How Music Can Improve You: The Link Between GPA and Music

Man with headphones studying with laptop and notebook Courtesy of

Gavin Vondercrone

Contributing Writer

Before every one of my study sessions, I always make sure to put my headphones in, hop on Spotify and turn on some Frank Ocean. Listening to music while studying has almost become second nature to me. I even made a whole playlist full of some of my favorite songs specifically for studying.

Even if I may focus a bit too much on the music at times, or can’t help but to sing along to my favorite lyrics, I don’t find it hindering my studies. In fact, I find it to be quite helpful. Oddly enough, studies also support the idea.

Research conducted by National University showed that listening to music while studying produces several positive effects such as reduced stress, lowered test anxiety,  better performance in high-pressure situations like final exams and improved information retention. Studies also found that students who listen to music while studying have higher GPAs. Cognition Today and Med School Insiders have found similar results.

The relationship is simple. Listening to your favorite artists when preparing for the big test can prove beneficial to your academic performance. Whenever I study, I find myself entering a much more focused state of mind because of the music. It offers a method to help me focus on the material that I need to go over, and I truly believe that it helps me with retaining information.

Zoey Mickels, marine biology and environmental science major, shared a similar opinion. “It helps me stay calm,” she said. “I listen to it and just lock in.” (One of the main things people find listening to music useful for.)

For other students turning on music is a way to eliminate the awkward silence that may come with studying. Ryleigh Davis, English major, said, “I don’t focus on the words too much, as it mostly functions as background noise so I’m not sitting in silence.”

As multiple researchers discuss, the most common issue people find with listening to music while studying is getting distracted by the lyrics of their favorite songs. However, studies suggest that listening to a certain type of music can help eliminate this issue.

A study conducted by the University of Maryland found that listening to ambient music, in other words, songs stripped down to just the instrumental can alleviate the issue. Listening to ambient music can lower the chances of getting too caught up in the song because there are no lyrics to sing along to. The study found that classical music such as Mozart proved to be great for increasing productivity during study sessions.

The endless domain that is the music world provides students with a plethora of options when it comes to studying tunes. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you think will help you have the best study session possible.

So the next time you go to prepare for a big exam, don’t be afraid to put on some of your favorite songs. And if you’re worried that you’ll get too caught up in the lyrics, then maybe some Motzart might be for you.