What do you do before an exam? When I was sitting my accounting exams, I would drop into a coffee shop for a takeaway coffee, then go study my notes outside the exam centre until it was time to go in. But could this be a bad thing? I drank the coffee to give me a little boost, and kick start my brain for the hours ahead. I’m fairly extroverted, so I found it quite helpful.
However, Melissa Dahl in New York Magazine wrote an article called When Introverts Should Avoid Coffee, which is based on a recent study and book by Cambridge University psychologist Brian Little.
Could Coffee Reduce Your Productivity?
In Professor Little’s book, he writes:
“After ingesting about two cups of coffee, extroverts carry out tasks more efficiently, whereas introverts perform less well. This deficit is magnified if the task they are engaging in is quantitative and if it is done under time pressure.
For an introvert, an innocent couple cups of coffee before a meeting may prove challenging, particularly if the purpose of the meeting is a rapid-fire discussion of budget projections, data analysis, or similar quantitative concerns. In the same meeting, an extroverted colleague is likely to benefit from a caffeine kick.”
In essence, drinking coffee before an exam could actually make it harder for you to work under pressure, and perform quick analysis of information.
So What Should Introverts do Before an Exam?
Try drinking herbal tea instead, or something with less caffeine.
Also, if you’re introverted, you may be irritated more by external stimulants, such as being in a noisy exam hall. So why not bring some earplugs to block out the noise around you? (Just keep a close eye on the clock so you don’t miss the end).