You’re studying for an important test or big presentation tomorrow, but you can’t seem to focus in your bedroom. You’ve tried every study method possible and have all your notes organized, but you just can’t seem to get in the zone.
You know that you need to get focused and start studying, but you don’t know where to go. You could rent out one of the study rooms at your campus library, but those are usually first come, first serve and can be hard to get. Maybe you should try studying at a tutoring center? But then you remember how expensive that can get. What about just studying at the dining hall at your school? There’s plenty of table space, after all. But of course, it can be loud and chaotic, making it hard to focus during your study sessions.
As someone who’s worked in education for two decades, I can attest to the fact that the quality of your study space has a huge impact on the effectiveness of your study session. One recent study published in the International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences found, “the learning environment dramatically affects the learning outcomes of students” with things like “open space and noise, inappropriate temperature, [and] insufficient light” playing a bigger role than you might expect.
In the guide below, we’ll go over the best places to study as well as some of the worst spots to study. Hopefully, this guide will help you get to a great study spot so you can get the motivation and focus you need to be more productive as a student.
The Best Places to Study
There are lots of great places to study for school, work, or whatever else you have going on.
Here are some of our favorite study spots:
The local library is always a great place to get some studying done.
It’s quiet, it has plenty of table space with comfortable chairs or benches (and even couches in some libraries!), and best of all – there are no distractions.
You can really focus on your studies at the library because you know that people aren’t going to be coming up to you asking for something anytime soon, if ever.
If you’re an introvert like me (or just find it difficult to concentrate when surrounded by other people) then studying at the library is great.
Even if you’ve never studied at the library before, I’d recommend giving it a shot sometime soon- especially since most public libraries offer free internet access!
A Coffee Shop
Whether it’s Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or your favorite local mom-and-pop cafe, coffee shops are one of the most popular study spots — and for good reason.
A coffee shop offers the best of both worlds – some people will still be studying, but there’s some people watching and other minor distractions you can do when you need to give your brain a break.
And best of all — most major coffee shops (and many local ones) offer free internet access!
The best part about studying at a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or local cafe is that you can get your favorite drink to help you power through your study session. Did we mention that studies have found caffeine enhances memory performance in young adults?
If you are going to study at a coffee shop, make sure you try to get a table that’s a little bit out of the way so the noise and foot traffic aren’t so bad near you and you can stay focused and minimize distractions.
A Quiet Cafe or Restaurant
While a coffee shop may offer a good mix of studying and occasional distractions, there are still plenty of places that give you more focused time to get work done.
A quiet cafe or restaurant can be an ideal spot for getting some work done because everything else will be so far away from where you’re seated – no loud music or people talking in your ear here.
Just make sure you choose a restaurant that’s not too busy so you’re not taking up valuable table space, and be sure it offers internet access.
Of course, you need to order something and take care of the waitstaff so they won’t mind you being there for an extended period of time studying. Plus, a healthy bite to eat is great for keeping your energy and focus up!
Your Favorite Quiet Outdoor Spot
I’ve found that there’s always at least one nice, quiet spot in nearly every public area where I live.
Whether it’s under a tree in the park, near some benches at the mall or train station, or next to some planters outside of my local library, there is almost always somewhere relatively quiet (and pretty) where I can get some studying done.
Getting outdoors can definitely help studying feel less boring and depressing, and it’s a great way to get some vitamin D! In fact, research has found that learning in the outdoors can positively impact the mental health and academic performance of students.
So, if you’re looking for a good place to study but the idea of sitting indoors makes you sad (and not motivated), check out your local area and see if there are any good outdoor spots that are best for studying.
At Home in a Quiet Room
If you live alone, or at least have your own room, then it can be a great place to study because there will be no distractions from other people.
Sure, it might feel a little too quiet at first without some background noise from somewhere else in the house, but this is definitely an advantage if you need to focus on studying or working on something important!
In addition to being free from distractions, studies have shown that students who studied in their own rooms tended to get better grades than those who studied in busy houses (with multiple people).
Just make sure your room is comfortable, but not too comfortable. In other words, you don’t want to be tempted to nap on your bed instead of studying. Or you don’t want to wind up watching TV or playing video games.
With a Study Group
Studying with a group of classmates or co-workers can be very helpful in many cases.
For one thing, you won’t have to worry about being the only person in the group who actually studies – everyone will be doing it!
Also, studying with other students can help keep everyone focused and interested in learning more about what they’re studying.
An Empty Classroom
Most colleges don’t mind if you sit in an empty classroom to do your studying when class isn’t in session.
It’s probably best to avoid the teacher’s desk and sit in the back row, but it can be a great place to study without distractions or people milling about.
If you’re not in college, you might still be able to find an empty classroom at your local college. Otherwise, this could also work if you have access to an empty office or meeting room at work.
