Which music should you study to? – Study Tips #3

Brew a pot of coffee, crank up the tunes, and knuckle down to some good ol’-fashioned studying. You may not be surprised to hear that many students actually prepare for their exams this way. However, is it the most productive method?


Studies have shown that certain types of background noise can disrupt your concentration. This includes low-level noise in the home, people talking or your neighbours playing loud music at 3am… So it’s important to tailor your study environment to enhance your learning.


Classical music – the exception to the rule

However, other studies have demonstrated that music with particular sonic textures that progresses between 50-60 beats per minute can actually improve the effectiveness of your studies by increasing the following:

  • Focus
  • Intellectual endurance
  • Problem-solving
  • Business writing
  • Research skills
  • Memory retention


Music and mood?

Playing music you enjoy can affect your mood and fill you with a sense of well being. This can potentially improve your positive attitude and incite neural activity, keeping the sensory elements of the brain occupied and the logical, cognitive areas (the ones that process information) focused.


At one with nature sounds

Nature sounds can raise comfort levels – a behavioural state which increases your capabilities. There are numerous websites and apps available with the sounds of nature; thunderstorms, waves, birdsonds. In fact I’ve been listening to calming rain whilst writing this.


White noise – a nuisance or actually helpful?

Similarly, white noise has been used to help calm individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and those who have been through a traumatic experience. Exposure to white noise has also been tested on students looking to improve their productivity, and whilst the results have varied, they have shown that cognitive performance can be moderated by the stimulation.


These techniques won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth experimenting as you might hit upon something which increases your efficiency.


Our Study Tips series will explore how you can eat, drink, sleep, listen, exercise and study your way to exam success.

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