Music and Studying: Do They Mix?

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When it comes to studying for midterms, students are looking for any excuse to exchange the pen in their hand for the remote – or for that matter, any object other than said pen.  Many try blocking the outside world by plugging into their own via iPod or mp3 player.  For years, it has been debated whether music helps or hinders healthy study habits.  Research shows when it comes to plugging in the earbuds, there’s a very fine line between stimulus and distraction.  While some music can provide tremendous benefits, others can quickly ruin your study steez.

If you think pumping up some Lady GaGa is going to help you ace that exam, think again. Here are some things to keep in mind when using your iTunes library as a study buddy:

Typical college jams aren’t going to cut it 

Influential studies suggest that music from the Classical or Baroque periods are most supportive of a good study setting.  These types of music generally carry a tempo of 60 beats per minute, activating the part of your brain that helps memorize and process new information more efficiently.   

Typically, lyrics get in the way 

Anything with lyrics forces you to focus on those lyrics rather than the material you are studying. Remember, sing-a-longs are chemistry midterm kryptonite.  

Don’t bust out a new CD the night before a big test. 

Analyzing new music will be a huge deterrent to retaining any new information.  Instead, opt for music you know well that can easily blend into the background.

Anything fast paced is best saved for the dance floor

This is because you'll obviously want to host a dance party as soon as you hear these tunes. And studying while dancing is, you know, tough.

Music has the ability to intensely affect mood. 

Pick songs that will make you feel happy and optimistic, not something that will send you into a full-on fetal position breakdown. Music that conjures any type of nostalgia or emotional response is a mistake; pick neutral tunes

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