Headed back to school? If you’re a student, you shouldn’t go anywhere without these free apps that make studying for school simple.
Students everywhere are busy stocking up on supplies as they head back to school this month. If you’re a college student, you might be looking to score some sweet deals on textbooks or a Keurig that’ll make those late-night study sessions survivable. Don’t forget, though, that some of the most important tools and resources are available online for a song. These 15 apps are free, top-rated resources that’ll help you score the right notes. Yep. We said FREE—a word that is certainly music to a starving student’s ears.
Each section below highlights apps from a particular category, along with a short description, fun feature, and links to download these student-friendly apps directly to your smartphone. And every one of these electronic resources are well-established favorites that have received four stars or more in user reviews in the app store. So get ready to learn a thing or two with virtual tools designed with the cash-strapped student in mind.
Books & Resources
Readers rejoice. This free app is one of the best e-readers around. While you’ll have to pay a subscription fee for access to the books, it’s a terrific value. A monthly fee of $8.99 gets you access to any three electronic books and one audio book, plus freebies like sheet music, comic books, and documents.
Fun Feature: The editor recommendations are like having a librarian in your pocket.
If you’re not really what sure to expect from a college course or lecture, Coursera can help. This app provides a peek into coursework from a variety of celebrated academic institutions, across domains like computer science, math, business, and much more. You can opt to pay enrollment fees to actually take one of the 1,000 courses offered and earn a certificate, or simply view the materials and lectures for free.
Fun Feature: Financial aid is available for struggling students who qualify
This textbook rental site has become a one-stop shop for students looking for study solutions. In addition to offering comprehensive options for those in need of cheap books, Chegg also provides study tools and tutoring online. You can even download free test prep for the SAT or ACT for a limited time while it’s still in beta.
Fun Feature: Just getting started on those college applications? Chegg has a tool that’ll recommend which schools you should apply to based on your criteria.
Put the news into the palm of your hand with feedly. This free content aggregator takes feeds from blogs you select to follow and creates content channels you can surf at your leisure. Pass yourself off as a smarty pants by staying on top of news updates from your industry or simply skim headlines to stay at the head of your class.
Fun Feature: Load a suggested category to get a broad overview of the news from an entire group of industry blogs.
Pocket is like feedly for the entire internet. It’s an app that allows you to save information directly from your browser to one spot that is easily accessible from your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. A virtual pocket of content that you can pack with videos, articles, cat pics—whatever you want. Smart students will understand the value of being able to sync and save for later with just a swipe of your finger.
Fun Feature: Listen to articles instead of reading them with Pocket’s text-to-speech tool.
You may have some version of a dictionary on your device already, but if you don’t have this one, you’re missing out. Dictionary.com is the definitive go-to app to provide meaning, context, and pronunciation for words on-the-go. Users give the app high praise for being simple to use, easy to search, and a pleasure to navigate.
Fun Feature: Expand and extrapolate with new vocabulary when you subscribe to receive the word of the day.
Notes & Flashcards
This award-winning app is by the team at Chegg, and it knocks it out of the park for students looking to score a home run on the next exam. Make your own cards, add images, or use previously designed flashcards shared by other students. It’s a fun, simple study method that’s at your fingertips thanks to Chegg.
Fun Feature: If you’re having trouble remembering the answer, this app lets you ask for hints.
A crowdsourced platform, StudyBlue’s app gives students a way to share notes, flashcards, study guides and more. You can create flashcards with audio and video features as well as track your progress as you retain more information. Educators can create flashcard decks and study guides for particular classes to help students with test prep.
Fun Feature: The shared flashcard decks automatically update when new cards are added.
Turn your notes into dynamic resources with this free app that incorporates video, audio, and color coding features into your notes. Supernote includes a recording tool that transcribes easily during lectures or meetings as well as note templates to organize ideas into skimmable content. Don’t just finger peck your notes in class—Supernote them!
Fun Feature: Eliminate cramming by setting study reminders attached to your notes.
Get it Now: iTunes
The Big Daddy of to-do lists, this free app is an organizational pro’s secret weapon. Manage all your to-do’s, projects, next steps, and errands like a boss with ANY.DO. This award winner syncs across all devices and sets reminders, delegates, attaches files, and much more. Get it done right and you’ll free up more time for studying. Or Pokemon. Whatever your priorities are.
Fun Feature: Add tasks by voice with a built-in audio tool.
If you don’t already have Google Drive (GASP), get it. It’s one of the most common platforms that allows you to share docs, spreadsheets, and more; not just synced across devices but also between multiple users. The auto-save and collaboration features will ensure you’ll never go back to Word again.
Fun Feature: Is there anything better than living life in the cloud? Enough said.
Starving college students will appreciate this smart app that lets you balance your budget and manage your money. The makers of TurboTax and Quicken have put their expertise to work, creating an app that’ll teach the financially challenged to become savings savvy. Create budgets, get tips, and pinch more out of your pennies, one semester at a time.
Fun Feature: Get your credit score along with advice about how to improve it.
Still using an old-fashioned paper planner? Get electronic and eco-friendly with My Study Life’s free app. Load up your class schedule and then get ready to generate reminders and to-do’s like an expert. My Study Life syncs across devices and keeps your data in the cloud, so you’ll be able to access everything on-the-go.
Fun Feature: If there’s a conflict with your schedule, My Study Life alerts you.
Stuck on a particular problem? Photomath can help. Snap a pic and Photomath will solve the problem, along with step-by-step instructions so you can learn how to do the next one on your own. A math keyboard and calculator are built into this free app, making Photomath a one-stop shop for struggling students.
Fun Feature: Advanced functions are located behind the button on the bottom right of your screen.
Sleep is a precious commodity for students, so make the most of it with this free app that lets you track your sleep cycles. The Sleep Cycle alarm clock senses when your body is at its lightest state of sleep and awakens you gently. Set alarms to rouse you in the morning at optimal times and get the best rest possible. Sleep Cycle can’t do much about your snoring roommate, however.
Fun Feature: Need a quick snooze so you can power through your next study session? Use Sleep Cycle’s Power Nap.
You don’t have to be the Teacher’s Pet to see the value in these technological resources. But even the best apps in the world won’t save your GPA if you don’t have the internet speeds you need. Use our internet service provider tool to see which high-speed providers serve your area before you head back to school.