If you’ve ever been in a pre-test meeting with our tutoring team, you have likely heard them talk about the importance of getting a good night’s rest, drinking plenty of water, and eating well, especially when preparing for a school assessment or standardized test. And if you’ve been following our blogs this year, they all point to balance and wellness as a part of your study habits and strategies. Just as exercise and sleep aid in memory retention, so does what you put in your body.
It seems that more and more people are recognizing the benefits of staying hydrated these days, and for good reason! In a study conducted by researchers at Northeastern University and the University of Illinois, it was found that students who stayed hydrated performed better on tests and were better able to attend to a variety of tasks associated with learning. Although little is known about why staying hydrated leads to increased test scores and cognitive performance, many studies have shown that dehydration causes cells in our brains to shrink, therefore leading to negative cognitive consequences. The BBC reported a similar hydration study, citing an increase in test scores when college-age students brought water into an exam.
Polyphenols for the Win
Similar to hydration, you may have been hearing more about various foods and their effect on cognition. Researchers have long been studying the ways in which foods that are high in polyphenols may help people avoid a variety of health ailments and help with learning and memory. Polyphenols are compounds found in foods like berries, dark chocolate, spices, herbs, and teas. Scientists believe that these compounds can help boost blood flow to the brain and help with memory and cognition. This is not to say that you should change what you eat completely, but monitoring the kinds of foods you take in and incorporating more foods rich in polyphenols may help not only your brain but your overall health as well. And when your body and brain are healthy, what’s stopping you from acing that next test?
We’ll be touching on how anxiety affects test day and what to do to help you stay calm under pressure.
Article by Kyla Graves