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Studying with music - a discussion

Right now, I am currently procrastinating studying for a chemistry summer course final that's worth 60% of my grade. While typing up summary notes, I trialled different types of music and then recalled how well I then understood the notes I wrote. I also had a look at different websites like College Info Geek (they also have a podcast I highly recommend), ULoop and

I usually listen to music to block out the sounds of people speaking loudly in the library (every time I am studying there’s always that one guy that will not shut up) because my brain prefers paying attention to a someones random conversation than actual study.

Some people prefer high-beat, energetic EDM music (no words) to motivate them, while I prefer listening to orchestral music like Bach or Elgar.

College Info Geek recommends "high beat music...or environmental noises" - like RainyMood. This blocks out the environment without being too distracting. On the topic of lyrical music, the writer of College Info Geek, Thomas Frank finds that it is too distracting to listen to, which is further in line with the opinion of the Stanford professor Clifford Nass who extends this by staying that "it is problematic in the case of reading and writing but not so much in math which uses a different part of the brain".

Furthermore, a study by the University of Wales showed that scores in a recall test did actually increase when the students either were in a quiet environment or had a steady/slow music pace. They also found that listening to music before studying/sitting a test improves attention, memory and can lessen anxiety (depending on the music I guess because I don't see how listening to heavy metal before a final would lessen my nervousness!).

I think it really just depends on the person - if you find you concentrate better listening to Mozart or EDM then great! Definitely figure out what is best for you, keep in mind that you will need to be able to do a lot of work without music in the future so make sure not to become reliant on it.

My recommendations:


I do stand by my orchestral/slow electronic study method without lyrics because I feel like that improves my concentration the best. However, it really just depends on your personal preference, if you cannot stand Mozart then why listen to something that will be unpleasant and probably ruin your studying.


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