The first step in creating your ideal playlist is setting your goals.
With finals week upon us, there are so many hours of studying ahead. This is the time in the semester where parties, friends, and dating fall second to getting good grades. After all, you've done the work, attended class, and aced your quizzes...all that's left is getting a good grade on your final exam so you can focus on winter break.
We know how the process goes. You find your perfect studying spot like the library, the dining hall or the local coffeeshop. What's the first thing you do when your books, flashcards, and notes are out? Easy. You set the mood with a playlist. Crafting the perfect playlist for studying for your exams is an art, but we're making it an easy task so you can hit the books as soon as you get situated.
Step 1: Lyrics or no lyrics
When creating the perfect playlist, you need to understand how your attention works. Are you the kind of person that can tune out lyrics and read a passage without issue? Or do you find yourself mouthing the words and singing instead?
We recommend doing a test run. Put your favorite song and read a passage from a book. Once the song is over, reflect on how much information you retained.
Step 2: Upbeat or calm
This is when your approach to studying comes in. If you're studying for a final exam in math or chemistry, then you might want to go with something serene. This gives you the chance to focus on numbers and equations. Upbeat music might be better for subjects like history or english, where remembering specific details or solving formulas is not in the agenda.
Step 3: Set the right volume
The most important thing when setting the volume is to remember that the main task at hand is studying, not listening to music. Choose a volume setting that will keep your attention on the material and the songs as background music.
Step 4: Keep your playlist short
As much as you want to cram a semester's worth of material in one night, you need to be realistic. Create a playlist or playlists that will mimic the amount of time you need to study. For example, if you're studying in time slots of twenty minutes with five-minute breaks in between each, you can create a few playlists to time yourself.
Step 5: Listen to artists you don't know
When you play your favorite songs, it's easy to get distracted. You end up dancing or singing along to the lyrics. Spotify's "New Music Fridays" gives you new music and new artists to listen to. And unless you're the biggest music fan in the world, it's guaranteed you won't know any of them.
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