Preparing for an examination can be an isolating experience. The time and dedication needed to get the desired results often means long hours alone, with nothing but a textbook and study notes for company. While concentration and focus are essential, this environment can end up exasperating feelings of exam stress and anxiety. This in turn leads to less knowledge retention and poorer results overall.
The gift of music has been scientifically proven to stimulate our minds in all the right places, particularly when we are trying to consume large amounts of information. Geniuses, from Einstein to Socrates, have long touted the learning power that music offers.
Below we’ve detailed some of the benefits music can have on your study sessions, and a few additions to consider when building your Ultimate Study Playlist.
Less Stress & Anxiety
According to The University of Maryland ‘Music is an effective stress reducer. Research finds that listening to soothing music can decrease blood pressure, lower heart rates and significantly reduce anxiety levels’.
Another study found that ‘Music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a full body massage’. While most of us don’t have the time (or money) to visit the Spa before each study session, creating a tailored Study Playlist is a close second.
Improve Your Performance
Music has been proven to help increase cognitive performance. In plain terms, music can help your brain function at a higher level.
Professional athletes are known for using music as part of their pre-game rituals for exactly this reason. Listening to music before a high-pressure situation (such as cramming five chapters in a few hours) can drastically improve performance and aids the mind entering a Zen-like state, where focus levels peak.
Music = Memory
Ever catch yourself humming the tune of a song and being instantly transported back in time to a special place? Our brains are hardwired to connect memories with rhythm. By creating a specialised playlist for when you study, you can train your mind into associating the subject matter with the tune playing in your head.
Music is subjective. The brain powers associated with music are highly influenced by the emotions you experience when hearing something you like. Because of this, no two study playlists can ever be the same. However, there are a few general rules to consider when making your pick:
- Try to keep songs under 100 bpm
- Classical music seems to have the strongest effect on cognitive performance
- Structure your playlist to end when it’s time for a study break
- Try steer clear of catchy radio hits.
Our Top 10
Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest
Brandenburg Concerto #3 – Bach
Intro – The xx
Youth - Daughter
Strobe - Deadmau5
All Blues – Miles Davis
Bonobo - Linked
The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin
Open Eye Signal – Jon Hopkins
Krazy (Instrumental) - Riddle