Most students are familiar with the typical places where they can study in Singapore. You would probably have your favourite study spot – a fast-food restaurant, a cafe, or perhaps a library branch. These are the more tried and tested places where students can complete their homework and do a bit of revision.
Each location is popular among students for various reasons. Some students prefer to study in quieter places so that they can concentrate on their work. Others would like some sort of background noise to accompany them while studying, so that they can remain awake.
But one thing in common is that these are the common places for students to do their work. If you head to one of these conventional study spots after school or during the weekends, chances are that you would see groups of students already seated there. Just like going to the movies, the best seats in the house would have already been snapped up by students who got there earlier than you. And as you know, it takes almost forever for students to vacate their prime spot (together with all their belongings).
In this article, we have come up with a list of unconventional places where you can study in Singapore. Before we go into that, we shall outline the more common places where students have been studying all these while.
The Most Common Places to Study in Singapore
Studying in the comfort of your own home sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? You have the freedom to be as quiet as you like, or play some music of your choice in the background. We prefer classical music as it helps us to concentrate better. There’s the refrigerator if you are hungry, and the bed if you would like to catch a short afternoon nap.
But with these distractions around, studying at home may not be the most effective, unless you have lots of self-discipline.
The school library is one of the most popular places for students to study. It is a quiet place, allowing you to concentrate on what you are working on. Unlike studying in a cafe, you can spend hours in the library without worrying about noisy people choosing the seats next to you. Students who make too much noise risk eviction by the school librarian.
The best part about studying in the school library is that you do not need to spend time on travel. At a library, there are large tables and cosy chairs that are especially useful for studying. The school library also stocks a wide range of books and educational resources that are related to what you are learning (or what you will be learning soon). Stepping into the school library would help you get into study mode quickly.
Are these places a little too mainstream for you? You can skip straight to the section on unconventional places for studying.
Similar to school libraries, public libraries boast a conducive environment that is ideal for studying. Students can spend hours there without the need to buy a new drink every now and then. And on weekends when the school library is closed, public libraries would quite naturally become the go-to place for students.
At smaller libraries, seats are limited and can run out by early afternoon. Many students know that, and they make it a point to get to the library early in the day. Visiting the library in small groups allows you to take turns looking after each other’s belongings, especially when someone needs to use the washroom.
There are many public libraries in Singapore, and most of them are conveniently located in housing estates. If there is a library near your school or home, you can brisk walk there and catch some exercise along the way. With free wireless internet access, you can discreetly communicate with your friends across the table without saying a word.
Some students prefer studying in places that are filled with activity – somewhere a little more vibrant than the library. A fast-food restaurant fits the bill nicely. You can study and settle your meals at the same time. Or if you are not hungry, you can simply order a drink. The constant movement of people streaming in and out of the restaurant seems to make time pass more quickly.
When studying at a fast-food restaurant, always take note of their policy on studying, especially during peak hours. If there are customers who are waiting for a table, you can consider sharing your table, or give up your table and return at a later time. Be gracious and don’t occupy more seats than necessary.
Does the smell of freshly ground coffee help to keep your mind alert? If so, cafes can be a suitable place for you to study. It may get a little noisy at times, but you would eventually attune yourself to the ambient sounds. Hopefully, you are not sitting next to someone who would start talking loudly on the phone for hours.
Cafes often play upbeat music in the background, helping you to stay focused and energised. But if the music is not to your liking, you can always plug in your earphones and listen to something else. With so many different cafes opening everywhere in Singapore over the past few years, you would be spoilt for choice. In fact, some public libraries have a cafe inside, which means you can move from one study zone to another.
Uncommon Places for Students to get their Work Done
Conventional study places such as libraries and cafes are becoming more crowded these days. Finding a seat at these popular study spots have become a game of chance.
You may even bump into someone you know when you visit these places, such as your classmate or an old friend. Or even one of your teachers (sorry teachers, we’re about to add a few more places for you to avoid).
But the good news for students is that we will be giving you some ideas on possible places for your next study session. Some of these places do not need you to change your daily routine too much (e.g. studying at the gym). Other places may require some effort to venture a little further.
Here are some alternative places where you can study:
- On the way to and from school
- An empty classroom in school
- Tuition centre
- Community spaces
- Co-studying space
- Changi Airport
- Food court
- Park or garden
- Your friend’s house
1. On the way to and from school
Do you need to take a long bus ride to get to school? If that’s the case, try finding a seat, pull out some revision guidebooks and recap what you have learnt. That’s one good way to multitask and help you to make better use of time.
