Tone Down Distractions and Turn Up Your Music

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

It is that time of the year again. Exams are looming. Late nights. Junk food binge. There are times when you do not even feel inspired to study for your exams, and everything is just static in your head when you think about your tests. Listening to music, however, may help you buckle down and focus on exam prep. Studies have shown that listening to music before studying or doing a task can be beneficial, as it improves attention, memory, and also your ability to perform mental math.giphy (20)

Here are a few ways to tone down your distractions and turn up your concentration.

1. A playlist of songs you are familiar with and could never get tired of listening.

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Personally, I find that listening to music does help me concentrate. It is usually songs that always listen to, or I have memorised over a period. Therefore, the songs have become natural to me, and it becomes nothing more than just rhythm and beat. By focusing on the rhythm and beat, I can mesh together what I am studying/reading with the beat of the song. When I get into the groove of studying, the songs just become soft tunes in the background.

2. Repeat a song over and over.


Compared to the previous method, this ensures a steady rhythm and tune for you to memorise and study. I’ve been listening to “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence on repeat to prepare for my exams, and I find that the rock beat keeps me awake and focused. Personally, slow songs make me feel relaxed as supposed to upbeat songs. I felt much more lively and driven to get stuff down when I listen to “Bring Me To Life” or any other rock song because it is fast-paced and exciting.

3. Listen to acoustic or instrumental songs.


When you are trying to memorise things in a particular order or are processing a lot of written word, songs with vocals might not help. Your brain might be thrown off and confused by various words in the song. Music that is too upbeat or loud can be distracting so find something that helps you relax but also with enough beat or rhythm to ensure you do not zone out while studying. Choose classical music or more acoustic music with minimal words to distract you. Try turning into scores from some of your favourite movies while you study.

4. Join a music streaming service and try out one of their automatic playlists or create your own!


Spotify is great if you are out of new music or if you have not any acoustic or classical music to listen. Sign up with your Facebook or Google+ account and you’ll have access to a multitude of songs from various artists. There’s a range of playlists you could choose from to suit your whims but don’t spend too much time browsing that you end up wasting your time! Apple Music also has the same features as Spotify too if you are more comfortable with that service.

Try these Spotify playlists:

The bottom line is, the final decision about studying while listening to music is up to you. You decide how you study and concentrate best – with a little T. Swift in the background or a little Ed Sheeran or some All Time Low. Alternatively, better yet, no music at all. Music’s effects on study habits will vary from person to person and also depends on the genre, how loud it is, etc. However, to be most productive when you study, you need to find out how music will affect your studying ability then curate a playlist based on that to best suit your needs.

Good luck!


Last modified: June 20, 2016

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