Best Apps for Students
The school season is once again about to force caffeine, heavy textbooks and long study nights upon us. Be sure to bring your mobile device and the right software.
In a study conducted in March of this year, McGraw-Hill Education found that 77 percent of students say that using tech such as tablets and smartphones has helped improve their grades, and 62 percent say that tech helps them feel more prepared for class. These apps will make the long hours of class and homework go a little more smoothly.
Evernote (free; iOS, Apple Watch, Android, Windows)
This free app has remained popular since it debuted in 2008, but recent updates give users even more freedom. With a clean, uncomplicated interface, it's perfect for students — you can take notes, make to-do lists, set reminders, attach files, create agendas and access everything through any device. However, you do have to turn on push notifications in order to sync all notes when the app isn't running. The camera feature is especially helpful. It lets you take a photo of anything and choose to save it as a photo, document, Post-it note or business card.
Dropbox Mobile (free; iOS, Android, Windows)
As a student you save and send a lot of files. The free Dropbox for mobile app makes it easy to save and share all your documents, photos and videos through one secure location. It's easy to add notes to files you want to share, too, so that your group project doesn't have to take so long. Recently, Dropbox partnered with Microsoft so that users can now edit Microsoft Office files directly from their mobile phones and save them to their Dropbox accounts.
Keep an eye on Dropbox Notes, a way for multiple people to edit the same document. Join the beta here.
Khan Academy (free; iOS, Android, Windows)
More than 4,200 educational videos on Khan Academy let you learn about anything you want, from math and computing to music and the college admissions process. You can even prep for the SAT.
A cool highlight of the free app is the ability to download any of the videos to view later, such as the video of LeBron James introducing a math problem about the probability of making 10 free throws in a row, or the interview with the founder of Ecko Unlimited.
WolframAlpha ($2.99; iOS, Android, Windows)
Dubbed the "Star Trek computer,” the $2.99 Wolfram Alpha app holds over 10 trillion pieces of data and 50,000 equations. The app uses these to compute answers and generate reports on topics ranging from trigonometry and astronomy to genealogy and mythology. It gives you graphs, step-by-step explanations and formula details. Meet your new best friend who is also your tutor.
EasyBib (free; iOS, Android)
One of the most time-consuming parts of writing a research paper actually comes at the end — the bibliography. EasyBib helps you format your list of references in over 7,000 citation styles, including the most common APA and MLA formats. Just type in the name of the book and EasyBib gives you several options to choose from and then makes a citation for you. You can even take a picture of a book's barcode and generate a citation for it.
My Study Life (free; iOS, Android, Windows)
The free My Study Life app replaces any paper planner by keeping track of your workload across multiple platforms and devices. Manage your classes with week and day timetables, keep track of tasks and exams in the cloud and receive notifications to keep you up to date for exams and classes. A clean interface and the ability to color code your classes make the calendar easy to read.
Microsoft Office Mobile (free; iOS, Android, Windows)
This app is a no-brainer. The Microsoft Office Mobile app lets you access, edit and share all your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on your Android devices. If you want to start your homework and don't have a laptop handy, you can create new Word and Excel documents straight from your phone.
Duolingo (free; iOS, Android, Windows)
The Duolingo app is an addictive, fun way for students to learn a new language. Duolingo pairs new words with pictures much like the Rosetta Stone versions do, only the app is completely free with no ads to get in your way. Learn languages like Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and others through speaking exercises, listening exercises and interactive games that have you match words, select missing words within a sentence and translate sentences by tapping on the correct words. You can save your progress, add friends to compete with and share progress with a teacher, parent or friend. If you already know a lot of one language you can move past beginner lessons and advance to tougher ones.
Scribd ($8.99/month iOS, Android, Windows)
Scribd has been called the "Netflix of books.” Whether you are a bibliophile or just need textbooks for your lit class, the $8.99 a month for Scribd's supply of more than 1 million books, audiobooks and documents is well worth the price. Most recently, Scribd added 10,000 comics and graphic novels to its subscription service from publishers like Marvel, Archie and IDW. The app recommends books for you based on ones you liked in the past and lets you store books to read offline, syncing between your phone, tablet and computer.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock ($1.99 iOS; $1.69 Android)
Getting the right amount of sleep is essential for students. You won't get a good grade on that test in zero period without a good night's sleep. The Sleep Cycle alarm clock is based on years of research of sleep science. If you wake up from a deep-sleep phase, you will feel more tired. The app analyzes your sleep stages and wakes you up in your lightest sleep phase, giving you a night of peaceful sleep. You can set a 30-minute window for when the app can wake you up.
