Have you ever looked at something you were working on and wished you could do it more productively? Take studying, for example: I can’t be the only one who suddenly finds himself picking up his phone 10 minutes into opening his textbook right? I think the age-old question on every students’ mind is “How can I study and learn more effectively?”
Perhaps instead of studying harder, we could study smarter. We look at five apps that could potentially help with your quest – if you are willing to put in the time and effort, of course! (So that we don’t claim the title of Captain Obvious, we will omit popular apps that most students have already come to love, such as Spotify, Onedrive, Coursera etc.)
*Disclaimer: All views are our own and formed over an arduous trial and error period. Results may vary from student to student*
Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique, as it is commonly known, is a time management method to improve productivity. The technique breaks down time into two intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in lengths of work proceeded by a short break of five minutes. While allows for intervals to be adjusted manually for you convenience, we found that the interval time combo of ‘25 study 5 rest’ works to the greatest effect. How does that work you ask? Studies have shown that the frequent breaks keep the mind fresh and focused, while the 25-minute long study time hits just at the sweet spot where it is not too long that it becomes a chore to complete a task, or too short that nothing gets accomplished. Additionally, we found there to be a sort of thrill and anticipation knowing that the timer is ticking down and therefore one step closer to completing the 12 sessions you have set for yourself. Goodbye procrastination and hello efficient task completion.
Probably our most applied app on this list, is, simply put – a smart online diary. Summed up perfectly on the app’s webpage is its description: “Evernote lets you capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device.” Just like in real life, this endless notebook allows you to organize your ideas and thoughts into different categories at the tap or click of a button. On the train and need to read your notes which are on your laptop? No worries! Evernote automatically syncs your pages to all your devices. Evernote is also a good tool for collaboration, allowing you to easily share your work with group mates. Track your goals for the week. Write down important notes during class. Whip up a to-do list. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Picture this: It is way past midnight and you are on your laptop doggedly attempting to complete an essay that is due in a couple of hours. Suddenly a notification pops up, announcing the latest shenanigans that celebrity Kanye West has gotten himself to. Three hours later, your essay is exactly the way you left it and you find yourself dangerously close to the ‘dark side of YouTube, wondering how you even got there in the first place.
Sound familiar? Yep. Every. Single. Time. To solve this frequently occurring phenomena that seems to be intensify with your burgeoning workload, download the app. This ironically named app actually helps to reduce distractions by blocking distracting websites and apps for your required duration of time. The mechanics of the app is as simple: You select the desired amount of time you wish cut off your access to the time wasting sites you enjoy visiting, and voila! Your access to them is immediately blocked for the whole time period. That means no more distracting notifications during your crucial essay writing and sobbing times!
4. StudyBlue Flashcards
This app, which has already have enabled more than 10 million students to study smarter, integrates the effective flashcard method of learning with a crowdsourced learning platform. StudyBlue allows users to upload class study materials, create flashcards to study, as well as share these resources with other. We think it is akin to Yahoo Answers or Quora on steroids. With more than 272 million existing flashcards and counting, one can make their own flashcards, or learn from the millions that are already available on the site.
Rounding up the list we have SMUDDY. For the observant ones, you may be wondering if the SMUDDY app is affiliated with SMU – and we are glad to tell you that it is! SMUDDY (or SMU-BUDDY) is the proud initiative and creation of SMU LiveLabs, which caters to the student needs of finding a GSR or Project room within SMU. Its main features include a heatmap which allows for users to monitor crowd conditions to determine the availability of student facilities in real time. For the students out there who prefer studying in school, this app increases your options by providing you with the alternative possibility of finding an empty GSR instead of having to settle on a very crowded library.