Sunday, December 15, 2013

Finals Week Beer

Finals week approaches for the Kansas schools around here (yea, yea, I missed the Missouri schools...I was in Mexico last week, ok??). Because of that, I thought I would set you up with some great study tips from the KC Beer Blog. "Study tips from the Beer Blog??" you might say. You heard it right. The good news for all you of-legal-drinking-age college students out there: drinking during finals week might just help you pull off that D- from the class you haven't shown up to all semester.* I see three opportunities for finals week drinking: the Study Beer, the Pre-Exam Beer, and the Post-Exam Beer.

The Study Beer

Drinking while studying can potentially help in two different ways. The first is good old dopamine. Drinking alcohol releases dopamine. The level of dopamine released is also heightened through the whole ritual of drinking, from the sound of opening the beer bottle, pouring it into the perfect glass, to seeing and smelling the beer. A study in 2012 in Germany showed that exposure to dopamine while trying to memorize photos increased the doped up group's ability to remember the photos by 20% after 6 hours. The researches hypothesize that dopamine may improve your brain's ability to solidify short term memories into long term memories. So maybe crack open a hoppy IPA while you're doing flashcards.

Drinking that hoppy IPA while studying can help you in another way too: that delicious aroma! Some scientists showed that smelling a strong scent while you're trying to memorize something can help you recall it later. The only caveat is that you have to smell that same strong scent while you're in deep sleep immediately after you memorize the topic. So if you have some friends willing to hang out while you sleep it off, and waft that same hoppy IPA under your nose, you've got it made. Just might be that you go to your final with sharpie all over your face. Consider your priorities.

The Pre-Exam Beer

So this one might seem even less believable than the last one, but hear me out. Being buzzed during a test might help you do better. A 2012 study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that people with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.075% (just below the legal driving threshold, around three drinks) completed creative problem solving tests 40% faster than sober people. The drunkards were also more likely to rate their solutions as a result of a sudden insight. So instead of sitting around second guessing themselves, they were on their way out the door for some celebration drinks.

The Post-Exam Beer

Now, this one might seem obvious. You're done with your final--time to celebrate, right? Right. But in addition to just having a good ol' time, you can feel better with science! Studies have shown that alcohol can have a stress-response dampening effect. So in order to wind down after that final and be able to relax, have a couple beers, and give a toast to science for proving what we already knew.

If you really are just feeling super depressed because you probably just failed, why not have a couple beers for that too? A study in Norway of nearly 38,000 people showed that people who drank moderately were typically less depressed than the teetotalers. They even controlled for socio-economic status, chronic diseases, and people who were abstainers because they had previously suffered from alcoholism and still showed that all other things being equal, the drinkers were still less likely to suffer from depression.

Good luck, and Prost!

*The KC Beer Blog makes no guarantee on the improvement of your test scores. Also, since you're already down here I might as well get this one out of the way: don't come calling us if you get drunk and fail your finals! Our blog is for entertainment purposes only and we don't purport to provide professional medical, life skills, or test taking advice. I'm a blogger, not a doctor, dammit! We're all adults here and make our own decisions, regardless of what we read on the Internet, right?  

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