The Ultimate Guide To The Best Apps, Online Resource And Study Guide Sites Every College Student Should Bookmark

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Best Study Guide And Study Resource Sites

Best Online Writing Sites For Better Papers

Best Study Apps

Best Time Management Apps

Best Note Taking Apps

Best Sites To Buy Cheap Textbooks

Best Sites To Sell Your Textbooks

Best General Student Websites

 

Best Study Guide and Study Resource Sites

Chegg Study and Chegg Tutors

These study tools are available 24/7 – so when you’re desperately trying to cram at 3 am, you’re in luck. Chegg Study provides you with help with problems that you’re totally stuck on – just snap a photo of a question that has you stumped and Chegg’s online experts will quickly respond with step-by-step solutions. Additionally, the site has a data bank of millions of already-answered questions, if you’re looking for other examples. Similarly, Chegg Tutors matches you with an online expert based on subjects and the urgency of your needs. These tutors then contact you quickly to set up a study session. Both tools are invaluable and our top choice for students in need of help – especially during crunch time.

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Open Study 

A forum for students to connect for quick answers to tough questions and form study groups, Open Study is a great source if you’re looking to connect with other people. In addition to getting help, users can help others to gain recognition, get volunteer credit or make some money.

 

Cliffs Notes 

You don’t need to carry around those little yellow books anymore – Cliffs Notes are conveniently available online. Although we don’t recommend skipping the real books entirely, Cliffs Notes can help point out ideas and analysis that you might have missed on your own. And in addition to helping you out with your current courses, Cliffs Notes also offers help with tests like the GRE and GMAT – including convenient cram plans that are ideal for any busy student adding placement test studying to his or her schedule. Don’t forget that you can find your Cliff Notes cheaper on BIGWORDS.com, just the same as you would search and find cheaper textbooks.

 

Sparknotes.com 

Very similar to Cliff Notes, and founded by four Harvard students who understood the student study struggle, SparkNotes offers study guides and discussion forums on various academic subjects including literature, poetry, history, film, philosophy, biology, chemistry, economics, health, math physics and sociology. SparkNotes Test Prep provides content and services related to the ACT, and AP, GRE and PSAT/SAT I and II standardized tests. And yes, that content and the study guides can also be found on BIGWORDS.com.

 

Evernote

Although it’s not an obvious choice as a study aid, Evernote is the perfect way to collaborate with study buddies when you can’t physically be in the same room. Share notes, schedules and ideas with anyone you choose so you can stay connected and organized, and ensure you’re all on the same page.

 

Study.com

As the name implies, Study.com is one-stop-shop for all of your study needs. The site boasts video lessons for tons of different subjects, test prep guides and other study aids. If you’re a visual learner who’s more likely to absorb information from YouTube than a podcast, then Study.com is the website for you.

 

Study Guide Zone 

Geared more toward standardized tests than college courses, Study Guide Zone is an invaluable resource for anyone taking assessment or placement exams. Whether you’re studying to become a personal trainer or are stressed about passing the Series 7 exam, Study Guide Zone has ton of practice tests, sample questions and study tips to help you get through some of the most stressful tests of your life

 

Shmoop

Whatever you need, Shmoop has it: Test prep materials, videos, tutorials and more. It’s focused on the pre-college crowd, but some of the material can probably be helpful. For example, AP Bio and Bio 101 aren’t really that different, so the test guides can be helpful and ensure you’re being as thorough as possible.

 

TED

They might not help you with some of your more basic courses, but TED talks can provide valuable insight into millions of topics from experts all over the world. If you’re writing a paper or studying for a class that requires critical thinking, you’d be missing out on a huge resource if you don’t take the time to conduct a TED search on your topic.

 

Hippocampus

This site isn’t quite as comprehensive as some of the other ones on our list, but it’s free, so it gets bonus points there. With nearly 6,000 videos in basic subjects like English, chemistry and history, Hippocampus is worth checking out if you’re looking for easy-to-understand explanations into courses that you don’t understand too well, but don’t want to spend a ton of time studying.

 

Khan Academy

A not-for-profit organization committed to providing educational resources to people worldwide, Khan Academy provides lessons in all kinds of subjects, from biology to art history.  The website features a combination of written explanations and videos that both students and teachers can leverage for a better learning experience.

