As high school students get ready to head back to school, and college students pack up all their worldly belongings and return to campus to start a new semester, it's an appropriate time to delve into the amazing world of smartphone and tablet apps.
Here are six free and inexpensive apps that will help make you a better student and save precious time in the process.
No, the iHomework app does not do your homework for you; if it did it would sell for a lot more than $1.99. Instead, it allows you to stay organized and on top of your assignments through a handy calendar function that allows you to enter class times, homework assignments and study sessions. The app also lets you set reminders so you never forget what assignments and reading you need to complete. For example, if you have a class on Tuesday and need to read two chapters of your textbook by Monday night, the app will send you a reminder on the day of your choosing so you can stay ahead of the game. ($1.99 for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
No longer will you have to flip through a math textbook hoping to find the right formula. The iFormulas app is for students taking a math class and need help remembering which formula to plug into the equation. Essentially, the app lists and categorizes hundreds of math formulas and allows you to customize your options so you can add your favorite formulas for quick retrieval. (Free for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
Similar to the iHomework app, the Studious app allows you to use your smartphone to quickly and easily keep track of all your assignments and upcoming tests. What differentiates the app is a feature called timetable exchange. Essentially, this allows you to sync your schedule so you can easily coordinate study sessions with fellow students and friends. ($1.99 for iPhone, iPad, Android)
The SparkNotes app is a great way to get free study guides directly on your mobile device. Popular study guides include literature, poetry, philosophy, Shakespeare and short stories. If you need some extra help trying to understand a particular character or story twist, SparkNotes is a beautiful thing. The app lets you download study guides so you can still access them when you are offline. It also includes an option to check-in and share your current location with friends so you can easily start a study group. (Free for iPhone, iPad, Android)
5. PocketCAS Lite
The PocketCAS is a free graphing calculator for Apple devices. For those familiar with Texas Instruments products, the features of the PocketCAS are comparable to the TI-89 model. The app has the following mathematical capabilities: 2-D plots, 3-D plots, calculus, linear algebra and scripting to name just a few. The interface is user-friendly and intuitive, and the app is often updated with new features, graphs and bug fixes. If you are looking for a solid graphing calculator this semester, give this app a try before you spend money on an expensive physical calculator. (Free for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
6. My GradeBook
The My Gradebook app is easy to use and customizable. Essentially, the app allows you to track your assignments so you never have to guess what your current grade might be. You can view all your assignments in a calendar or list format organized by course. Mark homework assignments as completed, not done or graded, and quickly sort your lists to determine what is due next. The app also allows you to enter the grading style of each particular course. For example, perhaps your math teacher uses a percentage-based grading system. Just tell My Gradebook, and it will automatically calculate your current grade for you. The app is also a great tool for parents who want to monitor their child's grades. ($0.99 for iPhone, iPad, Android)
Kyle James is the owner of Rather-Be-Shopping.com, which lists and categorizes coupons for more than 850 retailers and has a free iPhone app that allows you to get coupons directly from your smartphone.