The long, hot summer is almost at an end, and university students new and returning will be gearing up for the first semester of 2016. Apart from getting a head start on your reading – and perhaps sampling the spirit of uni life at O-Week – making sure you’re organised before starting lectures can make all the difference between a credit and a high distinction. One way of staying on top of your studies is to put your smartphone or tablet to the best use possible. Here are seven great apps to keep you organised at uni.
The only way to stay in full control of your uni week is to know exactly what you need to do. Wunderlist is a simple but powerful to-do app that not only allows you to run multiple lists, but add comprehensive notes, deadlines, and even share with friends and collaborators. It also backs up to the cloud, which enables you to share your to-do lists easily across your various devices.
Evernote is the granddaddy of all note-taking applications. With seamless integration across your tablet, smartphone and PC, Evernote’s a one-stop shop for keeping organised. The app lets you arrange your thoughts into notebooks that can then be bundled into stacks organised by category. Set up checklists, attach PDFs, sound, photo or video files, and even handwritten notes. The app is constantly updated by the Evernote team, adding new functionality – even for the free version.
Keeping on top of your reading can be one of the most challenging aspects of university life. Various speed-reading techniques have long been claimed by different authors, but tech start-up Spritz developed a clever new technology that allows users to read at about 600 words per minute – about twice as fast as the 300 wpm average. Basically, it works by flashing specially positioned words and in the process removing “saccades” – rapid, subconscious movement of our eyes as we search for the next word. A few apps use Spritz’s technology, but Spritz allows users to read anything online, which could be an efficient way to burn through journal articles.
Notability - iOS
Let’s face it, typing with your thumbs isn’t the most effective method of note taking. Strangely enough, it’s the good old-fashioned pen that remains the swiftest – but with a 21st century update. Notability allows you to write on your phone or tablet with a stylus, then keeps your notes organised in notebooks and backed up to the cloud. You can write in multiple colours, add photographs, even annotate PDF files, and share them via Google Drive, Airdrop, email or Dropbox.
For those who are new to their university (or those who still find themselves searching vainly for Room 7.01 after three years), Lost on Campus is a lifesaver. Forty-two Australian campuses with more than 36,000 locations are mapped in detail, providing directions to your lecture theatre – or to the best coffee on campus.
SoundNote - iOS
Designed with students (and journalists) in mind, SoundNote allows you to record a lecture or interview while simultaneously typing or handwriting notes. When you’re looking back over your notes, tapping on a word will take you back to that point in the audio file. You can share your notes, text and recordings via email or transfer them directly to your computer. Nifty, huh?
The bane of essay writers since time immemorial has been keeping up with citations. Now that we’re living in the future, apps such as RefME have taken the bother out of bibliographies. Simply scanning the barcode of a book brings up extensive details, and the app also allows you to search by title, author, ISBN or URL. The app supports 7500 citation styles, including MLA, APA and Harvard systems, and it seamlessly integrates with other apps including Word and Evernote.