Many students are turning to free study apps to make their study time more efficient. This makes sense given that experts recommend that high school students spend 25-30 minutes per night on each subject they’re taking, while college students should spend two hours of study time for every hour of class time. This can be particularly challenging if students have other obligations like sports, clubs, or jobs.
And a recent report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) suggests that students are actually increasing the amount of time they spend studying. As Michael T. Nietzel reports, “the percentage of first-year students spending more than 15 hours per week preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, doing homework or lab work) increased from 34% in 2004 to as high as 45% in 2017. …[that] 10 percentage point increase translates into about two more hours per week for all students on average.”
Part of the reason for this increase in study time may be that many students don’t know how to study effectively. “Almost all failing and borderline students tell me that they are studying and studying hard (typically 10 to 15 hours per week for my course alone),” says Gail Horowitz of City University of New York Brooklyn College. “But I then follow up by asking how they are studying. And most frequently I find that students who report that they are working very hard, yet are doing very poorly, are simply studying in the wrong way.”
With the dual problem of time and efficacy, it’s no surprise the market for study apps has exploded. Check any app store and you’ll find a never-ending list of apps promising to make studying easier, fast, better, and more fun. But which ones are actually beneficial?
The TracSoft team has scoured the internet to offer a curated list of the best free study apps of 2020. The standouts will help you review information, stay organized, and track the amount of time you spend studying, completing homework, and working on projects. As usual, we’ve chosen apps that offer a free version and are available on Android, iOS, and sync across either your browser or your Mac/Windows PC. So grab your favorite device and get ready to ace this academic year!
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Study Apps For Learning Material
Neuroscience suggests that studying regularly for short periods of time is the most effective method of learning. However, remembering to study can be challenging when life gets busy. Good study apps can help with notifications to remind you to study. And because an app goes where you go, you can use time wisely by studying while waiting between classes, in line at the store, or at the bus stop. Here are a few apps that make regular study easy and convenient.
Popular with both students and teachers, Quizlet is a flashcard app. Teachers can create, upload, and share premade flashcards with their students. Similarly, students can create their own study materials or choose from premade study sets on the website. Be warned that many of the premade flashcards are user-generated, so the quality and accuracy of some of those sets may be questionable. Otherwise, the app is intuitive, and flashcards created in the app can even be printed. Quizlet syncs across devices and the web, and the basic version is free for both Android and iOS.
Similar to Quizlet, StudyBlue allows you to upload your course materials and use them to create custom flashcards, but it takes this a step further by allowing users to create review sheets and quizzes as well. You can even share these materials with classmates and friends. (You can also access premade materials shared by other users, but like with Quizlet, these vary in quality.)
Your materials sync between the app and web so you always have access, and study materials can include both text and images, making it a versatile app for different subjects. Another nice feature are the push notifications you can set up to remind you to study. There is a paid version of the app, but the basic version is free for Android and iPhone.
Kahoot is a hugely popular app partly because it works and partly because it gamifies studying. You can use the app to study alone, or you can compete in challenges with friends or classmates. Some instructors actually use Kahoot in the classroom to review before tests, and because the app assigns users a PIN, students’ performance can remain private even when information is projected onto smartboards.
Like Quizlet and StudyBlue, you can use Kahoot to create flashcards, or you can study in other modes by answering multiple choice questions, true/false questions, or completing puzzles. There are lots of premade quizzes uploaded by other users that can be used as is or altered to meet your needs. Or you can create your own content within the app, even incorporating images and video. It’s available for free on Android, iOS, and through your browser.
Best Study Planner Apps
One of the biggest challenges for many students is staying on track of everything that’s happening in life. With extracurriculars, work, and family, it can be hard to remember when that big test is or how long you have to finish that paper. If this sounds like you, check out our favorite planner apps for students.
My Study Life
Many high school and college students have odd course schedules. They may have a lot of classes that meet for a short time each day, classes that meet every other day, or courses that sometimes meet face-to-face and sometimes online. It can be hard to program such irregular schedules into some planners, but that’s the beauty of My Study Life. It’s flexible enough to accommodate your schedule, no matter how zany it is.
