Study Shows Late-Night Binge Drinking Doesn't Affect Test Taking

Partying all night before a big test might not be as bad as your parents said, according to a Boston University School of Public Health study released Tuesday.

The study showed that students’ performance on tests was not at all affected after late-night binge drinking the night before, the Daily Free Press reported.

The 193 students that participated in the study were given non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverages over a four-day period. Those given alcohol drank until their blood alcohol level was 0.12 -- roughly the equivalent of five drinks for a 200-pound adult. The following morning all of the participants took a practice Graduate Record Exam, and a mock quiz on a lecture given the previous day.

Both the students who drank alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages received similar high scores on the tests.

Jonathan Howland, BU professor and coordinator of the study, which was conducted in partnership with Brown University, said the original purpose of the study was to try to persuade students that binge drinking before an exam was a bad idea, but the results proved otherwise.

“The message is not that binge drinking doesn’t affect academic performance,” Howland said. “It’s that we looked at one aspect of academic performance and we didn’t see anything. We’re not saying that drinking doesn’t affect academic performance; we’re saying that it didn’t affect [test-taking].”

The study will be published in the April 2010 edition of the Journal of Addiction.

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