The Best Apps for Improved Study Habits

Studying can be hard, especially for longer periods of time. The demands on today’s students, especially those in advanced programs, are higher than ever. There is so much to learn in what feels like so little time, and the pressure to succeed is high. And you might find some difficulty in trying to keep focus with so much going on around you. Your smartphone alone is enough of a distraction to derail you. Yet why not use your smartphone as a tool instead of letting it be a distraction? There are plenty of study apps to help people just like you. 

Whether you are looking for something to help you take notes, an app to give you quick quizzes, or a more productive way to pass the time before class, there’s an option for you. Most of them are free, and only require a little bit of setup. There is no downside to trying them out.

Here are some apps you should know about and install if you want to improve your study habits and succeed in the classroom:

1. iStudiez Pro

Starting with a well-known and award-winning app, iStudiez Pro is the app for planners and students with busy schedules that need to keep up with everything. The app features grade tracking, assignment notifications, the ability to sync with multiple platforms, and much more. We particularly recommend it for college students who must balance real life with their student life. You can block out times much like a calendar app to make sure you make it to class on time and get some time together for studying.

This is something you will want to experiment with as well as make your own. You will certainly have the tools to do so. You can track your GPA and grades for classes as you go along, so you know where to put the most effort. Sorting your homework by various priorities means you will never miss an assignment. You can also add information on your professors, making sure you don’t miss office hours or misplace their contact information. Whatever details you think might be handy, you can store them in the app and use them to their fullest potential.

Unfortunately, the main downside is that it seems tuned and only available for Apple devices. We recommend it for an iPad as much as an iPhone, if you’d like more space to work with. 

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free, with in-app purchases

2. SimpleMind

You may or may not have experimented with mind mapping before, but it can be a powerful tool to help you keep your thoughts in check, organized, and continuous. While standard notes often do well, a better chart and structure can be just what you need to get a leg up on your assignments.

And SimpleMind might be the best mind mapping software you can get on your smartphone. It is incredibly easy to use, allows you to connect data points and webs with a variety of tools, and you can add plenty of different options to your map. Need to add a progress bar? You can do so. Want to completely rearrange the map? There are tools to make it easy. There is hardly any limit on the size of your map, so even the most complex projects and topics will be supported. Labels are obvious, and you can relate them as needed.

Yet this is one of those apps we recommend you try yourself to get ahold of the basics and see if it will help in your current studies. You can start with the free functionality, and then unlock everything else with a one-time fee.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with premium options

3. Evernote

Taking notes in some form has always been an important part of the learning experience. And there are plenty of apps on the market, both free and paid, that allow for the taking of notes. Yet we don’t think any of them can compete with Evernote, which has long been the industry leader to help people in the classroom, the workplace, and in everyday life.

Evernote will make the most of your smartphone for taking notes. You can just take a picture of a board instead of copying it all down yourself. If you have a thought and don’t want to write it down, just make a voice recording. You can save web pages and links to Evernote to come back to them later for those important assignments. And with the organization options for your notes and the ability to search them, you won’t have to worry about losing anything for your next project.

Keep in mind that it can sync to all devices, and students might find it just as helpful on a computer as on a smartphone. There are even features to sync up with Google calendar and create to-do lists so that you can organize your student life using the app as well. Whatever your need, Evernote likely has something for you.

Platforms: iOS, Android 

Price: Free, with premium options

4. Google Drive

Google Drive might seem a little boring and all-purpose compared to the other apps on this list, but we also think that Google Drive is something that can get a lot of use from students, especially when combined with things such as Google Sheets and Google Docs. There is more to the service than you might think at first, and even the free option (though more space is hardly expensive) allows you to have enough space to store most of your schoolwork. If you have a computer error, just log onto your phone and download the files as you need them. Or work on them from your phone using other apps. The sky is the limit, and functionality is widely expanded.

Being able to share projects and files over Google Drive, and even edit them simultaneously (perhaps while on a group call) can be wonderful for class groups that cannot meet in person. You can note and check when changes are made and which changes were made, so everyone is on the same page. We recommend setting yourself up and familiarizing yourself with it ahead of time, so you can use it easily when you need to.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free

5. Duolingo

Another app you’ve certainly heard of if you’re interested in learning, Duolingo is the language learning app everyone thinks of first and practically everyone tries for a little while, only to abandon it for one reason or another. You might have it installed now already, or have thought about it when wanting to pick up a new skill.

