30 Useful Apps For Students You Probably Don’t Know About

March 15th, 2015 9 Comments Features

ipad apps for students

The number of college students taking at least one online course has nearly doubled over the past five years according to a report by market research agency Refuel.

Online students are often faced with the challenge of juggling their academic responsibilities alongside families or full-time jobs, which is certainly no easy task.

Technology can help students better manage their learning by providing everything from study aids and research tools to time-management apps, so it’s somewhat surprising to learn that few students are actually using such tools for learning purposes.

The majority of students use online and mobile apps primarily for entertainment according to the Refuel report, with over 70% using them for games, 67% using them for music, and 64% using them for social networking.

If you want to encourage your students to start taking advantage of the many technology tools available to them, here are a few examples of the types of productivity and learning apps that can support them in their studies.

1. Howcast

With its collection of step-by-step instructional videos on a wide variety of educational topics, Howcast is a great resource for students at any level. It covers everything from tips for improving memory and reducing stress to practical advice on using programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

2. Vocabla

Vocabla is a useful tool for students whose second language is English, but even native speakers can benefit from some of its features. The app lets students add new words, phrases or sentences to their vocabulary each month and practice them for a few minutes each day using flashcards and word games or even interacting with other learners from around the world.

3. Study Habits

Study Habits is one of the most comprehensive apps for learning and productivity. Using strategies based on educational psychology, it helps students develop study habits that boost their memory, increase motivation, improve reading comprehension and reduce stress and anxiety.

4. CueBrain

Students who are learning a new language will appreciate this application which uses interactive flashcards and quiz sessions to teach foreign language vocabulary on-the-go. It can be used for many different languages including French, Portuguese, German and Italian, and allows students to track their progress in the cloud.

5. Brainly.com

Online students don’t have the same peer-to-peer interaction they’d have in a regular classroom, so Brainly.com can come in handy. It’s a social learning platform that lets students ask and answer questions, and thanks to its more than 300 moderators comprised of teachers, PhDs, professors and specialists, any content published there is sure to meet high standards.

6. World Atlas HD

World Atlas is National Geographic’s version of Google Earth. It’s a great tool for geography students and just about anyone looking for an educational maps app. It includes high definition maps of six continents as well as useful stats and information about each country.

7. Equate Formula Solver

Equate is an all-in-one formula calculator for students that provides a library of equations for math, chemistry and physics. It also has a built in formula solver so students can check their answers or get help if they’re stuck on a difficult problem.

8. TED app

With the official TED app, students can supplement their learning by listening to educational talks on a wide variety of topics. The app also gives students to access the TED library when they’re not online, making it perfect for on-the-go learning.

9. HF Scientific Calculator Pro

The HF Scientific and Graphing Calculator is an essential tool for STEM students. It supports graph, matrix, complex numbers, equation solver and unit converter, and also has a basic mode for everyday calculations.

10. Mindmeister

Getting started is often the most difficult part of an assignment, so MindMeister helps students take those first crucial steps by enabling them to map out their thoughts and ideas more clearly. Students can create and edit mind maps, and easily organise them in folders with themes, images, notes, links and more.

11. Self-Control

The Internet is a great tool for learning, but it can also be a huge distraction. Self-Control is a website blocking app lets students block all non-essential websites for predetermined amounts of time. Once they’ve done this, not even deleting the app will let them access the selected sites before the appointed time.

12. Lumosity

Lumosity is a brain training app that can help students stay sharp without even feeling like they’re studying. It was designed by neuroscientists to train memory, attention and other cognitive skills with over 40 scientific games, brain tests and personalised training, and students can use it anywhere on any device.

13. Socrative

Socrative is just as much for teachers as it is for students. It engages students with customised quizzes and educational games, but its most useful feature is the real time data it provides on student comprehension of material, which allows for instant feedback. It also lets students answer questions anonymously so they feel more comfortable asking for clarification when they don’t understand.

14. Penultimate

Research shows that typing notes out isn’t as effective for learning as writing them by hand, but transferring notes to a laptop or mobile device later on can be a hassle. Evernote’s Penultimate app gives students the best of both worlds by allowing them to write by hand without the paper trail.

15. Instapaper

Instapaper makes it easy for students to keep track of where their information is coming from. They can save any pages or videos they may have consulted during their research and then access them later from any of their devices.

16. iProcrastinate

This task management app helps students take on daunting projects that might otherwise be put off until the last minute. Tasks can be broken up into smaller more doable chunks, and students can also assign priority and set up recurring tasks.

17. Knowledge

No matter what courses a student may be taking, Knowledge can be a good tool to have. It provides information on a wide variety of topics from culture and sports to nutrition, math and chemistry, and lets students store it away for later reference.

18. Sunrise

Sunrise is the calendar app to rival all others. It brings in events and birthdays from Facebook and syncs with multiple services like Evernote, TripIt and Google Calendar to save students the hassle of switching from app to app. It also includes a number of other useful features like agenda view, week view and month view that will help students stay on top of their coursework and deadlines.

19. Open Culture

Open Culture is an excellent source for free educational materials to help students supplement their learning. The Open Culture app will give students access to everything from free audio books and university courses to podcasts on a variety of topics like music, science and culture.

