You might think you already know how to be an efficient studier, but if you’re finding it difficult to concentrate or your grades are taking a hit, it might be time to rethink the way you crack the books. Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can change your habits and learn to train your brain to absorb all the important information while leaving stress and anxiety at the door.
One of the best ways you can help get your mind on the right track is to listen to and make music. Many studies done over the years have shown that learning to play certain types of music can significantly affect an individual’s ability to score better in math, while simply listening to music may help increase memory function during study sessions.
While it’s important to remember that everyone learns differently, you might find that changing the way your brain absorbs information can help you become a better student. For instance, in one study, researchers noted a marked positive difference in the math scores of a group of children who were given musical instruction focused on rhythm and pitch.
The effect music can have on the brain is a wondrous thing, and it has fascinated scientists and researchers alike for decades. Certain sounds seem to wake up parts of the brain, and this has been studied extensively by some researchers who believe that listening to Mozart’s compositions can have a profound effect on learning and retaining mathematical skills. This is because Mozart tended to write very sequential music, which scientists believe is essential in learning spatial-temporal reasoning–a fancy way of saying that one can find patterns, compare two or more images, and fit something into something else.
Various studies have been done on the phenomenon of music’s effect on the brain, and while some of these contradict one another, there are several factors that are at play. Your personality, studying habits, preferred music genre, environment, and feelings about learning are all involved in the way you learn and retain information. For instance, some studies have shown that listening to music can make concentration more difficult if the music is a favorite of the listener. Having a playlist of the songs you love and listen to all the time may seem like a good idea when you’re studying, but it could be distracting you, and it might even have a negative effect on your memorization skills. Instead, try listening to classical music while you work.
Of course, it’s also important to make sure you are comfortable and that your environment won’t be a distraction while you work. This includes decluttering your workspace and surrounding areas, making sure the temperature of the immediate area isn’t too hot or cold, your clothing isn’t too restricting, and that you aren’t hungry or thirsty. Making sure you have everything you need and are ready to go is the best way to ensure you won’t waste valuable study time.
If you’re hitting the books in a public space–such as a park or a busy library–it might be best to put on some headphones and listen to classical music while you work. Studies have shown that ambient background noise is much more distracting and detrimental to learning than listening to music.
Music is also beneficial when it comes to taking the stress out of studying. Research shows that listening to music can lower your blood pressure and anxiety levels, which can certainly make you feel better about staying up late to learn.