If you're studying for finals right now (or starting to seriously think about it), you know that motivating yourself to prepare for a test is difficult. Balancing the papers, projects and tests all due around the last week of the semester requires some serious willpower and threatens to burn students out altogether.

Picture this: you get up early a few days before a big paper is due, holing yourself up in the library all day. You should really finish your essay because it's due the same day as a big test, which you also need to save time to study for. You're having trouble getting motivated because the paper is due so far in the future that you feel like you could procrastinate longer, even though you know you really don't have the time. So you look around the library at everyone else somehow maintaining focus and you notice that everyone around you has headphones in, yours sitting uselessly next to you on the table. As if you were about to go work-out, you put in your headphones, press play and immediately get pumped. 

What were you listening to? Maybe you have an artist or album in your head, someone who always motivates you to get things done — or maybe you're still searching for a playlist that works to keep you focused. Psychology Today reports that many college students believe that listening to music helps with studying, because of the popular idea that listening to Mozart as a baby increases learning capacity. Music is not a surefire tool to aid in studying. However, researchers found that what really helps form memories are positive emotions, which music can elicit. Below are twelve playlists to suit everyone's tastes — hopefully you'll find one that gets you through the long haul of assignments ahead of you. 

Instrumental Playlists

Instrumental playlists have been super trendy as study music, and for good reason. The aforementioned "Mozart Effect" means that upon listening to classical or instrumental music we automatically feel smarter and more receptive to information. The calming quality and lack of lyrics makes instrumental music great background noise that is less distracting than some popular music. The playlists below work well for studying that involves intense reading, and I would recommend them to get you in the mood to study in the first place. 

1. Piano-Heavy Instrumentals

A popular study playlist on 8tracks, "Just One More Page" is full of soothing piano tracks. One commenter, sarah_eg, called it the "best studying playlist ever!" She said, "[It] helped me pass all my finals last semester so i'm listening to it again as my next finals are in 3 weeks."

2. Instrumental Hip-Hop Vibes

Self-proclaimed "lush, hazy and chill instrumental hip-hop," this playlist takes instrumental music to a new level with chillhop influences and ambient effects throughout. I have a friend who does homework to playlists like these all the time and she says she likes how they are "calming but not boring or repetitive. Every song can give off similar vibes but sound completely different — unlike piano music, which always sounds the same and puts me to sleep." This playlist is definitely for someone who likes more upbeat music to study to. 

3. Chill Ambiance

A mixture between the last two playlists, this "Ambient Chill" medley takes soft piano and stretching ambiance to give you a feeling of overwhelming concentration and solitude, even if you're sitting in a packed library. 

4. Movie Soundtracks

Used in popular movies and television shows, these soundtrack-worthy songs can add a bit of adventure to any study session.

5. Pop Instrumentals

Before we actually move onto some pop playlists, here's one full of instrumental versions of popular songs, if you prefer to listen to something a bit closer-to-home than Mozart's Symphony No. 40.  These songs are great if you want something more upbeat, but don't want lyrics to distract you. 

Popular Music Playlists

Whether it gets you pumped to start studying, or you need pop music while you're cramming at 2 a.m. to wake you back up, these playlists deliver an array of upbeat songs. 

6. Current Pop Hits

A unique pop playlist, this lineup of music mixes good songs that are overplayed on the radio with lesser-known pop gems to create the perfect balance of energetic study tracks that you won't get tired of.

7. Pop Punk Powerhouses

With a name like "Pop Punk Powerhouses," this playlist is a former emo kid's dream study playlist. Sometimes it's nice to throwback and rock out when you're feeling frustrated about finals or need some extra energy to finish a project. This playlist really does deliver all the pop-punk classics.

8. Obscure Electronica

Featuring more obscure dance tracks, this is a playlist made without studying in mind. However, as someone who likes upbeat music to work to, I think this mix is great for playing songs you've never heard before and nice to help you crank out essays. 

9. The Best of Upbeat Electronic

Something about the repetitiveness of electronic music can put the brain into a loop of productive thoughts. This playlist is over 18 hours long, combining popular producers with talented artists to create a seriously motivational mix. 

10. Calming Pop

The title of this playlist doesn't lie, delivering more calming pop and alternative tracks. There is a nice balance of current songs, as well as those from the past. 

11. Throwback Jams

Sometimes you need to go old school to get through school. Because you've already heard these throwback songs so much, they should easily fade into the background of whatever task you're completing while keeping you alert and ready to work. 

12. Rhythmic Hip-Hop

Let this comprehensive mix of current and upcoming hip hop tracks remind you what you're working towards. Once you're done studying you can chill with friends from college or home without the weight of assignments on your shoulders, so get motivated to finish!

Finals week can cause unnecessary stress without proper time-management skills and focus. Luckily, you can battle both of these hindrances with the power of music. Just like listening to music during a workout, having music around while studying can get you motivated to start and stay focused long enough to finish. In reality, there is no such thing as "study music," only music that puts you in a positive and work-oriented mindset. So whether you use one of these pre-made playlists or create one of your own, listening to music will get you through finals week in one piece — I promise!

Lead Image Credit: Kaboompics // Karolina via Pexels