back to article Getting drunk the night before has no effect on exam results

Heartwarming news for students or others taking courses today, as scientists have now carried out research revealing that heavyish drinking the night before exams will not affect your performance. Boston medi-profs Damaris Rohsenow and Johnathan Howland carried out the research, which they say is the first study to examine the …


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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Hurrumph exams today

    For those of us of a certain age who did our exams years ago.

    Could this be because a modern exam paper consists of questions like:

    'Einstein's general theory of relativity describes gravity as a curvature of 4 dimensional space - underline the word gravity"

    grumps off to make another cup of tea and complain that Wogan isn't on the radio anymore....

  2. Anonymous Coward


    not methedrone (or methadone...)

    Methedrone is a different stimulant, one we'll probably see more of after they ban meph.

    1. Smokey Joe


      It's not methedrone, whatever the hell that is. Unless the author knows better and would like to point us in the right direction...

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Yeh but I mean we know this alredeay already

    ... I have I've not noticid any imparct on my abilty to functon arfter a heevy binge sesh.

    Just list naght I had fiva pints an and I'm bright as a buyyon todaw - no notabel diffferenve at any difference at all.

  4. The Indomitable Gall

    "Killer drug"


    Mephedrone is plant food. Plant Food. If they want people to stop taking it, they should stop calling it a drug and start calling it plant food. PLAAAAAANT FOOOOOOOOOD.

    Then we might start comparing it to lighter fluid and glue, which are also sometimes used to get a "legal high" (another term the press should ditch as counterproductive).

    Did we ban glue? No, we stopped kids buying it.

  5. Thomas 18

    geshing plashtrdz

    nevr affected my.... my.... my... whshit

  6. Anonymous Coward

    This space reserved for outrageous claims

    of drinking derring-do and pooh-poohing the idea that 7 pints is in anyway a substantial amount of booze

  7. Nexox Enigma

    Well if that's all they drank...

    I rather find that it's not the previous night's drinking, but the hangover / headache that ruins my performance on tests (and anything else.) Fortunately 7 pints over 4 hours is not going to get me any sort of hangover, and I'm a bit less than 13 stone.

    I think they should do it again, but with 14 pints in 4 hours. That'd be real research.

    Also did they account for the fact that non-alcoholic beer's miserable flavor could have had negative effects on the tests?

    1. relpy

      Re: Well if that's all they drank...

      "I rather find that it's not the previous night's drinking,".

      Actually I suspect it was the previous three years of drinking that did for my degree...

  8. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    beer, hell

    What about the crashing hangover? I got through enough beer in college, but seven pints would have left my then 11-stone body unable to rise before sunset next day.

    1. Peter Kay

      Drink more beer :)

      It'll build up your tolerance. 7 pints (of decent >=4% beer) over four hours shouldn't provide a crashing hangover.

      However, it is my experience that whilst it doesn't provide a hangover, it can tend to impact on energy levels and motivation the following day, so it's not something I'd recommend if you have an important event to attend or prolonged exercise.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Boffins not providing?

    The boffins are providing mephedrone to students/test subjects; John Moores uni are planning to use 50 students to test the drug on;

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Right first time: not providing

      The Telegraph, not noted for its warmth towards the former Poly's, is wrong:

      "Liverpool John Moores University is conducting a research study into the effects of the drug Mephedrone.

      Fifty volunteers from across the UK who already take Mephedrone will be asked to record their experiences of taking the drug, using standard research methodology which adheres to ethical guidelines.

      The University will not be supplying the drug, will not be paying participants of the study and does not condone drug-use of any form.

      Controlled, authoritative research studies play a vital role in the formulation of laws and policies, particularly those which relate to health."

      1. Freddie
        Big Brother


        "Controlled, authoritative research studies play a vital role in the formulation of laws and policies"

        unless, of course, the research contradicts what the guberment has decided is true.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Follow Up

    When questioned by other academics about their results, the pair admitted they had been on the razz the night before, and wrote up the results while still pi$$ed and so cant remember much.

  11. Hani Jabr

    In other news...

    Scientists prove that excessive alcohol consumption can skew experiment results and damage credibility...