 

StudyBlue

The leading crowdsourced learning platform, StudyBlue has millions of study tools like flashcards, study guides and notes to help enhance your knowledge on subjects. Students upload their actual study tools for certain classes at different schools around the country, so you can search for flashcards and notes for your exact courses.

 

P2PU

P2PU is an online open learning community where people can form study groups and take courses on specific topics. The nonprofit believes that people learn best when working with others, so it strives to provide intimate study groups and online courses where people can share knowledge and learn.

 

Course Hero

This online study community of more than 10,000,000 users provides various study resources and connects students with tutors who offer expertise on different topics. And in addition to taking advantage of the resources available through the site, you can also post your own study guides to help other students taking similar courses.

 

GoConqr

Formerly called ExamTime, GoConqr provides students with a centralized place to upload notes, outlines, flashcards and other study guides to share. It’s perfect not only for last-minute cram sessions, but also to collaborate with study groups. GoConqr has basic services for free and different paid plans that you can choose from, depending on your needs.

 

Wolfram Alpha

Have a specific question and don’t have time to comb through all of your class notes and online study guides? Wolfram Alpha enables users to gain important information by computing answers from curated data. Type a factual question in the text box and you’ll get an answer to your question in seconds, no research necessary

 

Best Online Writing Sites For Better Papers

These days, pretty much everyone thinks he’s a writer.  And although your kickass blog on your inner-most thoughts and feelings might have the attention of about 100 of your Facebook friends, it doesn’t make you Hemingway. In all seriousness, even if you are the second coming of Joan Didion, there’s always room for improvement. Whether you need a writing overhaul or just want to push your grade up from an A- to an A+, there are some great resources available online to help you sharpen your writing skills.

Grammar Girl

Both highly entertaining and informative, Grammar Girl can answer clears up some of the most confusing rules in the English language and ensures that you use proper grammar at all times.

 

Google Scholar

Don’t even try to write a research paper without leveraging all of the resources that Google Scholar has to offer. The site is an endless hub of resources you need, from academic studies to magazine articles. It’s a great starting point for any paper – and it’s searchable 24/7, from the comfort of your own dorm room.

 

Admissions Essays

Admissions essays are supposed to be compelling, concise and – above all – error-free. Your days of writing admissions essays might be behind you, but this site provides thousands of examples of great writing that can guide even your most complicated papers.

 

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab

You have to go to Purdue to take advantage of some of the writing lab’s most valuable benefits, like one-on-one help from instructors and students, but the lab offers a list of resource for non-students that are worth checking out.

 

Beam

Not all papers are just based on critical analysis and theory – some need quantitative data to back up your thesis. Beam’s a lifesaver for these papers and lets you create data visualizations that can easily be inserted into papers or presentations.

 

Google Scholar

Google is your one-stop-shop for, well, everything, so it should come as no surprise that it’s full of resources to help you craft better papers. Just type in the topic you’re looking for and let Google do its thing. You’ll find tons and tons of great literature that can help guide your own essay.

 

Time4Writing

This site has tons of resources that can help you sharpen your sentence structure, learn tricky language rules and better understand overall writing mechanics. In addition to free resources to help you tighten up your writing, the site offers courses and one-on-one instruction with writing experts and certified teachers.

 

Ashford University’s Thesis Generator

Sometimes you don’t need help with your writing or ideas – but you can’t put together a great thesis that your professor will love. Ashford’s online thesis generator helps kick-start the writing process by asking you the overall topic you want to write about and your ideas, and then cranking out a thesis to provide the core of your paper.

 

Best Study Apps

When it comes to efficient studying, there are tons of tools and tricks out there to help college students get ahead. And while flagging pages in a textbook with Post-Its works for some people, others prefer to take advantage of the myriad technology-based study tools available out there

StudyRoom

Are you a study group person? Then StudyRoom is a must-have app for you. This app enables students in a course to connect with each other in virtual rooms to access notes, outlines and study tips. You can use the rooms to ask for help and chat with other people in the course. The best part is that you can access it through your Facebook or email account – super easy.

Open Study

If you’re a night owl who finds that you are haunted by questions about course material at 3 am – but have no one to ask questions – then Open Study just might save the day. This app gives students access to study assistance and tutoring 24 hours a day. You can collaborate with classmates or ask a volunteer study “hero” to help you out with a challenging problem or topic.

