Click for our Advice on Revision Technique

It is often believed that listening to music will help revision and studying....IT DOESN’T! (except in certain circumstances). Here is a summary of the most important info, based on current findings…….

You might have heard of something called the "Mozart effect" where the original finding was that listening to some Mozart before you did a task boosted performance on that task. For various reasons, this has now been debunked. It's not just Mozart. The same applies to pop music, rock music, pretty much anything. Basically, listening to some music gets you hyped up. It puts you in the right mindset to do lots of different tasks and can help with concentration, memory, all sorts of things. But that's having it on before you start studying - at best the effect MIGHT last for 15 mins. When they've tested out people studying, doing memory tests with music on, most of the time, it does cause detrimental effects to their performance. Sometimes they even found that it's worse when you like the music. But it does vary from music to music. Music with lyrics is thought to be a lot worse than music without lyrics because your brain is getting distracted by the words, trying to follow along with them, and therefore, not concentrating on what you're reading or studying. You need your WHOLE brain to be involved when you are revising.

However, if you are doing something that you are really practised at, then music can help. For example, when I was learning to drive it was about 6 months before I could even think of having the radio on at the same time, because it made it harder to concentrate. Once I was a confident driver, having music on was fine. In fact, if I drive a long distance or on a motorway, then it can be beneficial, because it stops me from getting bored or distracted.

So, if it's something that you're an expert at already then it can be beneficial. Surgeons, for example, often listen to music while performing operations.

If you are revising in a noisy environment, then listening to music could help to blot out what is going on around you, especially if there is lots of chatter that you might find interesting, eg: friends talking. However the volume that would be required would then make it harder for your brain to concentrate (and could also be harmful to your hearing) So to summarize, revision and music don’t mix!


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Looking after yourself during GCSEs: Student Guide

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Emotionally healthy approach to GCSEs: Teachers