Archive for April 5th, 2017

Can Music Help You Study Better?

April 5th, 2017

BY AMIR ASMITH

There’s usually two types of students – ones who study best in absolute silence and the ones who can only get work done with some background music. Some students actually believe music helps them focus better and study faster. They could be right.

Anyone who’s studied music journalism will tell you music is known to have a significant impact on your body and emotional state. Filmmakers have used crashing chords and rising tempo to make you feel excited or terrified while watching a movie. There are rumors that movies like Psycho and Paranormal Activity are so hard to watch because the directors added a low-frequency sound to the final cut that made the viewer subconsciously uneasy.

Music has been used for everything, from busting stress to putting people into hypnosis. So, can it also help you study better?

Fortunately, there’s been some academic research dedicated to answering this question. Unfortunately, the results are inconclusive.

The Science

In 2013, researchers at the University of Maryland observed a bunch of students trying to solve math problems. Half of them were left in a room with music playing, while the other half were left in complete silence. Just to be certain, the researchers further divided the class with music into two groups. Half of them were listening to slow piano music, while the other half were listening to a heavy metal band.

The study showed that heavy metal clearly wasn’t helping anyone study better. The students in that group did the worst. Silence, it seems, was the clear winner in this study. Students who completed their test in a silent room scored better than ones listening to piano music.

That’s not to say listening to piano music was useless. It helped calm the students and lowered their anxiety. Students listening to piano music said they felt motivated to focus better. However, the music was somewhat distracting, which is why scores were less than average.

Similar studies in France and Taiwan, however, found that music had a positive impact on worker productivity. High-intensity music helped workers complete routine tasks faster and with fewer errors. Low-intensity music helped cut stress. How this boost in productivity translates to students studying for college exams is unclear.

Conclusion

For most students, it’s simply easier to study in a quiet place. Silence is, perhaps, necessary for cognitive tasks like learning a new skill. Some students prefer studying with ambient sounds. As long as the sounds are soft and instrumental, their focus won’t be impacted.

For students who absolutely cannot study without music, a better solution would be to study in a noisy cafe or with white noise in the background. Everyone has a unique method of studying and picking what works best for you could actually be the key to success at college.

Bio: Amira Smith is a photographer and recent college graduate, who still cherishes her life in college. She writes short novels and devotes her time to helping animal shelter in her hometown.

Healthy Eating Tips for Students

April 5th, 2017

BY SYLVIA KOHL

College years may seem like the best time of one’s life – you meet new people, take part in wild parties, take up new activities and in general have more freedom than at any time before or after. It is, however, also rife with stress, crunch times and all-night exam preparation sessions – which are just some of the reasons why many acquire unhealthy eating habits when at college. At the same time, keeping your diet healthy and being mindful of how and what you eat can considerably improve your success at studying and lay foundations to a healthy lifestyle for which you will be grateful in the years to come. So how should a student go about it?

1.    Start Your Day with a Good Breakfast

Breakfast is widely considered the most important meal of the day. By skipping it, you severely limit your ability to process new information throughout the day which is, of course, detrimental to your learning. Lack of time is no excuse – start getting up earlier and read up on some quick breakfast ideas.

2.    Stock up on Healthy Snacks

When you are studying late or have too much on hand to spend time cooking or eating out, hunger always sneaks up on you unexpectedly. When you are tired the allure of a vending machine’s fare, chock full of corn syrup, sugar and fat, can become irresistible. However, if you keep healthy snacks like organic chocolate, nuts, dried fruits, granola or suchlike on hand, it will be easier to just dig into them.

3.    Drink a Lot of Water

Optimal water intake for a grown human is about eight glasses per day; if you lead an active lifestyle, you may easily need twice as much. Coffee, tea, and sodas don’t count. In addition to generally being beneficial for your well-being, it helps you eat less. Most people eat much more than they need, and to a certain extent, it is caused by them not drinking enough water. So, by increasing your intake, you will take additional care of your waistline as well.

4.    Eat Natural Whole Foods Whenever Possible

Processed foods you see everywhere today are specifically designed to provide immediate gratification, artificially sweetened, full of flavor enhancers and so on – but they possess very little regarding nutritional value. Natural whole foods may be harder to come by and more expensive, but they are full of nutrients (which means that you need to eat less) and are good for your health – which means that they are more of an investment than an expense.

5.    Eat Less Sugar and Salt

Sugar contains a lot of calories but isn’t exactly rich in nutrients. It may provide a pleasant sugar high that can make you feel energized and ready to take on the world, but this feeling is fleeting and is soon replaced by its exact opposite – which means it is inefficient as well as instrumental in causing obesity and tooth decay. Salt is necessary for the functioning of our bodies, but not nearly in the quantities most modern people consume it. You see, both sugar and salt are rather hard to come by in natural conditions in which humans have evolved. Thus, our brains are hard-wired to eat them whenever we can find them, which plays a sick joke on our health in today’s world in which both are easily available.

Maintaining a healthy diet is important at any stage of life, but students are probably among those who can benefit most from it. By establishing healthy habits at this formative period, you have a chance of laying a sound foundation for your entire life.

 

Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.