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When I started taking classes for my degree, it was hard to sit down and concentrate. I knew I could learn the material, but it was tough to focus with everything going on around me at home.
But when I found a few places to study near me, I was able to get into a routine and zero in on my assignments without distractions.
In this article we list some of the best places to study (other than your house), and discuss some proven ways to get the most out of your study time.
- Top 13 Best Places to Study
- Why Should I Try to Find Good Places to Study?
- How Can I Get the Most Out of My Studying?
Top 13 Best Places to Study
Here are the top 13 best places to study I found around me that you can look for, too. Since I’m partial to quieter study locations, I’ll start with the most peaceful spots first!
1. Library (Public or Private)
If you’re attending classes at a local college or technical program, odds are the campus has a private library for students. But there’s also your local community library—and both locations will offer a relatively quiet environment for studying.
The benefits of studying at the library include access to computers (and usually Wi-Fi), access to information (both from books and the librarian!), and often, access to power outlets for charging your device or laptop. And, you don’t have to make a purchase or really deal with anyone while spending time at the library, unless you’re checking out books or asking for assistance.
A bookstore is another helpful (and often quiet) location for studying. Whether you find a spot between shelves to sit and study or you take a seat at a table in the bookstore’s café, there’s usually plenty of space to spread out.
Of course, some bookstores don’t have space for studying, so this will only be an ideal study spot if the bookstore near you has tables and chairs. Many bookstores now offer Wi-Fi, but if that’s a feature you need, you’ll want to make sure your local bookstore has it before venturing over to spend time studying.
3. Coffee Shop
Although some bookstores contain coffee shops, heading to a local coffee place is a separate option for a place to study near you. Aside from Starbucks, there are also smaller coffee shops—many of which are conveniently near colleges and school campuses—that may invite students in.
Most coffee shops will want you to purchase something if you’re staying a while, but for plenty of us, a five-dollar coffee isn’t too high of a price to pay for a quiet spot to study. Also, you’ll likely have access to Wi-Fi and maybe even a power outlet if necessary.
4. Tutoring Center or Study Area on Campus
If your school campus offers any study areas or tutoring centers, these can be both convenient and quiet for studying. Plus, if you need help with a particular subject, tutoring centers often have staff on hand to help out. You may need to schedule a time to work with someone one-on-one, but there’s often open study space available regardless.
And, another perk of staying on campus is you’re not heading to another location after class—you’ll just walk across campus. There are no fees or parameters for entry, other than the fact that you’re a student, although hours may be limited to when school is in session.
5. An Empty Classroom Or Computer Lab
Whatever subject you’re studying, you’re likely on a campus with plenty of classrooms—not all of which will be in use all the time. It’s worth asking your professor or instructor if he or she has an open period where you can utilize their classroom to study in. And who knows, maybe a few fellow students will join you!
Alternatively, you can also visit your campus computer lab, which in addition to providing computer access, can also give you access to study help if you need it. Most computer labs have a staff member on hand to help out, so if you have trouble printing materials or creating a presentation in PowerPoint, you can get the help you need there!
6. Study Buddy’s House
If you’re taking a particularly challenging course, it might be worth forming a study group or at least grabbing one person from class to be your study buddy. You can exchange notes, drill each other on concepts and quiz topics, and study at each other’s houses when possible.
Of course, your ideal study buddy will have their own place or a chill spot to hit the books, but you could also establish a routine where you switch off or find another study location to go together. One drawback to this solution is that you’ll often wind up working together, which is a negative for those who prefer to study and memorize concepts on their own.
7. School Lounge
In my experience, the school lounge might not be the quietest place to cram for a test, but it will be convenient on your campus! It may also be attached to the cafeteria, or maybe there are a few vending machines for quick snacks.
Odds are, you’ll be able to use the school’s Wi-Fi, plus there are power outlets available to charge all your study devices. And like other campus services, this area will be free for you to access. Of course, that also means it likely has specific hours of operation, which may limit your scheduling availability.
8. Local Community Center
Community centers are great resources for students and people of all ages, and they often offer both academic and extracurricular activities. This might mean they’re pretty busy, but it also suggests they’re open often and probably have resources like Wi-Fi access, computers, and maybe a knowledgeable peer or two!
Community centers can also have staff from local schools or colleges, so you could find study help in an unexpected place. The downside is that community centers often have limited hours, too, so you will have to plan your study time around that schedule.
9. Park or Outdoor Space
When you’re reading a book, taking notes, or using any other non-tech way of studying, venturing outdoors may give you the best study space possible. There’s no shortage of parks and green areas in most cities, and as long as you don’t have screen glare to worry about, studying outside can also be refreshing and calming.
Some parks these days even have Wi-Fi, so if you need to look something up on your smartphone, you can do that easily. However, your study time will be limited to daylight hours—and maybe late morning to afternoon, too, if you’re looking to sit in the grass that is dewy at times!
10. Mall Food Court
Malls are excellent for both breaking up boredom and getting exercise in when the weather’s bad. But the way malls are growing these days, they also have all sorts of snack options and Wi-Fi on site.
Studying at the mall food court is an excellent solution if you need Wi-Fi but not necessarily complete quiet to hit the books. Especially if you’re an auditory or visual learner, sitting in that type of environment might help you with retaining information. And, if you need frequent breaks to stretch your legs or people watch, you’re in the perfect spot to do so.
11. Fast Food Restaurants
Fast foods restaurants are farther down on my list because there’s often an unwritten rule on how long you can stay—especially during busy times—but they can be a great study spot for some people. First, your purchase, if one is required, is likely minimal—and everyone needs study snacks anyway!
But there’s usually Wi-Fi access, too, and plenty of different tables and seating arrangements to keep you comfortable. You may even be able to use a power outlet to charge your laptop or phone while you’re working on your homework.
