There’s (almost) an app for everything nowadays, and this can make student life easier, cheaper, safer and more fun. Whether you want help with taking notes, revising, waking up on time or keeping fit, read on for our pick of the apps for students…
1. Lecture capture apps
Just a few years ago, students attending lectures would have to spend the entire time scribbling wildly on notepads, in order not to miss any vital bit of information. Then along came technology, and now, lecture capture apps are a reality. Although the recording of lectures has been common practice within universities for a while, lecture capture apps allow you to record and listen back to classes without having to spend extra money on expensive recording equipment.
SoundNote (iOS) is a popular lecture capture app for iPad users, acting as a notepad and audio recorder, so you can store an entire lecture in both visual and audio form. If it's a whiteboard you want to capture, however, Office Lens allows users to photograph a whiteboard, convert it to a PDF, Word or PowerPoint file and store all the data via OneNote or OneDrive for catch-up and revision purposes.
Other than SoundNote, one of the most popular lecture capture apps – keeping it simple with the name – is Lecture Capture (iOS), but Notes Plus (iOS) and Audio Memos Free – The Voice Recorder (iOS) are also of good quality.
2. Revision apps
The revision app is in big business this century, and it seems technology has achieved what we never thought possible: making revision fun.
If you’re a flash card fanatic you might like to consider StudyBlue, a student app which uses your course information to create a selection of card sets for related revision. You can also make their own flashcards and test yourself.
Another useful revision app is GoConqr, which offers resources to create revision charts, mind maps, flash cards, notes and quizzes, as well as the ability to connect and collaborate with friends, classmates or students from around the world. Another choice is the aptly named Revision App (iOS), covering all education levels, while Exam Countdown (iOS) keeps track of the days until each of your exams.
3. Exam prep apps
There are also student apps now available for exams such as the MCAT, GMAT, LSAT and GRE tests, which are used by many graduate schools as part of the admissions process. BenchPrep uses social networking-style functionality which allows users to connect with other test-takers and peruse revision materials with quizzes, notes and more. You can also use the app to track your learning progress.
TCY Exam Prep (Android) is another exam prep app, aimed at business students in India and the US. It features study resources for MBA/CAT tests, GRE, GATE and bank exams.
4. Student planner apps
Organization is key for success and wellbeing at university, and student planner apps are becoming increasingly popular. As well as saving on paper, many student planner apps also send reminders and alerts straight to your phone or device.
Popular student planner apps include Timetable (Android), an app featuring a sharp and clean interface which you can map your timetable onto with ease. For more familiar-looking planner apps for students, consider those with a more traditional spreadsheet-style layout, such as My Class Schedule (Android) or Class Timetable (iOS).
5. Bibliography helper apps
If you’ve ever spent hours writing up a hefty bibliography, you’ll know just how much work goes into making sure you’ve included all the information in the right places in the right format. EasyBib is an extremely useful app for students, which creates an academic reference for any book simply from a scan of the book’s barcode. As bibliography styles vary depending on where you study, EasyBib offers referencing in MLA, APA and Chicago styles. Simply take a picture of the barcode or type the title of the book into your device, et voila, professional referencing done!
6. Video call apps
Most students will be aware of video calling software such as Skype and FaceTime by now, and this technology is becoming even more easy-access as computer companies integrate quality cameras into their products and internet connection speeds get faster. As the overall technology improves, so too do the versions available on smaller devices. Using FaceTime on an iPhone has become as easy as making a call, while Skyping on a tablet makes it brilliantly possible to cook dinner/browse the web/compose a text while talking to your parents back home. Other video call apps include Fring and Tango.
For tips on how to conduct a successful Skype interview (for a job, internship or admissions interview), check out this blog post.
7. Student safety apps
A number of apps for students have been developed promoting personal safety, for use both on- and off-campus. These student apps help to keep users safe if out alone at night. The Circle of Six app works on both Android and iOS, and was designed for university students to keep connected with close friends. The app is particularly useful for locating lost friends on nights out and also allows users to send their circle of six friends an instant call for help at the touch of a button. The GPS tracker will mark your location on your friends’ devices, ensuring you’ll always be able to find one another if necessary.
8. Wake-up apps
If you happen to be a persistent snoozer who always wakes up about 20 minutes too late for lectures, then Alarmy: Sleep If You Can is the app for you. Alarmy is an alarm app for students which requires users to complete small tasks (such as taking a photo of something specific or shaking the phone up and down a number of times) before the alarm turns itself off. Not only will this mean you’re alert and raring to go, Alarmy will also give you the latest weather update so you can decide whether to arm yourself with an umbrella before leaving home.
Meanwhile Sleep Cycle aims to correct its users’ sleeping pattern by waking them up during their lightest sleep phase. The app does this by monitoring both movement and the time the user went to sleep. This means you should wake up feeling less groggy in the mornings, and you might also get an extra 10 minutes of breakfast time.
9. Responsible-drinking apps
You may be a student, but that doesn’t have to mean becoming irresponsible when it comes to alcohol. The responsible-drinking app WiseDrinking charts how much you’ve been drinking, gives you suggestions about how much is safe, lets you know the optimum time to call a cab, and maps your location in relation to public transport services.
Using inputs of gender, weight and height, the app calculates blood alcohol content (BAC) levels by calculating the amount, type and timing of alcohol consumed and when the user’s last meal was. Although the app is entirely dependent on user input and therefore should only be used as a guideline, WiseDrinking can help you to stay aware of your consumption and give you guidance should you feel a little worse for wear.
If you want something a little more scientifically concrete, then you might consider investing in Alcohoot, a smart breathalyzer that attaches to your smartphone and tells you when you’re edging over the sensible limit.
10. Fun fitness apps
For those who would normally find running boring, the app Zombies, Run! is a fun (and funny) way to motivate yourself when jogging. The app plays your own music playlists alongside recorded audio depicting a zombie apocalypse, in which you must run from the infected. More than a little terrifying, yes, but as a super-intense workout it’s hard to beat!
If you’d like to keep your fitness routine zombie-free, other fitness apps include Nike Training Club (iOS), Sworkit, Moves, Fitbit (iOS), JeFit, RunKeeper, Strava, 7 Minute Workout and MapMyFitness. If you decide to get them all, Nudge is another app that collates all your fitness data and stores it in one place. This means you can keep track of your nutrition, exercise, hydration and sleep, without checking the progress reports from each app.
11. Healthy eating apps
If you’re keen to eat healthily while keeping to a student budget, consider downloading a few healthy eating apps. Examples I’ve come across which are perfect apps for students include Rockin Ramen (iOS), a student app featuring a number of nutritious recipes with ramen as a main ingredient, and MealBoard (iOS), an app which plans healthy meals, grocery shops and recipes based on what you’ve got in the fridge.
Other helpful student apps
- Oxford English Dictionary – to look up words on the go (free with adverts, or paid with no ads).
- Dictionary.com Dictionary & Thesaurus – dictionary and word-finder for those on a budget; also works offline.
- Dropbox for mobile – access and edit documents, upload photos and play your own videos anywhere.
- Penultimate – a handwriting app made by EverNote, allowing users to write with a digital pen and upload the work to any device.
- Skout – a friend-finder app helping students meet new people in their locality.
- Socrative – student app for quizzing and assessment.
This blog post was originally published in September 2014. It was updated in October 2016.
Want more content like this? Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.