The Study Playlist That Will Boost Your Grades

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We all know music can affect our mood, but it can also help us improve the way we study, focus, and recall what we’ve learned. With exams fast approaching and cramming a near inevitability, the right playlist may actually boost your grades.

Researchers have been studying the effect of music on reasoning, memory, and test performance for decades. You may already have heard of “The Mozart Effect” — a documented phenomenon where listening to the music of Mozart can actually boost spatiotemporal reasoning for brief periods.

Other investigators have looked at the effects of relaxing vs. rapidly changing music3 on how we study, focus, and perform on tests and found that music that elevates your mood and creates a stable calm environment can positively affect test scores.

So what should go into your perfect study playlist?

Choose Music You Enjoy

If you are already accustomed to studying while listening to music, your mind is likely adapted to it. Pick a genre or artist that you enjoy. Choosing familiar music can help you get centered, and your mind will be less likely to be distracted if you’re not trying to “learn” the song as well as your study materials. Choosing music that helps elevate your mood can also help put you in a good headspace for focus and memorization.

Choose Music That Promotes Focus

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These days, with so many demands and devices vying for our attention, a deep focus can be hard to achieve. Try to choose music that creates its own virtual study room, and lets you block out any potential environmental distractions.

Choose Music Without Lyrics

Generally speaking, if you are trying to absorb language-based content (as opposed to math), avoid songs with lots of lyrics. If you’re trying to focus on the history of the Medici, your mind doesn’t need competition from Drake. (Sorry, Drake.)

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Experiment With Electronica

Sometimes you just need to drop into your study materials and forget the world around you. Even if you’re not an electronic music fan, the steady beat and shifting modal patterns of electronica can provide a clean and ample study environment for your mind.

Try Ambient Or Nature Sounds

For some, the best study music isn’t technically music at all. It may be the sound of summer rain in a forest or the crash and sizzle of waves on the beach. Feel free to experiment with the abundant ambient options online. Who knows—the “spaceship engine room” effect may be your ideal study environment.

We hope these tips will help you create a study playlist that boosts both your focus and your test scores!

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