Does Studying In Different Settings Improve Performance?

Each night I try studying inside my room, but for some reason I can’t seem to focus. Usually my roommate is in the room playing music or trying to converse with me as I am doing my work. I thought the extra background noise was the reason i could not concentrate, but even when he was not present in the room, I was still sidetracked. After I came to the realization that I worked poorly in my dorm room, I began experimenting by studying in different locations.

After a few days of experimentation, I found that studying in the lounge area of my residence hall early in the morning, and even outside during night elicited the most productivity for me. My hypothesis for why these locations worked for me is because both were relatively quiet during these times, the temperature was just right (not to hot, humid, or cold), and I did not have random items in sight to distract me (like I did in my room).

study location

So what are ALL the factors are there to take into consideration when determining a good workplace?

  • Temperature
  • Noise Level/Background Noise
  • Lighting
  • Smell
  • comfortability
  • Miscellaneous Distractions

An article discusses how temperatures between 69.8 and 71.6 degrees result in the highest productivity. On the other hand if the location is too warm, one may get sweaty or dehydrated which can make one lose focus. Also, being too cold will result in being unable to concentrate.

too hot - too cold


Another huge factor that comes in to play is background noise. A study  was done on 7th and 10th graders and it found that the high academic students who were not in range of noise from the airport, performed better than those who did experience airport noise. Additionally, many people enjoy listening to music while they complete their homework and study; but research shows it can be detrimental. So when is music harmful? In most cases, when the volume is too loud and/or has lyrics. When those two factors are present, then retention rates decrease and the more difficult it becomes to concentrate. Music with headphones on is extremely harmful; but if it’s just playing in the background it can block out other noises without much harm. On  the other hand, listening to classical music has a soothing effect, and produces the “Mozart Effect

Lighting is also plays a role in performance, for example poor lighting lessens the brain’s effectiveness when it comes to collecting data.

poor lighting


You can read more about lighting here.

Last of all, when choosing a place to study consider the smell and the amount of comfortability it provides. Dorms or bedrooms usually aren’t the best places to study due to your bed being easily accessible, which may lead to one just sleeping instead of actually completing their work. On the flip side, avoid places that will cause discomfort. Also, find a location where random items are not in your vision to distract you.

Hopefully everyone can find there ideal study location after reading this blog! Good luck!



11 thoughts on “Does Studying In Different Settings Improve Performance?

  1. Eric Choi

    I am a freshman, and so far I have not left my dorm when it came to studying. For me, the biggest factor that prohibits me from studying efficiently is my phone. I am glued to my phone 24/7 and take constant breaks when I am either reading textbook chapters or doing online quizzes. I decided that shutting off my phone and putting it in the drawer is the best way to go. I thought the Mozart Effect was pretty cool. Back in high school, I was always kind of jealous of the people who were able put in their headphones and listen to music while they worked. I can NEVER do that and this article proves my point. I guess noise doesn’t apply to everyone and some are better at multi tasking.

  2. Kateryna Onysko

    I figured out a long time ago that the best place for me to study is my dorm. I feel more comfortable doing homework alone when there is nobody around. Noise factor plays a very important role because I hate the typing sound of other 1000 students at the HUB. I need a complete silent to concentrate and articultae y own thoghts in a right order. I never lie on the bed when I am working on something because it is too relaxing and I am just falling asleep. The list of factors you wrote about is very useful to think about when person chooses where to study.

  3. Marcella Santos

    It’s funny because I still have not found my nitch. I don’t know where I like to study and I’m not courageous enough to just leave my room and try considering I do an okay job in my room. Back home, I always studied in my room and it always worked just fine. I think a studying place is something that one becomes adjusted too. If I were to study in the library or somewhere else, I feel like I would be distracted by the people walking back and forth. The new environment itself would distract me; it’s all about adjusting. I do think this post was cool because we all suffer from this same adjusting issue.

  4. Alexandra Herr

    Adjusting to the college atmosphere was tough for me. One of the toughest parts was trying to find a place and way to be most productive. It took me 3 weeks in the summer session to find my niche and actually work at my highest level. The worst place I can possibly study (for me personally) is my dorm room. The bed generates a distraction, and actually makes me feel more tired. The desk is also too distracting, with the bed propped right next to it. The 3rd floor of the HUB was my favorite study destination in the summer because of the quiet atmosphere and comfy (but not too comfy) chairs. The only issue with it now is that there are 30,000 extra people circulating through the HUB, so the quietness is gone and the availability of the comfy chairs is minimal. I believe that everyone needs to experiment in different locations to find their perfect study spot. I am currently going through that and can’t wait to find that one perfect spot.

  5. zrl5024

    This post resonated with me and speaks truth. I usually want to do my work in my dorm room as I figure my bed is a comfortable place for me to pay attention, but that just isn’t true. When I go to places such as the HUB or the library and see other people who are studying or doing work on the computers it sort of forces me to do the same as most aren’t trying to have a conversation or play on their phones. On the contrary, when I am studying in my room I’ve noticed that once I eat something and put my fan on in a low cooling setting I can better focus. Other places are preferred though.

  6. Madisen Lee Zaykowski

    I found this topic relatable because I too have a problem with studying and doing homework in my dorm. I always try to study or do homework in my dorm because that is where I am most comfortable, but I find myself distracted by small things or my roommate often in I am in my own bed as opposed to a couch in the hub. It is interesting to read that all those small factors, like lighting and temperature, truly do make an impact on my concentration. By reading this blog I did realize why I focus better in the hub because of certain factors as opposed to my own dorm room.

  7. Aaron Jacob Harris

    I have never succeeded in productively studying in my dorm room. I find that I need to separate different locations in my life. The library is for studying and getting work done because that is an academic place without much outside distraction. I reserve time in my dorm room for relaxation and other enjoyable activities. Even for the smallest of tasks, I will leave my dorm room because I don’t want to “bring my work home with me”. This may cause some very late nights in the library, but the grades I earn will be worth it!

  8. Haley Amanda Toadvine

    I found this article extremely interesting! Since I have been at Penn State I have tried studying in both the library and in the comfort of my dorm room. The library has been exponentially better for me to focus and get my work done. I thought it was interesting you mentioned comfort because I assumed that studying in bed would be better as I would be comfortable and relaxed, however, it did the opposite and caused me to loose concentration on my work all together. I liked this article because it confirmed my belief that one should not study in the same location he/she relaxes. According to a separate study, clocks in the room can also be a distraction. Furthermore, the article discussed smells, both good and bad smells, as significant distractions, two aspects I had not considered before!

  9. Elyssa Paige Woods

    I, for one, cannot study in my own dorm because the distractions range from wanting to sleep and watching Netflix. That is a very good idea choosing the times when the least amount of people are out to do your work. For me as well, the quieter the better.

  10. eks5208

    This is a very helpful article. Ive been struggling with focus on my studies and this really showed me why. Even while writing this my roommate is watching tv and I can see how distracting it is. I found it very interesting that temperature has such an effect on focus. I always thought the colder the temperature the more alert/awake someone is. I found that the listening to white noise really helps me focus. It puts me into a zone and blocks everything out.

  11. John McGranaghan

    I am a firm believer that where you study has a lot to do with how you perform. My first semester of freshman year I studied a lot but I stayed in my room to do the tasks. I struggled mightily my first semester. However, the next semester I decided to leave my room and go to the library. I found that my performance was much better, even though I studied roughly the same amount of time for each class respectively. Even though this is only imaginary data in its own sense, I believe their is a correlation and your blog does so in proving the possible correlation.

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