First off, don’t be like me and procrastinate for years and years. I’ve been meaning to do some online courses for a while now, but I always find some lame-o excuse (like bingeing Stranger Things on Netflix – but let’s be honest, that’s not a lame excuse 😉). Anyways, I digress. The point is that access to education is a fundamental right, but I also believe it’s a privilege. So take the opportunities you have and use some of these apps to (a) help you out with your studies or (b) expand your knowledge to become a master Jedi of any skill.
‘I am on a curiosity voyage, and I need my paddles to travel. These books … these books are my paddles.’ – Dustin Henderson, Stranger Things
Let’s Start Learning: Education Apps for Students
We’ve already got a few posts detailing some education apps, so we won’t repeat ourselves. You can head on over to our following posts for more info on these big players in the online education game:
Khan Academy: A non-profit organisation and learning platform offering content (such as explanations, video tutorials, test prep for the US exams, and quizzes) for high school and college students. There’s even material available for primary school pupils. Because Khan Academy is an NPO, the content is free.
Chegg Study: A learning platform offering a lot of products and services, including explanations (mostly on STEM subjects), exam prep (for the US exams), expert help (tutors), a maths calculator, flashcards, textbook solutions, and editing services
SnapRevise: A study app/revision tool for students in the UK doing the GCSEs and A Levels. SnapRevise offers courses, seminars, summary sheets, flashcards, and exam packs. You need to sign up to access materials, which you mostly have to pay for.
Seneca: A homework and revision app that offers interactive courses, mock-exam questions, and quizzes. Like SnapRevise, it offers content tailored for UK students (A Levels, GCSEs, and KS3s). There is a free version that gives you access to over 600 courses.
Quizlet: A pop-quiz app offering textbook solutions and millions of flashcards on numerous subjects, mainly for high school students. The app is partially free, and you can read more about Quizlet’s flashcards here.
Who’s the Leader of the Pack? Best Educational Apps
It’s always difficult to say what ‘best’ means, but in the context of this post, we’re choosing those apps that are super popular and have excellent reviews.
- Coursera. If you haven’t heard of Coursera yet, then I don’t know what to tell you! Coursera, quite literally, offers everything for university students, career professionals looking to upskill, anyone wanting to branch into a new profession, or anyone just curious about learning something new. You can find degrees (Bachelor’s and Master’s) offered by leading universities across the globe, university-issued certificates, and courses you can complete in just one day. There are even free courses! And bonus, these courses are all online (so you can complete a whole Master’s degree from the comfort of your couch, literally). Most courses are IT/business related (coding, cybersecurity, project management, marketing and sales skills, data science), but you can also learn a language or earn public health degrees. Pretty awesome, huh? Why go to university when university can come to you!
- Udemy. Another learning giant, Udemy provides close to 200,000 online video courses on tons of topics (there are even courses on drawing, how to work with Photoshop, music, and health and fitness). Once again, Udemy is for anyone looking to upskill or simply curious about learning something new (and if you’re a high school student, you can start learning some topics you might need for college). You have to pay for courses, but some of them can be as little as £12. But fair warning: Check out the course preview and read what it offers before buying it. I bought a course that unfortunately wasn’t the greatest. But the good thing is that Udemy refunds you if you’re unhappy!
- edX. Like Coursera, edX offers degrees from top universities (Harvard, MIT, Stanford). There are also courses and certificates – but the prices can be pretty hefty. You can choose from a broad range of subjects, including computer science, languages (even sign language), data science, engineering, business, and humanities (even fashion and Shakespeare!). Once again, read the course and its requirements carefully before paying for it. I would also suggest reading course reviews.
- LinkedIn Learning. I love LinkedIn Learning! I’ve done a few courses with the platform, and they’ve been of really high quality. LinkedIn Learning is more for professionals wanting to upskill/advance their careers, but you can definitely find some courses to take while you’re still a student at uni. They’ve also got great courses on both hard and soft skills, which definitely come in handy throughout your academic years. For example, there’s a course called Speaking Confidently and Effectively, which helps you with your presentation skills. Most courses on the platform are easy-to-digest and can be completed within a few hours, and you get a certificate of completion at the end, which you can add to your CV! You have to pay a monthly subscription fee (cancel at any time), but then you can access every course and LinkedIn Premium.
- Course Hero. This learning platform is specifically for college/university students, but high school students can use it too (especially the literature content). You can find study resources via filtering, such as by university (there seems to be an extensive database of universities from across the globe), literature title, subject, or study guides. Course Hero also offers textbook solutions and homework help from tutors (you can quickly submit a question and get an answer in as little as 15 minutes!). I quickly searched the literature section and decided to check out George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four (appropriate for our day and age, eh?!) – and I must say, I’m very impressed! You get an overview, chapter-by-chapter summary, infographics, context, character descriptions, quotes, symbols, themes, and even discussion questions (and this is all of very high quality). There’s even a video explanation and the ability to discuss the text with other students. And from what I can see, I can access these types of explanations for free. You can also access content from other universities, educators, and students.
- Studydrive. This platform offers free study notes, summaries, and answers to your questions. If you’re a university student, you can share and download your learning materials. There’s also a flashcard tool and the ability to exchange ideas and answers with other students. The downside is that you can’t access anything without an account, meaning you can’t determine the quality of learning materials 🤔.
