The Essential Prelim Playlist

Music can bring energy to the dullest of moments, but playing it while studying can be distracting – mostly because you can end up singing along to all your favourite tracks. Lyrics are the ultimate attention diverters when we’re trying to concentrate, but it’s no fun sitting in silence for hours on end with no noise apart from the tick of a clock. Here’s a few instrumental tracks to help you create that perfect studying environment.


65 Days of Static – Don’t Go Down to Sorrow

This was one of my go-to bands when I was studying for my undergrad degree. This track features progressive, guitar driven beats which are certain to get your brain cells rocking.

Sigor Ros – Hoppipolla

Hoppipolla is a well known track within the post-rock genre, and because its Icelandic lyrics will have you pondering as to what the song’s about – distracting you from what’s really important – I’ve tracked down the instrumental version.

Yellowcard – Three Flights Up

Although Yellowcard are a pop-punk band bursting with catchy lyrics, they did feature this uplifting piano piece on their second album. Who said classical music had to be boring?

Errors – Pleasure Palaces

If you prefer something a little more modern, Glasgow-born Errors provide more of a catchy electro vibe to get you feeling positive about your day at the desk.

Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine

This track’s blend of soft drums and light melodies gives off a perfect evening ambiance – ideal for those who are most productive after dark.

Mogwai – Take Me Somewhere Nice

Scotland’s finest experimental band are more than worthy of a spot on your study soundtrack. Take Me Somewhere Nice’s melodic intro will ease you into the zone, as well as keeping your ears entertained with its soft beats.

Tortoise – Magnets Pull Through

In a similar league to Mogwai, Tortoise, who hail from the other side of the Atlantic, have an array of tracks to pop on your iPod this revision season. Magnets Pull Through starts off slowly, but as soon as that bass kicks in, so will your energy.

Senses Fail – Negative Space

Taking a break from the usual catchy riffs and screamo vocals, Senses Fail got experimental with Negative Space. Giving off a whispy, frosty night feel, this is a must have for winter-time exams.

Bon Ivor – Team

Famous for his sad sounds and the much played Skinny Love, Bon Ivor is great to relax to. Although Team’s a short track, its low bass lines will help conquer any feelings of stress and anxiety you have.

Pixies – Cecilia Ann

If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat – this is one to upload to your Spotify account.  Originally written by the Surftones, its fast pace will have your motivation dancing around the desk for a good couple of hours.

Happy studying!

Main image: iStock/urric

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