In order for your exams to go well, you need to have a dedicated space. This could be at home or in a library. There are pros and cons to both.
Should I study at home or at the library? Studying at home is preferable but not always achievable. The library is also a good choice however it needs to be easily accessible. Here are some factors to consider before making your decision.
- Noise Level
- Sufficient space
In my own experience, studying at home works the best for me. However, this is not the case for everyone. In this article, I will discuss the options and hopefully guide you toward the most effective study space for you.
We have to take a lot of things into account when we decide where we are going to study. If you choose to be at home you have to consider your concentration levels. I for one live in quite a quiet house.
I have a younger brother but he also has to study. But a busy house is generally a noisy house and unless you can shut yourself away from distraction, then this possibly is not the best option.
Obviously, a library is a quiet atmosphere, and lots of libraries have little snug areas where you can lose yourself in your books. But we must be very disciplined if choosing to leave the house to study.
You must have an agenda set out, just as if you were at home as it is easy to get sidetracked by a friend or a coffee!
So, if you have set up a place to study at home, it must be somewhere that you can call your own. It generally will be your bedroom.
But, if there is a spare ‘space’ in your house, be it the dining room or a garden shed, this would possibly be better. Your bedroom should be a space where you can relax and chill out, but if you are surrounded by your books and notes it’s hard to switch off the guilt of taking time for yourself, which of course is also very important.
But understandably not everyone has a spare space. So maybe, you should consider the library. Getting to the library earlier is important, as it gets busy. Find your space and try and make it your own. Lay your books out and keep to your plan.
If you are interested, I also wrote about writing a study plan, you can find it here; How to write a study plan that actually works
There are of course negatives at home and at the library. If you have spent 30 minutes traveling to the library and realize you have forgotten those important ‘English notes’ then this is time wasted, and if exams are looming then we certainly don’t have time to waste.
So you must be very organized if you are going to the library. What bus are you going to take? How long is the journey? Is it going to be very busy when you get there? Have you an alternative if there is no space? The negatives of studying at home are distractions.
The kitchen for snacking, the TV, people coming and going, but these could also be distractions in the library, friends arriving, “I’ll just go and get a coffee”
Again, by choosing to study at home you need to be able to lay out your notes, books, and study aids so you can reach and manage them all.
This is why if you are studying at home a separate space is better as you can take a break and not have to put everything away. It will all be there waiting for you after dinner!
So what kind of learner are you? A visual learner is someone that learns by looking at material, notes, and color coding. Or are you a kinesthetic learner, learning by doing, hands-on, physical, involves using the sense of touch and you may find it hard to sit still.
An auditory learner prefers to hear information, these benefit from listening to study notes, maybe prerecorded by yourself. This information is more easily retained. A reading/writer learner is pretty self-explanatory, lots of people find that they remember information more readily by writing it out, and they can then visualize what they have written when in an exam. So what has all this got to do with space?
Well, if you are a kinesthetic or a visual learner you probably will do better in your own private space. Whereas auditory and reading/writing learners could easily study in either the library or at home. I am a reading/writing learner and I chose to study at home.
Atmosphere and mood are very important when choosing a study area. It needs to be a calm environment, with good light, not too hot or cold. Too hot and you will fall asleep, not enough light and you will also find yourself tiring because of eyestrain. If you are self-motivated then where you are studying probably won’t have a huge effect, but if you would rather do anything else but study, then the library is the place for you.
In relation to motivation, here are two posts you may be interested in;
At the library, you will be surrounded by people who are also studying. It will hopefully focus you to do the job at hand. The library will have good light and temperature and also gives you the opportunity to step outside for a break if needs be.
If you have decided to study at home you need to be very disciplined. Writing a set of rules and sticking it to your wall might be a good idea. This might for example state
- No phone
- No people allowed
- No sugary food
- Take a break every 40 minutes
- Snack on brain food
- Stay hydrated
You might also have a reward system. If you study all week, then have a guilt-free day off. If you study for 2-3 hours then have a quick look at your cell, but only a quick look! If you decide to go to the library then the rules are already in place. Most libraries are no talking, no eating/ drinking so you just have to be strong enough to monitor your phone use as all libraries have free WiFi and the temptation is great.
During my final year exams, I found it most beneficial for me to study at home. My dad built a little cabin in the garden so I could have a dedicated space where I could lay everything out and not have the need to put it all away. It was as extreme as going to the library but I could set an agenda and leave the house and complete the work that I had set out for the day in my study plan.
It wasn’t practical for me to go to the library as we live out of town and I would have needed a ride to and from the library each day. So my advice overall is to try and figure out what kind of learner you are, what kind of home you live in, and choose the best location that suits your needs and that will produce the best possible results.