Ace Your Exams with Prime Study Spots and Digital Resources

Exam season is no joke. We all know the drill: long nights, endless cups of coffee, and the constant search for that perfect study spot and focused state of mind. 

But don’t worry—we got you.

From the quiet corners of our branches to an endless list of resources (online and offline), we’re a dynamic hub perfect for studying and designed to fuel your academic growth and success. 

So, let’s not waste any more precious study time and get into what we have to offer, including tips to guarantee your next study session is the most effective ever.

Find your study zen

First things first. Choosing the right environment can make or break your study session. It's all about finding a space where distractions fade away and focus takes a front seat. Luckily, there’s always a seat waiting for you at your local branch. From quiet nooks to designated study spots for solo focus or group brainstorming sessions, here are some local favourites:

Central Library

In a city where schools, universities, and educational institutions are aplenty, Central Library was built with students in mind. Known for its quiet zones, cafés, and study areas (with panoramic views of Halifax), this branch is an inspiring backdrop for your study sessions.

The Fifth Floor: This floor is celebrated for its tranquillity and scenic views of the city, with unique spots like:

    • The Sunroom: A light-filled retreat for quiet reflection and deep focus.
    • The Halifax Living Room: A cozy, open atmosphere that feels like home.
    • Window-facing counter-top work area: A secluded nook behind General Fiction bookshelves, perfect for anyone seeking privacy and inspiration with city views.

The Fourth Floor: Known for its variety, the fourth floor is great for individual and group study needs:

    • North End: Features individual tables ideal for solo laptop work.
    • South End: Boasts comfy couches for reading and large tables for group collaboration.
    • Local History Room: Offers a quiet corner amidst our local history collection, complete with public computers, microfilm readers, and work tables.

RBC Learning Centre: A hub of innovation and learning, this area provides modern facilities and adaptable spaces that foster both individual focus and group work.

Café (Ampersand Café): On the first and fifth floors, this cozy spot is bustling just enough to keep you on your toes, but calm enough to focus with a coffee shop ambience. Known for its selection of local coffees and fresh pastries, it’s an ideal place for working, a study break, or a group meet-up.

Woodlawn Public Library

Woodlawn Public Library is an inviting branch for students looking to focus. Its spacious layout, including comfy couches, cubicle desks, and study rooms, makes finding a spot to study easy. The Library’s quiet environment and friendly vibe make it ideal for both individual study and group projects.

Tantallon Public Library

Tantallon Public Library is the perfect spot for students who love a blend of focus and convenience. With six study carrels in a bright area and an airy lounge for more relaxed sessions, it’s great for various study styles. Plus, many quick-service restaurants are nearby, so snack breaks are just a short walk away.

Study Rooms

These ultra-quiet spaces are available at various branches, including Central Library, Cole Harbour Public Library, and Sackville Public Library. They seat up to four people, include outlets for charging electronics, and are perfect for group work or solo studying—for up to two hours. You can even book these rooms up to seven days in advance to make sure there’s a space ready for you. Learn more about study rooms here, opens a new window.

Study-ready online resources

No matter where you study, our E-Library resources are always at your fingertips. With just your library card, research and study preparation become a breeze. Check out these amazing information-filled websites and databases that are sure to come in handy. 

The Canadian Encyclopedia & World Book: Your go-tos for deep dives and quick facts; Canadian Encyclopedia, opens a new window and World Book, opens a new window give insight into everything from Canadian culture to world events.

The Cochrane Library & Health Reference Center Academic: Perfect for health-related studies, Cochrane Library, opens a new window and Health Reference Center Academic, opens a new window databases provide everything from general wellness tips to in-depth medical research.

Directory of Open Access Journals & ProQuest: Ideal for tackling big projects, the Directory of Open Access Journals, opens a new window and ProQuest, opens a new window databases pack a ton of peer-reviewed journals and articles across subjects to back your essays and projects with credible sources.

Statistics Canada Data: This is Canada by the numbers. Statistics Canada Data, opens a new window is a treasure trove of the latest stats for your data-driven insights.

Libby: Great for finding foundational texts and the latest research, Libby, opens a new window provides access to e-books and audiobooks covering a wide array of subjects, perfect for cramming in some last-minute reading or broadening your knowledge on a topic when you can’t access a physical copy.

PressReader: A virtual newsstand, PressReader, opens a new window helps you stay updated with global news or explore niche subjects with magazines and newspapers from around the world.

Streaming Knowledge: Platforms like Kanopy, opens a new window and hoopla, opens a new window feature thousands of educational documentaries and other videos that can complement your studies, providing a visual break from traditional reading.

Your study space, tailored

Crafting a personalized study environment can significantly enhance your focus and efficiency. It's about creating a space that feels both comfortable and conducive to learning. To make your study sessions even more effective, consider these factors.

Light, comfort, and style: A well-lit space with comfortable seating can make marathon study sessions more bearable. Add a personal touch with items that motivate or relax you, transforming it into your personal study retreat. Need a boost of energy? Our Light Therapy Lamps, opens a new window might be the perfect wake-up aid.

Organize to optimize: Keep your study area tidy and organized. A clutter-free space not only looks good but also reduces stress and boosts concentration.

Soundtrack your sessions: Find or create a playlist that keeps you in the zone. Whether it’s lo-fi beats, ambient sounds, or classical music, the right sounds can help you achieve deeper concentration and flow. Best of all, you can stream any genre for free with services like hoopla, opens a new window—all you need is a library card.

Smart snacking: Keeping a healthy snack within reach can maintain your energy levels. Consider nuts, fruits, or energy bars for a quick, nutritious boost without leaving your study zone. 

Effective digital space: Use technology as a powerful tool to boost your focus. Block distracting apps and discover study tools to organize your notes, set study timers, and create realistic exam simulations for effective practice.

Study techniques that actually work

Beyond resources, spaces and how you study, the strategies you use can make a big difference in how effectively you absorb and retain information. Here are some that are proven to help you on your journey.

Active Recall & Spaced Repetition: Boost your memory by actively recalling information and spacing out your study sessions. It's about working smarter, not harder, to ensure information sticks.

Pomodoro Technique: Break down your study time into focused periods with short breaks in between. It's a proven method to enhance concentration and prevent burnout.

Visualize with Mind Maps: For visual learners, mind mapping can be a great way to organize thoughts and make connections between concepts. It's a creative and engaging way to review study material.

Chunking: Break down information into smaller, manageable "chunks" to improve comprehension and memory retention.

Colour-coding: Use colours in your notes to help categorize information and improve recall during exams.

Analogies: Use analogies to relate complex concepts to familiar ones, enhancing understanding and recall.

Self-explanation: Explain the material in your own words, like you’re teaching someone else, to deepen understanding.

Exercise before studying: A quick workout can boost brain activity and make study sessions more effective.

Scheduled review sessions: Plan review sessions well ahead of exams to avoid cramming, allowing information to be absorbed more thoroughly.

Use aromatherapy: Some scents, like peppermint or lemon, may help enhance focus and memory. Consider having a dedicated study scent.

Leverage sleep learning: Briefly review key points right before bed. Studies suggest the brain strengthens new memories during sleep.

Teach a concept: Teaching material to someone else forces you to learn it thoroughly and find any gaps in your knowledge.

As ready as you’ll ever be

Embracing these study strategies and making the most of the resources available can boost your academic performance. As you gear up for exam season, remember that the right approach to studying—combined with using available tools and spaces—can transform your study routine and help you achieve excellence. Explore, experiment, and find what works best for you. 

Happy studying, and here's to acing those exams!