Yet how does Duolingo hold up for students? Duolingo is generally not a good substitute for a proper class. With some languages, it might even teach you bad habits or give you some gaps in your knowledge that will need addressing later. Yet we still think that you will still want to install it? Why? It makes for perfect practice, and it acts as a reminder to keep up on your studies. With learning a language regular practice is what is needed most, and Duolingo provides it. Even during breaks or on semesters where you aren’t taking a course, you can use it to keep yourself from getting rusty.

Depending on your budget and your language of choice, you may want to substitute Duolingo with another app. This makes perfect sense. Just consider using your smartphone to help your language studies.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with premium options.

6. Quizlet

A simple yet amazing app for the average student, Quizlet allows you to take the paper and most of the prep time out of flashcards, allowing you to input what you want and use your phone as a productive tool whenever you have a couple of minutes to yourself.

If you have to memorize something, then Quizlet is going to be the app you’ll want on standby. You can use different modes to reinforce your learning, use it to learn a new language or advanced vocabulary, and more. There’s a use for it for every subject, so we would recommend it no matter your field of study.

Quizlet can also help you keep track of what you have mastered and what you have not. Even if you have limited time, you can spend it focusing on the terms and concepts that you need to work on the most. Whether you want one last study session before an exam or want to create a daily habit of it, Quizlet is an app that just keeps on giving.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with in-app purchases

7. Trello

Used heavily in the business world to organize teams and projects, Trello is an app that uses boards and cards which can serve multiple purposes. You can attach files to the cards, leave comments and tags, and much more. Think of each one as a post that doesn’t go anywhere unless you want it to. 

As a student, you can give each column to a different class you are taking, or create multiple boards (one for each class) and further organize projects from there. Group projects can be coordinated on the platform as well. There are plenty of resources that will help you figure out how to best use it, and you may find that there is are creative uses down the line. Don’t forget to look into the filtering, tags, and extra feature many users might ignore. It can keep the clutter out and let you focus on the assignments that require immediate attention.

Many people only use it on desktops, where the screen space might be most handy, but it is great on smartphones as well. Being able to update a card while on the go can be a wonderful convenience. 

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with premium options

8. ToDoist

There are more than a few to-do list apps available for your smartphone, and there’s likely one or two already installed (you might not even know about it). Whatever works best for you is what you should use, but we think that ToDoist can provide the best general experience and most utility to both the average person and the average student.

On ToDoist, users can insert a quick item for their list, create a recurring item (great for study habits), or make other lists. You can customize a lot about every single item, ranging from due dates to even the hour you want it to recur. Separating tasks into subgroups is easy for academic projects. And you can also prioritize your items if you know you might not be able to get to everything going on right now. Given that it's free, this is an app you should try out for yourself, especially on mobile.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with premium options

9. TED

Nearly everyone online has heard of Ted Talks at this point. They offer a wide range of different talks on issues ranging from historical topics to what is on everyone’s minds today. You’ve certainly seen a few yourself, and you might even have a few favorites that you go back to. Yet chances are you mostly watch them on YouTube. And that’s fine, but they have a more dedicated app that lets you explore a bit more and dedicate more of your time to focus on a subject, as opposed to getting distracted by other videos.

The TED app is a great way to expand your education beyond what you might think is important or what is on your course schedule. Exploration of new ideas is the best part of education, and TED allows you to fully engage with that side of your mind and that side of the world. And there are more talks available than you can keep track of and go through. Whatever your interest, there is something interesting to listen to. And if you’re feeling adventurous? TED has you covered there as well. Just remember to keep up with your classes as well.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free

10. Forest 

Sometimes the best thing you can do with your smartphone when you’re studying is to keep it away. The distractions can be too great, you need to read, and you just want to be left alone. A combination of a do not disturb setting and the Forest app is the perfect solution for this. Essentially, Forest is a focus app, if a peaceful and pretty one. When you need to focus and keep away from your phone, you plant a seed in your virtual forest. If you disturb your phone, your tree with wither.

