Exam Season Special: Secluded Study Spots

This is me, a week before my first exam on Monday. 

photo of me pulling a horrendous face because I am oh-so-freaked out about exam season

Slightly frantic, considering there are hundreds of pages of extremely dense readings to  review and only seven days in which to accomplish this.

Did some light reading, copied down some old lecture notes, went over two problem sets. (with periodic Facebook breaks in between, of course. A girl’s gotta stay updated, right?) 

Now, this is me, three days before my first final on Monday:

from allgifs.com
from allgifs.com

No, that’s not actually me, but in case it helps, let me paint a picture for you…with words.

It is 6PM.

I have my hair scraped up high into a no-nonsense bun complete with hideous scrunchie (#90sthrowback)

My backpack is crammed with notebooks, heaps of papers and a pack of felt-tips in obnoxiously bright colours.

I’ve got a massive textbook in one hand and Gatorade in the other.

It’s showtime. 

Only, instead of making for the nearest quiet space and going into full-on exam mode as I should be, I’m dilly-dallying by considering all my possible study spot options.

Now, when it comes to study spaces, especially on campus, I don’t like to stick to one regular location. Call me a nomadic nerd if you will, but I’m always walking around campus trying to find new places to study.

My requirements are simple:

Quietude and privacy. 

For disciplined, serious-business, exam-level studying, I simply cannot bear noise and company.

Which rules out a lot of libraries where you share study space with other students, like those big tables over at Gerstein and Robarts.

These days, I’ve been hunting for study spots that meet my criteria and that are also somewhat off the radar.

So if your requirements for an exam-season study sesh are anything like mine, here’s a few spaces I’ve discovered over the past few months that suit me and my fussy studying prerequisites just fine!

  1. Noranda Earth Sciences Library

I adore any and all libraries with individual carrell desks.

Laidlaw Library over at UC is an old favourite but when I was told by a friend at the Geology Department about this bright little library over on Bancroft Avenue, I had to go check it out.


The main study lounge area is a cosy circular shape, with single desks overlooking the first floor a few steps up.

It’s bright and airy, there are always extra chairs by the desks for you to dump your jacket/backpack on and its wonderfully quiet.


Earth Sciences Library gets a 10/10 for me!

       2.  D.G Ivey Library, New College

Having never had a class at New College before, I hadn’t ever explored the buildings and the area too much before but as soon as I walked into this space, I felt straight at home.

I mean, come on. It’s orange.

Could there be a cheerier colour?

IMG_3797 IMG_3786  


If D.G Ivey Library could speak to me, I think it would repeat the immortal words of Bob Marley:

'Don't worry 'bout a thing, 

Cause every little thing gonna be alright.'

(am I losing it? I’m losing it.)

    3.  Bahen Centre Basement

I told you I like study spots off the radar.

And as you know, I also like my colours.


This tiny little nook in the basement of Bahen has a little row of chairs and a long, high table facing a gorgeous scarlet wall. It’s usually nice and quiet, shielded away from the hustle and bustle of quantitative-minded geniuses moving around upstairs.


Although certainly not my territory (engineering and computer science, yikes!) I find some comfort in the fact that any math-related background chatter never distracts me because I have no clue what they’re talking about! #antimath

     4.  Steddman Library, St Hilda’s College

Easily one of my favourite daytime study spots because it’s usually empty in the middle of the afternoon.

cosy armchairs and pretty bookshelves make for a beautiful old-school setting

St Hilda’s is one of the residence buildings over at Trinity College and doors are closed to non-residents after 6PM but this little mini-library is the perfect place to concentrate on work during the day, with its crypt-like silence and portrait of an old woman glaring at you from the south wall.


     5.  Koffler Building, Second Floor

We’ve got another sort of an oddball location here but one of my favourite secret spots to get away from it all and still get work done is on the second floor of the bookstore building. Just take the staircase across from the Housing Services office and you’ll find yourself on a landing with a set of small armchairs and little swivelly desks.


You get beautiful views of College Street down below and of the bookstore if you snag a spot next to the window.


And don’t even get me started on the utterly gorgeous ceilings.

ceiling in the

Now you can understand my dilemma!

With so many cool quiet spots to choose from, I’m spoiled for choice!

What do you think, U of T? What’s the best quiet study spot on campus?

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