  12. Quxy

    Appropriate academic caution, not denial

    While the good profs do say "we do not conclude… that excessive drinking is not a risk factor", they end that paragraph (and the paper) with the conclusion that

    "Nonetheless, in surveys almost half of college students report binge drinking and presumably most of these have not developed alcohol dependence. Thus, we believe that our findings [that test-taking performance was not affected significantly on the morning after intoxication] are relevant to a substantial proportion of college students."

    In any case, good on them for a carefully-controlled study and a balanced academic paper on what is a heavily-politicised and controversial issue, despite the obvious agendas of their funding organisations.

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Piss poor research

    The severity of a hangover is not just related to how much alcohol you've consumed.

    Before the liver even gets a look in enzymes may or may not be hard at work breaking down the naughty stuff. And we Brits (of Celtic extraction) generally have less of them enzymes than we could which means more systemic suffering. The amount of sleep people have is also crucial to concentration and people's sleeping when pished varies dramatically.

    More research required, obviously. Where do we sign up?

  14. Poor Coco

    Well, that may be...

    ...but for *engineering* students like me the bar is the best place to practice for the realities of the workplace! As a friend of mine who's a retired engineer said when I told him I was starting civil engineering studies, "you're going to need a new liver!"

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Sorry, could you repeat that ?

    Excessive drinking is not a problem, but a higher dose of alcohol might be ?

    When you're drinking to excess already, how can the dose get any higher ?

    Sorry, Uni was a long time ago.

  16. Nuke

    I just don't believe it

    I feel like shite after too much the night before. I can hardly bring myself to do anything, let alone do myself justice in an exam.

    1. Piro Silver badge


      You might just be getting old. I'm pretty sure everyone can remember a time when you could drink more with less consequences, although looking back, it could just have been that I was able to have more recovery time since I didn't have as much as shit to do

      1. William Towle

        @Piro @Nuke

        I know I could definitely drink more with fewer consequences back then - I was out celebrating a birthday the night before my last University exam, got through it still-a-bit-pished, and despite a few other distractions got a score in the top few (and the best in any of my own exams to boot).

        While I'm "fortunate" enough not to get one over at 4% easily these days (aquaphobic, sadly, but thankfully whisky cures that sort of speed impairment) it's not something I'd plan to do without advance booking a day off work...

        // "...slowly"

  17. Ralph B

    Don't Drink Dirty Water

    Another interpretation is that non-alcoholic beer damages your exam results as much as real beer does.

    So, if you don't care about your exam results, drink alcoholic beer. Don't waste your money on gnat's piss.

    However, if you do care, then stay in, do some extra study, and get an early night.

  18. Jared Vanderbilt

    It's called conditioning.

    Students regularly consume higher levels of alcohol on the eve of testing.

    I'm surprised the testers didn't note the DTs within the alcohol deprived group.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not what the Home Office wants to hear!

    If the people behind this report advice HM Government in any capacity, they should probably resign now.

  20. Mr Young

    The night before..ooooh

    If it consisted of craming for exams I'm sure a few beers would screw that idea!

  21. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    One-legged 'A'

    So both test groups flunked?

  22. Ginolard

    I thought it was common knowledge...

    ..that beers makes you clevererer? It kills brain cells but it kills the weaker brain cells first (much like a lion hunting antelope).

    Ergo, the more beer you drink, the stronger the brain cell "herd" becomes.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    American Pints

    7 US pints = 5.6 UK pints. That's it really, nothing else to say.

  24. Richard 120
    Paris Hilton


    I got pissed the night before an exam and slept through my alarm, missing the entire exam.

    I'm fairly sure that influenced the mark I was given.

    If this were not a true story I'd be using the joke alert icon, as it is I'll have to go with Paris (as so many have)

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Drinking heavily the night before a test isn't really an issue when you're pill-popping Adderall just before the test,

  26. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

    What about drinking on the same day of the exam?

    I remember at Uni downing a good five or six as a liquid lunch before an afternoon exam. Not a good idea.

    It twenty minutes in and I'm dying for the loo. I ask to go and am taken there and return to my exam. Later on need to go again - dammit, only forty minutes in. Another hour twenty to go. What are you supposed to do then? You can't realistically ask to go a second time.

