Why you should listen to soundtracks while you study

Someone listening to music
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A new semester begins this week, which means it’s back to lectures, homework and exams. More likely than not, exams are the last thing you want to think about at the beginning of the school year. The earlier you start preparing, however, the better off you will be once midterm season begins. So, realistically, now’s the time to start thinking about studying and forming new study habits. One habit that may be useful to you is listening to soundtracks as you study. 

Here are some benefits to listening to a movie or television soundtrack while you study.

It can be motivating

Sometimes, the hardest part of studying is staying motivated. It’s just you, your notes and your own personal study methodologies. All the drive to keep going in this study setup has to come from you. Adding a soundtrack to your study session may be a good way to inject some outside motivation. For example, the swell of an orchestra can make reading through a lecture feel as if you’re overcoming incredible odds. The drama and quiet intensity of many soundtracks can really help if you struggle to stay motivated. The rich sounds basically act as a score for your study success. 

It’s less distracting than other types of music

Having someone singing right in your ears (through your headphones) can be distracting if you are trying to study. This tends to be a problem when listening to most genres of music while you study. It isn’t a problem, though, with most soundtracks. Film scores rarely, if ever, have singing, and if they do, there’s a good chance you’ll have no idea what is being sung anyway. This means a soundtrack can give you the benefit of listening to music while you study but without the distraction of lyrics. Give soundtracks a chance if you enjoy listening to music as you study already.

You can structure a study session around it

An issue with study sessions is that they can be as long or as short as you want. There is often no defined stop time. If you want to combat this, why not let the length of your study session be decided by the length of a soundtrack? Soundtracks can be a great benchmark for the time you want to spend studying. None are short, so you’ll get plenty of studying in, but none are ridiculously long. By listening to one or two soundtracks, you can study for a structured period of time. You may even consider moving on to a new topic each time the song changes, as some soundtracks are made up of a few very long songs. This can keep you moving through the material while allocating time for each topic. Just find a soundtrack that works for you and gets you studying.

It can drown out other distractions

This semester, as many of us know and feel, has its own special challenges in comparison to previous semesters. One of those is that many of you may be spending the semester with your family at home. That may mean you’ll be going to school virtually at the same time your parents are going to work virtually. You might even have siblings who are also attending school remotely. Working in an atmosphere like that may create a lot of noise and distraction in your house. All those people talking to their computer screens might be too much of a distraction for you to study. Even if you are back in Berkeley, you may have roommates you’re sharing space with, which may create distractions for you. A soundtrack played loud enough (through some headphones) is a good way for you to remove those distractions and be alone with the material and the music.

A soundtrack can definitely be a great study buddy. It has the ability to keep you on track and motivated, and it may even help you avoid distractions. If you plan on listening to a soundtrack as you study, why not check out this list of some of the best soundtracks to study to

We hope you find ways to enjoy and successfully navigate the virtual semester — happy studying!

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .