Student Voice: Study Apps for College Students
There’s an app for everything these days. We use them to stay connected through social media, check for transit times, keep our expenses in check, keep us entertained, and even to buy Starbucks coffee.
But that’s not all they can do. Many students use apps to help them study, replacing traditional methods like index note cards for a more portable, searchable system.
Quizlet is often the first name that comes to mind if you ask a college student about an app they use or know of for studying. Quizlet allows you to make simple one-to-one correlation list like a term and definition. It then converts that into six different learning methods from which you can choose to study.
- Flashcards – this is the most basic function of Quizlet, and lets you flip through terms and definitions at your own pace
- Learn – once you’re feeling comfortable with what you’ve learned so far, you can begin testing yourself. An interesting feature in this section is that if you answered incorrectly, or said “don’t know,” the app shows you the answer and makes you type it out yourself to build your memory. Quizlet also tracks your progress so you know which terms you’ve consistently missed.
- Speller – ideal for learning a language, this mode has you type what you hear. This too tracks your progress, and continues until you’ve “fully learned” each term by answering it correctly twice in a row.
- Test – an auto generate quiz, it uses different question styles (multiple choice, short answer, etc.) and gives you a grade at the end.
The last two methods are actually games, ideal for putting some fun into studying. Both allow you to compete with your friends and achieve high scores.
- Space Race
Most of the features of Quizlet seem to target high schools kids, but college students find it just as useful. The general flashcard feature is a method of studying that’s always relevant, regardless of age, and the randomized tests are a good way to keep track of how well you’re doing. In fact, it’s probably the simplicity of the website, of others like it, that appeal to the older student. It forces you to consider the material at the lowest level, letting you memorize the dates and terminally before you have to think about the larger concepts at play. You can also integrate images and use the audio feature (in 18 languages), making it appropriate for various learning styles.
The other advantage to using Quizlet is the amount of customization available in each section, letting you create a study experience best suited to your needs. With the option to keep your notes private or public, there are over 40 million study sets available on Quizlet anyone can access, many of which were created by teachers.
For students on the go, apps for education—including those that supplement websites like Quizlet—provide a feasible alternative to wrestling with packs of index cards on the subway or while you’re waiting in line to buy some coffee.
Of course, there are more complex apps out there for those who want a more enriched digitized study experience. Evernote is another popular application which creates a single workspace where you can create and organize all your notes as much as you like. Standard features let you clip web pages, add media, and sync across devices, while premium membership allows for collaboration with others, annotating pdfs, and making simple slideshows all in one place. The evernote notebook is a newer feature which let you take a picture of your notebook so you can search through your handwritten notes or further mark them up online.
Whether simple or complicated, study apps are immensely helpful for students, no matter what age they are. For college students specifically, the key factors always include the flow between devices, a simple interface that can be customized, and the ability to incorporate other forms of media.
K-12 teachers will find that introducing these apps to younger students will also better prepare them for studying later on, by providing a guided method on creating study materials and foundation for productive learning in and out of the classroom.
Suchita is a student at Emerson College, where she is pursuing a BFA in Writing, Literature, & Publishing for poetry with a Global & Post-Colonial Studies minor. She has been published in Verge Magazine (Canada) and Affairs Today (UK).