Creating A Study Vibes Playlist

Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

August 06, 2019 at 11:30 AM

Test Prep Test Day Night Before Music

Before we begin, I’m going to take the time to insert yet another #ShamelessPlug. Check out my other article “Is Your Brain Hungry?” which outlines the best foods to eat to boost brain activity. See, that wasn’t too long to read now was it? Okay, let’s begin!

Sure, there are plenty of ways to enhance your ability to focus, but a more enjoyable habit you can develop is simply listening to music. Listening to music can do a boat load of things for you including:

  • enhance efficiency (when performing tasks repetitively)
  • increase productivity
  • increase [mental] presence
  • stimulate creativity
  • improve mood due to release of dopamine

If you’re struggling with productivity, or you’re unsure of what music to play in the background while you’re on Prepmedians studying for the SAT or ACT, consider these three different types of music to help you put your best foot forward.


So, there’s this theory called the “Mozart Effect” that claims that classical music can enhance brain activity, and can be used as a catalyst for improving health and well-being. Classical music is known to be very calming and relaxing, and therefore, it is also a huge stress reliever. Listening to classical music will not only help you study longer, but it will also help you retain more information. Try starting off with classical composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc. I personally love to listen to classical music, specifically Tchaikovsky, when studying because the absence of lyrics has proven to not be a distraction for me when I’m trying to focus.

Movie Scores

One of my favorite movie scores has to be from the movie Inception. And trust me, you’ll be surprised at how empowering cinematic music scores can be. Even when you’re just chipping away at a list of clerical tasks, an epic soundtrack in the background makes what you’re doing more exciting. I, myself, happen to be both a Marvel fanatic and a Star Wars fanatic. In fact, my ringtone is the Avengers Assemble Theme from the 2012 soundtrack and my message notification sound is Darth Vader. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, having the same taste as a seven year old boy is probably questionable and lame. That’s fair. Heck, I probably agree! But, call it what you want, I really don’t care. That’s beyond the point I’m trying to make. The point is that movie soundtracks can make the most mundane tasks feel important by simply lifting your spirit and brightening your mood. This will give you that extra boost of motivation we all yearn for, thus improving your productivity and concentration. ## Video Games The same thing applies to video games. The general purpose for video games is to create an enhanced experience for all of your senses. Thus, the music within these games echoes the simulated, stressful hardships you’re subjecting yourself to which keeps you engaged. Consider fantasy, action-adventure games like The Legend of Zelda or first-person shooter games like the Halo franchise.


Natural sounds are another way to boost your mood and focus. Why? Because they mask the distracting noises around you like people talking, eating, typing, etc. Enhance your cognitive function and concentration by listening to the soothing sounds of nature. I love rainy days, so listening to rainfall while studying creates an atmosphere that I enjoy which keeps me motivated.

Remember that…

Music is one of the very few things that connects us all. It’s a very cliché statement, but it’s true. Music is used in more ways beyond entertainment for ourselves. Music encourages us to be more productive and promotes our own creativity. All in all, music is beneficial to us because it helps with learning and improves our ability to process information.

Click on the following link to get started on your Prepmedians journey and jam out to some music that stimulates brain activity while you’re at it wink wink.

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Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

Gerrin scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Fun fact: She has done the #wopchallenge on nearly every corner of the campus, including the quad.