Meditating before a lecture improves students’ performance

A new year is beginning for many  students, and if you want to help your kids do their best, it seems a course in meditation could be as important as a new laptop. According to researchers from the University of Illinois, practising a little Zen before class can lead to better grades.

The researchers conducted three classroom experiments at a California university to see if meditation might help students focus better and retain information. A random selection of students followed basic meditation instructions before a lecture, and the students who meditated before the lecture scored better on a quiz that followed than students who did not meditate. In one experiment, the meditation even predicted which students passed and which students failed the quiz.

The study,  published last month in the journal Mindfulness, also found that the effect of the meditation was stronger in classes where more new students were enrolled. The researchers speculate that freshmen courses likely contain the types of students who stand to benefit the most from meditation training.

Their study showed a significant improvement with only six minutes of written meditation exercises – and the researchers believe with more extensive training and coaching that the results could improve.


“Personally, I have found meditation to be helpful for mental clarity, focus and self-discipline,” says Jared Ramsburg, lead author of the study and a practicing Buddhist. “I think that if mindfulness can improve mental clarity, focus and self-discipline, then it might be useful in a variety of settings and for a variety of goals.”

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