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Medical student gives ‘unconventional’ tip for maintaining focus while studying as a ‘chronically online’ person

The ability to maintain focus for hours at a time can be a difficult feat, even for the most seasoned of students. One student has taken to TikTok to reveal her “unconventional” tip for remaining focused and productive.

Claire Jean (@itsclairejean), a second-year medical school student who has devoted her platform to “sharing premed secrets,” recently revealed a study tactic that she claimed was appropriate for people who are “chronically online,” like her.

“I’m gonna warn you, it is very unconventional and honestly a little strange, so it doesn’t work for everyone,” she said in her Sept. 11 post. “Basically, I started to notice how on TikTok there were certain sounds that I just couldn’t get out of my head and it would just repeat over and over again, and I started to think, ‘Hey, I could use this to my advantage.'”

Jean’s solution? To find “songs that kind of scratch that itch” in her brain and to continuously replay them while studying.

“I just play that song over and over again. … Usually I do a different song every day, but sometimes the song bleeds into the next day,” she added. “It just becomes background noise, and it just gets you in the zone. Just try it before you think I’m crazy, because I’ve had some friends try it and they love it.”

Jean’s tip may not be as unconventional as she thinks, however — several TikTok users have revealed in her comments that they’ve used or are currently using the same method to study.

byu/airhead5 from discussion

@chelseajeanx explained that the song has to be one she knows well. “Oh yeah. It has to be music I really know the lyrics to so they wash over my brain and i don’t need to pay attention to them,” she wrote in response to Jean’s video.

@kristenvonholten also relied on this study hack, and revealed that she gravitated toward more upbeat songs: “I did this allll throughout college! I preferred upbeat/fast paced songs like run boy run, the pitch perfect bulletproof mashup, and molly by tyga”

“So you’re telling me not everyone does this,” @calexens said.

The science behind it

In psychologist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis’s book On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, she explains the science behind why listening to music on loop improves your ability to maintain focus.

“Repetition makes it possible for us to experience a sense of expanded present, characterized not by the explicit knowledge that x will occur at time point y, but rather a déjà-vu-like sense of orientation and involvement,” she says in the book.

As Inc. put it, “When you’re listening to a song on repeat, you tend to dissolve into the song, which blocks out mind wandering (let your mind wander while you’re away from work!).”

The act of listening to music that you enjoy releases dopamine in the brain, according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience. This finding, per the study, is proof that “humans obtain pleasure from music — an abstract reward — that is comparable with the pleasure obtained from more basic biological stimuli,” the BBC reported.

On Sept. 18, Jean posted a follow-up video reacting to the fact that her initial video had gone viral.

“Honestly, this productivity hack — I was thinking about it — it does give the same energy as pretending like you’re in a music video when you’re younger and staring out the window,” she explained. “I feel like that’s generally how I feel when I’m listening to the same song on repeat.”

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