By Claudia Tan and Kezia Tan
Forget the bell curve — finding a place to study is the real competition for students these days. Packed cafes and long queues at public libraries make it hard to snag a seat.
But with start-ups offering pay-per-use study areas, a guaranteed space for conducive cramming is now within reach.
Here are two places we scoped out, where the table’s reserved just for you.
The Study Area
Where: #02-34 539939, 61 Ubi Rd 1
When: 24 hours
For those who are constantly distracted, The Study Area might be the place for you.
Located in Tai Seng, the 30-seater space is set up like an examination hall, complete with desks neatly lined in three columns and a sleek monochromatic themed interior. With the only sounds being the clicking of keyboards and scribbling of pens, you can be ensured hours of uninterrupted mugging.
The 24-hour unmanned study space is fully run by an online system. Customers gain access by keying in their session PIN, which they receive upon booking online.
There are two booking rates available, $12 for 12-hour access or $18 for 24-hour access. Once you’ve booked a seat, you’re free to come and go within that time period.
Each customer gets a personal desk with a table lamp and charging points, and lockers to keep your valuables safe at no extra charge. There is also a water dispenser and complimentary 3-in-1 mixes if you need a caffeine fix.
“When you go the library, your seat is gone when you leave for a meal,” said co-founder Mr Clement Wu, 34. “Here, you can take a break with peace of mind.”
The Study Area’s first branch, launched in 2015, is just a 5-minute walk from Tai Seng MRT. Food is also easily accessible with a food court and provision shop on the first level of the building, and a mall, Breadtalk IHQ, across the road.
Book early, because the space receives 60 to 100 bookings per week, according to Mr. Wu. Its peak periods are during the weekends but there is no lack of seats for everyone. On weekdays, you just might get the whole place to yourself.
The Study Area currently has a second branch in Kovan, and is looking to open up to two more branches within the year in heartland areas or near MRT stations.
Desk Next Door
Where: 416 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 #01-977, 560416
When: 9am-10.30pm Daily
If libraries are too stifling for you, the homely Desk Next Door may be a better alternative. Tucked away in the Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood is a quaint little space for you to dive into your books.
The place may be located under an HDB building five bus stops away from Ang Mo Kio interchange, but don’t be deceived by its unassuming facade. Desk Next Door is well equipped for a productive day of studying.
Wooden floorboards and cushioned chairs make the space cosy, while facilities like free Wi-Fi and charging points ensure all your studying needs are covered. Printing and lamination services are also available at a fee.
Desk Next Door exudes homeliness with little potted succulents and framed motivational quotes. Spacious wooden tables line both sides of the room, and there are even adjustable partitions for maximum privacy.
Advance bookings can be made through phone or email.
Launched in July last year, Desk Next Door has since gotten a steady flow of six to eight customers a day, and has become a go-to even for those who live beyond the vicinity, said owner Mr Tan En Wei.
The space, which seats 18, welcome walk-ins as there are more than enough seats to go around.
Inspired by his experience of not having a proper study space when he was a polytechnic student, the 24-year-old now dedicates his time fully to Desk Next Door.
Mr Tan is also awaiting HDB’s approval for Desk Next Door to operate 24 hours to better cater to customers’ needs.
“As it is still a relatively new start up, I am looking at ways to improve this place,” said Mr. Tan.
With the two start-ups leading the way for pay-per-use study spaces, there are no more excuses not to hit the books.