Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Top 7 Study Apps to Make Student Life Easier

When Bryan Adams sang Summer of ‘69, he was reminiscing about high school, the best days of his life. Many agree that high school and college are fun: you make new friends, take fresh courses, and overcome new challenges every day. But you also have tough assignments, tight deadlines, and the dilemma of what you want to do once you graduate. Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep up with everything.

Luckily, there’s technology to save the day. Want to track your monthly expenses? Download an app. Need to meet with your group over the weekend? There’s one for that too.

From writing your research paper to keeping note of day-to-day tasks, these apps are bound to make college life a breeze.

1. Quizlet

Quizlet makes physical flashcards a thing of the past. It’s a simple tool that uses spaced repetition to help you learn. You can freely access millions of pre-made flashcard sets and practice just about any topic — from medieval history to intermediate Italian.

Better still, you can make your own flashcard sets and carry them around with you on your phone or use them on your laptop.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Different learning modes make sure you never get bored
  • Quizlet Live helps you study through interactive games with other group members
  • You can share your flashcards with friends or among groups  

❌  What could be improved:

  • Free version is ad-supported, which can make it difficult to concentrate
  • No guarantee that user-uploaded flashcard sets are accurate

2. Grammarly

You’ve crafted the perfect essay or research paper, handed it in to your professor, and received it back, only to find spelling errors, misplaced punctuation, and awkward sentences galore. It’s not always easy to spot those things, even with spell-check. This is where Grammarly can help.

This online proofreading tool checks your hard work for typos, readability, and makes valuable suggestions for how you can improve. You can even use it for error-free blogs, presentations, or emails.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Detects plagiarism and provides information about the original source 
  • Makes you a better writer by including easy explanations of your mistakes 
  • Handy browser extension checks what you’re writing online

❌  What could be improved:

  • Often doesn’t understand technical or science jargon
  • Algorithm isn’t perfect so still requires a set of human eyes
  • Premium version can be pricey

3. Scribd

Scribd is the “Netflix of books.” It is a digital library where subscribers can read ebooks, articles, and listen to audiobooks. You also have access to millions of user-uploaded documents to help you with your studies.

Need a pricey textbook? Check Scribd first to see if another friendly user has already uploaded it for you to view for free!

✅  What we loved: 

  • Can download books to read while offline
  • Gives you access to high-end magazines, heaps of textbooks, audiobooks, and even sheet music for a monthly price
  • Audiobook addicts can set timers to stop narration after the chosen time elapses

❌  What could be improved:

  • Popular books sometimes have restricted access
  • Some users report being charged after canceling their subscriptions
  • You need to provide credit card details, even for the free trial

4. Evernote 

Did your friend miss a lecture and ask you for notes? You’ve got them covered. Evernote is the go-to app for note-taking and task management. Whether it’s the link to a blog you read last night or a family recipe your mother shared with you, Evernote is useful to store literally anything you run the risk of forgetting.

It organizes your notes, to-do lists, and even audio in one place. You can also use the audio recording feature to capture classroom lectures. 

✅  What we loved: 

  • Supports images, drawings, and other attachments
  • Can share documents with team members who can contribute and edit
  • Syncs with your computer, smartphone, and tablet

❌  What could be improved:

  • No way to password protect your notes on the desktop version (although you can on your phone)
  • The app can be sluggish if you have a ton of notes or when running it on older phones 

5. Duolingo 

Couldn’t get enough of your French classes in school? Wanted to learn Spanish after binge-watching Money Heist on Netflix? If you are intrigued by foreign cultures, you might consider learning a second language. It looks good on your resume, improves your professional prospects, and you can even flaunt a few lines from Italian and French poets like Dante or Baudelaire for your friends.

Duolingo is fun and interactive, which is why it’s such a hit (or maybe a hoot, since their mascot is an owl).

✅  What we loved: 

  • Can set daily or weekly goals to help you achieve your language-learning targets
  • Mini-stories available in different languages to make the learning process more engaging

❌  What could be improved:

  • Speech recognition features are lacking
  • Grammar and vocabulary exercises are inadequate for advanced levels

6. Forest

Forest is a time management app for anyone who wants to focus. You plant a seed every time you want to focus on something. The seed slowly grows into a tree as you work. In the meantime, if you touch your phone, the app reminds you to get back to work.

Forest even partners with a tree-planting NGO so you can use your points to plant actual trees in Africa.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Great way to unplug from your phone
  • Can track your focus with useful visual graphics

❌  What could be improved:

  • App isn’t visible on the lock screen while running
  • Trees can only grow if you keep the app constantly running in the background

7. Mint

College is a good time to take responsibility for your own finances, but if you think you have to be an accountant to do so, think again. Once you’ve synced your bank accounts with Mint, the app brings together your balance, bills, and payments so you know where you stand. 

✅  What we loved: 

  • App will email or text you when you go over your budget
  • Receive alerts for bill reminders, low balances, or unusual account activity 
  • Can sync multiple bank accounts and check your spending trends

❌  What could be improved:

  • Can’t generate reports or statements of your financial activity
  • Works with most banks in the US and Canada, but not all

College may not be easy — but technology sure can lend a hand. Switch out time-wasting apps for the ones above!

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