  27. Richard Jukes


    Has anyone thought about the possibility that a small amount of alcohol may still be present in the morning (so the students may be a little pissed) - as we all know a little alcohol refresh's the brain and allows quicker and more coherent thought.

  28. Annihilator Silver badge

    Double blind

    Sorry, but I fail to believe that you'd account of the placebo effect with non-alcoholic beer. Surely no-one is stupid enough to think themselves drunk?? Not convinced by the control group on this one.

  29. Mark 65 Silver badge


    Were they drinking Stella?

  30. kurrajong

    Old research

    This research (or very, very similar) was done at Sydney University in the early 80s. Same result.

  31. Frank Bough

    Acid, on the other hand

    ...has a rather surprising effect on exam performance. Shame I only discovered as much during the last exam I ever took. :- [

  32. Charles Manning

    We called it Dutch Knowledge

    What's all this "night before" nonsense? You go straight from the pub to the exam hall so the dutch knowledge is still fresh and the hangover has not kicked in.

    Damn kids of today... always need a nap.

  33. Anonymous Coward


    From what I remember of college, a proper bender involves waking up with a BAC still at .12!

  34. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    I think I see the flaw...

    They compared the results of the subjects that took the test.

    What about the subjects who didn't turn up because they were still hungover/unconscious?

  35. lukewarmdog

    in conclusion

    "We got the kids drunk to prove a point and we failed. BEER IS STILL BAD THO"

    Er no.. they just PROVED scientifically that beer isn't bad.

    What they should have done is got them so drunk they missed the exams.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite true

    This concurs with my own extensive study done in the late 70s. I did just as badly in the exams was bright eyed and bushy tailed as I did in the ones where I was still partially pickled from the night before, although oddly I did rather better in the two taken after a lunchtime sharpener or two. Since, due to lack of good results, I didn't end up following the career paths my parents had wistfully banged into me from an early age (rhymes nicely with "wanker") I consider the whole thing thoroughly worth while and life-changing.

    In the words of the immortal Sir Henry Rawlinson: "If I had all the money I'd spent on drink, I'd spend it on drink".

  37. TJK

    A pint isn't always a pint.

    I can't believe no one's mentioned the difference between the US and UK pint... 7 US pints is a little over 5 1/2 in the UK... 5 1/2 pints in 4 hours.... that's not going to have much effect on anything for those around 13 stone.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what I discovered...

    during this study, but I don't like the results, so I declare it void!

    Hummm... How was that? "If you need a line find just 2 points" ?

  39. Francis Offord


    I am surprised by the academic drunks who are advocating the removal of alcohol from public disdplay and use. In my days of studying we had, if we could afford it, possibly one "Binge" per week, But can you define "BINGE"? Again, in my day, 6 or 7 pints was normal drinking for an evening, up to 15 was a session and beyond that was a binge. Now our respected medicos are recommending that 2 ro 3 pints 2 or 3 times a week is acceptable and beyond that we are bingeing. By whose authority do they say that owing to the fact that, as far as I aware, the medical and philological sciences are far divorced. Perhaps I have missed something somewhere but I do believe that a cobbler should stick to his last and refrain from interfering in the work of others, especially if he/she cannot understand or speak definitively on the subject. I am aware that "elfnsafety" come into the problem but I have always been a believer that my actions should be covered by my personal outlook and that if I do not impinge upon others I should be left to go to hell in my own manner. Any takers? Francis J. P. Offord.

    (Of dubious repute and doubtful morals.)

  40. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Up


    Got so rat-arsed before my General Studies 'A' level that I threw up on my brother during the night.

    Totally got away with it (who would want to chew their son out on the day of his first 'A' level?)

    Aced the exam.

    Mind you, it wasn't a proper 'A' level anyway.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Bravo for integrity

    I am amazed that they published the result. In this day and age, when scientific integrity is totally dead, it is quite the norm to suppress an unfashionable result like this.

    I the gentlemen in question have tenure, then bravo for enduring the censure of your weaselling peers. If they do not have tenure, then I'd like to offer you a good research position when they sack you.

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