Our favourite seating area on the bus is at the back of the upper deck. When the bus is somewhat empty (especially on your way home from school), people would prefer sitting on the lower deck. This means that the upper deck is quieter most of the time, allowing you to concentrate better throughout the journey.
The bus isn’t the most ideal place for doing written homework as it can get wobbly. And getting a seat on the train is nearly impossible during the morning rush hour. You can do some light reading or listen to an audio book during the long commute. Just make sure that you do not get too engrossed and miss your stop.
2. An empty classroom in school
After school, many classrooms are left empty as students make their way home – or go to a library or cafe. If your school allows you to continue using the classroom at the end of the school day, you could probably have the whole classroom to yourself.
You continue to have easy access to the resources which your school provides (e.g. your school library, teachers who organise drop-in sessions after class). You do not need to bring your heavy textbooks home, as your locker is just around the corner.
Some schools even allow students to reserve classrooms or lecture theatres for group study sessions. These rooms are usually decked out with whiteboards and projectors to facilitate group discussions. When students organise their own study sessions, they gain more self-confidence and take greater ownership of their learning.
In some schools, the classrooms are locked at the end of the day. You could try asking your teacher for special permission to use the room. Or go with one of the other unconventional places to study below.
3. Tuition centre
In Singapore, tuition centres are found everywhere due to the high demand. It is not a surprise that 7 in 10 parents have been sending their children for tuition classes. That’s according to a survey of 500 parents by The Straits Times back in 2015.
With so many tuition centres in Singapore, some of them are getting more creative to stand out from the pack. To differentiate themselves from other tuition centres, some have set aside space for students who are waiting for their session. At these study corners, students can do their homework or revise the content which they have learnt earlier in class.
For smaller tuition centres without a designated study space, you could always ask to use their spare tables and chairs. Some tuition centres do not mind if you were to bring a friend along to use the study space (it’s free marketing for them). So even if you are not attending any tuition classes, you would probably have a friend who is attending one.
4. Community spaces
There are many spaces in Singapore which have been set aside for people in a community to get together. An example is the community centre. Other than drawing classes for young children and baking workshops for housewives, the community centre offers a wide range of interesting courses for all age groups.
Some community centres have set aside rooms for students to study after school or during the weekend. Depending on the place, you may need to sign in at the counter before you enter the study room. If you are in a quiet zone, remember to show consideration to the people around you by keeping your volume down.
These rooms can get rather packed (read: noisy) when examinations are around the corner. If studying at the community centre isn’t the thing for you, consider going to a study corner at the nearest void deck. There are also Residents’ Committee (RC) centres which open their doors to students during the examination season. Check out some of the other community spaces in your neighbourhood, and you may discover another favourite place to study.
5. Co-studying space
Co-studying spaces provide students with an office-like environment where they can get their work done. For a small fee, you can rent a hot desk to do your homework or revise for your examinations.
In recent years, co-studying spaces have become more prevalent in Singapore. Many are located in the heartlands, giving you the option of paying to use an unconventional study space. Some co-working spaces charge by the hour, while others allow you to sign up for a monthly membership to gain unlimited access to a hot desk.
Co-studying spaces are similar to co-working spaces in many ways. For instance, these spaces typically provide wireless internet access and charging points at every desk. Most co-studying spaces offer printing facilities, just in case you need to print something urgently. Students can also discuss their group projects in one of the meeting rooms found within these communal spaces.
Some co-studying spaces have a pantry that is well stocked with snacks and beverages. This means that you do not need to step out of the place to grab a bite or a drink. Simply head over to the coffee machine that is just a few steps away from you. Don’t forget to check if the food and drinks are already included in the pricing.
Some of these co-studying spaces are colocated within a co-working space. This encourages students to network with professionals who are co-working there. It also helps students to get familiar with working in a collaborative environment – one which they may find themselves in when they enter the workforce in future.
6. Changi Airport
Ok, this is not too much of a secret, but it still makes the list as an unconventional place to study in Singapore. Students are travelling all the way to Changi Airport to get some work done. Some students say that you have to do this at least once, at some point during your student life.
While Changi Airport is a little out of the way, it could make you feel like you’re going on a holiday. Perhaps that makes studying a little less stressful. Before you start on the next assignment, you can look out of the window and watch planes take off from the runway.
With Jewel Changi Airport opening in March 2019, there are more options for you to choose from. Just don’t lose track of time as the airport is open round the clock. Go home early so that you can get the right amount of sleep and recharge yourself for the next day.
