Hopkins Academy

Chew your gum BEFORE your test for that A!

In Features on December 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Big test coming up? Feel like you need just a little more boost in order to ace it? Skip the Smarties and the DumDums; pull out the 5, Trident, Extra, Bubbalicious, Stride… yes, I’m talking about gum!

In many studies conducted, it has been concluded that chewing gum before a test may actually help improve your performance. In a study by WebMD Health, the candidates who chewed gum 5 minutes before their test did better than those who did not chew gum. And I emphasize the word BEFORE! Chewing gum actually during a test is shown to be a distraction.

You may think this whole thing sounds like a scam, but much research has been put into this. Serge Onyper, Ph.D Psychology professor at St. Lawrence, as well as author of the study Appetite, has concluded that the success in a test chalks up the performance boost to a certain level of arousal that is brought about by chewing. He was reported saying:

“Some cognitive processes, like memory formation, benefit from physiological changes associated with moderate arousal. And there’s a lot of evidence that the act of chewing leads to elevated heart rate and blood flow,” says Onyper, who notes that you also receive the same boost from exercising.

Still not convinced? At Eaglerock Multi-age school in Duvall, a 9-year old girl, a 3rd-grader, named Mackenzie Woelz brought this idea to school one day. While her teachers, classmates, and even her own mother looked at her crazy with her test-strategy, she had the scientific evidence to prove it! Test scores at the school increased 35% after teachers began regularly passing out gum 5 minutes before a test or quiz.

Now, if you’re still not convinced, the only thing you have left is to try it out for yourself!  However, you need to make sure you do it the ‘correct way’. The correct way is to chomp on some gum, any gum, 5 minutes before you take the test. This doesn’t mean you’re going to turn into Jimmy Neutron for the rest of the day just because your breath is minty; the results of this usually only last anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes. That means (helpful tip) look for the questions you may struggle on the most first! Now go try it out! What do you have to lose? That is, besides a low test grade.

  1. Wow that seems really crazy, but cool. The only bad aspect to it is that many teachers or schools do not allow you to be chewing gum in class. But I will be certainly trying this out soon. Just wish I heard about it last week during mid-terms… Darn

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