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Tips for making the perfect study playlist


    Picture this: You have several exams spread throughout the coming week. You're hunched over your desk, trying your very best to focus. While you're certainly trying your best to study efficiently, it isn't easy.

    That's where music can come in. Every student has a different study routine. One student may need a tranquil environment to study in without any noise. In contrast, others may need music in their ears to best retain information.

    If you fall into the latter category, continue reading to learn more about making the perfect study playlist.

    Does listening to music really help you study?

    Studies have shown that listening to classical music while studying can help reasoning skills and test scores. This is commonly known as the Mozart Effect.

    Overall, listening to the right songs at the right times can potentially help you:

    • Relax your mind
    • Increase your ability to concentrate
    • Lessen distractions
    • Improve your focus
    • Improve performance in high-pressure situations

    On the flip side, since music can affect your focus and attention, studies have also shown that listening to background music while studying with lyrics is more likely to cause distraction and impact concentration.

    Best types of music to add to your study playlist

    To make your study routine more enjoyable and possibly more efficient, listen to music that you like and that allows you to maintain your focus. For instance, you may not enjoy classical music (which is what's often suggested as optimal study music), and if that's the case, try listening to lyrical songs that are slower-paced and not distracting.

    If that doesn't sound like your speed, you may turn to white noise, such as nature sounds, which some people find helps them remain focused and productive.

    Consider keeping your playlists short, around 40 to 45 minutes in length. When your playlist ends, it'll remind you to take a short break from studying and allow you to recharge. In addition, look for tracks paced at about 60 beats per minute. This tempo is associated with resting heart rate, and studies have shown listening to music at this tempo can help with relaxation and stress management.

    Before an exam, consider listening to the same playlist and music as you did when studying. According to some psychologists, this could help trigger your memory of the details and facts you picked up while studying by recreating the context in which you learned the information.

    Since some studies have shown that classical music is particularly advantageous to listen to when it comes time to study, here are some options to consider adding to your playlist:

    • Salzburg Symphony No. 1 ('Divertimento in D major') by Mozart
    • Canon in D by Pachelbel
    • Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie
    • Goldberg Variations by Bach
    • Academic Festival Overture by Brahms

    There are also a wide variety of online music streaming platforms that have developed their own study playlists. These streaming platforms may also allow you to make your own playlists, which can help you explore tunes or give you the ability to share your playlists with friends and classmates.

    Final thoughts

    Sometimes you need the perfect background noise while studying, something that will keep you focused and alert, and that's where a study playlist can be helpful.

    Above all else, pick what works best for you. Just because a friend can study well while listening to classical songs doesn't mean that's optimal for you. Music can affect our brains in different ways, so keep an eye on your attention levels while studying with music to ensure your study routine is effective and efficient.