Can coffee help you pass your exam?

Thursday 12 November 2015

It’s that time of year again…

With exams officially underway, a sense of panic has set in around the UQ campus.

The libraries are full, the textbooks are loooong, and the all-nighters are abundant.

It’s time for a new strategy.

Coffee.

We know what you’re thinking, “I already drink 6 macchiatos a day and it has done NOTHING!”

Well, this could be due to the fact that in order to reap the benefits of caffeine, timing and moderation are everything.

In order to maximise your exam performance, we have broken down the best ways in which caffeine can give you an extra boost so that you can ace your exams this semester!

Let’s get to it...

Moderate your intake

If you’re anything like us, you enjoy a nice, strong cup of coffee in the morning… or 5.

As it turns out, when it comes to caffeine, less may actually be more.

As we are sure plenty of you know, caffeine is a stimulant that affects the brain and central nervous system.

However, what is less known is that in order for it to be beneficial and effective in boosting productivity, moderation is key.

In small doses, caffeine can make you feel refreshed and focused. This can be incredibly helpful during exams as it allows you to stay awake and concentrate.

However, excess amounts can cause symptoms such as headaches, light-headedness, trembling hands, anxiety and heart palpitations (eek!).

This can lead to serious health issues and a decline in academic performance (the complete opposite of what we want!).

In order to get the most out of your coffee (and your study), avoid drinking more than 4 cups of coffee a day.

If you are currently drinking more than this, aim to wane yourself off a coffee each day. This will make it easier on your body and allow your body to continue functioning at its best (and keep you sane!). 

You’ll feel better, just trust us!

Don’t go cold turkey

If you regularly drink coffee or caffeinated drinks and decide to go cold turkey during the exam period, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as tiredness, crankiness, a persistent headache, sweating and muscle pain.
 
This is due to the fact that the more you drink caffeine, the more dependent your body becomes on it in order to function at its best.

In order to avoid this, don’t skip your morning coffee on exam day. It won’t do you any harm!

Time your shot

Do you take delight in your post-revision coffee?

Well, as it turns out, enjoying a double shot espresso after revision might be the best way to prepare for your exam!

Studies have found that caffeine has a memory-boosting effect, which lasts for at least 24 hours.

By drinking 2-3 shots of coffee after you have finished a study session, your ability to remember that content increases (we know, this sounds too good to be true!).

While it is currently unknown exactly why this it, it’s involved with the process of consolidating short-term memories into long-term memories.

This means that you will be able to more easily retrieve the information at a later time, such as in the exam.

We don’t know about you but we will definitely be indulging in a coffee after our next study sesh!

The long and short of it...

While coffee has always been considered a study essential for university students, the benefits are clearly more than an opportunity for a study break or a way to survive all-nighters.

By drinking a sensible amount of coffee (no more than 4 cups a day) and drinking it at the right time, you can make the most of your study and ace your exams this semester!

In need of a coffee to stay on your A-game? The Deck Café outside of the UQ Sport Fitness Centre is open in the mornings from Monday - Friday. The Pool Café within the UQ Sport Aquatics Centre is open from 4.30am on weekdays, 6am on Saturday and 7am on Sunday.

Lucy Clark

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LUCY CLARK
Lucy is UQ Sport’s marketing assistant. She’s a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’, who exercises so she can fit into her jeans. You’ll find Lucy either in Pilates, the gym, or being dragged around town by her pet labrador.