You certainly don’t want to disturb your forest, and just the slight pause it will give you from picking up and opening your phone might be enough to keep you on track for however long you want to. Studying requires focus, so we hope that you can use every tool in your arsenal to keep at it, including this app.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with in-app purchases

11. Oxford Dictionary

Depending on how old you are and where you went to school, you were told to look up words in a Yet what is the advantage of having this app on hand when you can just use the internet? It is simple: you can be free of distractions. The second you look up a word on your phone, you are exposing yourself to the endless abyss of Google and likely the notifications on your phone. While with the app you can’t ignore every notification, it will be much easier to stay focused on your assignment so you can study more effectively and get your assignments done sooner.

It isn’t a heavy investment, and the definitions can give you all you need to know. And if you’re worried about pronunciation before a presentation, they have that for tens of thousands of words. And whatever limitations you might have, Oxford Dictionary will likely be able to predict what you need ahead of time. It’s more advanced than you might think.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with in-app purchases

12. My Study Life

When you’re living a busy life full of studying, classes, and extracurricular activities, you need to be able to plan ahead. And while a physical planner has its benefits and your phone’s calendar can work fine if you know how to use it, My Study Life might be the best option you have. You can keep your homework, exams, and class information on the app, all available on the cloud so you can access it on other devices.

With some preparation and regular usage when you get new assignments, My Study Life will tell you everything you need to know for your day at a glance. See how many classes you have, assignments and exams that are coming up, and whatever else you want to put in. Color coding and tags are options if you want to organize your academic life even further. 

If you’re an educator and are reading this, My Study Life is just as much for you as it is for students. Managing all your classes and assignments can be difficult, do My Study Life has you covered as well. Consider it as a possible supplement to what you already use.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free

13. Coursera

This might not be the app for you if you already have a full course load on your plate, but Coursera allows for people of all ages and interests to keep on learning, and having the courses available on a mobile app makes for easy consumption. Learn on your own time and learn whatever you want. There is a cost to each class, but there are usually sales, some are free, and we find most of them to be worth your time. 

The app itself works fine, but what will make the difference for you is the content and the courses available. Whether they meet your needs or not is up to up, but you should at least take a look.

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: Free, with courses costing varying amounts.

14. Wolfram Alpha

With many subjects, having a calculator on hand can be extremely handy. And sometimes the simple calculator on your smartphone isn’t enough. That’s where Wolfram Alpha comes in. Going beyond the simple calculators and even many of the basic scientific calculators you are used to, Wolfram Alpha has all of the functions you might need. It’s more advanced than we can completely go into here.

It’s a tool that anyone studying maths or sciences will want to have installed. And while you might think that having a calculator won’t teach you much, Wolfram Alpha can also usually show you the steps to its conclusion, making it an amazing learning tool and something you can use to compare to your own efforts. 

Platforms: iOS, Android

Price: $2.99

Making the Most of These Apps

To make the most of these apps and improve your study habits to their maximum potential, we recommend the following:

  • Don’t try to use all of the above apps at once. Some would be redundant and adding 14 new apps to your life would quickly be overwhelming. Chances are you would simply stop using most of them, and perhaps all of them from frustration or fatigue. Go through the list and pick out a few you know will be helpful. Get to know them and integrate them into your life. Once you have done so, add any more you’d like until you think you have a perfect personal setup. Rushing things will only be counterproductive.
  • Remember to use them after the first couple of days! Most of these apps are here to help you form habits, and simply having them on your phone is not going to help you. Make a daily task of opening and using the ones you think will help you the most. After a point, it will become a part of your routine and easier. Only once you reached this step will you get the most from them.
  • Sometimes apps and studying are better done with friends! Doing things together, as long as you all are focused, is a great way to retain more and have a better time studying. See which apps have social options that interest you and bring them up where appropriate.
  • Remember that no app can be a substitute for collaboration and traditional instruction. If you have the wrong idea, most of these apps will only reinforce that. If you are confused, go to a tutoring center or talk to your professor to get a better understanding of the subject matter.


No one studies the same way as everyone else, and we are certain that some of the apps will be more helpful than others as you learn and continue your academic career or general studies. We hope that you find the perfect combination for you and that you find the focus and discipline needed to make the most of them. As mentioned above, don’t get overwhelmed and try out just a few at a time. Bookmark this page and come back whenever you are ready to try something new. Both we and the apps will still be here in the meanwhile.