When it comes to studying, I’m always trying to find ways to help me stay focused and get things done as efficiently as possible. Nowadays, technology has really transformed the way college students study. Even though our actual classes at Williams aren’t online anymore, we still utilize this technology (such as our trusty little Ipads) to help take notes. For me, I tend to be a bit old-fashioned and take notes by hand, but when it’s time to sit down and study, I’ve found a few apps that have helped me a ton. I hope you find these apps to be as helpful as I do!
This one is pretty obvious. Quizlet really is a lifesaver when it comes to memorizing vocabulary. You can literally turn anything into flashcards, which for me is the best way to learn. I believe it is referred to as “active recall” or something fancy like that. Making flashcards forces your brain to recall the information needed. One feature I really like about Quizlet is that you can “star” the terms you don’t know, and the app will then put them into another category for you to study separately. Very handy if you ask me. Also, this eliminates the need to buy a million flashcards at the dollar store. Save the trees!
This app is so cute. And effective. But mostly cute. It’s created to help you focus on a task without constantly being distracted by your phone. The longer you stay away from your phone, the more your virtual tree will grow. The app allows you to set a timer for a minimum of five minutes or a maximum of 120 minutes, with the option for five-minute increments in between. If you leave the app, your tree will “die.” I normally set a timer for one hour with a couple of five-minute increments here and there, just so I don’t get burnout out too quickly. Something about watching my little virtual tree grow is pretty satisfying. If I ever feel like giving up, the app reminds me about how “my cute little tree will die,” which means there’s no way I could possibly give up now!
Books (the app of course)
The books app should already come pre-installed on your phone, but I’m sure some don’t even realize they have it. Not only can you find just about any book on there, but oftentimes you can download it for free. This app also comes pre-installed on your Ipad, so you can easily download books for class. I’ve found it can be a lot cheaper to buy a digital copy of a book instead of ordering it off other websites, plus, you can access the book immediately after you’ve purchased it. The app also allows you to take notes while reading or highlight anything important. My favorite feature is the one where you can click on any word and search its meaning.
If you’re anything like me, then you still have trouble citing work for class. (I’m an English major, too. Should I be ashamed?) EasyBib is an app that helps you cite anything from a YouTube video to a science textbook. You can type in the ISBN number and find the exact book you’re trying to cite. It gives you boxes to fill in with information and cites the text according to the format you choose, whether it be MLA or APA.
Google Docs/ Word
These apps may be relatively straightforward, but they’re great for pretty much anything, from taking notes during class to writing assignments and essays. I like how Google Docs saves your work without you manually having to click “save.” Everything is super accessible and easy to share with someone, making group projects a lot easier to manage. Multiple people can work on an assignment at one time with no trouble. If you are more worried about formatting, Word is the best way to go. Until this year, I didn’t know you could download Word on your phone or Ipad free of charge. All you need to do is create a Microsoft account, then download the app and log in.
This app also comes pre-installed on your phone and Ipad. It’s a great place to jot down reminders about homework and assignments. There’s also an option to add lines to the page, basically making it a piece of notebook paper. This is really convenient for when you’re wanting to use your apple pen to write on your Ipad. If I happen to not have a physical notebook with me, I find it super easy to pull out my Ipad and use the Apple pen to write things down. For some reason, using a stylus makes you feel very smart and studious. Or is that just me?
Okay. I know this app doesn’t technically help you learn anything unless you’re listening to educational podcasts (which we all are, right?), but I find listening to music actually helps me focus more on the task at hand. I feel most college students would agree that Spotify is the best app for listening to any kind of music out there, (unless you use Apple Music, but that’s an argument for another day.) You can download Spotify for free, but be warned, you may be interrupted by a few ads here and there. The good thing though is that a discount is offered to college students that allows you to listen to music ad-free. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of this. Now you can listen to hours of lo-fi beats without interruption. 🙂