Exam calm

Exam calm

With assessments and exams looming, stress levels can begin to rise.

No matter how organised and prepared you are, it's likely that you may still experience some level of stress during this important time in your life. Don't worry, there are lots of techniques to help you cope – such as listening to music. Research suggests that music can help to reduce stress, regulate your mood and even boost your cognitive performance during exam periods. Here are our top 10 tips to help you get the most of out your music this exam season:

  • Tip 1: Listen to your favourite music before you start working to boost your performance.
  • Tip 2: Background music can be used to stimulate the mind whilst revising and may be particularly beneficial if you have an extrovert personality.
  • Tip 3: If you are listening to music, consider your choice of piece carefully: the style (classical/jazz/popular/folk), tempo (fast/slow), lyrics (with/without) and complexity of the music (harmony, rhythm) will influence levels of stimulation.
  • Tip 4: Often music without lyrics is better as song texts can distract from reading/writing processes, while familiar music may be preferred too.
  • Tip 5: If you prefer to revise silently, consider using music listening to provide release before/after sessions and during breaks.
  • Tip 6: Music can be used to reflect your mood (if you are feeling down, you can choose a piece of music that resonates with that feeling), or to change your mood (if you are feeling down and want to be 'uplifted', choose accordingly to energise your mood).
  • Tip 7: Using "shuffle" mode may be less helpful to regulate your emotions as this reduces the level of choice in your listening. 
  • Tip 8: Listening to music on your own can be therapeutic, but so can listening to music with others: social bonding through music may provide welcome relief from solitary work which may help to reduce stress.
  • Tip 9: Remember that the degree of choice in your music listening influences how much it can be used to regulate your mood - choose what to listen to so you can be responsible for regulating your mood (and stress levels).
  • Tip 10: Use music to free the mind and bring perspective to what you are doing - there is more to life than worrying about exams!