Sometimes studying can feel overwhelming…

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All around campus you can find great locations to pull out your books and study, such as the third floor in the library, or breakout rooms in both UWB and Cascadia. However, when the mood just isn’t right, or you find yourself easily distracted, studying can be easy to ignore. Even the most attentive students fall victim to distraction and it is only too easy to slip into a daze when the next thing you know it’s 2 AM! A way to keep focused while acing all of your classes by studying is to switch up the type music you listen to. Whether you’re a fan of the classic piano to keep you focused or heavy metal, in this blog post you will find resources and suggestions to keep your playlist study friendly. Next time you find yourself staring out the window, instead pop in some earbuds and finish that homework!

When doing research for this post, I found quite a bit of information online that fit with this theme. However in addition to the tips can be dug up through a bit of online searching, many of them are also from personal lessons learnt experiences from being a lifelong student. Because of this distinction, I have sorted the tips into two sections; one based on scientific evidence, and another upon firsthand experiences. This way I could better catalogue and present the various resources that this post holds!

Quick and simple suggestions:

  • Don’t spend too much time on picking your music. This may sound counter intuitive with the theme of this post, but getting carried away with crafting the best playlist is an easy way to procrastinate. Let the music help you work and not serve as a convenient distraction.
  • Make your playlist a good length. It can seem tempting to create a two hour montage of your greatest hits in hopes that you will be motivated to study for its entirety, yet this is rarely this case. Instead create 30-50 minute tracks that will allow for you to take a break when they finish before moving on to the next subject.
  • Be open to suggestions. Sure you may love rap when you’re working out but the lyrics that are so tempo driven at the gym can distract you when you’re trying to focus. Always keep an open mind and be willing to go with new ideas!

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Some tips based on either scientific theories or research evidence:

  • Don’t listen to your music too loudly. It can seem tempting to turn up the volume to drown out external sounds, yet this “tactic” is both distracting and possibly damaging. It’s a study session, not a rave. Here are two sources that I found to be informative and interesting about research done considering

From the US National Library of Medicine; hearing loss and music

A great Q&A with an audiologist on how to listen to music without hearing damage

  • When in doubt classical music does wonders. Research around the world has shown that listening to music can improve your focus, akin to chewing gum when studying as well.

When you should be listening to classical music

  • The Mozart effect, or the idea that listening to music, specifically Mozart, can increase your IQ, is a topic closely associated with study music. There are many studies that prove this idea, and attached you
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    will find an interesting article detailing the hype Mozart effect. The verdict is still being extensively debated but here are three sources containing topical information that will allow you to form your own opinion about this supposed phenomenon.

Should we believe the Mozart effect?

A Harvard Gazette article arguing against the Mozart effect

The history of the Mozart effect from NPR

Informal UWB/Cascadia Survey Results:

 

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These are the results of an informal google survey sent out detailing what kinds of music UWB/Cascadia students enjoy listening too when they are studying. Here is a look at what a wide variety of results detailing the large variety of music that keeps everyone upbeat. If you want to respond to the survey still (just for fun and to see more detailed responses) here is the link. At the time that these results were taken the poll had approximately 20, responses, please keep in mind that the graphs shown are concurrent with older data then you might be viewing if you chose to take the survey on a later date.

Study Music Survey

  • When asked what genre of music they preferred to listen to when studying, participants responded with greater favor toward Pop, Rock
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    Info-graphic provided by author author

    , and Soundtracks over any other type.

  • 75% of respondents stated that they prefer music to vocals, highlighting perhaps a correlation to the preference of Pop and Rock genres, which are usually vocal heavy.
  • If you’re bored with the same old tunes, try listening to your favorite genres in a different language! 50% of respondents said that they sometimes listen to foreign language, which is much more then I originally was thinking!
  • Finally, when asked an ultimatum, whether to always listen to music or never, about 90% of participants stated that they would prefer to always have music playing when they study. Hopefully next time any study music lovers are at a loss for what to put on, they can check out this post and get some ideas!
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Chart provided by author

Finally here are some great resources to check out if you are at a loss of what to listen too:

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