Is McDonald’s the new library? Where to study for the DSE when all the revision rooms are full

If you're having a hard time getting work done at home or need a change in scenery, here are five other places that might increase your productivity

Joshua Lee |

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Lots of fast-food restaurants have free Wi-Fi, though there may be a time limit.

We’re halfway through the main HKDSE month. You’re probably getting tired of studying, and we can’t help you there. But we can offer you ideas as to where to study when you’re sick of your desk, or can’t find a library cubicle, which means you may be tired of studying in the same place all the time?

There’s no need to limit yourself to the desk in your room or a cramped library cubicle, because there are many other study spaces that have more room and, that will also offer your study routine some variety. Here are our top five alternative places to study around town:

The park

If the thought of staying inside and studying all day makes you miserable, then you might want to consider taking your notes with you to a park.

There are parks in pretty much every district in Hong Kong, so you shouldn’t need to travel far to get to one. Plus the natural light and fresh air should keep you focused and more productive, provided it isn’t raining. 

Parks run by the government have free unlimited Wi-Fi, so you’ll still be able to access your notes and the internet while outdoors.

Most of the city’s major parks have some sort of picnic table or bench to place your books. Otherwise, get up close and personal with nature and sit on the grass.

Sports centres

If you’re the sort of person who needs silence to concentrate, but the library is crammed, try your luck at the study rooms at one of Hong Kong’s sports centres. 

There are 24 study rooms across the sports centres operated by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. A few of them are open all year round, while the rest are only open in certain months during exam season.

You’ll find all the essentials for a good study session that you’d get in a library – desks, chairs, air conditioning and Wi-Fi. And  if you’ve been studying for too long and need a break, you could do a bit of exercise in the centre to boost your productivity and keep you going!

The beach

This one might sound like a strange idea, and if you’re living in the city, it might take you a while to get there, but the beach can provide  a calm and relaxing backdrop to your revision time.

You can sit on the sand if you want, but you’ll want to avoid getting it all over your textbooks and notes. Most of the more accessible beaches have tables or benches where you can work, or there might even be a beachside cafe where you can set up your books.

The holiday vibes, natural light, and soothing sounds of waves should keep your stress levels low while you go over pages of revision notes, or try to figure out the solution to a particularly complicated maths problem. 

Fast-food restaurants

It might not be the most comfortable or quiet place to go, but if you need to study late into the night and can’t seem to get any work done at home, then your best bet is to head to a  24-hour fast-food restaurant. 

Fast-food restaurants are great for group study sessions, because you can talk and share notes without having to worry about disturbing other people.

You shouldn’t have trouble finding one, and many will have free Wi-Fi, although you might find that it is limited to a certain period of time.

Coffee shops

Whether or not you actually enjoy a daily cappuccino, a coffee shops is a comfortable space in which to spend time, so they’re often full of students around exam season.

Try out a range of venues close to home so you can find one that suits your study style. You might find that you’ll have better luck finding a place to sit in a larger branch of a chain shop, but sometimes independent shops are less well known, therefore emptier.

If you’re thinking of studying there regularly, see if the coffee shop has a student discount or loyalty card programme. The card will save you money in the long-run; in some chains, loyalty card will grant you access to Wi-Fi for a longer period  of time.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda