Career Advice for Job Seekers

Caffeine side effects: Does caffeine affect test scores?

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
June 27, 2014


The average person consumes caffeine on a daily basis. We wake up, we brew our cup of Joe and use the caffeine to propel us throughout our day. But for students, what caffeine side effects matter? Surprisingly, studies have shown that coffee consumption in college students may have an effect on test scores.

The Nutrition Journal in 2007 published a study in which 51% of 496 college students who regularly consumed coffee to help them with test preparation. Some Psychopharmacologists have concluded that this inevitably gave the students an advantage. Additionally three studies published by John Wiley and Sons in Human Psychopharmacology “put caffeine as an advantage”.

Moderation is key

Moderate amounts of caffeine is okayExperts caution the crash and burn affect that caffeine can have on the system. Like most things in live, moderation is key. The brain can function on a higher level but only for a short period of time, leaving individuals feeling jittery, irritable and dehydrated. An important factor, however, was the amount consumed.

Caffeine has many health benefits including reducing your risk of diabetes, gallstones, Parkinson’s disease and liver disease. Drinking too much, however, can cause issues such as stomach problems, headaches, jittery feeling and dizziness.

It’s important as a college student to understand your limitation with caffeine. Whether you’re popping five hour energy drinks, midnight runs to grab Redbull or getting coffee from espresso machine you should know your limits with caffeine.

In this article from UCSB one student discusses their usage of coffee and managing their intake. Being left with a jittery feeling was improved when the student reduced her dependence on caffeine. In moderation, the effect can still be felt to help you with your students or get you through the day.

Plan your study time

Plan your study timeStudents should develop good study habits as well as maintain a properly balanced diet to get the most from their studying. Caffeine can help with all-nighters, getting you through those tough times but in the end it often comes down to:

  • Planning your study ahead of time instead of cramming during the school year
  • Reduce test anxiety by developing good study habits and taking practice tests
  • Avoid caffeine just prior to a test, as it could cause increased anxiety
  • Don’t let your brain start working on the next problem before finishing the current one
  • Stay focused, try not to let your mind wander or worry
  • Avoid distractions during your study, take this seriously and just like you would a full-time job!

Prevent burnout

It’s likely that if you’re a student you’re currently using caffeine to help you get through. Late nights, long days or early mornings – the caffeine is there. Take a step back and really evaluate your consumption. It could be time for you to reevaluate your use of caffeine today. Think about alternatives as well such as using exercise to give you energy, eating better and getting enough sleep. Manage your caffeine usage appropriately and higher test scores are bound to come along!

By Zack Jones

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