Study: Test the same way you study

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By Brandon Borrego 

If students manage to get hyped up on caffeine studying the night before a test, they better slurp up some coffee before they step into the classroom.

Students should try to recapture the mental or physical state of all their senses while they study for a test because “learned information cannot be recalled or used unless the subject is restored to the state that existed when learning first occurred,” according to the medical dictionary at

Psychology Chair Thomas E. Billimek said any drug or stimulant will alter the ability to learn and can result in dependence.

So if a student were foolish enough to become inebriated while studying, the student would have to maintain that state to be successful when taking the test.

“The more similar the circumstances are, the better the learning and the recall will be,” Billimek said.

Stimulants that can affect your learning comprehension are coffee, energy drinks, wakefulness, and, of course, any sort of pharmaceutical or mind-altering drug, for example, marijuana, cough syrup, or Advil.

There are benefits to drinking caffeine filled drinks, particularly coffee.

So being alert by drinking caffeine while studying requires a student to maintain that alertness by being caffeine-filled when testing.

Chewing gum also has been a test subject of context-dependent memory. A study done by Elon University in 2009 summed up all of the previous studies practiced on bubble gum and concluded there is no correlation between gum and memory retention.

The scent of cinnamon has stronger studies relating to state-dependent memory.

Billimek agreed that studying in a classroom exactly like the one a student will test in is a stretch.

But if a study area is quiet and well lit, similar to that of classroom test session, students have a better chance of remembering what they studied.

State-dependent learning has not been used in development classes yet because the research has not been clear enough to pass through to the curriculum, he said.


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