Best Apps for Successful Students!

by on January 9, 2013 · 41 comments

The Wonder of Tech is honored to have Elizabeth Sexton return as a guest author. One of the most popular articles at The Wonder of Tech last year, Take Note of Notability!, was written by Elizabeth. Today she returns to share with us her favorite apps that she uses as a busy student. These apps can help high school and university students study better, be more organized, and stay on track, all without a laptop.


In past years you may have gotten in trouble with your teacher if you used a mobile device in the classroom. But this school year mobile devices are becoming more commonly accepted in classrooms. Teachers now don’t automatically assume that you’re texting someone, checking out Facebook or playing games if you’re using your phone or iPad in the classroom.

Now teachers might believe you’re using your device for academic purposes because there are so many apps that can help you with school. These applications can help you stay organized and help you study.

Flashcardlet is an app that allows you to create or download flashcards onto your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. You can either create your own flashcards within the app itself, or download flashcards that you have made previously on or that you have saved into your Dropbox account. The cards appear on your screen and allow you to filter them so you can focus on areas where you need more studying.

The great thing about Flashcardlet is that you can use the app without being connected to the Internet. If you do not always have Internet connection and need to brush up on vocabulary for class, then Flashcardlet will definitely help you.

Flashcardlet is a free app available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store.

Notability is my favorite note-taking app. Available on the iPad, you can create multiple notebooks and folders to keep to organize notes from different classes. When taking notes, you can either type or use a stylus to write like you would with a pen and paper. The magnification feature on the app allows you to write large letters in a space, and then the app will automatically put what you are writing in a normal size on the screen. This way your handwritten notes are legible and easy to read and write.

Another great feature that is useful in school is being able to download PDF’s to the application and being able to annotate the PDF in the app with the highlighters and pens. After you’re finished taking notes you can send the file to Dropbox so you can open your notes on your computer as well as on your iPad.

My full review of Notability can be read here: Take Note of Notability!.

Notability is available for $1.99 for the iPad at the iTunes App Store.

Evernote is another helpful note-taking app. The great thing about Evernote is that the app is available on so many devices (iPad, iPod, Android, iPhone, PC, Mac). Any notes that are taken on any of your devices automatically sync to all of your other devices. This is a helpful app if you want to quickly jot something down, like homework, or if you want to have your class notes quickly accessible on your other devices.

Carolyn’s full review of Evernote can be found here: Evernote: A Powerful Organizational Tool!.

You can sign up for Evernote for free at their website. The Evernote app is available free for:

iStudiez Pro is an app that serves as an electronic assignment book. You can enter your class schedule and homework, just like a normal assignment book. The great thing about entering homework on your iPad, iPod, or iPhone through this application is that your device will notify you when you have a class or assignment due. This way you are not scrambling last minute when you remember that you forgot to do a big assignment due tomorrow.

The app will also sync your iCal appointments so that you do not accidentally plan two things at the same time and so that you can plan ahead to know whether you will have enough time to finish homework that night. If you have a hard time keeping all of your homework and schedule synced, then this app may help you manage everything.

iStudiez Pro is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for $2.99 at the iTunes App Store.

Kindle is not just an e-reader that Amazon sells, but is also an app that is available on apple devices. Since Kindle is available on mobile devices as well as computers, you can start your book and annotate it on your mobile device, and then finish it on your computer.

The most helpful feature of the app is that you can highlight and take notes on the pages of the book. Another useful feature is the ability to search for text in the book. This is helpful when you are finished the book and want to look for quotes by a certain character when you want to write that essay in English class. Many Kindle books also have the same page numbers as printed books for easy reference.

The Kindle app is free for:

The Elements is a fun and helpful iPad app if you’re taking chemistry. When opening the app, you’ll see a big periodic table of the elements, but not the one that you see in the back of your textbook. No, the elements in this app are in 3D and can be manipulated to spin.

Each element has a 3D picture of an example of the element. When you tap on an element, you will see a magnified version of it, and information about the element including atomic weight, density, melting and boiling points, electronegativity, radius, electron shells, and much more specific information.

Another fun feature of the app is that it has the Element Song and video that you can play whenever you want to help you learn the elements.

