Smoke Weed and Drink Beer to Ace Your Tests?

For any parents reading this, I am absolutely not advocating any student should smoke weed or drink beer to take tests. This advice comes from two case studies in which I helped students overcome severe “test anxiety,” the phenomenon of blanking out on tests many students suffer. These two students were not responding to my traditional methods, so we got creative. And it worked!


Test anxiety effects us all, to some extent. Even I had this problem when I first started college. I was taking a chemistry class as Freshman at Santa Clara University. The professor was horrible and everyone was tanking the class, but college to me was the “big leagues.” I had to do well to get into medical school, so my nerves got to me. I never had a problem blanking out on tests in high school, so I was naturally gravely concerned. What I did was take a ton of study skills classes and discovered a meditative technique to calm myself before and during tests. I started getting nervous the night before my tests. However,  I soon found I could relax on tests while working fast, staying focused.  I also wore earplugs during tests and didn’t pay attention to students freaking out around me. Training with speed quizzes outside of class was also what helped me immensely. I learned that by practicing quizzes fast I could generate mistakes, and from these mistakes I learned the stupid things I did when under stress. I kept a record of those mistakes and soon I wasn’t making them anymore. Soon, my test scores went up and I got out of that insane chemistry class with a B+ (no one got an A). I teach all of these techniques to our Guaranteed A or B students and they work well, except for a select few students. For them, I offered advanced skills described below. They worked for these two students when nothing else we tried mattered. They make for an interesting discussion, but they are not necessarily advised for the rest of you!


Two Case Studies: Smoke Weed and Drink Beer to Ace Your Tests

In my career as a tutor, I remember one student who had such remarkable test anxiety that he just couldn’t pass his one remaining class to graduate college. This one student, let’s call him Andy, had tried and failed to pass algebra 4 times before coming to see me. He was set to inherit his father’s nightclub empire in Texas if he could just pass this one class to graduate from college. It’s been proven to me over and over again that students often study one way, then face a different setting during the tests. Students who practice homework relaxed at home or in the library are not practicing under duress, how they often feel during a test or quiz. To overcome text anxiety, one technique is to match their studying environment to the testing environment. Add some stress that you create while you practice homework. For example, try to practice fast using a timer or a watch that clicks. If you don’t get a 100{1870485bc5b1e7a5aedc33fc808a1cb6336e9aafb8d054494e763b3ec6cda6b5} on a speed quiz, punish yourself with exercise. Get your heart rate up then take the quiz again. The reverse is true, too. If you have a habit that relaxes you while you study, use that same habit for the test. I didn’t expect to get the answer Andy gave when I asked him how he studies. Andy said he drinks beer!


So, facing a dilemma of how to get this OVER 21 year old student to pass his class, I suggested… do the same thing for the test: drink a beer. We had tried everything else so I gave him advice that proved essential. We had one last chance to test my theory, repeat what you do while studying for the test. He said we would do it for his final exam. He knew the material but he just couldn’t show it. What did he have to lose? So, Andy didn’t quite do what I suggested, but he finally past the damn class. What did he do? He went out the night before, got hammered, stayed up all night, and took the test drunk. He was apparently relaxed but still coherent enough to answer test questions. I couldn’t believe it but it really happened. Andy now runs a nightclub empire, how ironic. As a tutor, it’s my job to get the student to pass anyway I can, except for taking the test for him. Lesson of the day? If you already have a habit that relaxes you when you study, use it before or during the exam. Don’t go out and get drunk, unless you are an extreme case like Andy.


The second student I remember well was a former reality TV star I tutored at UNLV. Las Vegas was great. It gave me all sorts of interesting students: from reality stars to strippers to a current Ms. Nevada. Strippers always paid cash. I guess they don’t have bank accounts. Anyway, this one student, let’s call her Christina, was a famous former MTV reality star. She was a smart girl but organic chemistry was her Achilles’ heel. She had nearly the same problem with test anxiety that Andy had. I just couldn’t get her to show what she knew. So, I asked her how she studies. She told me she smokes weed. Okay, here we go again!. So, having exhausted all other strategies, I told her to smoke weed before her tests. Guess what. She started doing better. She finally passed ochem. I wasn’t sure this was good advice at the time but it worked for Andy, so what did she have to lose? It worked, that’s what matters. She remained a loyal and dear friend after that. She worked as a hostess for the Playboy Club at the Palms in Las Vegas. Anytime I needed a line pass she would come to the line and personally walk me to the club upstairs. I will always be thankful for that, Christina.


While I cannot seriously advocate smoking weed or drinking beer for your tests, you should exhaust all options. If you already smoke weed or drink beer while studying, consider this strategy for overcoming test anxiety. I am flexible enough and open-minded to find a way to get the job done: students passing their classes.









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