Sitting at my desk I looked at the multitudes of empty plastic water bottles that I was waiting to recycle. I noticed that I had consumed more water than usual, and that I also had a great week academically. Could the two be connected? I found an interesting article that answered that question. It discussed the possibility that drinking water before an exam could make you a better student. Is this true? Could doing such a simple task actually improve my grades? After watching the people around me and realizing the number of students with and without bottles of water on campus, I decided to dig deeper. Is there another combination of events that causes this? It could be that a third variable is increasing the scores of those students whom are drinking water before an exam.
This possible third variable could be anything from prior experience with exams, students being more physically active and therefore are thirstier, or it could be that smarter students in general tend to be healthier and drink more water than the average student. That being said, we can safely rule out reverse correlation, because receiving a higher grade cannot cause you to go back in time to drink water before the exam.
A study conducted by the universities of East London and Westminster, examined the testing scores of 447 students. Only 25% of the students had a bottle of water with them during the exam. The researchers accounted for the students’ previous academic ability, and found that who drink water before an exam could expect 10% higher scores than those who do not. The study also showed that students who drink water before an exam are likely to have less test-anxiety. The action of drinking water briefly distracts the student and can alleviate stress and anxiety which can positively affect exam scores.
Water is necessary for our everyday life. Every part of our body utilizes water, including our brains. Water has been proven to aid certain processes such as absorbing metabolic heat. It has also been noted that water not only aids in the transportation and distribution of nutrients, but also helps us maintain blood volume. A recent study said that dehydration can negatively influence our cognitive functioning, specifically our short-term memory and our mathematic ability. In the experiment, participants were dehydrated up to 2.8% by physical exercise, or exposure to high temperatures. They were later given a series of test for memory, visual perception, and psychomotor skills. The study proved that dehydration negatively affected the participant’s cognitive ability.
So what can you take away from all of this? First, drinking water aids a number of bodily functions including cognitive function. Second, drinking water can reduce your test-anxiety. And third, student who consume 8 ounces or more of water before an exam are 10% more likely to receive a higher grade than those whom do not. Because a lack of water is proven to negatively affect cognitive ability, we can say with certainty that the consumption of water, and performance on an exam are directly related. Although we cannot completely rule out a third variable, it is unlikely the cause. These articles have shown that drinking water before an exam does positively influence your score and can ultimately improve your grades making you a better student. I because this is such an easy task, I can’t think of a reason why any reasonable person wouldn’t at least give it a shot. I know that I certainly will be drinking a bottle of water before Andrew’s next exam.
Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/ http://www.bbc.com/news/education-17741653 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-the-body/201205/can-sipping-water-make-you-smarter