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Music is a turn-off for pupils at exam time

Parents need not nag their child to turn off their music while studying, because the chances are they will do so anyway, research found today.

Researchers at the Institute of Education, University of London, have found that while teenagers may spend hours listening to mp3 players, most are willing to switch music off if it interferes with schoolwork.

The study surveyed 600 young people in Britain, the US, Greece and Japan, asking students in three age groups -- 12 years old, 16-18 years old and 20 years old -- about their listening habits.

They were asked if they played music while revising for exams, writing, memorising texts, reading, doing coursework, solving problems, thinking or learning a foreign language, as well as about the effects that music had on their studying and why they decided to listen to music or work in silence.

The researchers found that many said they played music to relax, alleviate boredom and to help concentration, while most said they turned off the music if they felt that it was interfering with their concentration.

The study, due to be published in a forthcoming issue of Educational Studies, says: "There are indications that, overall, students do not play music while studying extensively and that they rarely play music while revising for examinations, memorising material or learning a foreign language."