The app tracks your sleep quality over time and presents the data to you in graphs, which can then be exported to Excel. Its Sleep Notes show you how a stressful day or drinking coffee impacts your sleep quality.
Fast Scanner (free; iOS, Android)
The Fast Scanner app might not have an attractive interface, but it gets the job done. This app uses the camera on your phone or tablet to scan documents and export them into PDFs that you can email or print. Fast Scanner also allows you to crop and color-change your images before you export them into PDFs.
Yahoo News Digest (free; iOS, Apple Watch, Android)
For students who are always on the go, the Yahoo News Digest app could be a lifesaver. This free, simple app delivers the top stories of the day to you in two digests, once in the morning and once at night, at times you specify.
The stories, with photos, colorful quotes and videos, are listed cleanly on the home page and you can click on those you want to read further about and easily swipe through them all. The iPad version of Yahoo News Digest comes with a weekly Katie Couric video show and extra news categories.
Scholly: Scholarship Search ($.99; iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)
Everyone knows college is expensive. Christopher Gray developed this app so that high school, college and graduate students can easily access more ways to pay for college. Gray himself won $1.3 million in scholarships to pay for his degree. No loans for him! Use this app to follow his lead. He curates lists of scholarships without ads and also gives tips for how to win scholarships in a new tips section. A new website also showcases past winning essays.
Vocabulary Builder from Magoosh (free; iOS, Android)
Abrogate. Schadenfreude. Eponym. Vocabulary Builder from Magoosh is the best vocabulary app to test yourself for the SAT, TOEFL or GRE. After all, vocabulary does make up a good third of these tests.
You can quiz yourself at different difficulty levels on 1,200 of the most important vocabulary words, picked by expert tutors. Choose the best definition for each word, and if you don't get some right, the app repeats those until you master them. This free app also lets you choose to battle against a random user.
Complete Student Pack (6.99; iOS)
If you need some help in math or science, this iOS bundle is here to help. With the iMathematics Pro, iPhysics Pro and iChemistry Pro, you can study more than 210 topics and 1,500 formulas. These apps come with seven different calculators, a unit converter and more than 200 quizzes to test you on your progress. Solved examples and links to Wikipedia help you understand the problems you are studying. Jump to the head of the class with the help of this $6.99 bundle, designed for the iPhone and iPad.
Flashcards Deluxe ($3.99; iOS, Android)
The first customer review that comes up on the iTunes app store says, "I will graduate thanks to this app.” Flashcards have long helped students study for tests, and with the $3.99 Flashcards Deluxe app, you can study without the size or mess of index cards. Make your own flashcards or use the Quizlet.com integration to browse and download more then 4 million flashcard sets. Smart study modes focus on cards you miss, a text-to-speech component helps you study on the move, and the ability to back up your flashcards to your computer is helpful so you can study again back at your desk. For students on a budget, there is a free, lite version.
PhotoMath (free; iOS, Android, Windows)
This brilliant, free app will get you out of suffering over math problems for hours on end. PhotoMath lets you point your phone camera at a math problem, and the app will answer the question and show you the step-by-step explanation. The only downside to this app is that it does not answer handwritten problems — only those appearing in a textbook. It also doesn't answer more advanced math problems, but fraction, linear, decimal and logarithm equations are fair game.
Essential Anatomy 5 ($24.99; iOS)
Essential Anatomy 5 might be an expensive app at $24.99, but it's the top-grossing medical app in 118 countries worldwide. This reference app has stunning 3D graphics, which show male and female models, 11 systems and 8,200 anatomical structures. Students can slice through structures, place pins with notes on 3D models and quiz themselves through the app.
Gojimo (free iOS, Android)
Test prep courses and software can be expensive. This free app helps students study for upcoming SAT, ACT, AP tests and IB tests with 150,000 quiz questions and detailed answers. Gojimo covers all major subjects in the United States and United Kingdom. What's cool about this app is that you can use it offline anytime you want. You can also track your progress and share results on Facebook and Twitter so that your friends can keep you on the ball.
Indeed Job Search (iOS, Android, Windows)
What's the point of all that studying if you can't pay back your student loans? With the free Indeed Job Search app, you can browse listings, create a resume and apply for full-time, part-time and freelance jobs on the go.
Finding a gig is as easy as typing in what kind of job you want and where you want it through Indeed's clean user interface. You can also save and email your favorite job postings, follow companies to get the latest updates and have new job postings delivered to your inbox. Indeed has a job database of over 15 million jobs, so there are plenty of opportunities for students and recent graduates.