When it's time to buckle down and study, technology can either be a help or a hindrance but investing in the right tools will go a long way towards ensuring that you stay motivated, don’t get distracted and your productivity is boosted. The following 20 apps and gadgets will help you with everything from writing and researching to managing your time more efficiently.
Best study apps, tools, tips & techniques
Writer saves your notes automatically as you type them. This prevents anything from being lost when you close a window or open a new document. It runs in Chrome or Firefox, and can save notes to a USB flash drive or hard drive as a text or pdf file.
RescueTime can prevent you from wasting away the hours on Facebook or other non-study related activities. It tracks the time you spend on certain activities, sends detailed reports and data, and blocks distracting websites if you spend more than a predetermined amount of time on them.
Evernote is great for saving lists and bookmarks or even whole web pages. It also syncs your notes across all of your devices, and allows you to attach images and search for specific notes using keywords.
Research shows that music can help you study by enhancing recognition of images, letters and numbers, but it has to be the right kind of music. Focus@Will automatically streams the type of music that has been scientifically proven to increase your attention span and help you focus.
Taking short breaks to surf the Web can actually make you more productive according to a University of Melbourne study. Strict Workflow employs this technique by requiring you to focus for 25 minutes, and then rewarding you with a quick five-minute break to check your email or browse your favourite websites.
Online students must often take advantage of any spare moment to fit in their study time, and the Outlets To Go Power Strip makes it possible to power up virtually anywhere. It’s compact and portable, and includes 3 AC outlets for laptops and any electronics with a USB port.
A rather unusual study by Japanese researchers discovered that looking at pictures of cute animals can make you more productive. Written?Kitten! gamifies your study time by rewarding you with a picture of a cute kitten every time you reach one of your goals.
iStudiez Pro helps you track school assignments and projects, save notes, manage tasks, and organise complicated schedules. It also sends notifications before assignments are due, and has a few extra features like the ability to add an instructor’s email, phone number and office hours, or send all of your data straight to your email address with a single click.
Questia's web-based library features the largest online collection of magazines, books, journals, papers, and articles. It also provides a number of time-saving research tools like organising and saving highlights, bookmarking for quick reference and generating professional citations and bibliographies.
If your studying often takes place in busy or loud environments, a good pair of noise cancelling headphones can help you block out distractions. Budget-friendly options for students include Able Planet's Sound Clarity NC510B or Creative's HN-900 headphones.
Inspiration can help you get your thoughts in order, brainstorm ideas, and set daily, weekly or monthly goals for your learning. It enables you to develop ideas and understand new concepts with idea webs, mind maps and diagrams. You can also build your vocabulary with its integrated dictionary and thesaurus.
Nowdothis is a simple but efficient tool for tracking tasks. Just enter all the tasks you need to complete, and you’ll be given one task at time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Once you’re finished with a task, just click “done,” and move on to the next one.
Zite helps you to keep up with the best content from your favourite blogs, websites, and even Twitter streams. It’s kind of like having your own personal online magazine, because the more you use it, the more it learns about the things you actually want to read.
Any.do has most of the usual features that other task management apps have, such as setting time and location reminders, but one of its most outstanding features is the Moment daily planner. It gives you an overview of all your unscheduled tasks and shows you how you can fit them into your daily routine.
Need to know how many centimetres are in an inch? Instacalc is the perfect all-in-one calculator that converts just about everything from one unit to another.
SmartSheet allows you to create task lists and assign deadlines to your projects, but its most useful feature is the ability to share everything with remote team members.
This Voice Reading app can help you get some of your course reading out of the way while you drive the kids to school, head to work or do the dishes. It can also read aloud any text on a webpage you are browsing.
Constructing, organising and managing academic citations can be tedious, but Reference Generator makes the whole process easy. It supports books, journals and websites, and allows users to build references and convert them into the required referencing style.
With Word Hippo you can type in a word and get synonyms, definitions, antonyms, and words that rhyme. You can also see how words are used in sentences and phrases, place words in different contexts, and get assistance with conjugation and pronunciation.
Research shows that taking notes by hand can improve long-term retention, but it can be difficult to keep track of handwritten notes. With the CamScanner you can scan anything right onto your mobile or tablet by snapping a picture. The scanned documents can then be converted to PDF and sent to your laptop or other devices.