12. Bars or Pubs
While I can’t recommend consuming shot after shot while studying at the bar, it might make a great study spot if you’re meeting with friends from class or if it’s late, but you need somewhere to get Wi-Fi.
Bars and pubs are understandably noisy, especially in the evening, but if you’ll be wearing headphones anyway, or the noise doesn’t bother you, it could be ideal. Plus, there’s usually no worry over an early closing time—many bars stay open until at least midnight, if not later in bigger cities. And then, when you finish with your study session, you can reward yourself with a drink!
13. Hotel Lobby
If your city is a big tourist draw, there might be a ton of hotels near you that you can study at. Of course, the drawback to this method of studying is that you may not be welcome at some establishments if you’re not staying there.
However, it’s possible that the hotel has a lobby space that’s not well monitored, meaning you could get away with popping in for a few hours and using their Wi-Fi, or just sitting on their comfy chairs and people watching between memorizing flash cards or taking notes.
Why Should I Try to Find Good Places to Study?
It might be more convenient to study at home, but it might not be the most effective use of your time. Here’s why you should find a good study space.
How You Approach Your Studies Matters
Part of making sure you study effectively involves getting into the right mindset. Your attitude is half the battle when it comes to getting work done, and the most effective study habits are things like thinking positively, avoiding blaming yourself for downfalls, being objective, and remaining open to information.
Because people are creatures of habit, if you focus on keeping a positive mindset when entering your study space, it will make hitting the books easier and more natural for you. Repetition is something that not only helps you to retain information, but also form good habits, and studying in the same spot takes advantage of those tendencies.
Thinking About Studying Can Make You More Successful
Thinking about your thinking—which has its own term, metacognition—is part of the study planning process. After all, you’re thinking ahead when choosing a space to study in, and you’re setting yourself up for a productive cram session before you ever open a book.
And being self-aware in that way can help you be more successful in your education. Being self-aware, AKA engaging in metacognitive practices, also helps you acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing how you study best and in what scenario is a big part of actually getting things done and achieving good grades.
How to Find the Right Places to Study for You
When considering where to study, it’s important to know how you should study, too. Some people need complete quiet, for example, while others need to keep moving while they absorb information. Discovering your learning style can help poise you for success in digesting the material you need to know for class.
Overall, there are four primary modes of learning, but some people use multiple modes for optimal information processing. Those four include:
- Visual learners: tend to use images, maps, graphs, and more
- Auditory learners: learn through listening and talking
- Reading/Writing learners: study best with reading and taking notes
- Kinesthetic learners: need to stay moving and act things out
What to Consider When Picking a Study Spot
So how does understanding your learning style help you pin down the best study spot? You need to recognize your strengths and what each environment can offer. For example, if you’re an auditory learner and need to speak out loud or use headphones to listen to information, a quiet place like the library may not be ideal.
Conversely, if you learn best via reading and writing, a near-silent library may be perfect for you.
Here’s what to consider when picking your study spot:
- The need for background noise versus quiet
- Your comfort level with few versus many people around
- Lighting, whether natural versus outdoor light
- Availability of seating/comfort of seating areas
- Open hours or ease of access
- Access to other resources, such as the librarian, teachers, computers, etcetera
- Travel time to get to the location
How Can I Get the Most Out of My Studying?
Now that you’ve figured out what your learning style is and have some idea what type of environment you should study in, how can you get the most of out of your studying? Here are my tried-and-true tips for packing as much learning into your study session as possible.
Create a Routine
Routines are beneficial for every age learner, whether it’s preschool or college! And many professionals rely on routines to help them feel calm, controlled, powerful, and productive! So not only should you create a routine for your study time, but also your education and life in general.
Including downtime in your routine is also essential for your productivity, since burnout is real and can happen whether you’re rushing to class or squeezing in extra hours at work.
Give Yourself Rules
It might make you feel a little like a child again but establishing rules for yourself—like no social media time until you finish a chapter of reading—will help you to accomplish more. Being strict about how you spend your educational hours enables you to maximize them to be as productive as possible.
So just like your professors suggest, keep your smartphone away while you’re in class and while you’re studying to minimize distractions. Also consider outlining a few other rules, like only taking breaks after a certain amount of time or not answering texts while studying.
It won’t help you to have a designated study time and location if you arrive there unprepared! Keep your school materials organized and pack everything you’ll need for a productive study session.
Depending on where you’re studying, you may need to bring along extra paper, pencils, a pencil sharpener, highlighters, sticky notes, text books, and more. Make a list for your study time so you have everything you need before leaving for your study spot.
Set small goals throughout your study time, such as completing a certain number of chapters or making a specific number of flashcards, to keep yourself on track. Once you complete each goal, set another one so that you’re always working toward something. This will help you stay focused on moving ahead!
As mentioned, keeping a positive attitude can do wonders for your educational outlook. And personally, I find that when I approach my studies with a more positive attitude, it’s easier to deal with the small roadblocks that crop up.
Even if you’re having a rough day or things aren’t going well elsewhere in life, reminding yourself that you are capable and smart and that you can do this does wonders for each study session!
Whatever your motivation is—to complete a tough class, to earn a specific degree, to finish homework in a set amount of time—remind yourself often of your goals. Staying motivated (and having effective study strategies) is one of the biggest predictors of overall academic success. Essentially, the more motivated you are to get things done, the higher your GPA and the higher the odds you’ll meet—or exceed—your goals!
However you study best, there’s a place to study near you that has the right ambiance and structure. No two people study exactly alike, but we can all benefit from making a regular habit of it. And when it comes to academic routines, you can’t beat having a spot to hit the books without stress.
What are your favorite places to study? Share your thoughts in the comments below.