Students who take a bottle of water into the exam hall with them may achieve higher grades than their peers who do not, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of East London looked at the exam performance of 446 undergraduate students and found that those who took water into the exam hall with them achieved higher marks than those who did not.
Led by Dr Chris Pawson, researchers from the university recorded who brought water into the exam with them and who did not.
Just a quarter of students carried a bottle of water into their exam, but the average improvement in grades across all students was 4.8 per cent, the BBC reported.
Significantly, they used coursework marks to provide a control of students' ability in order to make sure that it was not simply the more able students who brought water with them.
The researchers also found that more experienced students in later years of their degree were more likely to take water into an exam with them, suggesting that secondary teachers should encourage their younger SAT, GCSE and A-level students to do the same.
Information regarding the importance of staying hydrated during exams should be passed on to students, the research team believes.
"The results imply that the simple act of bringing water into an exam was linked to an improvement in students' grades," said Dr Pawson.
"There are several physiological and psychological reasons that might explain this improvement with water consumption."
He suggested that drinking water may help boost students' thinking functions and therefore improve their performance in the exam.
Dr Pawson also believes that the act of drinking the water may help reduce anxiety, which can have a detrimental effect on people sitting exams.
"Future research is needed to tease apart these explanations, but whatever the explanation it is clear that students should endeavour to stay hydrated with water during exams," he added.
Posted by Theo Foulds