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Study comfortably: Exam tips and McMaster’s best study spots

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By: Jeff Low

Winter is coming, and snowy weather is at our front door.

For some, this is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book or podcast and a hot drink. But during exam season, these activities can feel more stressful than relaxing. And hot, caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea may be more of a necessity than a comfort.

Remember, you’re not alone. At the Student Success Centre, we’ve asked our student academic coaches to give us their top on-campus study spots and exam tips to help you de-stress and study comfortably.

Study spots

MDCL study rooms

  • Pros: Private study rooms (10–15 seats), whiteboard/blackboard.
  • Cons: These rooms aren’t available during the day.

Mills Library fourth floor

  • Pros: Good place to focus, less intense than the silent floor.
  • Cons: Only some spots have outlets. Arrive fully charged.

BSB tutorial rooms

  • Pros: Huge rooms (good for bigger groups).
  • Cons: The rooms can be cold. Bundle up.

The Grind (MUSC basement)

  • Pros: Café atmosphere, lots of drinks and treats.
  • Cons: The space can get busy. Bring headphones to reduce distractions.

HSL reading pavilion

  • Pros: Natural light, big tables.
  • Cons: Outlets are unreliable. Charge ahead of time.

Thode Library second floor

  • Pros: Open until 2:00 a.m., cozy wall and corner spots.
  • Cons: It can get loud and busy. Find a corner spot.

MUSC second floor

  • Pros: Spacious cubicles, open areas for groups.
  • Cons: The area can get noisy. Bring headphones.

Don’t miss out: On December 5, the SSC is reserving spots for studying in MUSC first floor.

Study tips

  1. Study for multiple exams at the same time: Don’t panic over closely-scheduled exams. Make a study schedule for all your exams from the start.
  2. Don’t ignore “easy” courses: The exams won’t be easy if you have to cram last minute. Keep up with course content.
  3. Work on memory recall: Reread your notes, then use flashcards and practice questions to help you remember the content.
  4. Make the most of practice tests: Don’t refer to your notes during practice tests. Try to simulate a real exam setting.

Thanks to our academic coaches for all their insight.

For help dealing with academic stress, visit the SSC in GH 110.

We’re here to cheer you on and cheer you up during exam season. Join us for Cheer Week, happening December 4 to 10. Follow @MacSSC on social media for details.

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