Five Essential Study Playlists

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Are you stuck in a studying rut? Bored with classical music or today's hits as the background to your library sessions? Here are my top 5 playlists to turn your studies up to eleven.

Video Game Soundtracks

This playlist is amazing for those late night paper writing efforts or all day study sessions. It’s made up of orchestral pieces from video games like Halo, Mass Effect, and Assassin’s Creed, but you don’t need to be a gamer to appreciate this playlist. The powerful music that plays during boss battles will give you the motivation to power through and defeat your assignments.

My recommendation: Siege by Hans Zimmer from the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 soundtrack

Last One Awake

This Spotify-curated playlist is full of slow, sorta sad songs backed by piano or acoustic guitar. The songs are supposed to be great for winding down and ending a night, but I find they are the perfect background for an eerie, defeated walk around the quad at 3 a.m., helping clear your head before you head back to the library to finish cramming for an 8 a.m. exam. These songs say: I’m here. I’m studying. But I’m only one textbook chapter away from a complete and total breakdown into a mess of exhaustion and tears.

My recommendation: Kids on the Run by The Tallest Man on Earth


We may be 90’s babies, but we were shaped by the 2000s. *NSYNC, Outkast, Train, Britney Spears, and Coldplay filled my mix CDs I played on my Walkman on the bus to school. This playlist is perfect for lifting your spirits in the middle of a tough study session. Singing along to SexyBack or Sk8er Boi helps you forget looming grades and assignments and go back to a time when your biggest concern was whoever had the coolest Silly Bands or if you remembered to feed your Tamagotchi. Slip back into your (metaphorical) bedazzled Crocs and jam out before you tackle that ten-page paper.

My Recommendation: Hot in Herre by Nelly

Study Vibes

These low-key, electronic songs will chill you out so you can breeze right through your assignments. Accidentally drank too much coffee and are too stressed and wired to study? Pop in your headphones and let these subdued tracks help you get centered and focused.

My recommendation: Ezra by Flume

Jazz for Sleep

Don’t fall asleep before you finish your paper due at midnight! This playlist may have been created to lull you to sleep, but don’t be fooled - it’s still a great group of songs to listen to while studying. I prefer jazz over classical because it’s more interesting - and you can never go wrong with saxophones. I’d recommend this for times when you’re doing memorization or something similarly intense where you don’t want to be distracted. Because there are no words, you won’t catch yourself accidentally singing along and losing your focus.

My recommendation: Lucky to be Me by Bill Evans

About The Author

Kristen is a senior at The University of Alabama majoring in English and minoring in journalism and creative writing. She loves music festivals, reading, Alabama Football, and binge watching Food Network. She serves as Health Chair for the Beta Rho Chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon. After graduation, she will be moving to Indianapolis to teach through Teach For America.