CliffsNotes Study Guides

This handy phone app allows you to study for Literature tests in Cram or Full Plan modes from the palm of your hand, anytime and any place. Though the app is a sign of our times, Cliffnotes has been helping students study since 1958!

StudyBlue

Flashcards, review sheets, study guides and quizzes and available on multiple OS platforms –  oh my. StudyBlue enables you to make digital flashcards while getting feedback on your knowledge of various topics. The app contains study filters that weed out topics and content that you have mastered so that you can focus on reviewing material that you don’t grasp well. The app also allows you to set test and study reminders, and has collaboration features that are great if you’re studying with a friend or in a group.

Study Checker

Do you have trouble keeping track of exactly how much you’re studying? Study Checker doesn’t. This app records your study times and breaks to help you analyze your study habits, and determine whether or not you need to step it up. If you can’t stay honest with yourself about how hard you’re working, this app will definitely do that for you.

Flashcards*

Sync devices, web-edit, and share your custom made cards through dropbox with study buddies using this simple intuitive note app complete with a real-flashcard-feel.

Best Time Management Apps

If studying has never been your biggest strength, then you sure are lucky to be a student in 2016. The market is loaded with apps to help you stay focused, boost brain power and sharpen your organizational skills.

Finish

Touted as the “time management app for procrastinators,” Finish should be right up just about every college student’s alley. The app has a really cool timeframe capability that automatically calculates the duration of your tasks and organizes them by priority. It’s the perfect app for someone who can never quite figure out how to prioritize and balance a workload.

Focus Booster

If you’re looking for something simple to hold you accountable, check out Focus Booster. It operates as a stopwatch, so you set a study time duration (and can build in breaks) and a green bar shows you how much time you have left.

Evernote

Available for both mobile devices and computer desktops, Evernote is one of the best free time management apps around. This app enables you to create and find notes with voice commands, organize articles saved from Internet searches, and discuss topics with others from within the app.

Timeful

One of the best time management apps out there, Timeful learns the habits and regular routines of its users and uses that information to suggest the best time to schedule new tasks, based on when you’re typically most productive. Google recently acquired the app, so it’ll be interesting to see where the company takes it.

2Do

If you’re a visual person, 2Do might be the time management app for you. The tool uses color coding and enables users to categorize tasks by type and priority. It also allows you to defer set tasks without a penalty, so if something more important comes up, it’s easy to shift around jobs.

SuperNote

Staying organized can be tough, but SuperNote makes it really easy by allowing you to save all notes, recordings, images and other necessary information within your mobile device. Hate taking notes? Download SuperNote and record all of your lectures – so that Bio 101 class you slept through last week will live on forever.

Any.do

This app touts itself as “the world’s favorite task management app” and regardless of whether or not that’s actually true, this is a pretty awesome app worth downloading. It allows you to organize your day and assign tasks through a clean, easy-to-use interface. You can also create groups with other users, so you can collaborate on lists, shared attachments and more.

Best Note Taking Apps

As we write down as fast as the instructor is speaking, we miss their examples on board, slides, etc. Frustration ensues…but not anymore.

SuperNote

We’ll just repeat this one again…. Staying organized can be tough, but SuperNote makes it really easy by allowing you to save all notes, recordings, images and other necessary information within your mobile device. Hate taking notes? Download SuperNote and record all of your lectures – so that Bio 101 class you slept through last week will live on forever.

Evernote

From short lists to lengthy research, no matter what form your writing takes, Evernote keeps you focused on moving those ideas from inspiration to completion. Easily gather everything that matters. Clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times. Evernote has even upgraded their app recently with an updated scannable-inspired camera experience.

Simple Note

Easy, clean, and free. Your notes stay updated across all your devices. No buttons to press. It just works. This app allows you to share a list, post some instructions, or publish your thoughts. Your notes are backed up when you change them. Just drag the version slider to go back in time. The best part about this app is it’s Free!

Microsoft OneNote

Your stuff travels with you on your computers, tablets and phones. Get OneNote for any of your devices or use it on the web. The app allows you to work with others by being able to share your notebooks with others for viewing or editing. If you do a lot of note taking, attend multiple meetings during the week, and collaborate with others on projects, then OneNote can keep that flood of info neat and tidy. All your notes—even words in pictures—are searchable inside OneNote, and they’re stored in the cloud and immediately accessible via the OneNote apps for any platform.

Penultimate (Stylus friendly note taker)

Penultimate is the award-winning digital handwriting app for iPad that combines the natural experience of pen and paper with power of Evernote’s sync and search features. Lose the paper, keep the handwriting.

Super Note

Note helps you create notes very rapidly and make voice recordings during, as well as add photos. The notes are color coded so you can find them instantly and you can change the note color/category on the fly. You can also set future alert reminders on individual notes. Recordings & Photos are built into the note and can be made any time – you can take notes & photos while recording or while playing, and you can pause/resume to add new recording sections to an existing recording. You can also transfer your notes to other people or to your computer using email, WiFi, or dropbox.

NoteMaster

This app is an awesome replacement for the native notes app. You can customize almost every aspect of your notes. The best parts for me are being able to separate notes into categories, password protection for selected categories, seamless integration of notes with photos, lists, drawings, etc. Syncing works perfectly between my iPhone and iPad

LiveScribe

Professors talk fast. Students zone out. No problem. LiveScribe’s Smartpens record everything you hear and write so you’ll never miss a word. A smartpen lets you capture words, diagrams, scribbles, symbols and audio – syncing everything you hear to what you wrote. It’s the end of feeling anxious in class – with a smartpen you can write less and listen more– knowing your smartpen will capture everything. With a smartpen, you can automatically and wirelessly transfer your recorded notes and audio to your Evernote account for access on nearly any digital device.

Rev

Rev lets you record lectures from your phone for free with great audio, and if you like, pay for human transcription with a 48-hour turnaround. It’s highly accurate, but can get costly if you’re using it all the time. This is for the student who is literally willing to pay to have someone else take their notes, or for the student who needs a supplement on those days you just can’t bring yourself to whip out the old journal.

 

Best Websites To Buy Your Textbooks

BIGWORDS.com 

Saves $1000 per year on average

We’re a little biased (obviously), but we promise you that we really are the best textbook retailer out there. BIGWORDS.com scours the web to pull up the best deals from over 50 textbook sites in just seconds, providing price compare features on new, used and electronic books that enable you to determine your best options. In addition to loading up cost information for you, BIGWORDS also has an Uber-BOT that finds shipping costs, coupons and promotions available online and automatically includes them in the prices you see, allowing you to really maximize your savings. 

Bookrenter

Buying books isn’t always the best way to procure your course materials. In many cases, renting makes a lot more sense – particularly if the book is for an easy class or something you’re taking just to get a requirement out of the way. If you don’t think that you’ll be marking up a book very much or won’t need it as reference material for future classes, renting might be the way for you to go. And Bookrenter is the best book rental site out there.

Half.com

This textbook marketplace has been around for a while now and is a great place to go if you’d like to deal with people instead of a company. Half.com provides a platform through which buyers and sellers can connect directly, so when you buy a book, you’re doing so directly from a person. It’s owned by eBay and borrows many of the same features, like buyer/seller ratings, feedback and comments.

Amazon

Undoubtedly the world’s biggest retailer, Amazon is also a great place to buy textbooks. The site offers tons of titles available in both new and used condition, and plenty of shipping options so you can be sure to get the books you need, when you need them. If you choose to purchase used textbooks, you’ll be able to get a read on each item’s condition to ensure you don’t end up with a book missing a cover or pages.

eBooks

Electronic books continue to increase in popularity and with all of the eReaders available on the market today, chances are good that you or some of your friends are planning to go with eBooks for at least one of your courses next semester. If you’re going that route, we strongly recommend purchasing texts through eBooks.com, which sells cross-platforms eBooks that can work on any device. That way, if you decide to switch it up and go from an iPad to a Kindle mid-semester, you won’t need to rebuy the book – you can just transfer it over.

Best Websites To Sell Your Textbooks

If you play your cards right, you can make enough cash from selling your books to fund all the adventuring you can dream of when school is over.

BIGWORDS.com 

We’re not just tooting our own horn … we really do find you the best deals out there. Using BIGWORDS is the smartest way to sell textbooks because we do all of the work for you. Our Uber-BOT combs the Internet to pull and price compare offers from over  50 vendors at once – including every site on this list. This means that you get deals from all of the top buyback sites in one place, so you don’t need to do individual searches on each one.

Amazon

This site is undeniably one of the top textbook buyback retailers out there and they offer a very high pricetag for books. Unfortunately, though, unlike many other sites, they won’t give you cash in exchange for your textbooks – they only pay sellers with store credit. If you’re planning to do all of your shopping through Amazon, this might be your best bet, but if you really need cash, keep looking.

