…by Paula / from Argentina / studies Economic & Social History / 4th year (UG)
After spending a whole year of coursework and essay writing inside the four concrete walls that make up the library, you will find that studying at the same place every day can become a bit boring. Especially since you need to commute those fifteen minutes through the Meadows at seven in the morning, racing against other students that want to get there as early as possible to get the best seats. So whether you are currently thinking about applying to Edinburgh or you are a current fourth year who knows everything about exams, these alternative study spaces might make your exam revision a bit less dull.
Scottish Poetry Library
A modern, recently refurbished building in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, it has a terrace at the top where students can catch a few rays of sunshine as summer makes its way into town. The main advantages are that it’s quite hidden and that not many students know about its existence, so if you get there around 10 am, the probabilities of being bothered by others are small.
I recently discovered this space myself. The central library was the first public library building in the city, and it is open to everyone, with free wifi, several rooms, and a collection of books that allows you not to miss the main Edinburgh University library so much. They have individual as well as big tables, with these making it easier to have a revision session with your peers when all the main library pods are in use.
National Museum of Scotland
If you prefer a bit more ambience and enjoy people watching while studying, the Balcony Cafe at the National Museum might be just what you need. By now it’s probably not necessary for me to mention the architecture of the building, as you can see from the photo the buildings’ high, clear ceilings that provide plenty of natural light. You can also grab a bite there, with it selling a range of amazing baked goods and hot drinks.
Middle Meadow Walk Starbucks
A classic for students in the central campus, and for those coffee-lovers who can’t resist having a cuppa every hour. It does get crowded during lunch hours, but if you grab a seat early, they won’t kick you out until the late hours of the afternoon when they close down. This might be too noisy for those who’d rather study in silence, but it also means lots of socialising with students that come in here for a break from the main library.
Undergraduate Common Rooms
Each school has its own common room dedicated for students. They usually have group and individual tables, a few computers, books related to your subject, and if you’re lucky, vending machines, a microwave and a kettle (at least mine does!). If you haven’t heard about your common room, just head down to the reception of your school and they will be able to direct you. The common room also means that you get to hang out with students of your degree and ask for help with questions that come up during your revision.
Student Union Buildings
Both Potterow and Teviot have excellent study spaces. They serve food, have wifi, and have power outlets – everything you need to ensure you have a successful exam revision session. It opens later during the weekend, so if you’re the sleeping-in kind of person, this might be a good place to start looking for a table!