All sixteen hundred freshmen take maleficaria studies together in the largest lecture hall. It's circular, with the center a not-quite-at-scale replica of the graduation hall, full of slavering hungry mals, so dense with them that you cannot really run through it. There are flying things with too many teeth and tentacles dangling from the ceiling and swarms of tiny things that'd pose no threat individually but make the air so dense you can hardly see through them. There are more sophisticated spell-capable mals hiding behind cover, raising a limb to target you with magic. Patience and Fortitude lurk at each exit to the graduation gate.
You don't want to sit in the front rows. Sometimes, the mal of the day will get some ideas and try to eat some mana to graduate from an illusion to the real thing, and there are these big fat bundles of mana right there for the eating.
Textbooks are in the pouch in the back of the seat in front of you, as long as you don't think too hard about it.