So you’ve got an hour before an important quantum physics exam. Do you spend that hour cramming for the test or do you take a nap? Science says you should kick back and relax with a nap. I like the way you think science.
James Cousins and his colleagues at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore set out to see what is better before a test, naps or revising. They gathered 72 volunteers to sit through presentations of various different species of ants and crabs. The participants were asked to learn all about these animals, including their diets and habitats.
From New Scientist:
After 80 minutes of this, the students were given an hour to either watch a film, have a nap, or revise what they had just learned. After this hour, they had another 80 minutes of learning. Then they had to sit an exam in which they were asked 360 questions about the ants and the crabs.
Team Nap killed it.
“The napping group got the best scores,” says Cousins.
Then the participants were called back a week later to take another test.
Team Nap killed it again and had the highest scores for this test too.
Team Movie did the worst and was significantly outperformed by Team Cram, who had lower test results in the second exam.
“It could indicate that cramming information might be good in the short term, but in the long run, the benefits might not be that great,” says Cousins.
So there you have it, stop worrying so much and cramming for exams, Instead have yourself a restful siesta before your big exam.