Is music beneficial or distracting when studying? Picture: Pexels/Kaboompics
Is music beneficial or distracting when studying? Picture: Pexels/Kaboompics

Does listening to music while studying help?

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Nov 11, 2020

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While music generally puts us in a good mood, which can be beneficial when studying during exam time, listening to music while studying can also be a great distraction.

According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Centre, music produced several positive effects on a human’s body and brain.

It noted that music activated both the left and right brain simultaneously, and the activation of both hemispheres could maximise learning and improve memory.

Another positive effect that music has is it lowers your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is usually responsible for feelings of stress and anxiety.

However, while music may help with memory it can also disadvantage you. Pupils who use music to help them memorise often find it hard to recall the information in a later test taken in a silent environment.

Pros of listening to music while studying:

  • Music can help students beat stress or anxiety while studying.
  • Background music may improve focus on a task by providing motivation and improving mood.
  • During long study sessions, music can help with endurance.
  • Music also helps with memory by creating a positive mood, which indirectly boosts memory formation.

Cons of listening to music while studying:

  • When listening to music with lyrics during reading or writing tasks, you will tend to be less efficient and absorb less information.
  • Loud or agitated music can have adverse effects on reading comprehension and mood, making focus more difficult.
  • When you use music to memorise information, you will need to listen to music when you’re in the exam room as well to reap the benefits of this study method. In the quiet exam room environment, it will be even more difficult to remember the information you have studied when you were listening to music.

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