Even with a range of apps to help you study, the life of a student is not easy. Effective study practices are essential, whether you’re studying in a bricks-and-mortar college or through an online course. Back in the day, this would involve scouring through dusty old books in the college library, falling asleep on your arm, and waking up with flashcards stuck to your face. It was never a system designed to promote good study habits.
Luckily for students in the 21st century, there are so many apps to help you study more effectively. From notepad software for your mobile device to Dictaphone apps and hand-held digital scanners, you can find tons of productivity apps for your particular device. The question then becomes: which ones are the best?
Let us help you pick your way through them with our list of top ten apps to help you study more effectively.
Let’s start with something every student needs: a schedule planner. iStudiez is one of the most impressive scheduling apps to help you study more effectively. Available for most mobile platforms, as well as Mac and Windows computers, the app allows you to track your day-to-day study timetable, as well as exams, homework assignments, and even your grades. So long as you remember to update it with your latest assignment deadlines and the like, you need never miss out on a crucial class or be late handing in an important assignment ever again. The app will alert you in good time for each item, and can even be integrated with the likes of Google Calendar.
Once your schedule is in place, what’s next? Your notes, of course. The cornerstone of revising for any exam, notes are an essential part of your study regime. When it comes to apps to help you study, Evernote is one of the very best, allowing you to keep all your notes organized and streamlined in one handy location. It’s not just dry walls of text, either. Evernote lets you spice up your notes with audio recordings, links, checklists, attachments and more, making your study notes a multimedia extravaganza.
Only available for iOS users at the moment, XMind remains a highly useful app for those who can access it. It is simply one of the best pieces of brainstorming and mind-mapping software on the market. With it, you can use a number of organizational charts and other visual aids to help you manage complex information, clarify your thought process, and capture ideas effectively. Ideal for students working in a new discipline where the approach to problem-solving is more fluid, XMind maps can be exported directly to the Evernote app detailed above.
While there are many apps available to assist you with calculating formulas and equations (see the Wolfram Alpha app below for one example), sometimes a more tactile approach is better. Studies among math and engineering students have demonstrated that we learn formulas better if we write them out longhand, rather than using a calculator. The MyScript Calculator allows you to do just that, recognizing your handwriting as you jot down the formula onto the screen of your phone or tablet, and producing the answer for you at the end.
Type with your voice using Dragon Anywhere – a powerful dictation app that is extremely useful. Whether you’re recording your own notes or setting it down to record your latest lecture, Dragon Anywhere saves the information as both an audio file and a text document, which you can also edit through various voice commands. These dictated notes can then be exported to apps like Evernote, for your convenience.
Exactly what it says it is! This useful app is perfect for any student facing exam season and the hectic schedule that goes with it. Its simple interface makes it easy to log all of your upcoming exam dates and times, and the app will gently count you down to the big moment in months, weeks, days, or minutes. Granted, for some students this in itself could be enough to trigger a panic attack, but if you’d rather face the future head-on, knowing exactly how long you’ve got to study can be a major advantage.
Flashcards might seem old hat, but they’re still an effective way to reinforce your existing knowledge as you study for exams. Developed by the textbook rental company Chegg, Flashcards+ offers a library of 1000s of ready-made flashcards, or the facility to generate your own.
While not as in-depth a scheduling tool as the iStudiez Pro Legend detailed above, Wunderlist Pro is still a useful app for planning your study time as you approach exams. It’s basically a to-do list generator that lets you manage your time more effectively, setting down specific times for study, lectures and, of course, fun.
Wolfram Alpha is a powerful calculation app for anyone whose course involves a lot of formulas and computation. Simply type in a math problem, a question, or a formula and let the app give you the answer. Even better, Wolfram Alpha will also provide you with the steps it took to get there. This allows you to maximise your learning as you go back through the problem.
Of course, we have to mention Scanmarker! Remember when we talked about poring over old books in the college library and taking notes longhand? Despite the digital revolution, there are still some texts that have yet to be converted to an online format, and you will be expected to extract information from them. With the Scanmarker OCR reader, that couldn’t be easier to do. This hand-held device is one of the best apps to help you study. It has a small optical scanner in the point, which you can run across a line of printed text in any book and it will convert it into digital text. You can then manipulate that text in any number of ways – copy it into a word processor document, play it back as an audio file to study on the move, even translate it into another language. So much easier than writing all your notes in longhand, and with the added bonus of not suffering from hand-cramp that comes with all that writing!
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