Why would we be talking about considering the ideal temperature for exams? Well, whether you’re preparing for your Matric finals, studying for your degree, or involved in vocational learning, we’re sure that you’re open to tips on how to get the best results. We all want an edge, right?
But, can the temperature of your study or exam room really have an effect on how well you perform?
What is the Ideal Temperature for Exams and Study?
When asked whether the ideal study temperature should be warmer or cooler, many automatically conclude that a cooler room would keep you more alert – thus be a better option.
Is this the case?
A study published in Science Daily focusing on working memory under various temperature conditions drew some interesting conclusions.
“To study the influence ambient temperature has on cognitive skills, Colzato and Sellaro performed tests on two groups of participants. One group had a preference for a cool environment, the other group preferred a warm one. The test subjects had to carry out thinking tasks in three different spaces. In the first the temperature was 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), in the second it was 15 degrees (59 Fahrenheit), and in the third, the thermostat was set to 20 (68 Fahrenheit). The thinking task that the subjects had to perform was the so-called N-back task.
“Test subjects proved to perform better in a room with their preferred temperature.”
Another study detailed by US-based aircon company Champion AC says, “They conducted several experiments that included testing students in different climate-controlled rooms. Their study concluded that temperature does have an effect on student attention span. Students in both the colder and warmer rooms tested poorly compared to those in the control room which was maintained at around 70 degrees. While the data may not be enough to explain the magnitude of the effect or give an exact temperature, it is a good supporting case among other studies.
“A similar study at Cornell University shares the same results with the optimum temperature being between 70-78 degrees. This study continues its research to explain why climate might play such a significant role. The discomfort in your environment is not the only problem that affects your memory and learning capabilities. Your mind becomes focused on maintaining its body temperature, either cooling or heating, in a room that’s too cold or too hot – taking away from your concentration. Warm rooms can make you feel tired and sleepy. Colder rooms may have a shock factor to help you feel awake, but your body is having to use its energy to keep you warm instead.”
What’s it to be – Warmer or Cooler?
So, it looks like there is no definitive answer on the warmer versus cooler debate on the ideal temperature for study and exams.
Logic dictates that you want to provide a comfortable space for those (lucky enough!) to be writing exams – even if that is something of a subjective statement.
However, we’d like to throw an additional spanner in the works in the interest of accuracy.
Did you know that generally, men prefer working at cooler temperatures and women at warmer temperatures? This gender issue is likely the cause of many thermostat wars in the office and classroom alike!
The Bottom Line
If you are facing exams or extended study period, what should you do if you aren’t in control of the air conditioning system?
If your study room is too warm, bringing a small desk fan would certainly help, and dressing in loose comfortable clothing is a must. Too cold? Simple, bring a blanket or a warm jumper.
If you are in control of the aircon then setting it between 18 – 20°C is going to keep the majority of your fellow students happy. (Remember, we can’t please all the people all the time.)
If the aircon in the room is insufficient, dated or too small for the space we’d like to encourage you to send the powers that be to www.ahi-toshibasa.co.za. There they will find an array of air conditioners which effectively heat, cool, dehumidify and supply a blast of fresh, clean air into the room.