Can Chewing Gum Really Improve My Grades?

It’s crazy to think that something as simple as chewing gum could help improve testing scores. How could this happen though? Pre-research, I’m guessing it has something to do with the mindless chewing stimulation, which allows the brain to give the studying more attention. Obviously, this hypothesis is based on zero evidence and is just a shot in the dark.


In Alyson Fox’s article, she refers to a study that was published by the Appetite. The study found that students who chewed gum before the test did better than those who did not. The same study found that chewing the gum before the test improved a lot of brain functions, including types of memory, quickness of thought and “cognitive functioning”. “Cognitive functions” are essentially any exertions of the brain that lead to the comprehension of information (Cereboost par. 1). Fox later explains that the beneficial effects of chewing gum were short lived; the effects only lasted for about 20 minutes into the tests. No effect was noticed when gum was chewed throughout the test. The actual statistics of the study showed that non-gum chewers remembered as little as half as much as the gum chewers remembered. Fox claims that one theory as to why chewing gum enhances cognitive functions is that the chewing of gum increases the awareness of the individual. The reason the awareness fades after 20 minutes is because the person stopped chewing. One flaw in this theory that I noticed is that if gum chewing raises one’s awareness, why wouldn’t it raise their awareness during the examinations distributed in the experiment?


In 2011, Jonah Lehrer published an article titled “The Cognitive Benefits of Chewing Gum.” His first point is that chewing gum is a very strange business, which is reasonable because gum provides no nutrients and seems like a waste of jaw movements. Lehrer alludes to a study that took place at St. Lawrence University. The link that he provided to the study shows a study very similar to the one that Fox wrote about. Both studies had students chew gum before taking a test and both tests furnished the same results. In Lehrer’s article, the study is explained in much more detail, but the detail is pointless because the experiment resulted in the same manner. Lehrer questions whether the enhancement in cognitive functions could be due to the glucose in the gum, but quickly dispels the theory saying that gum without glucose provided the same boost in cognitive functions. Here Lehrer offers the researchers’ hypothesis, which was similar to Fox’s. The hypothesis predicts that the boost in cognitive functions is because the actual act of gum chewing awakens the chewer, allowing he/she to focus more on the task at hand.

One study done by the scientists at Coventry University actually supports Lehrer’s hypothesis. The study concerned the effects of chewing gum on one’s awareness and tiredness. The study found that chewing gum allows an individual to remain less sleepy and retain their measure of awareness. This study also cannot provide a definite mechanism for why gum has such an effect on an individual, but the hypothesize that it is because of the flavor of the gum.


So, chewing gum actually does help one’s performance on exams. Although the mechanism is unclear as to how it does so, it can’t hurt to give it a shot. Also, who doesn’t like to chew gum and blow the occasional bubble?

Cognitive Function Definition

Coventry University Study

St. Lawrence University Study

Lehrer’s Article

Fox’s Article

9 thoughts on “Can Chewing Gum Really Improve My Grades?

  1. Elizabeth Anne Galante

    I have always heard about the theory that chewing gum while studying or before a test could improve your test results and never really understood the concept of it. My sophomore year of high school is when I first tried it; I studied for my biology midterm while chewing gum and chewed gum during my exam the next day. After getting my grade back and doing more than average, I was convinced that this was more of a mind over matter type of thing and that the reason I did so well was because of how hard I studied, not necessarily because I chewed gum before and after the test. However, after reading your blog my opinion on that changes some. Similar (basically the same) to what you blogged about, Below is a study where they talk about chewing the same flavor while studying and taking your test with that same flavor gum makes a difference in your grades.

  2. Brett Alan Merritt

    I actually used to chew gum during every exam because I heard it would help me. I heard that if you chew the same gum when studying that you chewed during the test, you would remember more. Is there anything you used to do to help you on exams?

  3. orh5030

    Hey Mak, I can offer a different look on your topic. From the world of sports especially baseball chewing gum is a great way to calm the mind. Back in my Little League days I always had some Big League Chew to munch on it would help me focus and take a lot of the pressure of my shoulders. Next time you watch a baseball game just look at all the players and coaches chewing gum. As for you blog, I think it was very well done and fun to read.

    1. Maximilian Arthur Kesner Post author

      Honestly, it never occurred to me that chewing gum could help with athletic performance. It would definitely make sense that one could benefit it, because from what I’ve concluded, chewing gum heightens awareness. Baseball is all about awareness, the balls move extremely fast. Personally, I think watching baseball is extremely boring, so chewing gum before a game might be a good idea for me if I want to stay entertained. I’m not necessarily saying I don’t like your sport (to each their own) I’m just trying to stick to the science behind gum. Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Taylor M Stewart

    Hey, I can definitely relate to this! So when I was in elementary/middle school my school was very big on bringing peppermints during standardized testing. I don’t know why but the craze that peppermint stimulated the mind was a thing. It’s funny because we all believed it without any scientific fact proving it. If it was some sort of advertising venture, they definitely succeeded because we all were buying peppermints!! Still having no idea if they improved our scores. Haha

    1. Maximilian Arthur Kesner Post author

      I ate so many peppermint lifesavers in school. Chewing gum was reprimanded with detention, so peppermint hard candy was pretty much everyone’s “gum.” Peppermint flavor was used in the last study from Coventry University. The minty flavor was believed to help the students stay aware and awake. The peppermints probably helped your test scores, but probably only for the first 20 minutes of the exams.

  5. Greg Belluscio

    Hey mak, I have taken up the habit of chewing the same flavor of gum while studying and while taking the test i was studying for. In high school, this seemed to have a big effect on my test grades. Now that I think of it, i’m wondering if just thinking this strategy could improve my grades caused me to go into the test with more confidence and optimism leading to better grades. I have no idea, Let me know what you think.

    1. Maximilian Arthur Kesner Post author

      Although my blog post was about how chewing gum helps students stay awake and aware during examinations, your habit of chewing the same flavor of gum is very interesting. I’m not a guru, but is it safe to say that you chewed the same flavor in hopes of having your memory connect the taste of the gum to the subject you were studying? I’ve heard of people listening to the same song while taking an examination as they did while preparing for it, but I’ve never heard of it being done with flavors of chewing gum. That’s a pretty neat idea. I don’t know how the gum would affect your confidence or optimism, but in another one of my posts I talk about how music can affect one’s mood and how music is beneficial while studying. If you want to check that one out I’d be happy to reply to another one of your comments. If you feel like chewing gum is helping you in your studies, don’t stop. It’s doing more positive than negative.

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