The Elements is available for the iPad for $13.99 at the iTunes App Store. The app can be used in English, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are Apple’s equivalent Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. They include all of the features that you are used to on your computer. The great thing about them is that you can export your document to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint before sending it to yourself through email or Dropbox. However, if you have Pages, Numbers, or Keynote on your computer you can save your document to the Cloud and access the latest changes on your document on any of your devices without having to hassle with changing the format and emailing it to yourself. Having these applications on your iPad is a great thing, because you do not have to carry your laptop to class to have your documents with you.

Bottom line: If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch there are some great apps that will help you stay organized and study for classes. Having these apps on a mobile device will allow you to lighten your load by not having to carry a laptop to all of your classes.

What are your favorite apps for school? Do you use a mobile device in the classroom? To study? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Harleena Singh
January 9, 2013 at 8:55 am

Welcome back to Carolyn’s blog, Elizabeth!

This is an informative post for students, more so those who use apps and would prefer excelling in their school work. I really haven’t used any of these and have just about heard about Dropbox and Evernote – right here on this blog. :)

Speaking of my kid’s and the schools our end – the children aren’t allowed to bring in mobile phones or any kind of apps to school, though they do use it when they are back from school. I would surely be forwarding the post to my daughters so that they can check it out and spread the word among their friend’s too.

Thanks for sharing. :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Hi Harleena, Yes, these apps are useful even if you’re not in the classroom. They can be handy for studying at home as well. I wish I had the Elements app when I was studying chemistry. That would have been so much fun!

You’re right, not all schools allow electronics in the classroom. My daughters’ schools allow them now which is a change from past years. It’s difficult for the teachers to know when kids are playing and when they’re working, but that could be true with pen and paper too, I guess.
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Elizabeth Sexton January 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Hi Harleena, I am glad you found this article informative. Recently schools have started introducing mobile device policies, allowing their students to bring laptops, iPads, iPhones, and tablets to school. Maybe in a few years time, your children’s school will think about implementing that. In the mean time, I hope they will find some of these apps useful for doing their work when they get home from school.

Arielle January 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I just downloaded Notablility and it is the best note-taking app ever! I will definitely try the flashcard app too while I’m studying for exams. Thanks so much for sharing :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Hi Arielle, I’m glad you found this article helpful. Liz did such a great job with this article!

Good luck with exams, Arielle. :-)
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Lori Gosselin January 9, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I love the idea of taking notes with Notability! What a different world school is today! I remember learning years ago that a university nearby was requiring that all students had laptops. We’ve come so far since then! Now the load is lighter for sure! I can recall scribbling down my notes and re-writing them when I got back home!

The elements app sounds very interesting too. Interactive learning – in your pocket!
When my son was in university he developed an app to keep track of his budget. He didn’t market it much – just went on to develop another app but it’s very useful for students who want to know where their money is going and how they are doing with the budget: (just a bit of mother-pride here ;-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 10, 2013 at 11:44 am

Hi Lori, Well, you should be proud! How cool that your son developed an app! Thanks for sharing the link with us. :-)

You’re right, times are changing rapidly. Many students still do bring laptops into class, but if mobile devices are more portable and functional in the classroom, then we will probably be seeing more mobile devices than laptops soon.
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Steve January 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I wish I had these apps when I was in school. Would have made all the years studying Biochemistry much easier to deal with :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 10, 2013 at 11:45 am

Hi Steve, You’re right. These apps make learning more effective and fun! I wish they were around when I was in school too. :-)
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Khaja moin January 10, 2013 at 1:28 am

Excellent appa, not only for students but these apps can be more helpful for Bloggers and content writers.

As when every you get an idea you can jot it down on your device and refer back to it on your PC or Mac.

That`s awesome.

thanks for sharing these best apps.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

Hi Khaja, Excellent point. We bloggers can use handy apps like these to stay organized and on track. Accessing our information from our mobile devices and our laptops can be extremely valuable.

Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Khaja!
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January 10, 2013 at 3:16 am

Hi Elizabeth,

Technology changes rapidly and now it’s integrating even more into our lives :) Ah… Yet here in my country Technology is something new for teachers so it may take some time to say “iPad for Schools” I guess dear. But students are always mobile friendly and carry mobile with ‘em ;) lol…

I’ve been using Evernote but not much though. Else I have no idea about others :) So I really glad you have come up with these apps as I can recommend ‘em to friends of my brother :) But… Uh… I think some may not work out as they are not on Android platform, no? I’ll search ‘em for Google Play just to make sure too.

