Apps Improve Academic Survival Chances

Lexie Reinecke, Staff Writer

With the glut of homework assignments, group projects, assessments and tests piled onto the typically academically anxious Lamorinda teen, staying organized and on track for the Ivy League can be difficult. Luckily, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of educational apps which can delay, if not help to avoid, the impending mental breakdown.

While I can’t say they are all as fun as Geometry Dash or Twitter, they might just become your favorite study aid.

La Puma‘s Top Ten Educational Apps of 2015:

#1 SchoolLoop For the anxiety-riddled

Ok, maybe you aren’t all as obsessive as I am about grade-checking, but Schoolloop isn’t only for watch-dogging the decimals of your English grade. With the ability to access the site from your phone, you can use Loopmail for emailing your Bio teacher about that missing assignment, the current assignment To-D0 List to start your homework in the car before you have at-home laptop access, and convenient charts to track your classroom performance. Attendance records are also available, if you’re worried about racking up those after-lunch tardies.  Wait.  Does anyone ever get in trouble for tardies?

#2 Quizlet For the studious

The benefits to using Quizlet are endless. First of all, you save paper (and trees) by not writing on dozens of index cards you’ll throw away after the test. There is a digital copy of the flashcards you make, which you can organize into folders. This is super helpful when Finals Week comes around, because you’ll have all the flashcards from the whole semester in one location. The second benefit is that it’s convenient. Flashcards are great for quick studying, but who wants to lug around a pack of flashcards? No one. Quizlet enables you to study while waiting in line for lunch, talking with friends, or in the car.

#3 Google Drive For that group project

We all know the drama of group projects. There’s always that one kid who does all the work, and one who does nothing. No matter what role you play, Google Drive is a must have for multiple person assignments. By creating a document you can share with your group members, everyone can do the project simultaneously and add comments/edits in the comment box which makes for smooth collaboration. Besides identifying who actually completed their work (because, let’s be honest, that one kid from your English class did about nothing) Google Drive is the perfect group project aid.

#4 Kindle For the anti-bookworm

There’s the page turning, the action of moving your eyes across sentences, the inconvenience of carrying the book around, there’s the metaphors you don’t understand and characters you hate. These are all things I’ve heard people take issue with about reading books. What a drag. Reading on the kindle app is still reading (hate to break it to you), but for those of you who can’t stand books, it might just be the next best thing to not reading at all. And here’s the benefit, you’ll still pass English. (English Note: Yes, this whole last paragraph is an example of irony.)

#5 EasyBib For the MLA avoider

You know MLA format. It’s that irritating, effort extracting, confusing thing your teachers have been giving you an earful about since freshman year. As much as you like writing, what person in their right mind likes constructing a bibliography after the coffee-consuming, finger-tiring hours of finishing that essay? Here’s the solution: EasyBib. EasyBib allows you to enter book titles or webpage addresses in a little box, and spits out a perfectly formatted source. So next time you’re about to fall asleep on your laptop, rather than reaching for another cup of caffeine, pull up EasyBib, copy and paste, and get some sleep.

#6 iFormulas For the forgetful

As someone who constantly forgets math formulas, this is definitely a life saver. While you can’t just take out your phone during your calc exam, iFormulas is great for homework. It supplies you with needed formulas, conveniently sorted into categories such as “Linear equations” and “Factoring.” Anytime you need the quadratic equation or rules for graphing, you don’t have to flip through a textbook; just search it right at your fingertips. Because the actual math part is difficult enough on its own.

#7 Power Nap For the exhausted (Isn’t this everyone?)

Have you ever wanted to take a nap, just a little short one, to refuel for the hours of work ahead of you? As someone who’s fallen for the “just a little nap” trickery, I know that naps are usually long and generally not helpful when you have studying to do. With multiple settings, you can choose between times of 1, 10, 20, 30, and 60 minute naps. As the description explains, the settings are designed to “terminate before the occurrence of deep sleep or slow-wave  sleep (SWS)” and to “quickly revitalize the subject.” Can’t spare a couple of hours? Set it for 30 minutes and you’ll at least be rested enough to finish what’s due tomorrow.

#8 30/30 For the procrastinator

So maybe time management’s not your thing. I, too, fall slave to procrastination. Usually the lines and lines of filled space on my daily agenda are enough to prompt me to work, but sometimes cat videos or (insert online addiction here) prevail. The 30/30 app is what I use to keep myself on track. It allows you to set timers which help keep you productive. As its name suggests, the basic timer balance it uses is 30/30, 30 minutes where you work, and then a 30 minute break. Making short sprints of relaxation a part of study-time keeps you productive, so you aren’t prompted to take hour long, work-derailing Netflix break.

#9 AP Flashcards For the kid with 4 AP’s (Harvard’s watching!)

With flashcards, game and sharing options, AP Flashcards is like Quizlet’s older, more over-achieving sibling. Depending on what classes you are taking, there are different test-prep questions and games geared toward your upcoming exam. Options include AP Physics, AP European History, AP Comparative Government and dozens of others. Available games include matching, memorization, spelling, rearranging, and practice tests. Not only can you learn the necessary material, there’s the option to go up against friends as well as share scores, if competition gets you learning. Which, let’s face it, if you’re in AP’s, it definitely does.

#10 Magoosh SAT Prep For the nervous junior

While taking an actual SAT Prep class may be the way to go if you are one of those who believe that greater expense equals better test scores, this mobile app can’t hurt. The app covers all three sections featured on the test (math, reading and writing) and includes more than 160 animated lessons on test concepts. It tracks the progress you make as you complete practice tests, and supplies over 15 hours of video instruction on what you’re not so sure on. It even includes test strategies, tips, and tricks. Combine the Magoosh app with a certified prep course and you’ll be well on your way to that coveted 2400… or at the very lest, a bounty of nervous ticks and intellectual exhaustion!