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Is The World Cup Bad For Grades?

Is The World Cup Bad For Grades?

Does the World Cup have a negative impact on exams? Can a major sporting event really have an impact on high-stake tests? Given that the most popular football tournament often overlaps with exam season, it is certainly something worth exploring.

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To find out, researchers from the University of Oxford conducted a study evaluating over 3.5 million pupils nation-wide. Here is what they found…


What Does The Research Say?

Researchers have found that some groups of students are more likely to be distracted by the World Cup than others. Young males from underprivileged backgrounds were more likely to perform poorly in exams than any other demographic when the World Cup is on.


Is "All Work And No Play" The Answer?

What techniques can students use to perform well in exams whilst also being able to watch the football that our nation loves so much? Here are some suggestions.


1. Limit your mobile phone use – It might be tempting to check the latest football scores but the ability to concentrate on a task is central to learning. So, when we distract ourselves with technology, more often than not we are procrastinating. Encourage students not to be a slave to their phone so that they can use their down time to relax in front of the World Cup.


2. Make Revision Effective – Watching the World Cup isn’t going to get you better grades, but revision is. So, when you’re doing your revision, make sure that time is being used as effectively as possible. By engaging in high-quality revision, we can help ensure students are working both hard and smart.


3. Sleep is really important – If students watch too much TV, it may be tempting to stay up late to cram in last minute revision at the expense of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a powerful revision tool and the chances are, the revision you do whilst you should be sleeping, isn’t going to be very effective.


4. The exam countdown – This is an important time in the academic calendar and whilst the World Cup is a great spectacle, revision should be the priority. The key to getting the best of both worlds is to plan revision effectively. Planning revision around important games you want to watch will ensure that you don’t procrastinate and don’t suffer from the fear of missing out (FOMO).



Although the World Cup only clashed with the exam period for a few days this summer, these points are something to consider for the future. It also has wider implication for a student’s ability to revise more effectively. The techniques discussed above allow a student to not only utilise revision time for efficiently, but also to enjoy their downtime. That way, they get the best of both worlds.

If you would like to know more about great revision techniques, have a look at our guide page about the best ways to revise.

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