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How to Study: Stress, Noise and Study Habits


Boy trying to study in a noisy enviorment

Studying for a test, scenario A:

  • A student slouches on the couch in front of the TV, which is on. There is a cell phone open on the coffee table. The student also has iPod ear buds nestled in her lobes, a book propped open on her knees, which are bopping to a bass beat, a vacant stare in her eye.

Studying for a test, scenario B:

  • A student sits at a desk. The room is quiet and well lit. There is little distraction—no TV, no computer, no cell phone. Books are open on a desk and student B is focused on his work.

Clearly, student A’s concentration is less than focused on the task at hand, but there may be more wrong here than poor study habits. The increased decibels from the TV, the iPod, and the cell phone may be doing more to increase stress levels than the upcoming test!

A study from the World Health Organization shows that excessive noise is linked to health problems. Physiological changes occur in the body when loud noise is present in the environment that a person may not even be aware of—stress hormones increase, sleep patterns can be disrupted, and ear problems such as tinnitus can develop—all from even small increases in the background noise level.

And you thought that loud noise was just bad for concentration!

Attention all students who study like the student in scenario A: Turn down the volume. Take a deep breath. Reduce your stress. Study, and do it quietly, with little to no distractions—your health and your memory will thank you.

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