How to cram an hour before an exam or test

by Mark Miller December 28, 2016 4 min read

Preparing for exams and tests in high school and college may be essential to getting an A, entering the university of your dreams or making the grade to go on for a master’s degree. Assuming you’ve studied the subject or subjects thoroughly, what should you do just one before an exam?

If it’s a big mid-term or final, an Advanced Placement or a Graduate Record Exam or other graduate school test, most people have to study the subjects thoroughly during the semester or school year or years. Attempting to learn all the material one hour before the very end is not a good strategy for a final exam or for a placement test.

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Coffee or energy drink before exams? Here's why you should drink water instead

by Mark Miller December 08, 2016 4 min read

Coffee before exams? Say you have a big mid-term or final exam coming up. You should power down big doses of caffeine in coffee or an energy drink, right? Not according to what we’ve read online. There are few formal, scientific studies about what to drink before exams, but the anecdotal evidence seems to point to water as the best beverage beforehand.

It’s important to get enough water so you don’t become fatigued from dehydration. That said, you can get some water from drinking coffee or energy drinks. Those old stories about coffee being a diuretic are true, but only if you drink so much that you get excess amounts of caffeine. Coffee and other caffeine-containing products are healthy for you when taken in moderate amounts, as we have written several times on this blog before.

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Does caffeine makes you smarter? Sort of (maybe)

by Mark Miller July 07, 2016 4 min read

Is it true caffeine makes you smarter? Sort of, it seems, at least indirectly. Researchers have studied this question a lot, and two groups of researchers did meta-studies (studies of studies) to determine just exactly what, if any, the conclusions of the scientific literature are.

If the title sounds like we’re hedging our bets, we are.

Whether caffeine makes you smarter is one question. Whether it makes you feel good is another. Test subjects in studies report they’re in a better mood after taking caffeine, they’re more alert and less fatigued.

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Pregnant women should limit caffeine intake

by Mark Miller April 07, 2016 4 min read

Recent news about caffeine, pregnancy and miscarriage is kind of confusing. A complex study from the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University linked couple’s consumption of more than two caffeinated beverages a day to a risk of miscarriage. Just to be safe, women trying to conceive and pregnant women should limit caffeine intake.

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Getting enough sleep when having caffeine and alcohol

by Mark Miller March 31, 2016 4 min read

Balancing sleep, caffeine and alcohol can be like walking the high wire. The National Sleep Foundation calls caffeine and alcohol “sleep stealers.” But studies show they are beneficial in moderate amounts.

6:38 a.m. That hour comes all too early, especially if people were drinking the night before. It’s the time when the average American awakens after an average night of 7 hours and 36 minutes of sleep. And the first thing most people do in the morning is brew a pot of coffee.

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