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It's official! Drink to think

How using a water bottle has been proven to improve exam results

Last year, (April 2012, to be precise), the Universities of East London and Westminster released a new set of findings from a study that they had carried out.  This study pointed strongly to the confirmation of the hypothesis, that hydration is essential for optimum academic performance, and a water bottle is often the best way to get access to that hydration. In other words, using a water bottle during exams is more than likely to improve your grade.

The research was conduced on 447 psychology students at the University of East London - 71 of whom were in their foundation year, 225 were first-years and 151 were second-years.  25% of these students entered the examination room with a bottle of water - 31% of the second-year students, compared to 21% of the the younger students. The study also took students' academic ability into account by examining coursework grades.

Startlingly, the study concluded that the foundation year students who drank throughout the exam achieved results which were up to 10% higher than those who did not have access to water.  This improvement dropped to up to 5% for first-years and 2% for second-years: an average of 4.8% improvement across the board. Those are crucial and easy extra marks: money for old rope, as it were.

Dr Chris Pawson, from the University of East London, said consuming water may have a physiological effect on thinking functions that lead to improved exam performance, and that water consumption may also alleviate anxiety, which is known to have a negative effect on exam performance. "Future research is needed to tease apart these explanations, but whatever the explanation it is clear that students should endeavour to stay hydrated with water during exams," he said.

Dr Mark Gardner, from the University of Westminster, told the BBC: "We find the results exciting in that they translate findings from the laboratory to real world settings like this.  Also, supplementing with water is a really cheap way students and educators can help get better results. There are also implications for policy makers in terms of the availability of water on campuses." (click here to view the full BBC Education news article.)

Click here to view the research on the University of East London website.

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