Does Chewing Gum Increase Test Scores?


College is stressful at times, especially during midterm and finals week. Knowing that your overall grade depends on two or three major tests in the class is daunting. You freak yourself out enough to study until 2 a.m. and when it comes time to take the test, you blank. For some, this does not happen often, but in my experience it is more common than I would prefer.

So far, in my second semester as a freshman college student, I have learned several tips and tricks sworn by other students to use for better test scores. Most involve medication to enhance performance on test day but I have recently tried another alternative strategy to boost my scores; chewing gum. Some of my friends swear that if you chew a particular flavor of gum while studying, and then chew that same flavor of gum while taking the test, that you will recall more information. Other friends say to only chew gum on test day. So which method works best?

The answer depends on what type of test taker  you are. In my case, I know that midway through the test I get tired and can feel my mind drifting. I usually chew gum as soon as the test is handed out. This worked better for me than not chewing gum at all but I should really try waiting until the moment I feel my mind drifting midway in the test to pop a piece of gum in. In a UF Health Podcast by Alyson Fox, a study published in the journal Appetite found that chewing gum increased cognitive functions, particularly working memory. This is backed by another source which conducted research on 224 undergraduates at St. Lawrence University.

More detailed information is provided in the links below but the overall gist of such research is this; chewing gum may improve information recall by only a few words but those few words can make a big difference in test scores. I believe the chewing gum method for better test taking is a worthy method to try as opposed to taking medication; however, no one should rely on chewing gum to ace a test. Preparation is key.