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Stress and Fatigue Top Students’ Concerns About College Exam Time

Chicago - Nov. 28, 2005 - Increased pressure for good grades has many college students taking the wrong approach when it comes to exam time preparation.

According to a recent survey from The Princeton Review, in conjunction with Wrigley, more than 85 percent of American and Canadian college students admit to feeling increased stress and tension at exam time, in many cases leading them to make less healthy choices such as snacking on high-calorie foods, drinking caffeine, and late night study sessions.

"How students manage exam-time stress can have a huge impact on their ability to perform under pressure," says Robin Raskin, director of communications, The Princeton Review. "Today's students feel an intense pressure to achieve good grades, choosing poor stress-management techniques can work against their scholastic goals."

Under Pressure
The survey revealed that college students are dealing with exam time pressure by making choices which can negatively affect their scholastic performance, as well as their overall health. These include:
  • Increased snacking during study time: This habit ranked the highest among students from both countries: 76 percent are hitting the fridge (47 percent to combat boredom, 32 percent to relieve stress).
  • The caffeine buzz: A majority of students (62 percent) admit to drinking caffeinated drinks to help increase focus and concentration while studying.
  • Burning the midnight oil: More than a third of students (37 percent) report that they do most of their studying between 9 p.m. and midnight.

"These choices can lead to burnout for many students," continues Raskin. "Exam time has always been stressful, but loss of sleep, increased caffeine consumption and unhealthy snacking are sure-fire ways to create a less than optimal exam-time performance."

However, some students are finding ways to meet the challenges of studying for exam time, such as listening to classical music and chewing gum. The survey also uncovered that classical music is students' favorite music to listen to when studying. And of the students who chew gum while studying for exams, 41 percent do so to combat stress and tension and 23 percent to increase focus and concentration. In fact, research has found that chewing gum stimulates certain areas of the brain (as measured by EEG) which may have a relationship to reducing tension. Further, one study conducted in 2002 showed that chewing gum appeared to improve people's ability to retain and retrieve information.

Study experts at The Princeton Review recommend a few simple tips to enhance studying and dealing with exam stress. These include:
  • Exercising or socializing during study breaks: Many schools have created events like midnight runs or movie breaks to help students cope with stress.
  • Find the right time: Students should experiment with different times of the day to find their best study time, but they should pick a time when they are alert and ready to concentrate.
  • Create a calming and productive atmosphere: An effective study area should have good lighting and ventilation, a comfortable chair, and a space large enough to spread out your materials. Listening to one's favorite music also helps.
  • Chew gum. The gum experts at Wrigley recommend chewing gum to help relieve stress and tension and to help increase focus and concentration during studying and test-taking. An added bonus, it also is a low-calorie substitute for eating snacks when stressed.

Wrigley Relief
To help students cope with exam time stress, Wrigley, the Official Sponsor of Finals Week, will be visiting select campuses across the country from Nov. 28, 2005 through Dec. 9, 2005, offering students an opportunity to relax and relieve test-time tension at the Wrigley Gum Lounge. Campuses include: North Carolina State University; Temple University; Ohio State University; Purdue University; University of South Carolina; Florida State University; University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of New Mexico.

"Wrigley wants to offer students a chance to recharge their batteries and prepare themselves for exams," says Kelly McGrail, senior director of corporate relations, Wrigley. "As the Official Sponsor of Finals Week, Wrigley will give students a place where they can unwind, receive study advice from the experts at The Princeton Review and enter for a chance to win $1,000 for books or tuition."

The Princeton Review and Wrigley have also developed a Web site with additional study tips, fun gum facts and information about the Wrigley Gum Lounge. Students can log on to for more details.

About The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review (Nasdaq: REVU) is a pioneer in the world of education. Founded in 1981 and headquartered in New York City, the Company offers private tutoring and classroom and online test preparation to help students improve their scores in college and graduate school admissions tests. The Company's free website,, helps over half of university-bound students research, apply to, prepare for, and learn how to pay for their higher education, and helps hundreds of colleges and universities streamline their admissions and recruiting activities. In addition, The Princeton Review works with school districts around the U.S. to measurably strengthen students' academic skills by connecting ongoing assessment with professional development and instruction and by providing districts with college and career resources for both students and guidance counselors. The Company also authors more than 200 print and software titles on test preparation, college and graduate school selection and admissions, and related topics.

About The Wrigley Company
The Wrigley Company is a recognized leader in the confectionery field and the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum, with global sales of more than $4.0 billion. The Company markets its world-famous brands in more than 180 countries. Three of these brands -- Wrigley's Spearmint®, Juicy Fruit®, and Altoids® -- have heritages stretching back more than a century. Other brands include Doublemint®, Life Savers®, Big Red®, Boomer®, Pim Pom®, Winterfresh®, Extra®, Freedent®, Hubba Bubba®, Orbit®, Excel®, Creme Savers®, Eclipse®, Airwaves®, Alpine®, Solano®, Sugus®, Cool Air®, and P.K.®.

The Princeton Review and Wrigley Study Habits Survey

The Princeton Review and Wrigley Student Study Habits Survey discovered a number of other studying habits and exam-time trends and differences between Canadian and U.S. students, including:
  • Stressed-out: The results revealed that an overwhelming number of students, more than 85 percent, admit to feeling increased stress and tension at exam time, leading many to make poor coping choices.
  • Increased snacking during study time: This habit ranked the highest among students from both the U.S. and Canada: 76 percent are hitting the fridge (47 percent to combat boredom, 32 percent to relieve stress).
  • The caffeine buzz: A majority of students (62 percent) admit to drinking caffeinated drinks to help increase focus and concentration while studying.
  • Music for the brain: When given a selection of music genres they enjoy studying to, the majority of students' choice was Classical music.
  • Chewing gum - According to the survey, 41 percent of students who chew gum while studying do so to relieve stress and tension. And 23 percent chew gum to increase focus and concentration.
  • The social butterfly versus the couch potato: American students rank socializing as their favorite study break (29 percent), where the majority of Canadians (28 percent) selected watching TV/movies as their activity of choice during study breaks.
  • Americans procrastinate: American students are more likely than their Canadian counterparts to hit the books one week in advance of exams (62 percent). Canadians are more likely to prepare further in advance, with the majority of Canadian respondents (69 percent) saying that they begin studying between one month and two weeks prior to exams.
  • Canadians study longer: Half of Canadian respondents report spending between 20-24 hours preparing for exams. American students vary in their response, with the majority (28 percent) citing between 10-14 hours of preparation.
  • Night and day: Canadians were more likely to study during the daytime hours than their American counterparts.

Lending a Helping Hand:

Parents and schools can help students prepare for exams and reduce the stress they feel at this time of the year. The following are a few suggestions, courtesy of Wrigley and The Princeton Review, which can help students with exam time pressures:
  • Care Packages: There's nothing like a care package from the folks to lighten students' stress and let them know they've got family rooting for them. Include items such as stress toys, a classical music CD, chewing gum and healthy snacks like nuts or dried fruit.
  • On Campus Activities: Whether it's campus-organized study sessions - or study breaks - student services are always there to help when students are stressed out and need some help getting ready for the big week of exams.
  • Wrigley - Official Sponsor of Finals Week: Before exam weeks, Wrigley will visit 11 College and University campuses across Canada and the U.S. to provide students with a place to unwind, have a chance to win $1,000 for books and tuition and receive study advice from the experts at The Princeton Review.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
Denise Young
(312) 297-7409,

Kelly McGrail
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
(312) 645-4754,

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