Walk into any library on campus, and you'll no doubt find rows and rows of coffee-sipping students, laptops open, keyboards clicking, all silently jamming out to their music of choice through their headphones. But many people question whether studying to music is actually productive or whether it increases studying efficiency.

We set out to answer once and for all whether studying to music is actually helpful. The next time you're picking a playlist to hum to while studying for your finals, keep these tips in mind!


orange, citrus, studying, notes, taking notes, notebook, textbook, study snack, snack
Jocelyn Hsu

The most famous theory linking academic or cognitive success and music is the "Mozart effect", which says that listening to Mozart makes you smarter. Meanwhile, research shows that tasks involving memory and comprehension are best performed in silence, as it allows for better concentration. But as we all know, the library during finals is often far from quiet. People are eating, stage-whispering across the aisle, and making phone calls. In this case, crank up the classical and get to studying.

Jamming and Cramming

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Denise Uy

While Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach are usually considered the best music to listen to while studying, there aren't too many sources that support this claim. However, it has been proven that listening to music that is quieter and consistent in its tempo is best, meaning that you should save electronic and death metal music for your well-needed study breaks.

The same study also proved that people study and perform better in testing situations when they don't listen to their favourite songs, which gives you the perfect chance to find a cool new Spotify playlist. So crank up the tunes and get studying to some music.

Music Gives You Endorphins

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Kristine Mahan

Music serves as a much-needed mood-booster when exam season has got you down in the dumps. Personally, music is an important form of self-care and serves as a great way for me to take a break for a minute, clear my head, and return with renewed focus when my break is over.

There is no hard and fast rule for what kind of music will work for you, so it might take some experimenting with classical, acoustic, or whatever fits your mood. Luckily, Spotify has hundreds of amazing playlists that are hours long, perfect for studying to music during those cram sessions in the library. 

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger?

coffee, tea, chocolate
Justin Shannin

The key to surviving finals season, grinding out a long paper or lab report, or getting through that one course that you just hate so much, is studying smarter rather than harder. It is beneficial to your grades and your mental health to make a shorter study session count rather than accomplishing a small amount over a high number of hours. It takes a finals season or two to figure out what works best for you, so don't freak out.

Pop in those headphones, crank up the tunes and crack open those books. Less than two months until summer, right?