Best Places to Study: A Guide to Exam Term

Sherilyn Chew 4 May 2016

Exam term is a nightmare. The clubs close mid-week, the libraries get colonised, and everyone you know begins to veer into the territory of self-contained academic hostility. What actually is only a month or so can feel like forever, so in the run up to your exams we’ve picked out a few places where you can hide from your problems, and will hopefully double up as alternatives to the stress-pits of the UL. Day or night, we’ve got your back.

1. Cafes of Cambridge

Ideal for late breakfasts, coffee catch ups, lunch dates and work breaks, the café is an excellent hideout for students. Aromi (the one by the market square, not on the corner) is a particular favourite, as is Stickybeaks, which is my current go-to for friends that need somewhere to grab lunch with their mothers (everything is so clean and organic). Hot Numbers, Afternoon Tease, Crepe Affaire, and Indigo are also excellent contenders, but don’t be fooled into thinking that anything quaint about a coffee shop immediately makes it good. You would be wrong.

2. John Lewis

Everyone’s favourite staff-owned company, John Lewis, offers you a five floor experience of middle-class browsing bliss, complete with escalators and a glass lift. Peruse shelves of over-priced stationery and office essentials, and bask in the sunlight as you grab coffee and do some reading in the top floor café with views of Cambridge rooftops. Mid-week it’s usually full of the over sixty-fives, and that makes me feel both young and like I’m at home. The children’s ‘bizzi bags’ are also the cheapest lunch option and include wonderful things like ‘pombears’, ‘babybell’, and ‘non-branded apple slices’. All of which are great.

3. Waterstones

Much like a library, Waterstones is full of books and people working. Less like a library, it also has a café on the second floor and no one stares at you for breathing too loudly. I also once saw Richard Osman in there, so, you know, it has star credentials.

4. Library-swap

Find a friend from a different college and go work together in their room/library. Not only will your pulling chances improve by being the new kid in town, but you can Snapchat the whole thing and get a kick from rebelling in such an utterly innocuous way. Depending on what kind of friend they are, you could also break up your work session with making out between the lesser used bookshelves. Jus’ sayin.

5. Law Faculty

It is a lifelong fantasy of mine to be mistaken for a lawyer. Working in the Law Faculty is the nearest I’ve come to achieving this dream, and it comes complete with a coffee shop. There is also a wide variety of seating zones, so you can be as antisocial as you want according to how you feel. Hallelujah.

6. Make a den under your desk

And if all else fails, gather your patterned sheets and shirts and make a new-age cushtopia where you can drink your essay woes away. Stay there for a week. Refuse to leave. Thank me later.

Image: Susanna Worth