Chegg

Although Chegg has tons of different services these days – like tutoring and music giveaways – the company started off as a site through which to buy and sell textbooks, and that’s still its primary identity. If you’re selling books, this is a great Website to check out. Chegg offers competitive pricing for sellers seeking cash payment and even better pricing for people willing to settle for store credit. If you’re ok with putting money in the bank for future textbook purchases, it’s worth checking out Chegg.

Bookbyte

It’s one of the lesser-known textbook retailers out there, but Bookbyte comes in strong among its competition. The company offers some of the most competitive prices in the industry and will pay sellers in cash – making it a pretty hot commodity. To get a quote on a buyback price, simply visit the website, enter in your book info and print out a quote and mailing label. It’s a pretty easy process and Bookbyte boasts a quick turnaround on payments.

Half.com

Half.com has been around for a long time now and they’re still going strong. However, unlike other websites that basically process everything for you, Half.com isn’t technically a buyback site – it’s a marketplace where you can list items for sale. So, you work directly with the actual people buying the books, rather than an organization. This also means that you and the buyer must arrange shipping yourselves – there’s no easy-to-print label or drop-off process. Still, Half.com is a contender in the buyback market and it’s worth checking out.

General Student Websites

Juggling life as a college student is tough. There’s too much to get done, not enough money to burn and classes to pass. Luckily, there are tons of websites out there that can help you get where you need to be, pass your classes, find the best deals around, and find more hours in the day.

Lifehacker

Lifehacker is committed to finding little ways to make your life easier. It’s full of articles that compare different apps to ensure you find the most efficient tools to maximize your productivity , easy recipes to whip up on a budget, and little life tips to help you make better decisions.

Slack

Slack is getting a lot of print right now and it’s not hard to see why.  The company’s goal is to find ways to make life easier at work. It should be your go-to app for group projects, as it’s a repository for all chats and files, and easily integrates with many of the tools you’re already using, like Microsoft applications.

Cheatography

This site is a repository for thousands of cheat sheets to help you get through your toughest classes. And the website isn’t restricted to courses – it has cheatsheets for myriad topics, so whether you’re trying to get a better handle on property law or just want to get a better understanding of how crowdfunding works, there’s tons of resources available.

Mint

There’s no way around it: Budgeting sucks. Keeping track of every little 7-Eleven run can seem impossible when you’re constantly on the move – so let Mint do that for you. Through the website/app, you can set up a budget and link to your checking account, syncing every expense without needing to do any work. The website also provides you with alerts when you go over budget or your checking account balance gets too low. It’s a must-have for every broke college student.

StudentRate

One of the biggest perks of being a broke college student is all of the student discounts that you get to leverage. Scouring the web looking for deals can be a real hassle, so StudentRate puts some of the best discounts available in one place for you. The searchable site has deals on clothes, travel, wireless service, textbooks and tons of other services and merchandise. Before you buy anything, check it out to see if you can get a better rate than what you’ll find on Amazon.

Alarmy

If you’re the type who can sleep through anything or is constantly missing appointments, then Alarmy is a must-have app. Marketing itself with the tagline “the world’s most annoying alarm clock,” the alarm requires that you take a photo of yourself in a pre-determined location in your home before shutting off. Snoozing isn’t an option and the annoying alarm noise won’t shut off until you physically get up and move to another location in your home. It’s guaranteed to get you up-and-moving, even if being a morning person isn’t in your DNA.

Unidays

Like StudentRate, Unidays is a one-stop-shop for great student discounts available both on the internet and in your area. The site also offers you with rewards when you do things like invite friends or spend a certain amount of money – enabling you to get even more deals on the stuff you need.

2 Comments

  1. Michael Riley October 24, 2016 Reply

    Wow! Incredible list that includes EVERYTHING. I am trying to figure out, compare and choose between the note taking apps. I am setting up on a tablet (not Ipad) but cheaper. I am wondering if any input of the best go-to-app. I am just trying to keep things simple and not overwhelming.

    Thanks again for creating this list. Great starting spot.

    • Meghan Schalk
      Meghan Schalk October 28, 2016 Reply

      Evernote and Simplenote were my favorites in school. Evernote has been around forever and the platform is clean/easy and also constantly improved with new features and kept up-to-date.

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