November is reaching an end and we all know what that means to us students. Time for Christmas? Nope. Time for holidays? Of course not. Time to travel around the world for amazing food festivals? You wish. Unfortunately for us university students, exam season is reaching its peak. So here's some food for thought: does chewing gum actually help us perform better and achieve a higher grade than usual?

Wait, so is this scientifically accurate?


Image from WikiCommons

As a person who loves and cares about food, I also give the same attention to my Grade Point Average (GPA). I've done crazy things in the past before an exam to boost my grades up, one of the things I've done is drink a shot (well... a few shots) before entering the exam hall (don't ask me how it went). Now this is what we call pseudoscience, a set of claims that seems scientific but it isn't. Does this apply for my claim of chewing gum?

The evidence

Fortunately, this time, I have some scientific proof to back my claim. According to a study conducted in 2009 by Craig Johnson, students who chewed a piece of gum for a long period of time achieved higher grades in their final math exam compared to those who didn't chew at all.

The study suggests that chewing a piece of gum had a positive correlation to better grades. The statistics of the study show that students' grade improved by 3%. Now 3% may seem little to you, but think about it, a 3% for your math course in university could mean a pass from a fail.

Cautionary measures?

File:Bubble gum at the Haribo factory.jpg

Image from WikiCommons

So chewing a piece of gum has a positive correlation with better grades, but how long does the effect last? Well according to this study conducted at St. Lawrence University, the effect doesn't really last long. In the article, results show that although chewing a piece of gum help us to improve performance, it only lasts a few minutes. In this case, student participants' improved memory only lasted for 15-20 minutes.

So what's your message?


scui3asteveo on Flickr

The getaway message here is that yes, chewing gum does indeed help you perform better on your exams for a limited amount of time. If you check out this article, it even enhances your memory! Nevertheless, please don't misinterpret this message and leave your studying the night before your exam and hope chewing gum will miraculously help you pass it. Plan ahead, and make sure you are ready for that exam and ace it. As John Ruskin puts it, "Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort."