(MoneyWatch) Want to get better grades on your upcoming ? Try
The researchers, a professor from George Mason University and a doctoral student from the University of Illinois, examined the impact of meditating on students at an unnamed California university. Among other things, they found that meditating can be particularly helpful for freshmen wanting better scores on their tests and quizzes.
Their study showed a significant improvement with only a few minutes of written meditation exercises, and the researchers believe that the results could improve with more extensive training and coaching.
The researchers selected a random group of students who followed basic meditation instructions before a lecture. The students who meditated performed better on a quiz than students who didn't meditate. In one experiment, the meditation even predicted which students passed and which failed the quiz.
One challenge facing the researchers is that the supposed benefits of those who practice meditation may not be replicated across different studies or populations, and the academics wanted to find out why. The findings suggest that meditation may help students who might have trouble paying attention or focusing.
The researchers theorize that freshmen classes probably contain more of these types of students than senior courses because students who have difficulty self-regulating are also more likely to leave the university, said Robert Youmans, an assistant professor of psychology at George Mason.
Youmans said meditation might therefore have an important place in freshmen seminars or schools with high attrition rates. "Basically, becoming just a little bit more mindful about yourself and your place in the world might have a very important, practical benefit -- in this case, doing better in college," he said.