Students prepare for finals and work on projects by the Starbucks in the Paterno Library on Wednesday Dec. 5, 2018.

When studying for finals, it is important to find the most effective ways to study.

Whether it’s music, podcasts or simple white noise, everyone has different tastes. 

But even though listening to “Mr. Brightside" on repeat might get you pumped up for your finals, it might not be the most effective method.

According to, students who listen to music with lyrics while completing reading and writing tasks tend to be less efficient and don’t absorb as much of the information they were studying.

Music without lyrics — such as instrumentals to jazz songs or classical music tracks — serves as a sufficient background noise.

After a 1993 study done by Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw and Catherine Ky, the “Mozart Effect” theory was popularized. The “Mozart Effect” theory states that listening to Mozart’s music while doing tasks like studying, can raise your IQ and enhance brain power. While this theory has been dispelled in recent years and it has been proven that Mozart’s music can’t raise your IQ, it can possibly help with focusing.

Some Penn State students have begun to adopt this theory.

“I often like to listen to music with no words, like jazz music or classical music because it's less distracting while I’m studying,” Chloe Scott (senior-Chinese) said.

Daniel Yi felt similarly about listening to music with no words.

“When I’m listening to music with words, it becomes a lot easier for me to get distracted. When you’re listening to music with words your brain may end up focusing more on following along with the lyrics to the song,” Yi (junior-psychology) said.

“When studying I think listening to nature sounds helps with studying, it’s calming and doesn’t require you to focus on it. It’s also not very distracting either,” Meghna Choudhary (senior-advertising) said.

An app available on for download on both iPhone and Android phones, called “Calm” offers a variety of stress reduction techniques as well as relaxing sounds of nature, which could help with studying. Other apps similar to the “Calm” app can be found on the App Store and Google Play Store as well.

“I like to listen to country music while studying or overall any calm music that doesn’t require you to pay attention to it,” Harlee Shirvan (freshman-psychology) said. “Also listening to white noise while studying can also be really helpful and relaxing.”

Khalid Alkhatib can study using multiple forms of music depending on what’s being studied.

“When I’m studying things that need to be memorized, I listen to a lot of instrumental music, just so the words won't distract me. When I’m studying for math I can listen to rap or pop music,” Alkhatib (senior-electrical engineering) said.

Whether listening to instrumentals, sounds of nature, or your favorite songs to study, stay focused and study on, Penn Staters.

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