Turn Up That Music While You Study! New Research Challenges Conventional Wisdom About Study Habits – Read Up, Students!

The New York Times recently reported that much of what we’ve come to accept as common knowledge about the best way in which to study – in an empty room, minus distraction, on a schedule – is absolutely wrong!

According to the Times, studies have shown that students who study minus distraction have worse retention than those who study with some distraction.

The researchers hypothesize that when the brain is busy both with studying and with processing other sounds and noises, it forces it to use more neural pathways which causes students to remember more.

In short, students studying with a picturesque view out the window performed far better than those studying minus the distracting view!

Research has also recently shown that repeatedly studying the same thing – with no variety – leads to worse retention rates, and eventually, worse test scores.  Give a kid a single equation to memorize, and he will try but likely fail.  Give a kid 4 equations to memorize, and apparently he will do significantly better because his brain is engaged and actively working to distinguish between the equations.

So when your parents tell you to turn down that music while you study, tell them that you are engaging your neural pathways for better retention which may lead to higher test scores! (But don’t tell them I told you to).

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