As finals season approaches, many first-year (or in my case, second-year) students at GSE are still trying to figure out the ideal study spots on campus, the ones where they can crank out fifteen-pagers and study for statistics exams like nobody’s business. In my three semesters at Penn, I’ve cultivated a solid rotation of options (though I’m always looking for that next best spot). Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best (and worst) study spots for the upcoming weeks.

Best spot: Weigle Information Commons

A little-known study spot on campus, the Weigle Information Commons (or WIC) on the ground floor of Van Pelt has study rooms and “Data Diner” booths galore. Each booth is equipped with a desktop monitor for that dual-screen action, and study rooms have big tables, whiteboards, and large, mounted TV screens connected to desktops. Be sure to reserve your WIC space ahead of time, because they fill up fast. 

Worst spot: GSE Lounge

The lounge on the ground floor of GSE is one of the worst places to try to do work, but it is one of the best places to socialize. Though the lounge can sometimes provide a fun environment for students to work on group projects and partner assignments, it’s not the right choice when you’re thinking about how to maximize your productivity in a limited amount of time.

Best spot: Fisher Fine Arts Library

We know that FFA is gorgeous from the outside, but it’s beautiful (and super quiet) on the inside as well, making it a close-to-perfect spot to study for finals. Unfortunately, Fisher Fine Arts doesn’t allow food inside and closes at midnight.

Worst spot: Your room

We’ve all had this argument with ourselves. Why would we leave the comfort of our own home to study for finals, especially when it’s cold outside? But with unfettered access to your bed or couch, can you really be trusted to focus on your work and not binge Friends for the 5th time?

Best spot: 6th floor of Van Pelt

The top floor of the library is a great place to get some solid studying in -- it’s quiet and the couches can probably fit your whole study group. Also, the view of College Green from the windows is incredible, and if you’re like me, a great view inspires great ideas for your paper.

Worst spots: Starbucks, Saxbys and HubBub

These coffee shops not only have great coffee and snacks, but they can also offer a relaxed study setting during the semester. However, if you’re trying to get serious work done, skip these spots. Grab some coffee to go, and hit up a quieter, less bustling locale.