A brief, vigorous workout just before taking an exam can meaningfully improve test scores because memory, creativity and alertness improve measurably right after exercise.
It’s well-known fact that staying fit through exercise is good for our brains. Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, leads to a larger hippocampus and basil ganglia region. These regions may work together to support thinking and problem solving. But the idea of using a 20-minute bout of exercise to boost short term performance is the subject of lots of new research, and the results are promising.
In a 2012 study published in Neuroscience, people exercised regularly and worked out on the day of the memory test showed the greatest improvements. They also had the lowest stress levels. The key is to exercise for 20 minutes before taking a test.
The 20-minute pre-test workout plan may not work for everyone, though. Some people (30% of white people) have a genetic variant that limits their brain’s response to exercise.
When educators put these finding into practice, they see results immediately.
“We see a 3 percent increase in third-, fourth- and fifth-grade CRCT scores,” says Martha Whalen, Principal of Sope Creek Elementary School in Georgia. “They have better attention spans, their learning is better, they have increased memory. You can see everything improves after some exercise.”
According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules, “exercise gets blood to your brain, bringing it glucose for energy and oxygen to soak up the toxic electrons that are left over. It also stimulates the protein that keeps neurons connecting.”
Use Power 20 Before Tests
Power 20 exercises can be done at home, without any equipment, and require very little space, and is challenging enough to be both a strength building and aerobic workout. These routines are ideal for busy students who are pressed for time.
These 20-minute workouts work everything from your calves to your neck, with special emphasis on improving balance and overall strength. Do a Power 20 workout right before taking a test.