Even though the library is meant to be a quiet place to study, it can definitely be distracting at times. In this day and age of digital music, most students choose to put in their headphones and listen to music while studying because they think it will help them concentrate. This assumption is not always true as different genres of music show different results while studying, and some contribute to greater academic success than others.
According to Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford University in an article in USA Today, listening to music with lyrics inhibits your ability to retain information while studying, especially in writing or reading, due to cognitive limitations because they are both using the language parts of your brain. It’s essentially like trying to read a book in a room full of loud, talkative people, which isn’t easy. This rules out many types of popular music to listen to while studying, but maybe students these days need to take a page out of their history textbook and go back to the roots of today’s music: classical music.
A study was done at the University of Nebraska at Omaha on the correlation between classical music and test scores. They split 72 undergrad students into five groups, each of the five listening to different classical music while talking a multiple-choice test. The study concluded that the music had “no statistically significant effect on multiple choice test scores.” This is also consistent with previous research, according to the study. This shows that listening to classical music during a test does not necessarily help, but that’s not to say it does not help with studying.
Classical music is widely known to have a calming effect on people. A study done at Emporia State University holds constant with that assumption, showing a positive correlation between classical music and calmness, security, satisfaction, comfortableness, relaxation, and pleasantness. Even though classical music does not directly help with test taking, we can still see how it can contribute to overall academic success. As I’m sure you’re all aware of, studying while in an unpleasant mood or while stressed/jittery is very hard and often times ineffective. Listening to classical background music while studying will calm your mood and aid you while studying, helping you stay concentrated and relaxed.
Next time you are anxious and have a hard time staying focused while studying, try listening to a classical artist like Beethoven or Mozart. They will help you get ready to ace that next big exam.