- StuDocu. Quite similar to Studydrive, this platform also offers documents (shared by students) and free study resources, such as study guides, summaries, practice questions, and lecture notes. You can filter by your university/college (cool fact: I found my alma mater university in South Africa and saw that StuDocu offers close to 5000 documents and 2000 lecture notes from my university!). StuDocu’s main selling point is that students from around the world can upload their notes and share them, fostering a collaborative learning community (and let’s face it; if someone has already created some awesome study notes, why not learn from those?!). It looks like you can also access some documents without needing an account. StuDocu is also offering a new service called Study Help, which is still in beta phase (experts answer questions, but so far, only for limited subjects).
- Duolingo. Branding itself as the world’s best way to learn a language, Duolingo offers bite-sized lessons that you can do on the go with the mobile app. So if you’re embarking on a student exchange, doing an internship abroad, or learning a language at school, Duolingo will make language learning fun, fast, and effective (and it’s for free!). Bonus: you can also take the Duolingo proficiency test (for a fee) to certify your English, which you can use for university acceptance.
High Grades? Yes Please! Educational Apps for High School Students
The first five apps mentioned right at the beginning of this post plus Duolingo are some of the best educational apps if you’re in high school. Khan Academy and Chegg are ideal if you’re following the US school curriculum, whereas Seneca and SnapRevise are your choices for the UK school curriculum. Some other apps you can check out include:
- AnkiApp. This is purely a flashcard app, so if you’re looking for anything else to help you with your studies, you’re not gonna find it here! The cool thing, though, is that Anki’s algorithm tracks how well you know your flashcards and prioritises the ones you’re struggling with. Students like yourself create flashcards, so you’ll probably be able to find content on a lot of subjects. There is a basic version for free.
- Numerade. Well, with a name like Numerade, you can expect content for maths, science, and economics. Numerade offers test prep for the US curriculum (SATs, ACTs, and AP level), textbook solutions with video tutorials, explanations on different STEM-related topics, thousands of practice problems, a study plan, and the ability to ask the community and educators for help with questions. They also offer a STEM certificate of expertise, which is designed to help you improve your grades. I also like the StudyParty option, where you can join live study rooms. The only downside to what seems like a really awesome platform? The app is only available on iOS, but you can access everything else via the web browser.
- GSCEPod. If you’re a student in the UK, this is a great learning platform to check out. There’s content for GCSE/IGCSE, Resits, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. There are a bunch of free resources to help you navigate your GCSE exams, including lovely templates like exam tips, tips from fellow students, how to deal with exam stress, and overall revision tips.
- Other apps. We’ve got a complete list of apps that are specifically designed for revision. You can check them out here.
Save Some Moola: Free Educational Apps
OK, so a lot of the platforms and apps we mentioned above have, at the very least, a basic free version (with options to upgrade to receive more content/features or get rid of ads). What’s 100% free is Khan Academy, and Duolingo’s actual learning content is free, too. StuDocu lets you access 80% of the documents for free, but they do have a cool feature where you can upload your own documents and get 14 days of premium access.
BUT like Khan Academy that’s 100% free; there’s another app you don’t have to pay for to access everything. And that app is? You guessed it! StudySmarter 🥳!
We’re saving the best for last here, OK 😏!
StudySmarter vs Other Apps
Now, I’m obviously not going to lie and be biased (maybe only a little): Some of the platforms and apps I’ve mentioned above truly are fantastic. As I said, I love LinkedIn Learning, and you can find high-quality courses from top universities on Coursera and eDX. And I like Khan Academy and Course Hero, too. There’s some fantastic content there.
Howeverrrrrr, what a lot of these platforms and apps lack, StudySmarter makes up for because we really are an all-in-one learning platform (or your one-stop-study-destination for all your study needs). Here’s why:
- Access millions of flashcards created by students, teachers, and our StudySmarter subject-matter experts. You can create your own flashcards too (with our fancy formatting tools to boot) and share them with other students if you’d like.
- Find explanations on numerous subjects created by our own subject-matter experts. Our explanations also come with FAQs and flashcards. We have explanations for both the UK and US curricula.
- Prepare for your SATs, ACTs, AP exams, A Levels, and GCSEs with our content and quizzes.
- Take intelligent notes with our note-taking tool. Simply upload your study materials and highlight important bits, and our highlighter will convert this into notes, summaries, and even flashcards!
- Use our tailor-made study plans and analytics to set your learning goals and track your progress. We even have a focus timer that you can set to get you in the studying zone. You can also download timetables to help you plan better.
- Study across multiple devices – what you access on the web app, you can access on the mobile app.
- Interact with other students and share notes from your courses (you can search for your university in our database).
So, as you can see, we’ve got everything – flashcards, explanations, summaries, study plans, analytics dashboards, and document uploads and downloads – all for free! Oh, and did I mention we also have textbook solutions, too?!
Educational Apps: Which One to Choose?
I’m a big advocate of lifelong learning and using as many quality resources as possible. The apps and platforms I’ve listed today all offer something unique, and honestly, you can use them in combination with each other. Want to learn a niche topic for free? Try Coursera. Want to prepare yourself for your new profession? Go for LinkedIn Learning. Need some video tutorials on STEM subjects? Khan Academy is your friend.
But if you do need an app for studying (be it high school or university), I do recommend StudySmarter! I mean, a) it’s all for free, and b) you have everything you need in one place. If you’re interested (I know you are 😉), you can download StudySmarter on Android or iOS.
The only thing I’ll leave you with today is to remain curious and be a lifelong learner!
‘You always say we should never stop being curious, to always open any curiosity door we find.’ – Dustin Henderson, Stranger Things