From Boston University's Daily Free Press:
Thirsty Thursdays have never looked better, according to a new Boston University School of Public Health study released Tuesday that says binge drinking the night before a test does not affect a student’s performance.
Conducted in partnership with Brown University and set to be featured in the April 2010 edition of the journal Addiction, the study found that participants who consumed beer the night before being given an academic test scored the same as subjects who consumed non-alcoholic beer.
Over a four-day period, the 193 student participants were given either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. The students who received alcoholic beverages drank until they had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12. The next day, participants took practice versions of the Graduate Record Exam and a mock quiz on a lecture they received the previous afternoon.
Whether they were sober or inebriated the previous night, all of the students received similarly high scores on both exams.
However, BU professor and coordinator of the study Jonathan Howland said the study only examined alcohol’s effect on test-taking ability, not academic ability as a whole.
“We didn’t look at whether or not learning was affected under hangover conditions,” he said. “We looked at whether test-taking was affected, so it may be that learning was affected even if you got to class, if you had a really bad headache or something. If you felt lousy you might not be alert; you might not be processing the information as efficiently.”
Howland explained there are other factors that go into a student’s performance on a test after a night of heavy drinking – for example, a person’s mental readiness for a non-test situation.
“There are a lot of ways in which heavy drinking can affect academic performance other than test taking,” he said. “For example, you could be asleep when you should be in class, and then you wouldn’t learn something, right?”...