20. Writing Prompts

Whether students are tackling a creative writing task or need ideas for an upcoming project, this app can get their creative juices flowing. It generates words, phrases, images and other things to help spark fresh ideas.

21. InstaGrok

InstaGrok is an educational search engine that finds the most relevant and useful information on the topic and presents it in a more engaging way. It displays lists of key facts on any topic along with links to the original content page as well as videos, images and even quizzes. When students find something useful, they can pin it or add it to their instaGrok journal which allows for easy note taking.

22. StudyBlue

With StudyBlue students can make the most of their study time by creating and customising flashcards, taking quizzes, and tracking how they’re doing in real-time with an automatic self-assessment score. They can also collaborate with classmates and study partners.

23. WordHippo

WordHippo can help students avoid tired and overused words by showing them examples of similar ones that convey the same meaning. It also provides opposite words, word meanings, example sentences, pronunciation and rhyming words.

24. Photozeen

Photozeen is an educational photography tool that allows students to practice their craft throughout the day by providing tips before a photo is taken as well as feedback after each shot. Aside from this, it can also connect students with other aspiring photographers from all over the world.

25. RescueTime

RescueTime can help students identify their top distracters and spend their time more productively. It tracks how much time is spent on certain websites or activities and sends alerts to let users know if they’re spending more time than they should on a particular activity, like checking Facebook or playing Candy Crush.

26. EasyBib

EasyBib helps students become more effective and organised researchers. It lets them create citations in styles like APA, MLA and Chicago, and also take notes and create outlines. For teachers, it can also be a great tool for combating plagiarism and teaching information literacy.

27. Almost A Doctor

Almost A Doctor is a great resource for medical students, but can also be useful for those interested in careers like pharmacist or physiotherapist. It includes plenty of articles on diseases, skills, examinations and data interpretation.

28. Cram

Although cramming isn’t the most effective way to learn, Cram has some very effective study features and allows students to create flashcards or even multiple-choice questions to practice with. It will also grade their test performance, enabling them to track their progress.

29. Studious

Studious aids students by tracking homework deadlines and scheduled lessons, and can even help minimise distractions by silencing a student’s phone automatically during scheduled study times. It also has a notes feature which lets students store and tag their content in the cloud for easy access wherever they go.

30. RefMe

Creating reference lists is usually seen as a tedious task, but this app makes it simple by letting students enter the title of the book, journal article, web page or other source they have used, and then filling in all the necessary information in the selected style.

Bonus app: My Study Plan

Getting on top of your studies often means creating a study plan, but where do you start? This app does half the work for you, so you can spend less time stressing and more time being productive. Import your exam schedule and the app generates your study plan for you. The best part is it’s customisable and you have control over how much time you want to spend on a particular subject.

Want to discover more apps that can help students work more efficiently and achieve better work-life balance? This infographic by Open Colleges has lined up 60 of the best productivity apps and gadgets to use at work, at home and while studying.


Marianne Stenger is a London-based freelance writer and journalist with extensive experience covering all things learning and development. She’s particularly interested in the psychology of learning and how technology is changing the way we learn. Her articles have been featured by the likes of ABC Education, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, and Psych Central. Follow her on Twitter @MarianneStenger.

9 Responses

  1. Archie says:

    This is a great list, thank you for putting it together.

    What helped me a lot and still not used by everyone is Ziteboard for collaborative note-taking. I use it mostly for tutoring and e-learning sessions got way much better with simultaneous drawing. Give it a try if you feel like co-creating while learning together.

    Oh, the upside: it’s free and works on laptops and smartphones as well.

  2. Dick Costner says:

    Awesome, Marianne. I put the link in my online master. I teach at Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Georgia, 20 minutes of Chattanooga.

    Thank you.

  3. Ann Attridge says:

    Really useful list here! Particularly liked the apps developed for second language learning so will be passing these on. Thanks.

  4. Sharon says:

    Add one more:
    Bees Recorder
    It is a free scene-based voice sound recorder. For different scenes, you may enjoy the best sound effect due to its scene-based noise-cancelling algorithm. The scene of lecture and music are quite useful for students.

  5. Hi all, IProcrastinate no longer exists but if you want something far better I recommend Planner Pig (http://www.plannerpig.com/). It’s a study planner and motivational app. It creates a study plan for you in minutes and helps you stick to it by notifying you, rewarding your progress, giving you the ability to see your friends progress to encourage you, etc…


  6. Ava Raynott says:

    Technology has revolutionized almost every field, including the methods of teaching students. It’s the era of digital teaching. I’d like to add one more tool to the list- ProofHub. It helped me a lot in managing my class. Easy task and time management for students. I’d highly recommend it to my fellow teachers. Thanks for the list anyway 🙂

  7. Veronica says:

    I have never understand all task management apps like iProcastinate etc thought the good friend or tutor can give you a good kick to inspire you 🙂 Moreover according to this research the most popular students’ services are not quite approved by their teachers/professors
    btw thanks. useful

  8. Jonathan says:

    Cheers Stenger for your great work. It has really been pretty good and I think I’ll have to its link with my colleagues.

  9. Eliza taylor says:

    I really appreciate your article. It’s very informative and helpful for the students. I want to share this information with other students as well, so they can also get the benefit from this article.

Leave a Reply