Sipping water may not calm exam nerves
- By: Kay Brennan
Students should resist taking sips of cold water to calm their nerves during exams, according to researchers at Bristol University. A recent study has shown that simply drinking water at the wrong time can impair mental performance.
The study in Appetite (2001;36:57-8) asked 60 volunteers to rate how thirsty they felt. Their reactions were then tested with a task that involved pressing buttons in response to prompts on a screen. The participants either drank nothing before the test or had a cupful (330 mls) of tap water, chilled to 10°C. Those who drank the water recorded scores 15% lower than those who drank nothing.
Peter Rogers, the experimental psychologist who led the study, said, “Many students take a drink into a long exam. If you are not thirsty and use the water as a distraction or comfort tool it may have a detrimental effect on your performance.”
The researchers also