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Vast Majority Of Americans Prefer Music During Study Time

Of those that do listen to music while studying, 80 percent agree that it’s therapeutic.

If picking a playlist was your first step when studying, you’re more likely to have had a high-grade point average, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans looked at the tie between music and study habits and found those who play music were likelier to have a grade point average above 3.2 – 84 percent vs. 78 percent.

Results showed that 49 percent of respondents recall regularly listening to music while studying, and 60 percent said they were able to study better with sound on in the background.

Further, this percentage is likely to increase for younger students. Fifty-eight percent of 18-25-year-olds noted they listened to music while studying, compared to only 41 percent of respondents ages 58 to 76.

And this trend continues beyond the classroom and into the workplace. Currently, two in three Americans listen to music while working. Most of those respondents feel more productive at work when listening to music: 89 percent, and said that it makes them look forward to working more – 84 percent.

Of those that do listen to music while studying, 80 percent agree that it’s therapeutic and three in four said it helped them absorb information more.

Similarly, 81 percent of those who listen to music while studying said it helps make their learning experience more enjoyable.

Respondents shared some of their favorite songs to study to, including “Riverside” by Agnes Obel, “Against the World” by Bob Seger, or even “God’s Plan” by Drake.

New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of CSU Global found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are able to study better with sound on in the background. Undated photo illustration. (Josh Castronuovo, SWNS/Zenger)

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Colorado State University-Global, the survey found that 31 percent of the respondents recommend classical music for a productive study session, as opposed to the 28 percent preferring R&B, and the 28 percent sticking with country music.

And 30 percent cited sounds, 26 percent prefer real-life sounds, and 24 percent like podcasts as background noise while studying.

“There are a variety of platforms students can tap into to aid their studying habits, whether it’s an instrumental music playlist on Spotify, a soothing meditation on Calm, or rain sounds on YouTube,” said Christina Agvent, program director of teaching and learning at Colorado State University-Global. “There is something out there to fit every student’s preferences and study styles.”

The survey also delved into the differences between those who enjoy listening to music while studying and those who don’t and found that of the two-thirds of respondents who said they were focused in school, 59 percent listened to music while studying.

Those who listened to music while studying were also more likely to use mnemonic devices, notecards or other creative tools to help them memorize information – 52 percent as opposed to 36 percent.

This may be why music listeners had an easier time taking tests – 64 percent vs. 45 percent – and felt more prepared for class regularly: 80 percent vs. 66 percent.

While the average person spent five and a half hours studying every week, those who enjoyed music were more likely to spend upwards of seven hours a week.

It’s no surprise, then, that 58 percent of respondents agree that schools should consider allowing students to experiment with background music while studying to help improve their focus.

“Listening to music while studying can be an extremely helpful tool for some students in improving their focus,” Agvent said. “I encourage all to explore different genres or other sounds to discover what may be the best fit for them in aiding their educational experience.”

Noemi Antioquia (C), 23 years-old from Madrid, makes her homework at her parents house in the Netherlands, on April 22, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Top music genres during study time:

Classical – 31 percent
R&B – 28 percent [TIED]
Classic – 28 percent [TIED]
Country – 28 percent
Rock – 26 percent
Old favorites – 26 percent
Gospel – 25 percent
Jazz – 23 percent
Hip hop – 22 percent
Pop/Top 100 – 21 percent [TIED]
Instrumental soundtracks – 21 percent [TIED]

Produced in association with SWNS.

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