Thanks for wonderful post filled with apps for Students and they gonna helpful beyond the Students too :)

Have a fabulous week, Elizabeth and Carolyn ;)

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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

Hi Mayura, You’re right, most of these educational apps are only available on Apple devices. The iPad in particular is a very popular device for educational apps.

When the apps listed above are available on other platforms than iOS, you will find the links to them in the article.

Thanks so much for sharing this article with others, Mayura!
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Donna Merrill January 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Thank you Carolyn for having Elisabeth here to teach us of the many tools students can now use.

I use Evernote and it has been a God send for me. I rely on it and using it has cut my time in half.

This is a must share for all the home schoolers that I know. I know a group that will hunger for this post.

Thanks so much,
Donna Merrill
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Hi Donna, Great point, students who use these apps will be well prepared for the real world when they graduate. They will be ahead of the game, already being familiar with these important tools for life.

Thanks so much for sharing this post, Donna. Yes, home schooling families can truly benefit from Liz’s advice here!
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January 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Hi Elizabeth,

So I’m assuming that kids bring their phones to school these days but I would have thought that they would have to be turned off and remain in your purse or pocket. So now they’re allowing iPad’s, Kindles and stuff like that to work on in the classroom?

My goodness and forgive me for being so old school but when I was going to school they didn’t even allow calculators. They said that was cheating.

The world has definitely evolved and this was interesting to see how many apps are available for helping students. I wonder if my nephew uses any of these.

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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 10, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Hi Adrienne, Yes, times they are a changin’. It’s a different world today than it was even last school year. Electronic devices are becoming more and more accepted in the classroom. Some schools are providing iPads instead of books for their students.

Now kids often don’t use calculators any more but calculator apps on their devices. Who knows what the next generation will be using!
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Elizabeth Sexton January 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Hi Adrienne, thanks for your comment. Yes, many schools are allowing students to bring their phones, iPads, Kindles, iPods, laptops, and other technology in class, as long as they use them for academic purposes. Some schools block the social networking sites to make sure that students are not misusing their devices.

Praveen Rajarao January 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Hello Elizabeth – Nice to read your detailed post here at WonderOfTech.

As Harleena has mentioned below, back in India we were not even allowed calculators to my classes & exams. It was only during engineering that one could get their scientific calculators (a big thing those days) and show off to their friends.

It blows my mind off with the extent of advancement and what kids have these days at their finger tips. Seems like we are outdated and old when compared to them doesnt it ?? :-)

These are some great apps you have listed out here and I am sure they will help students to excel in what they do. My favorite is the Notability app which you had reviewed earlier too.

Thanks for sharing.
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Elizabeth Sexton January 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Hi Praveen, Thanks for your comment! It is amazing that there is such an array of technology available to students. I’m glad that you like the Notability app! It’s also my favorite and most used app on my iPad.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Hi Praveen, It’s difficult to think of calculators as controversial these days. I wonder if our grandchildren will marvel that iPads were once banned from classrooms. :-)
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January 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Wow – Thanks Carolyn and Elizabeth for sharing these great apps. I will have to share them with my 8th grader who loves using his iPad for just about everything. Except perhaps for school work! I can see how helpful these apps will be for a busy student.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Hi Carol, Yes, some schools are distributing iPads to their students to make sure there are no gaming or Facebook apps on the devices. Schools can then have control over how iPads are used in the classrooms without having to worry about the devices are being used.
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Thomas January 11, 2013 at 2:30 am

It is true that this current generation is using tablets and smartphones instead of notebooks and pencils in the classroom. This makes it easier to learn and also makes learning fun. Notability seems like a good app for taking down notes separately for every subject. These notes can be easily accessible and can be preserved for a longer time.

Hale January 11, 2013 at 4:26 am

I wish more students knew the power of flash cards.
1. That is how we take a test – we get asked a question and we provide the answer. With flashcards you can then get immediate feedback.
So many people study by looking at lists. That is kind of like the TV show Jeopardy Here is answer – tell me the question. that isn’t how the tests are done!!!
2. When you KNOW a question you can drop it out of the study list. Now you are just studying what you don’t know.

I’ve learned 2,000 items in 2 days. that way.

