Best Places to Study for Finals

By Summer Schnellbach

Grand Forks has a wide variety of places to go both on campus and off campus for students to study for final exams. Whether you like a quiet space, or a comfortable coffee shop atmosphere, there is something to please everyone.

On Campus:

Chester Fritz Library

The Chester Fritz Library is a popular study space for students. It has two large meeting rooms that can be reserved for events or large groups. There are six group study rooms that are open to students during library hours on a first-come, first-served basis. Group study rooms are intended for groups of two or more, but can be used for individuals unless asked to leave by a larger group.

Each group study room has eight chairs and a large table. The rooms are as follows:

Room 113, Room 304, Room 305, Room 421, Room 422, Room 423.


The library “Fish Bowl” is quiet Thursday morning, The room typically fills up by lunch time.

The Chester Fritz Library has four floors, each of which has either study areas or private study rooms.  The “Fish Bowl” on the second floor is a large study room with smaller square tables with four chairs. Talking is not permitted in this room, so if you need silence, it is the place for you.

At the ends of the rows and rows of books, there are table for you to either study or read for leisure.

On the second floor, there is a group study room containing a microwave if you would like to pop popcorn that is available in the vending machine.

The library is open from 7:30 a.m. until midnight Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. until midnight on Sunday.

University of North Dakota student Lacy Lilleboe is a freshman living in the dorms who prefers the library as her study spot. She said she needs a quiet place in order to focus, and she also likes the library’s hours.

“The library allows me to ask for help on specific topics if any of the librarians know anything about what I’m studying,” Lilleboe said. “The hours are also really great because I can study at almost all hours of the day.”

Memorial Union

The Memorial Union is the main student hub on campus. It is within walking distance from dorms and other on-campus housing.

The Union has TVs on the main level in a comfortable lounge area, and the basement has more private study options like table and chairs with dividers. There is also a computer lab in the basement. The main floor has printers, information desks, coffee, snacks and offers an environment for people watching when you need a study break. The third level is quieter if you prefer less distractions. There is spacious seating with couches, as well.

The Memorial Union is a great place to study for finals on campus whether you like background noise or a quiet environment.

UND student Jaden Lemar lives off campus but prefers to go to the Union to study. He thinks the Union is the best place to study for exams because it isn’t too quiet and there are food options such as Stomping Grounds coffee, a convenience store and Old Main Marketplace.

“It feels like you can talk more, and having the C Store to get stuff to eat and drink is nice,” Lemar said.


Jaden Lemar looks over his notes for a history final in the Union. The Loading Dock is a study area in the Union that also serves as a stage for culture nights and other events.

The Union is open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday. 

Archives Coffee House

Archives Coffee House is located in the center of campus across from the Chester Fritz Library. They use organic and fair-trade 100 percent Arabica beans for coffee and espresso.

Archives has many seating options. There are large meeting tables, smaller tables for individuals or several people, as well as oversized leather couches. There is a fireplace as well as books to read in the corner.


Logan Mollman prepares for his history final. He has spent six hours at Archives this week.

The coffee menu seems simple, but any drink can be customized to your liking. There is a wide variety of flavored syrups such as vanilla, coconut and even lavender, and any drink can be made hot or iced. There are several choices for tea such as Lord Bergamot black tea, Fez Full leaf green tea or white petal tea if you are not a coffee drinker, and they also offer smoothies and Italian sodas.

Snacks and lunch options are available, such as protein bars, bagels, muffins, wraps and soup.

Logan Mollman, a student at UND, said he believes Archives is the best place to study for finals.

“This is my first semester here so I haven’t had finals before, but I usually come to Archives to work on assignments, write papers or study for tests because the coffee is always good and the couches are really comfortable,” Mollman said. “I will for sure be here for the next couple of weeks getting ready for finals week.”

Private Study Rooms

There are many private rooms on campus for studying, whether they be in residence halls or in Wilkerson Commons.

The study rooms in residence halls have large tables to spread out papers and notes. Some rooms also have marker boards, which can be nice for writing out equations or diagrams.

The number of study rooms in each dorm varies. They are all first-come, first-served.

Wilkerson Commons has a newly renovated study lounge. There are booths and tables as well as a Stomping Grounds coffee and convenience store. Printers are located close by, along with a computer lab and Innovation Center with study pods.

UND student Hannah Rue said she liked to use the private study rooms in her dorm when she was a freshman.

“I like the rooms in Fulton because I don’t have to go outside or drive anywhere to study,” Rue said. “They are really quiet and I like to get out of my room to study.”


A study room in Johnstone Hallgoes unused.  An empty study room close to finals week is not common.

Off Campus:

Bully Brew Coffee House

Bully Brew is a local coffee house that has a comfortable “mom and pop” feel.

The theme of the coffee shop is “bulldogs.”


“Preparing for finals? Coffee goes great with tears.” Bully Brew coffee offers plenty of seating for students to study.

There is a meeting room that can be reserved for groups of four or more people, and there is ample seating available.

There is one location on Colombia Road and another on South Washington Street.

At the Colombia Road location, there are eight tables that can seat one to four people as well as four booths and bar seating with stools. Charging outlets are available along the walls to charge devices.

Bully Brew offers lunch options and snacks including award-winning bagels and banana bread.

All day May 5, they will be hosting a Study-a-thon. There will be live music every 15 minutes, therapy dogs and free espresso shots.

Store manager Rihana Davidson said Bully Brew is the best option to study for finals because it gets people away from campus and has the right music and much-needed distractions such as games and cards.

She said it is a relaxing atmosphere to study in and you are not pressured to be silent and study while there.

Bully Brew is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday though Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Urban Stampede

The alternative music that plays is mellow but not distracting. The lighting is dimmer than most places, so it offers a calming atmosphere for stressed students during exams.

Urban Stampede has a lot of seating with wooden booths, round tables and couches. There are also stools at the coffee bar and tables outside for additional seating.

If you enjoy looking at art, Urban is also known for having a small art gallery showing local artist’s exhibitions.

Urban Stampede is located in downtown Grand Forks and has been ranked No. 1 in several lists including the Top 10 Coolest Coffee Shops in North Dakota and 7 Best Coffee Shops in North Dakota.

Barista Dashiell Lewis-Smart said Urban Stampede is the best place to study for finals because of the calming atmosphere and music that sets the scene.


Snowflakes fall outside Urban Stampede Wednesday. Despite the snow, Urban Stampede was busy until closing time. 

Urban Stampede is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.

The Ember

The Ember in downtown Grand Forks was ranked No. 8 in the list of Top Ten Coolest Coffee Shops in North Dakota.

The Ember is owned by Freedom Church and the baristas are all volunteers.

As both a coffee shop and live music venue, there is a stage in front for local musicians to showcase their talent while customers come in for coffee and homework. The stage also doubles as a seating area when there is no music and large windows let in natural light.


Camille Lynn and Emily Shawkat study for class at The Ember. Both girls frequently visit The Ember to study or work on assignments for class.

An upper level loft provides additional seating with booths, large tables, smaller tables, as well as couches.

There are games available to play for a study break, or you can take a walk around downtown to window shop.

First-year medical student Emily Shawkat said that The Ember is the best place in Grand Forks to go for studying because the coffee is really good and there is calm music. She said it is her and her roommate’s favorite place to go in order to get out of their apartment.

The Ember is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.