Best Revision Spots

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LEAF ARBUTHNOT tries a change of scenery.

The approach of exams – er, this Tuesday actually, shitshitshit – has compelled me of late to stop loafing about like a sticky malt, and get some work done.

It turns out that I’m incapable of revising in the same place for long so have to migrate every few hours from workstation to workstation, books in bag, new iPad pointedly on arm just to check that everyone knows I’ve got one. (It’s called The Sword; you pronounce the ‘w’.)

Revision is like a date – half the battle is finding the right place to go. Mercifully Cambridge is writhing in good work-spots, so you can be fairly certain that at least a couple of them will suit you and your work needs. Here are some of the best.


Waterstones has a café on the second floor, as well a clique of armchairs and tables on the third. Notwithstanding the café’s deeply questionable colour palette, it’s a pretty cracking workstation if you like revising in a quiet, but not funereal, atmosphere. Avoid at weekends: lots of babies. 

Where the perfect work ambiance lies between babies and funerals…

The Law Faculty

If you are lacking in drive or need to be shamed by anonymous suits into buckling down, the Law Faculty might be for you. It looks, sounds and smells like money clamouring to be earned. The Wifi is zippy; speaking/breathing/smiling is frowned upon, desks are spacious.

Starbucks’ Basement

There are many disadvantages to working in Starbucks’ basement, not least that one tends to be tempted, having descended the stairs, to scan about for lurking inferi. That said, nocturnal workers might appreciate its muted lighting, plum furnishings and muffled acoustics.

The Wren Library

Only open to Trinity students – but if you can visit it, do, because it’s full of light and the architecture is fly. It smells pungently of cobwebbed tomes and marble; ideal for anyone gunning for a retro working experience.

Satisfy your craving for vaulted ceilings…

The UL

Not for the lily-livered. The UL is my panic place, only to be resorted to in moments of liquid fear. That said, its buttery is quite the socialite’s hub, so I hear, and it has extended Easter Term opening times – till 10pm on weekdays. Places at desks go like Presto pasties at closing time, so pitch up early or not at all.


If you have words to learn, tenses to dominate, formulae to tackle or anything that requires out-and-out memorisation, taking to the fields and parks around Cambridge could be for you. There are some splendid trees drooping over the Cam up Grantchester way that are begging to be lolled on with a book. It’s also good for the soul.


This is a new Scandinavian shop that’s recently opened by Magdalene Bridge that has a miniscule coffee shop at the back. The opening times are quite restrictive – it shuts at 5 – but the cakes are extremely good, and it’s very quiet and clean.

Community library

Rather surprisingly, the Grand Arcade has a library, located on the second floor by Topshop. It has limited spaces at the weekend (arrive at least ten minutes before opening times) but is great for anyone thirsting for a primary school atmosphere, plasticized books and solicitous helpers. Distractions include a tramp who comes in daily, with or without shoes, to sleep or be told off for sleeping.

Put the ‘primary school back’ into your scholaring… 

One’s own room

Although one’s own room tends to be full of one’s own stuff, that one therefore like to mess around with, working at basecamp can be productive and time-efficient. No awkward laptop-to-library lug, no earnest work-denial chitchat with fellow workaholics, no potentially rain-splattered bike rides. Ban yourself from unparking from your chair for two-hour blocks at a time, to avoid the lure of your bed.

  • big fan

    top stuff as usual leaf

  • Good Luck

    Good Luck in your exams Leaf!

  • A dildo

    'one’s own room tends to be full of one’s own stuff, that one therefore like to mess around with'

  • Another

    Tree-mendous article.

    • PKM

      She's really branching out

      • Leaf rules oak-ay

        I'm rooting for more such fine articles in the future

        • Greenginer

          I think she's blossomed.

          • This is

            Getting old … let's nip this one in the bud.

            • Gardener

              Yeah, let's root it out.

              • examiner

                Repetition, failure to grasp originality/ exploration of concept.

  • Dictionarycorner

    "Vaulted" is not just a word you can add before "ceiling" to make yourself sound that bit more intelligent. Vaulted ceilings are arched. Wren library ceiling is spectacularly un-arched.

    • Good Luck

      getting laid

      • Architect

        He can explore my vaulted ceiling any time.

        • Dictionarycorner

          Perhaps your groin would benefit from the thrust of my flying buttress?

  • truth terrorist


    How did you slip through the net?

    slithery eel

  • Nord

    I used to revise here just like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee…

  • TPJ

    So many hotties in the community library!

    • I like

      the fat one with the red handbag

  • compass

    Fabulous as the UL is, its tea room is so overpriced.

  • Judge Library

    it's empty most of the time and it's 24 hour.

  • Bit

    Patronising of the Community Library hmm?

  • analyst

    Didn't that Waterstones turn into a TK Maxx over a year ago? Ohne Starbucks?

    • Juan Sheet

      That would be Borders.

  • Eric


  • One of those celts

    Classic England fan, this is why everyone in the world was supporting France last night. Better luck next time, nobody remembers second place and I think that’s your fourth second place finish now.
    Also for the record, lets look at your national team records, didn’t make it out of the group stages of the cricket or football world cups, no six nations in a long tim, your best tennis star is Scottish and the worlds top golfer is Irish………and yet England spent the most money by a very long way on their sport.
    So once again I thank you for your article but please rejoin the search party for the broken chariot

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