The Importance of Staying Hydrated During Exam Season

It’s exam season, and students across the country are busy cramming for the most important tests of the school year. It’s a stressful time for many pupils, and can often lead to increased fatigue and irregular eating and drinking habits.

It’s crucial that while students are sitting their exams they are encouraged to take care of their mental wellbeing by making sure they’re getting enough sleep and have people to turn to, either at school or at home, who can support them.

Equally important, though, is ensuring students are also taking care of their physical wellbeing by fuelling their bodies and brains with the right kinds of food and drink.

The number one rule when it comes staying healthy during exam season? Making sure students are well-hydrated and drinking lots of water.

In fact, just half a bottle of water could boost students’ exam success, according to a study carried out by psychologists at the University of Westminster and the University of East London in 2017 which found that just 300ml of water can boost attention by almost 25 per cent.

The results follow a similar study that was carried out in 2012 which found that foundation year students who took a bottle of water into the exam room scored an average of 5 per cent higher than those who did not bring water with them.

Becoming thirsty can be a major distraction for students, especially during the stress of an important exam paper. If students are thirsty, they’re already hydrated, so it’s important to take sips of water throughout.

Another benefit of taking water into an exam is the physical act of drinking: Psychology Today explains: “By offering a momentary distraction, [taking a sip of water] can break a chain of thoughts and free the mind to focus on the task, leading to better performance.”

Students may be tempted to turn to energy drinks to help them study before exams. They seem to offer a “quick fix” and combat the tiredness that comes from studying late at night. However, these drinks are high in both sugar and caffeine, the latter of which not only leads to dehydration but can also affect students’ blood sugar levels, leaving them physically and mentally exhausted.

On the other hand, staying hydrated during exam season has a positive effect on students’ motor skills, cognitive abilities, awareness, and even their mood.

We’ve put together some tips for staying hydrated during exam season below:


1. Buy your own reusable water bottle and carry it with you. You’re less likely to forget to buy a bottle of water, it’s easy to refill, and it’s better for the environment than single-use bottles

2. Drink before you feel thirsty. If you drink because you are thirsty, you’re already dehydrated

3. Don’t like the taste of water? Pop a slice of  lemon or lime in your bottle to add flavour

4. If you listen to music while you’re studying, make a habit of taking a few gulps of water between every song

The human body is roughly 75% water and keeping hydrated is key to maintaining good health. Our Hydration Station reinforces these important messages and encourages students to Hydrate, Refresh and Awaken. Find out more here.

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