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7 Top Places to Study for Midterms at UCSB

Studying for midterms can be stressful, but these popular spots on and around campus can help make it fun.

The quarter system moves fast. It’s easy to feel like you just skimmed the syllabus and opened your textbook, then boom! It’s time for midterms. Studying lecture slides while sitting on your bed is hard, so maybe you try the library. As usual, the library is packed, and it takes 15 minutes just to find a seat.

With almost the entire student body crammed into one building, the library can easily become social hour instead of study hour. Grab your books and hit one of these lesser-known spots around campus when you need to buckle down during midterm season.

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1. The UCen (University Center)

The UCen’s 3 floors provide plenty of study space, so you won’t have to worry about finding a seat. The first and second floor are loaded with lunch options, such as Starbucks, Subway, and Panda Express, so you can also grab a quick bite and then get right back to memorizing those calc equations.

Ambiance: Nearby restaurants and the bookstore can sometimes make the space loud. However, if you’re looking to study with a view, the third floor is much quieter and offers cubicle-style seating that overlooks the lagoon.

Extras: The AS Food Bank is located on the third floor, so pop in on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for a quick study snack that’s also free!

Hours: Monday–Thursday, 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

2. The SRB (Student Resource Building)

Biking from IV? Stop and study at the SRB. Located on the outskirts of campus, right after the Pardall Tunnel, the SRB is easily accessible if you don’t want to bike all the way through campus.

Ambiance: The unique 3-floor design provides an open, indoor study space. The first floor also has computers for everyone to use.

Extras: If you’re stumped on a physics problem or need someone to help you with a paper, you can find Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS) and drop-in tutoring in this building.

Hours: Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–midnight; Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

3. Music Library

Walk through the courtyard of the Music Building, and you’ll see a sign for the Music Library. It’s slightly hidden, which helps keep crowds to a minimum.

Ambiance: Cubicles and tables are situated in between shelves filled with Mozart and masterpieces. If you work best in quiet environments, this spot is for you.

Extras: There’s free printing on the first floor of the Music Library, so you can print out that research paper as soon as you’ve finished typing it.

Hours: Monday–Wednesday, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; Thursday–Friday 9 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.–10 p.m.

4. Bren Hall

Don’t want to be cooped up inside on a sunny day? Head over to Bren Hall, which houses the School of Environmental Science & Management and sits on the east side of campus.

Ambiance: Find tables set up outside that offer a beautiful view of the Santa Barbara coast.

Extras: They’re pretty incomparable: fresh air and an ocean breeze. Need we say more?

Hours: 24/7 every day, and since the tables are outdoors, they’re best during the daytime.

5. Rooms in Girvetz

Find your own private room in Girvetz Hall, whether you have a group study sesh scheduled or plan to hit your books solo. The building stays open late, so you can study after classes end.

Ambiance: The classroom setting provides plenty of space for all your friends to sit and study together.

Extras: The classrooms feature chalkboards and whiteboards you can use, to help you organize your thoughts as you study.

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 p.m. to close (closing times vary).

6 and 7. Off-Campus Coffee Shops: CAJE and Coffee Collab

Paging through extensive notes is always more enjoyable while you’re sipping an iced latte at the same time. CAJE and Coffee Collab in Isla Vista are popular for their freshly brewed coffee and catchy playlists, and both are excellent spots for catching up with friends.

Ambiance: Both coffee shops offer indoor and outdoor seating options. Coffee Collab has comfy couches, while Caje has booth seating as well as tables.

Extras: The menus are packed with tasty snack options, such as breakfast bagel sandwiches and acai bowls.

CAJE also has outlets at or near each table, booth, and on the patio, making it perfect for bringing your laptop.

Hours: CAJE: Monday–Friday, 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m.; weekends, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Coffee Collab: Daily, 7 a.m.–11 p.m.

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