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How PE Can Help Students to Achieve in All Their Exams


Several high profile scientific studies have shown a link between physical activity and academic achievement. So, while all they may want to do is cram during exam season, what pupils should really be doing is hitting the sports field!


One great benefit of physical activity is that it can release tension and reduce stress. It also gives pupils a break from constantly thinking about the pressures of exams – and that can help the brain to reset and feel fresher. So, a bit of physical activity before a study session, or the morning before an exam could really work wonders in helping relieve the nerves. 


It can also help improve confidence and provide motivation – both of which are important when it comes to taking exams. 

And a study by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee found that there are tangible links between exercise and exam success. In fact, it found an increase in academic performance for every extra 17 minutes that boys exercised, and for every 12 minutes that girls exercised. 


This link between physical activity and academic achievement can be explained by the physiological changes that occur during exercise. 

Essentially, physical activity can help the brain’s development by increasing the growth of nerve cells in the hippocampus (which is the area responsible for learning and memory). It also aids the development of nerve connections and boosts cerebral capillary growth, among other things. 

And all these changes are associated with improved attention and improved information processing, storage and retrieval. And, of course, these are all vital when it comes to sitting exams.

Now, studies have shown that the real benefits come when physical activity is regular and sustained throughout the young person’s life. So, getting those Year 7s up and moving now could really make an impact on their performance when they come to sit their GCSEs!


Want to help your school community understand the link between PE and exam success?

We've created this poster to do just that!


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Interested in learning more about the link between physical activity and academic achievement?

You may find the following articles interesting:

Exercise ‘boosts academic performance’ of teenagers – BBC News

PE, sport and physical activity have a crucial role to play in exam success – Youth Sport Trust

The Link Between Sports and Academic Performance – The First Citizens Sports Foundation

The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences 

And don’t forget, one great way to promote enthusiasm for sport and PE is with an exciting school sports tour abroad. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss the options, or to request a tailor-made quote