this news is good for me! In addition to chewing gum, I was always told that if you spray a specific perfume while you are studying and wear that same fragrance during your test, the aroma would essentially serve as a memory aid. As I was researching this topic, I came across an article that proves this to be true. You can read the article here:

  2. Casey Andrew Schaum

    Wow, I did not expect gum to have an impact on test taking. Even if it is just for 15-20 minutes, it is crazy how the brain works. I also like Christian’s comment with the link. It’s always good to find new study habits so I am happy to have read this. After seeing that you heard mints or chocolate could help, I am wondering what benefits that has on test taking or studying. Since we’re on the topic of studying, here’s an article on some effective study habits.

  3. Sarah Kunze

    I’ve heard that chewing a certain flavor while studying, and then again chewing that flavor while you take your test can improve your memory. This would be interesting to do a study linking senses and memory and seeing how that could improve study habits.

  4. Christian Micaiah Duncan

    I think its interesting that you would ask yourself this question. I’m sure I’ve chewed gum while taking an exam but I’ve never notices whether it helped me or not. I honestly don’t think that anything of that nature would necessarily help a person do better on their test. I feel as though if you study well and you’ve gotten adequate rest that you would perform well regardless of chewing the gum or not. It shouldn’t help nor hurt you.

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