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Get into the zone

Options for the perfect study spot to excel this exam period.
March 23, 2011
By Russ Cooper

Exam period this year is April 11 to May 2, when thousands of students will buckle down and gather focus to get through their tests.

Along with the right supplies and proper stress management, the right environment to tackle work is among the important keys to success.

Here’s a list of inspiring spots at and around Concordia that can provide that perfect environment for studying, whether it’s group collaboration or a quiet solo session.

The libraries
Concordia’s two libraries — Vanier Library (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.) on the Loyola Campus and the Webster Library (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) on the Sir George Williams (SGW) Campus — are the best place to crack the books and get some work done.

There are thousands of seats, hundreds of computer stations, and many rooms that can accommodate any study need. There are also 200 wireless laptop computers available for loan.

Of course, Webster is open 24 hours a day and Vanier will offer 24-hour access during the exam period.

Greenhouse atrium
Need a breath of fresh air but don’t want to go outside? Head on up to the greenhouse atrium atop the Henry F. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.). The 25-seat space is more conducive to group projects or going over notes with classmates before an exam (it couldn’t be described as a silent study space).

The greenhouse is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Mornings tend to be quieter. To ease stress, put the kettle on and make a cup of tea from the assorted herbs (fennel, mint, chamomile, etc.) grown right on site. By donation.

Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building)
The EV Building (1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.) is split between the Fine Arts and the Engineering and Computer Science Faculties; the former overlooking the city to the west, the latter to the east.

Throughout the building, there are numerous smaller spaces with seating for five to 12 people. The building’s Engineering side has small seating areas on the 14th, 11th, 8th, 5th and 2nd floors, while the Fine Arts side has similar spaces on its 8th, 5th, and 2nd floors.

Perhaps the jewel in the building’s crown is the 11th-floor lounge on the Fine Arts side (see above). The airy space seats roughly 15, and features floor-to-ceiling windows that pour in natural light. A perfect spot to get some reading done. That is, if it’s possible to look away from the stunning view.

John Molson School of Business (MB Building)
Venture anywhere between the 2nd and the 6th floors in the MB Building (1450 Guy St.) to find study spaces of 25 to 50 seats.

The 2nd and 3rd floors also have five study rooms apiece with enough space for five or six students. Call the Registrar’s Office to book.

Also in the MB, there are quiet mini-lounges from the 11th to 14th floors, each with eight seats.

Café X
A couple of hidden gems are both outlets of Café X, the only student-run Fine Arts cafés at Concordia. The cafés are located on the 2nd floor of the Visual Arts Building (VA, 1395 René-Lévesque Blvd. W.), Room VA-229, and in the EV Building, Room EV-7.750. 

The VA Building café also doubles as an art gallery, Gallery X, showcasing student works. The coffee is cheap, the snacks are great, and the art is good.

Communication Studies and Journalism Building (CJ Building)
This eight- to 10-seat space on the 1st floor of the CJ Building (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.) feels like something out of an über-cool design blog. Underscoring the hip ambiance is the retro Monsieur Hot Dog sign from the Montréal Signs Project.

Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)
Only a short walk from the SGW campus (roughly one kilometre from the Hall Building), the CCA is one of the best-kept study secrets around.

While not on campus, the CCA is always free and friendly for students, and its Shaughnessy House has a wonderfully quiet atmosphere amplified by stunning architecture (obviously). It even has free Wi-Fi and wild chairs. Or, make an appointment and visit the Library Reading Room where thousands of books about architecture are available — some from as far back as the 16th century.

The CCA is located at 1920 Baile St. (follow René-Lévesque Boulevard west, past St-Marc Street). Check website for hours.

In their own words
Students talk about their favourite spots to study on campus:

Related links:
•  Office of the Registrar’s Examination Office
•  Concordia Greenhouse Project
•  Gallery X
•  Montreal Signs Project
•  Information about Libraries study spaces
•  Canadian Centre for Architecture


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