The app will also send you reminders about upcoming assignments and you can create helpful to-do lists. The calendar interface is clean and can be changed to daily, weekly, or monthly views, and you can color-code things to your heart’s content. My Study Life is available for free on Android and iOS, and it syncs to your browse as well.
To include “Legendary Planner” as part of your app’s name might seem arrogant, but the iStudies Pro planner really is impressive. Besides allowing you to input and color-code your schedule, tracking assignments, and sending you reminders, this app actually lets you track your progress on assignments throughout the term, which is great for long-term projects like papers or presentations. It even integrates with Google Calendar. The app is free, but you’ll need the paid version to sync across all your devices. It’s available on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.
myHomework Student Planner
Another great option for tracking classes and homework is myHomework Student Planner. Like My Study Life, it tracks your schedule and upcoming assignments in a sleek design. Besides viewing your schedule by daily, weekly, and monthly views, you can also view a list of homework assignments or drop a widget on your phone or tablet home screen to have upcoming assignments always at hand. You can even store contact information for your teachers.
Speaking of, teachers will find this app just as useful as students. In fact, myHomework Student Planner offers accounts for teachers that allow them to upload a course syllabus and homework directions, push reminders to students, and generally keep classes on the same page. It’s a feature that takes this app above and beyond most. The app is available for free (with optional paid upgrades) on Android, iOS, and Mac and Windows operating systems.
Best Study Apps For Keeping Track Of Things
Sometimes the toughest part of school is keeping track of your notes. It can be tough to catch everything during lectures, and it’s easy to misplace ideas you jotted down for that end-of-term paper. But with these apps, you can keep everything digitally and back it up in your favorite cloud storage.
Microsoft Office Lens
This is a genius little app that allows you to use your camera to create usable, shareable files. Simply take a picture and Microsoft Office Lens will let you transform it into a PDF, Word document, or PowerPoint file, after which you can send the new document to cloud storage or share it. Even better, any text in these documents becomes editable, so you can mark them up or cut out unnecessary parts. This is great for saving class notes on a whiteboard, a page from your textbook, or a handout. It’s free for Android, iOS, and Windows.
Part of the G Suite, Google Keep is a small, simple app, but it can be incredibly useful. As you’d expect, it integrates with other applications such as Gmail and Google Calendar, meaning your notes can be literally one click away as you work. Notes can be titled and labeled. If you end up with a lot of notes, you can use the search bar to search by title, and the labels allow you to filter notes so that you’re only viewing notes in a certain category.
Visually, the app looks a bit like Post-Itz stuck to a whiteboard. You can click and drag to rearrange, pin notes that need to stay handy, and color-code everything. One outstanding feature is that notes can be typed or handwritten, drawn, or even imported as images. Google Keep is available for free and can be synced across Android, iOS, and in browsers.
We’ve talked about Evernote before, and it’s still one of our favorite apps. It operates on a system of virtual “notebooks” that work like folders on a computer. Within these notebooks, you can have individual “pages” of notes, each with a title and tags. The app is powerful and versatile, allowing you to organize, merge, and manage lots of information quickly and keep things accessible. It also integrates with a host of other apps and browser plugins, allowing you to snatch info from the web and store it for later. There’s even support for handwriting recognition.
While the paid version of Evernote has more bells and whistles, the free version is feature-rich and offers enough storage for most students, especially since you can easily export notes from old classes or assignments into cloud storage to make room for new things. You can sync the app across up to three devices with the free plan, or more devices depending on your subscription. It’s available on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.
Meet The New School Year With Confidence!
Going back to school will definitely look different this year. It will offer new and different challenges. But with a host of free apps to help you study, stay organized, and manage information, you’ll be ready to take on whatever this school year brings!
Want some tips on how to pass online classes? Check out our post How To Be A Successful Online Student!
Not used to working from home? Let us help with Working From Home: Tips For Productivity And Communication.Speaking of apps…did you know TracSoft creates custom apps for small businesses? Find a competitive edge over the competition with software designed for exactly what you do. Contact us today to speak with one of our expert, in-house app developers.