A Book Store
Like libraries, bookstores often make some of the best places to study.
With no loud music or people talking around you, a book store is great for getting some studying done while still having plenty of distractions to keep you from getting bored.
Just make sure the place isn’t too crowded, and it has internet access so you can look up information on your computer if needed.
And best yet – bookstores are probably best known for their shelves lined with millions of books that are great for providing inspiration and information to help with your studies.
Not only that, but a lot of bookstores these days also have coffee shops built into them, so you can get a little caffeine and snacks to boost your energy and keep you going.
A Coworking Space
Co-working spaces have become really popular in recent years.
Small business owners, freelancers, and many others who work best on their own but still need a place to get some work done have flocked to these types of spaces and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.
What makes them useful for studying is that they’re by nature quiet and free from distractions – after all, you don’t want your fellow co-workers getting distracted by you or vice versa.
Most co-working spaces will provide things like internet, coffee, snacks, and sometimes even beer!
Just know these spaces usually aren’t free to visit. You’ll have to pay an hourly or daily charge for a desk.
But if you can afford it, this might be one of the best places to study.
The Worst Places to Study… Or Avoid At All Costs!
Now that we know where the best places to study are, let’s take a look at some of the worst ones so you know what to avoid.
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to ace your next test or just want to get ahead throughout the semester, staying away from these terrible study spots is highly recommended.
While your bedroom can be a good place to study (if it’s quiet and you have a good desk), it’s not a good idea to study in your actual bed.
Being too comfortable can be a bad thing when studying. If you’re in your nice, cozy bed — the same place where you sleep every night — it can be all too tempting to take a nap once you start to get bored and tired.
You’ll also be tempted to get rid of your textbooks and watch TV or play video games once you get tired of studying.
Loud Public Spaces
As we said earlier, there are lots of great public spaces where you can study, but the key to all of them is making sure they’re relatively quiet.
Easier said than done, right?
It’s best to avoid places where there are lots of people walking around and kids running around or where the music is way too loud causing you to get easily distracted during your study sessions.
Not only will you hear a lot of noise from other people, but you’ll likely get distracted as well because it’s just too easy to look over and see what they’re doing instead of studying.
While a quiet coffee shop is one of the best places to study, a bar (even a quiet one) is one of the worst.
Simple — the access to alcohol.
It can be tempting to have a beer or two while you’re studying, but it’s best to stay away from this one.
Having the occasional drink isn’t bad of course (although some might disagree), but having too many of them will definitely put a damper on your concentration levels and make it hard for you to study effectively.
Alcohol is already well known as one of the best ways to deplete your brain power, so don’t let yourself go overboard when studying!
Tips for a Productive Study Session
Whether you’re studying in coffee shops, your dorm room, lounge areas, the library, or wherever else, there are some simple tips you can implement to make sure you have a good study session.
- Minimize Distractions: Use tools like the Freedom app to block distractions on your devices during study sessions. This helps you stay focused and prevents the temptation to check social media or other non-essential apps.
- Create a Dedicated Study Space: Set up a designated area for studying that’s free from distractions and comfortable. A clutter-free and organized study environment can enhance your concentration and productivity.
- Set Clear Goals: Outline what you aim to accomplish during each study session. Whether it’s completing a specific chapter, working on assignments, or reviewing notes, having clear goals keeps you on track and motivated.
- Use Active Learning Techniques: Engage with the material actively by summarizing key points in your own words, teaching concepts to an imaginary audience, or quizzing yourself. Active learning enhances retention and understanding.
- Take Breaks: Plan short, regular breaks to prevent burnout and maintain focus. For instance, use the Pomodoro technique – study for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Repeat this cycle and reward yourself with a longer break after a few cycles. This is a great way to stay energetic and motivated during extended periods of hard studying.
- Seek Help When Needed: Utilize resources like Chegg to get study help when you’re stuck on a concept. Online platforms often provide explanations, practice problems, and expert assistance that can clarify doubts and boost your understanding.
- Stay Organized: Use tools like digital planners or apps to manage your study schedule, assignments, and deadlines. Staying organized reduces stress and helps you stay on top of your academic responsibilities.
- Stay Positive: Maintain a positive mindset and celebrate your progress. Recognize that learning is a journey, and each study session contributes to your growth and success.
A Final Word on the Best & Worst Places to Study
Whether you have a big test for school or a presentation for work coming up, having a good place to study and prepare is essential.
With the guide above, you should be able to find the best places to study that best suit your needs and help you get ahead.
Just remember, if you can’t study at home because it’s too distracting, try to take your studying somewhere else! With so many great public spaces available these days, there’s no excuse not to give it a go.
Where do you like to hold your study sessions? What other good places to study did we leave off this list? Share your thoughts by commenting below.