End Rant!!! :) :) I plan to try of these!
Dr. Hale

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hi Hale, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech. Interesting point! My daughters have studied at schools in the US and Europe with very different learning styles. The school they attended in Europe was against “rote learning” and emphasized conceptual thinking instead. The US schools advocate the use of flash cards for learning, in addition to other methods. A combination of the two methods is probably best. For subjects such as social studies, conceptual learning might be a better fit, but for math and vocabulary, rote learning is often helpful.

Your method of studying seems extremely efficient. Focusing on studying what you don’t know can save students time and aggravation.
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Carol Lynn
January 11, 2013 at 9:51 am

Sounds like a conundrum for teachers! You don’t want kids using their mobile devices in class, but there are such cool apps that could really help them get their work done. The hard part is making sure the kids are using the right apps and not just hanging out on Facebook!

The elements one is really neat. I remember studying that in school and the only place you really ever got to see the chart was hanging on the wall in the classroom. That’s a great reference to have.

I especially love the iStudiez app. One of the big problems of teaching is getting kids to stay organized. I think assignment books are a thing of the past. Now it can all be done electronically so why not? Plus you eliminate the “dog ate my homework” excuse :)

This is a great roundup. I’m not a student but some of them are useful for business and everyday life, too!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Hi Carol Lynn, You’re right, teachers can have a tough time policing use of electronics in the classroom. They don’t want kids messing around, but these devices can be valuable teaching tools. If budgets were unlimited, schools could issue iPads registered to the schools’ iTunes accounts so apps couldn’t be loaded by the student and access to certain websites could be blocked.

But budgets aren’t unlimited so schools need to decide how to deal with this issue. The more schools see valuable apps such as the ones Liz wrote about here, the more they may realize the value of having iPads in the classroom and figure out how to monitor their use.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Carol Lynn!
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Sylviane Nuccio January 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Well, at least two items that I can recognize and that I use, Evernote and Kindle. I can only imagine what it is to be a student nowadays, so many great tools that weren’t around when I was in school and which seem so cool.

Thanks for this guest post, Carolyn.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Hi Sylviane, Yes, education is very, very different from when we were in school. Students should be even smarter now, right?

These are very cool, as you pointed out. Now there is no excuse for not getting straight A’s. ;-)
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Dadblunders January 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I have used the evernote program several times and have found it useful in many various aspects of my life. I also have enjoyed using Catch as a note/list program. I can tell you as a parent, they are both helpful in organizing my daily life. I can add a short note of what I need to do and check it for reminders.

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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Hi Aaron, Yes, your son is a bit young still to use these apps. I wonder which apps he will use when he reaches high school. Or if there will be apps. Or iPads. Or tablets. The future will be very exciting for him, I bet he will be using devices we haven’t even heard of yet!
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January 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

Hi Elizabeth and Carolyn
That is a nice collection of apps. The only one that I am using is Evernote and it is a great app. I wish we had those kinds of options when I was studying. It would have been awesome.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

Hey Thomas, I can’t agree with you more. I especially would have liked the Elements app, complete with the song. What a fun way to learn the periodic table! :-bd
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Justin January 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Hi Carolyn and Elizabeth,

Although I am not a student (always learning) I have recently started to use Evernote. I am so used to the default “notes” app that it’s kinda hard for me to use another note app. But I am trying, all I can do…..
Great resource for students Elizabeth…! ;-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Hi Justin, I’m glad you are trying Evernote. I believe you will find it incredibly versatile. I especially like to save web pages in Evernote so that even if the web page disappears I can still have access to it in my notes. I also like being able to access my notes on all my different devices.

You’re right, Justin, we’re all students of life!
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Thomas January 15, 2013 at 5:24 am

I have been using “Notes Plus” for over a year now. It’s an excellent handwriting or text note taker. Includes PDF import and audio notes as well. Converts handwriting to text and has the best handwriting “smoothing” agent around. It really is worth the extra cost. I’ve tried the other note-takers but nothing matches up. Good post, thanks for sharing,

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

Hi Thomas, I have Notes Plus but haven’t used it much. Perhaps I should take another look at that app!

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us, Thomas!
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Marketing Your Website January 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm

There are many great apps for students. Many are free and most are very useful that can largely help you with your studies and daily life style.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hi Marketing, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I’m so glad you found this helpful.
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jawad zaib January 21, 2013 at 4:46 am

all the apps are great but iStudiez Pro i liked the most because of its features that it offers to students thanks for sharing this nice info with us Carolyn…
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