As Arab universities kick off a new academic year, many university students will be looking for the best study apps that can help them achieve academic excellence.
Students today have access to a number of applications for smartphones, computers and other electronic devices that can help them in matters like taking better notes, organising their time more efficiently, improving their mastery of difficult subjects, and staying motivated and safe.
Al-Fanar Media took a look at tech experts’ advice about the best study apps and came up with a suggested list of apps that can help you in your quest for academic attainment. Most have free versions covering basic functionalities, with advanced features that you can purchase separately.
Take Better Notes
Microsoft Lens (formerly Office Lens). Available free on Android and iOS mobile devices. If you have difficulty writing down content from a blackboard, whiteboard, or handwritten papers, Microsoft Lens can help. Just scan the text using your smartphone camera, and the application will convert it into a text file that you can edit and save as an image, a document, or a business card when you want to add contact information for a person or organisation to your phone book.
Speechnotes. Available free on Android devices or on computers running the Chrome browser. While Microsoft Lens helps you capture and save visual texts, Speechnotes converts audio clips into digital files. Just press the microphone button and start dictating. This facilitates saving your lecture notes as a written text, to review later or share. The app can also transcribe live lectures, but this feature is not free. There is a pay-as-you-go fee of $0.10 a minute, charged against blocks of time that you purchase upfront. A 45-minute block would cost $4.50, and a two-hour block would cost $12.
Manage Your Time
Writing at TopUniversities.com, the website of the QS Quacquarelli Symonds higher-education analytics and university rankings company, Sabrina Collier advises undergraduates to use time-management apps to get more done. Among the applications she recommends are the following:
MyHomework Student Planner. Available free on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as in other formats. This app helps university students organise their time and accomplish various tasks efficiently, by recording lecture dates and other tasks on the app’s calendar, which prevents overlapping appointments. The app sends reminders well in advance of the time of each commitment.
Trello. Available free on Android and iOS mobile devices. Trello also helps you organise tasks, keep track of deadlines, and communicate with other team members. It allows you to subdivide tasks into smaller pieces that you can delegate to other team members. This makes Trello a valuable app for university students to manage the workflow of a team graduation project.
Improve Specific Skills
Chegg Study (formerly StudyBlue). Available free on Android and iOS mobile devices. Reviewing course materials with other students is a good way to reinforce what you learned in class. This app gives you access to a library of more than 500 million flashcard decks, or you can create your own flashcards and quizzes in any subject, which you can review alone or in a study group with other students interested in the same field.
Quizlet. Available free on Android and iOS mobile devices. If you are looking to learn specific skills or other languages, Quizlet can help. Like Chegg Study, Quizlet has a library of digital flashcard sets (over 700 million), or you can create your own.
Mathway. Available free on Android and iOS mobile devices. Just type in your problem, or take a snapshot of it, and get a solution. With an upgraded subscription, you can also get detailed equation breakdowns, explaining how to solve each problem step by step.
Stay Motivated and Safe
Círculo (formerly Circle of 6). Available free on Android and iOS mobile devices. This app enhances your personal safety by connecting you with a pre-selected circle of six trusted peers who agree to support one another. With a single click, you can call for help in an emergency or whenever you feel unsafe. Originally designed for college students, the app has broadened its audience to include journalists, activists, human rights defenders, and others.
AntiSocial. Available free on Android mobile devices. Sometimes you just need to stay away from apps that distract you from your studies. AntiSocial helps you take control of your smartphone usage by letting you know how much time you spend in each app, and compare that with other peoples’ usage. This will help you avoid and even block sites that drain a lot of your time.
TED Talks. TED (“Technology, Entertainment, and Design”) is a useful resource for talks on virtually subject. “There’s an App for That” is a playlist of six TED talks about various apps on topics that may be of interest to students. Another playlist, “Tech Breakthrough”, collects 14 talks with onstage demos that offer a peek at where technology is taking us.
Or you can search TED for talks that illuminate a specific subject or provide inspiration in general. A search on “university students success”, for example, finds many enlightening talks by TED speakers, including the sociologist Anindya Kundu on “The Boost Students Need to Overcome Obstacles”; university president Freeman Hrabowski on “Four Pillars of College Success in Science”; and Michelle Obama making “A Passionate, Personal Case for Education”.
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