Studying with music can help you concentrate and keep you from dying of boredom, but did you know that you can “hack” the sounds you listen to, giving you an extra little boost of brain power?

It should be no surprise that certain kinds of music while studying are better to listen to than others. This comes down to personal preference, but if the beats of the new Jay-Z album make it impossible to hear yourself think, it’s probably a good idea to find something else to listen to. I suggest mellow music, especially instrumental music because it doesn’t have words to distract you. Check out Explosions in the Sky or Ratatat.

Listening to white noise can help drown out background sounds and help you concentrate. Most study aid CDs are simply white noise backed with nature sounds. White noise is a great tool for those who need to listen to something but find music too distracting. There are even white noise generators for your iPhone.

The pseudoscience of Binaural Beats is perhaps the most interesting, yet least credible way to hack your studying. By playing sounds of specific frequencies, it is thought to alter your brainwaves thus stimulating your mind and body. There are specific frequencies for focusing, alertness and even some that help you fall asleep. Give them a shot, I do not make any guarantees but many people do swear by these tonic sounds. 

Personally, I study at the library with foam ear plugs to block out all noise. I find the complete silence puts me in a world of my own and really helps me focus on my work.

What do you listen to when you study? Throw up your answers in the comments section.