Exam time is here and it’s getting harder and harder to find a good place to study on campus. Luckily, UBC has a wealth of lesser-known study spots that you might not know about.
Finding a good study place can be like making a new friend. After seeing each other a couple times you become more comfortable and start wanting to spend more time together. You can rely on them when you need to, but they also don’t get angry when you spend time apart.
While the most popular study spaces are at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the AMS Nest, and the Koerner Library, these places are so busy during crunch time that it is often difficult to find a spot—especially during the busy exam season.
Don’t waste your precious study time trying to find a place at the popular study hangouts. Instead, try finding an alternative that fewer people know about.
Make sure you can always find an open spot with this list of lesser-known study spaces on campus.
Brock Hall — 2nd Floor, West Wing
Address: 1874 East Mall
If you’re a student at UBC you’ve probably been to Brock Hall: to see your Enrolment Services Professional, to get some tips for improving your resume, or to discuss your tuition payments. While it seems like a pretty busy public space that wouldn’t be good for studying, that’s because you probably missed the hidden gem on the second floor of the West Wing.
Tucked away in a hallway is a series of study carrels — you know, those box-like walled desks that help you focus — that are the perfect place for some quiet studying. This place is ideal for people looking for a distraction-free and silent study session. The best part about it is that it seems nobody knows it exists.
Forest Sciences Building — MacMillan Bloedel Atrium
Address: 2424 Main Mall
The Forestry building is a great place for students who like to immerse themselves in epic surroundings while getting work done. Inside the MacMillan Bloedel Atrium are group tables and couches with space for up to 60 people. Natural light comes in through the ceiling skylight and the atrium is surrounded by greenery with amazing woodwork adorning the walls and ceiling.
This isn’t the best place for quiet studying as the atrium is a busy place and there are always students milling about so you’ll need to deal with some background noise, or bring a good pair of headphones. Make sure you get there during the day because the door is locked and requires a keycard to access after 6 pm.
Life Sciences Centre — East and West Atriums
Address: 2350 Health Sciences Mall
The twin atriums in the Life Sciences Centre are expansive, open spaces with high ceilings and large windows that allow the sun—what little of it gets through the clouds in December—to shine through, making the space bright. The East Atrium has five rows of long tables that are great for independent or group study.
Alternatively, the West Atrium has small group tables and bench seating. In total, there is a capacity for over 200 people in these atriums. The Perugia Cafe located in the West Atrium, serving hot drinks and Italian food, also has some additional seating.
Buchanan — 2nd and 3rd floor Student Lounges
Address: 1866 Main Mall
The Buchanan building complex may not be the most attractive building from the outside, but the inside has a lot to offer students looking for a place to get some work done. The student lounges on the second and third floors of the B Block have a variety of different places for students looking to study, including tall and small group tables, bench seating and lounge space for group work.
Buchanan has a lot of classrooms so it is a pretty busy area while classes are on, but during exam time it is almost empty. This is a good place for independent study and for group work.
Allard Hall — Law Library
Address: 1822 East Mall
There are a lot of rumours flying around about whether or not non-law students are allowed to study at the Law Library, so I’m just going to clear the air once and for all. Non-law students — both undergrads and graduate students — are allowed to use the library space for studying during opening hours as long as they stick to places that aren’t reserved for law students. Reserved sections are clearly marked with signs so it’s easy to find your own place.
During exam time the hours of the Law Library are extended from 8:30 am to 10 pm Monday to Thursday, 8:30 am to 6 pm on Friday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. I highly recommend this place as it has modern facilities and is also very quiet.
Maybe some of that law school work ethic will rub off on you while you’re there.
Neville Scarfe Building — Education Library
Address: 2125 Main Mall
The Education Library in the Neville Scarfe building has places for all your study needs. Long tables, study carrels, armchairs, and roundtables are tucked in between rows of books and public computer stations. There are large windows that let light in during the daytime. It's rarely full here so you’re more than likely to find a place each time you visit.
Address: 2198 Health Sciences Mall
If you can get over the ancient state of the building—it was built in 1964—the Woodward library is a good alternative to the other, better-known libraries.
Bean Around the World
Address: 6308 Thunderbird Blvd.
Bean Around the World is arguably the best coffee shop on campus and the least well-known. It’s located in the southern part of campus, just outside the academic core. The menu of juices, hot drinks, sandwiches, pizza and more is quite extensive — and tasty. There is lots of indoor seating space for those who like to study in the hustle-bustle of a busy coffee shop. They even serve beer for those who want to take the edge off after a long day of cramming.
Address: 6011 Walter Gage Rd.
Great Dane by the Walter Gage Residence is a definite favourite for those who like to drink high-quality coffee while studying. There is not too much space but the coffee is just too good to pass up. Make sure you try their homemade scones. They’re crispy and delicious.
Address: 6005 University Blvd.
This recently-opened coffee shop on University Boulevard is a prime destination for drinking coffee and studying. Located across the street from the campus Shoppers Drug Mart, it’s a very popular spot for students and you might have to wait around until a place opens. But, trust me, it’s worth the wait when you get into one of the second-floor booths and can hang out all day in comfort.
Seedlings at Thea Koerner House
Address: 6371 Crescent Rd.
This hidden café nestled at the top floor of the Thea Koerner House is quiet and quaint. Seedlings is an independent, student-run vegan café that is hardly ever busy during the day. It has a number of multi-use tables for eating and studying and offers a quiet respite from the hustle-bustle of the rest of campus.
Hint: it’s in the same building that houses Koerner’s Pub and the Graduate Student Centre.