The Sound of Study: Bar Exam Prep Music

Can Listening to Music Actually Help You Study for the Bar Exam?  Surprisingly, Yes.


In today’s world, streaming music has become a fact of life.  More often than not, the above picture is replicated in law school libraries across the country.  Studies have shown that listening to music while studying can help with focus, concentration, and memory retention.  This phenomenon was first documented in 1993 when an increase in students’ test scores were observed if they had studied while listening to Mozart.  This improvement became known as the “Mozart Effect”.

In a 2011 study, Finnish researchers discovered a new way to map brain processes during different elements of music such as timbre and rhythm, which established the intimate connection between music and the brain.

However, if music does help in studying for the bar exam, is there a particular kind of music we need to listen to?  Can you just listen to Mozart and instantly pass the Bar Exam?  While we wish that was the case, listening to Mozart will not guarantee Bar Exam success.  Only hard work can do that.

First, you need to listen to music you enjoy.  If you hate classical music, listening to it while studying will cause more harm than good.  The music you are listening to while studying can not be distracting.  You cannot hate what you are listening to, but you cannot enjoy it too much or you will loose focus on what you are studying.  Music with lyrics is not recommended listening while studying.  Listening to the top 40 just won’t work as it will just sidetrack you from focusing on the law.

Traditionally, the recommended genre of music to listen to while studying is classical works.  Music by classical composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, Brahms, and yes, Mozart.  We have complied some of the recommended works from across the internet in a Spotify playlist here:  Classical Music Study Playlist

Recently, video game soundtracks have become extremely popular to listen to while studying.  Video game soundtracks are designed with a purpose, to help you focus and concentrate on a task without distracting you from what you need to accomplish.  Whether you are playing a shoot’em up game such as Halo or trying to save Princess Zelda, you are trying to solve a puzzle.  Whether it is getting from point A to point B without dying or figuring out how to get around an obstacle, the game requires you to use your mind to complete the task.  Personally, some of us have used video game soundtracks from Dues Ex, Final Fantasy, and Halo to help study for the Bar Exam.  While we can’t say it was the key to our success, we can say it made studying more bearable.

We have complied a Spotify playlist with modern soundtracks and songs we enjoyed here:  Modern Music Study Playlist

This is not an exhaustive list and we would love to hear of anything you think we should add!!!  Please post it in the forums.  We hope this playlist will continue to grow from input not only from us, but also from you.  In fact, we were listening to this playlist while working on this post.

You may ask, why did we spend time writing an article about study music?  At Efficient Bar Prep, we are doing everything we can to help you pass the Bar Exam.  If this blog post gets you that one point you need to pass the exam, it was well worth it.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!