According to research, music has been proven to lessen stress and anxiety. LUIS RUIZ DOMINGUEZ/THE STATESMAN

It can take quite some time to find that perfect study spot on campus, and to discover personal study habits that will eventually lead to high grades. One question in reference to study habits is whether or not students should listen to music while studying. Some see music as a distraction and prefer to study in pure silence. I personally love having music playing in the background whether I’m doing homework or studying for an exam. I even have my own separate playlist so I never have to worry about changing the song. Having music blaring through your headphones while in the library or Starbucks can benefit your emotions, productivity and memory in preparation for acing an exam and your courses in general.

Music has been proven to lessen anxiety and stress, usually through either upbeat or calm rhythms. Upbeat music creates feelings of high energy and motivation, while slower music creates feelings of relaxation and calmness. Because music directly affects emotions, it depends on the person whether they prefer upbeat or slow music while studying. When I’m feeling calm, I listen to artists such as Lana Del Rey and Lorde. When I want to be motivated, however, I listen to rap, 2000s throwbacks and Spanish music, with other random genres mixed in. Through experimentation, you can learn which type of music will keep you more focused and driven to get your work done.

Native American music with slow drums, or even sounds of nature are very effective when reducing stress. These types of music are only suggested; it’s up to the student to decide what music works for their study habits. 

Besides anxiety, music increases productivity and accuracy. Energetic music has been used to increase production on assembly lines. Because this type of music is so successful while working, I feel it could apply to studying. Working in an assembly line can be boring after a while because a worker is completing the same task over and over again. Studying, for me, is tiresome and plain. I only study because I have to. So I might as well listen to a continuous stream of energetic music to add some excitement to studying.


Music can increase memory, so putting on an awesome playlist at a low volume could help you remember formulas and other small facts for your next test. Songs can also trigger certain memories, so maybe thinking about a certain song can help you remember a factoid you’ve been struggling to remember for weeks now.

I recommend taking some time out of your day to make a playlist on Spotify or iTunes of songs that you feel will personally keep you focused. If you have to constantly pause and change the song because you didn’t make a personalized playlist, this could take away from your relaxed or motivated feeling, which will interrupt your studying. Switching songs while trying to memorize facts could potentially make you forget, for example, if a formula is written this way or that way during a test.

A “noisy” study session can be the key to success for some people. Having sound in the background keeps you focused and motivated, but can be a distraction for some students. This is why a student must find the right “noise” to keep them motivated. Music puts people in a better emotional state and gives them a purpose to study besides the usual “because we have to.” Yes, as college students, we will all have that same stress of getting top grades in our classes. So why not make studying less stressful and add some music to motivate? We have to study to achieve goals and have something to look forward to. First, find your spot. Then bump that long stream of uninterrupted noise, calm or energetic music and get studying. 


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