7. Food court
If studying in a cafe is draining your wallet too quickly, consider going to a food court instead. Most food courts in Singapore are air-conditioned, making it comfortable for you to engage in those brain-intensive activities.
The tables are cleaned regularly, but if you’re worried you can choose to wipe them down with some wet tissues before you start studying. You can make healthier food choices when you study at a food court instead of a fast-food restaurant.
Food courts are usually quite empty outside of meal times. You could potentially stay there for a few hours – if you time it correctly. Get a drink (after all, someone is running a business and you wouldn’t want to be freeloading). The food court isn’t the most conducive place on this list, but it works. Avoid this place during the lunch and dinner hours as it can get rather crowded and noisy.
Unlike a library or study corner, you are not expected to remain silent at a food court. That means you could gather a few friends to study together, and get homework help from one another. At a food court, you can fill your stomach while keeping up with what you have learnt in school. You can also socialise with your friends over a bowl of ice kacang (a shaved ice dessert that’s perfect for a hot afternoon). That’s killing three birds with one stone.
8. Park or garden
Try studying in a place that isn’t surrounded by four concrete walls, such as a park or a garden. Most parks in Singapore are equipped with tables and chairs that are suitable for studying. Or you could bring a portable desk to set up shop in this unconventional study place.
It can get a little warm in the afternoon as you are outdoors. In the evening, the park becomes cooler, and that’s also the time when it becomes more lively. We recommend going to the park during the late afternoon on a weekday. That’s when the park is not too crowded and not too hot.
Looking at the greenery in the distance gives your eyes an occasional break from the tiny words on your textbook. The fresh air also helps you to study better by increasing your productivity and ability to concentrate. Studying in the park also gives you Vitamin D (from exposure to sunlight) as you flip through the pages of your guidebooks and notes.
There are light ambient sounds such as birds chirping and leaves rustling in the wind. Secure your loose sheets of papers so that the wind does not carry your completed homework away. Carry a bottle of water with you to keep yourself hydrated. Apply sunscreen to protect yourself from ultraviolet rays, and insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes.
Make better use of your time by exercising and studying at the gym at the same time. When your heart beats faster, your mind becomes more alert. When taking a break from your workout, you could work on a mathematical problem or two. Or read your revision notes before you start on the next exercise.
Some gyms have started to rebrand themselves as ‘active co-working spaces’. Students and professionals can do their work at one of the hotdesks in between exercises. Not enough time to exercise twice a week? That’s no longer a valid excuse.
Studying at a gym has started to gain popularity in recent years. We’ve seen climbers doing their homework next to the rock wall while taking a break between each climb. We’ve also seen people reading on a treadmill or on a stationary bike. Don’t forget to take care of your own safety when you study at a gym. And be sure to stay clear of any heavy equipment and other gym users around you.
10. Your friend’s house
Studying by yourself can make you feel unproductive at times, especially when there is nobody to look over your shoulder. When studying at home gets too distracting for you, consider studying at your friend’s house instead. For all you know, your friend could be facing the same issue too. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to work towards a common goal with your friend?
When you study together with a friend, the two of you can help to keep each other accountable. Studying at your friend’s place means that you do not need to go online and risk distraction.
You can consult your friend if you need some help with your homework. After all, your friend may be good at certain subjects, while you are better at other subjects. In addition, you may even discover the topics and concepts which you are weaker at. This allows you to focus on the weaker areas so that you do not fall too far behind.
But wait – why can’t you study with your friend somewhere else? You’re right, but most of the other unconventional places on this list are spaces where other people can access. You have to adhere to opening hours, and getting a seat is not guaranteed. By studying at your friend’s place, both of you are in greater control of the noise level. You can also move around or go outdoors every now and then, without worrying about losing your seats.
Start by casually asking a close friend whether the two of you can study together. Perhaps your friend may suggest going to their house. Or you could plant the idea in their head by sending them this article.
Don’t forget to return the favour and invite your friends over to your place for a group study session. Apart from helping each other get better grades, this is a good way to build stronger friendships.
Change Your Study Environment Today
Most study places that students know of are already packed with other like-minded students. For a start, you could try one of the unconventional study places which we have covered above. Exploring a fresh environment can make you feel excited, giving you additional motivation for studying.
If you think outside of the box, you may even discover a hidden gem that is far more unconventional. Let us know if these unconventional study places have improved your studying experience.