For me, the end of the finals always signified the wonderful opportunity to do better next year. I always vow to start studying earlier and prepare well in advance, so after finals season I find the best tools to help me study next year. I don’t want to go into the followthrough on my vows…
We’ve already seen 15 Essential iPad Apps For Students here on Appstorm, but I’d like to look at this from a different angle. There are an abundance of note taking apps, planning apps, organizers, and so on, but at the end of the day we have to sit down and learn things (terrible isn’t it?). Let’s look at some apps that can help with the learning process itself.
I don’t think Evernote or Evernote Peek need an introduction. Create short notes in Evernote and use Peek to create a flashcard-like experience.
I actually use this method to learn obscure formulas for financial and other subjects. While this is a great app it is best used for very short bits of info — like formulas or words — as the peek area doesn’t have a lot of room and formatting is also removed.
If you need slightly more room than Evernote Peek, Flashcards [+] is a good free alternative. It’s not the most beautiful app out there, but it’s free, and gets the job done.
You can add multiple decks, add an image, and add a fair amount of text to the front and back of cards. Some added features like marking cards “known,” importing from Quizlet and iTunes, add a bit to the usefulness as well.
Developer: NKO Ventures, LLC
Ending the Flashcards segment is the fairly popular Flashcards Deluxe. It offers the same functionality as Flashcards [+], but it adds a ton of useful features which may make it well worth the four bucks you’ll fork out for it.
Multiple choice options are available, three responses can be given (wrong, almost, right), it supports a bunch of export and import options (Quizlet, FlashcardExchange, Dropbox, iTunes, USB, etc.), and it also features a nicer design.
I generally like to learn things by writing them down again and again until I know them; the act of writing them down implants them into my brain to some extent. The budget (but still ok) app here is, of course, Notes.
You can use the pages for a specific thing you need to learn (the definition of variable costs) or you can use them to learn a specific topic (costs). You can write the definition then check it against the real one, repeat until needed.
While essentially any note taking app can be used for the “learning by doing” technique, I like iA Writer for its simplicity, ease of use and great compatibility with almost anything (local notes, Dropbox, iCloud).
In addition, you can email, copy and print right from the app, which makes it useful in separating out content that you don’t know but absolutely must get through.This app is $0.99, which may be unnecessary if you can use Notes fine as well, but the distraction-free look was worth $1 to me.
Developer: Information Architects, Inc.
This mind mapping application is great for jotting down thoughts and ideas, but it can also be harnessed for remembering those pesky diagrams. Since you are able to reproduce a visual pattern pretty easily, it aids those of us with visual memory.
SimpleMind is free, but there is also a pro version which adds some functions such as hyperlinking between mind maps, folding branches and so on. For most purposes you’ll be fine with the free version though, especially since the upgrade will set you back $5.
Price: Free / $4.99
Developer: xpt Software & Consulting B.V.
Lovely Charts will cost you $5 but it is a great tool and a great experience. Instead of creating elements with a plus button or tapping on the screen, you can draw them with your finger. Your outlines are converted to standard shapes which can be labeled, linked, dragged around, etc.
Apart from being extremely visual and a great help in school and business, the app is fun to use which is not to be sneezed at when looking at a 12 hour study session.
Developer: This is Lovely! SPRL
No need to install, free and always there (soon on your Mac as well), you can use this great tool for learning those annoying long lists. Create separate lists for each block you need to learn and add the elements of the list as reminders.
The To-Do Format enables you to cross off the items you already know, and you can delete a whole list when it’s all in your head.
This is one of the rare apps I always go back to and it is much more than a tool for learning lists. It is basically a multi-purpose notebook with a horde of features and a unique way of arranging items.
The reason I love to use it to memorize lists is that creating multiple lists is extremely easy. When I tick an item as done (or known) it doesn’t disappear from the list and they can be hierarchical, meaning I can collapse them. This allows me to view all lists I need to know without seeing the sub-items and essentially cheating. At $1.99 this app is a steal!
Developer: Bitolithic Pty Ltd
In many cases, learning things in a group can be beneficial but how can this process be mimicked on the iPad? As a WordPress developer I — of course — turned to WordPress. Create a free blog or use your own domain and connect to it via the WordPress App.
Prepare a list of things you need to know and write down all you know about it in a post. Your friends can comment on your posts with corrections or additions, expanding both of your knowledge on the subject.
There are a lot of tools out there that can help you learn your stuff. With some creativity, some free or even default tools can be used pretty well.
If you are willing to part with $7, I highly recommend buying the LovelyCharts and ThinkBook, particularly the latter; it will be one of your best friends in your school and work life later on!