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Best Study Spots: Mines


Mines isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Between mind-bending problem sets and labs that seem to never end, it can be challenging to navigate it all. We’ve chatted with many Mines graduates about their favorite study spots and study techniques to thrive in your classes without completely sacrificing your social life. Whether you’re a freshman still figuring out how to navigate campus or a senior counting down to graduation, this guide will help you study smarter, not harder.

Where Do You Focus?

Before we dive into the best study spaces at Mines, it’s important to understand your personal studying preferences. Reflect on your most productive study sessions and consider the following: 

  • Was I in a loud or quiet environment? 
  • Was it a bustling atmosphere or one with minimal visual distractions? 
  • Was it in the morning or evening? 
  • Did I exercise before I studied?

Identifying your ideal study conditions will help you choose a location and time that matches your learning style. This self-awareness will also help you maximize your study efficiency, which is needed given the demanding curriculum at Mines.

Effective Study Techniques for Mines Students

1. Attend Office Hours

Attending office hours is often needed to develop a positive relationship with your professors. By showing up, you demonstrate your commitment to success in the class. It’s an opportunity to ask questions you might not feel comfortable asking in class and receive support. This is especially important in large classes where professors may not get to know you otherwise.

Have a Plan:

Always attend office hours with prepared questions. Instead of saying, “I need help with the assignment,” ask specific questions like, “Can you help me solve problems #10 and #12?” or “I get lost after the first couple steps of the problem, can you help me get unstuck?” This shows a higher level of engagement and ensures you get the help you need.

When to Attend:

Attend office hours as frequently as possible, starting at the beginning of the semester. This allows you to build relationships when the workload is lighter, and there is less competition for the professor’s time. 

2. Create a One-Pager

Creating a one-page summary of your study material is an effective learning technique, especially for dense subjects like those at Mines. This method helps you:

  1. Condense large amounts of information
  2. Synthesize key concepts
  3. Identify the most important points

For example, if you have a biology exam covering four chapters, try to distill all that information onto a single page. This process of summarization reinforces your understanding of the material.

Benefits of the one-pager method:

  • Improves information retention
  • Enhances your ability to connect different concepts
  • Provides a concise reference for quick review
  • Offers a clear start and end point, which can reduce study-related anxiety

By synthesizing content into a compact, manageable format, you’re not just memorizing facts—you’re actively engaging with and organizing the material, significantly aiding learning.

A good one-pager should include brief descriptions of the main topic, broken down into subsections. Use color and diagrams to enhance understanding. Prepare as if the professor said you could use a one-page cheat sheet for the exam. This method is particularly useful for final exam preparation, as you’ll have concise, focused material to review.

3. Take Time to Reflect: The Quadrant Activity

The Quadrant Activity can be used to improve your study process and learning.

How to do:

  • List what you did to prepare for the exam. 
  • Circle helpful activities and cross off ineffective ones. 
  • Plan adjustments for future test preparation based on this evaluation.

This activity promotes self-reflection, and many have seen a big improvement in their study habits after using the quadrant method.

4. Weekly Self Reflection Activity

Many students benefit from a weekly self-reflection practice. Here are a few examples of questions you could ask your student: 

  • What went well academically this week? 
  • What didn’t go as well academically this week? 
  • What’s one thing you’re proud of yourself for this week?

By consistently reflecting, you’ll better understand your study habits, track your progress, and make informed adjustments to your academic approach.

Best Study Locations at Colorado School of Mines

On-Campus Study Spots

According to our School of Mines graduates, these were their most productive study locations: 

1. Arthur Lakes Library: The library has reservable study rooms, including small study rooms, graduate-only rooms, and a large study room. Most rooms have whiteboards for extended math problems. The library provides a range of study environments, from quiet individual spaces to collaborative areas.

2. Alderson Hall: Known for its relaxed atmosphere and traditional academic vibe. The end-of-hall desks, particularly on the top floor, are popular among students who prefer minimal distractions.

3. CoorsTek Center: Features beautiful views and plenty of natural light. Its open environment, modeled after a tech workplace, is great for group projects. CoorsTek has up-to-date technology and many types of workspaces.

4. Brown Hall: Brown has a range of study environments, from isolated rooms for distraction-free studying to areas that encourage collaborative learning. It is a versatile choice for both individual concentration and group projects.

5. Marquez Hall: This state-of-the-art building has lots of natural light. At the end of the hall, you’ll find comfortable chair groupings overlooking the street below, with beautiful views of South Table Mountain. 

6. Kafadar Commons: An outdoor study space perfect for beautiful days in Golden. It is in the middle of campus and has stunning views of South Table Mountain.

Off-Campus Study Locations

1. Higher Grounds: A favorite among students and faculty. Higher Grounds has a great atmosphere for extended study sessions if you focus well in a coffee shop setting. 

2. Golden Public Library: A great alternative to campus and coffee shops. Take a study break by walking on the nearby Coal Creek Trail.

Where Not to Study

Although studying in your dorm room may seem appealing, it’s better to separate your living space from your study environment. When you study in your room, you may face numerous distractions that can hinder your ability to focus effectively.

Establishing a clear boundary between your living space and productivity area improves attention and efficiency. If you can remain disciplined and use your study location solely for schoolwork (and not check social media), you’ll complete assignments quicker and have more free time to enjoy Golden.

Seeking Additional Support

Remember, you’re not alone if you struggle to focus or manage your time effectively while studying. Untapped Learning is here to help. Our team has experienced coaches who can provide personalized strategies to improve productivity and study habits while minimizing procrastination.

By implementing these study techniques and finding your ideal study spot, you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenging curriculum at Colorado School of Mines while still having time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Golden. 

Happy studying, Orediggers!

Parenting a child who struggles with executive function can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Let Untapped help!

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