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10 best mobile apps for students

Liane Cassavoy | Sept. 4, 2014
The lazy days of summer are over and it's time to go back to school. That means it's also time to top off your tablet or smartphone with the tools you need to succeed. We combed through the glut of educational apps in search of some that will help you manage your course load, prepare for exams, and even get you to class on time. These 10 made our Dean's List.

The lazy days of summer are over and it's time to go back to school. That means it's also time to top off your tablet or smartphone with the tools you need to succeed. We combed through the glut of educational apps in search of some that will help you manage your course load, prepare for exams, and even get you to class on time. These 10 made our Dean's List.

CliffsNotes

Ah, CliffsNotes. Teachers hate them, students love them. And now they're available in an app. The CliffsNotes Study Guides app is free for iOS devices, but includes actual CliffsNotes only for "Frankenstein." If your course load includes another classic novel, you'll have to pony up $2 for each study guide you need. The available titles include a decent selection, ranging from "The Outsiders" to "Paradise Lost" and "Their Eyes Were Watching God," but students in need of help with some lesser-known titles may be out of luck.

The digital layout of the actual Study Guides is well thought-out and easy to use--you can choose the "Cram Plan" if you're short on time or the "Full Study Plan" if your work is on track. CliffsNotes are handy tools, even more so in their searchable digital form, but just remember: they're not a substitute for reading the book. And I mean it!

EverNote Peek

EverNote Peek comes with a few pretty specific caveats. As soon as you launch this iPad-only app, it warns you that it's best experienced on an iPad 2 with an Apple Smart Cover (which folds in several columns.) I tested it on an iPad that met neither of those criteria and am pleased to report that it still worked very well.

EverNote Peek is a free app that lets you create quizzes for yourself based on the notes you've already entered in EverNote. The Note title becomes your clue, and the note body serves as the answer. EverNote Peek shows the clue across the bottom of the screen, and then you lift the cover to see the answer. Luckily, if you don't have your own Smart Cover, EverNote Peek lets you use a virtual version.

Wolfram Alpha

The computing power of Wolfram Alpha has gone mobile with the company's various mobile apps. Available for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, and Nook devices, this $3 app lets you access the Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine, which uses its store of "expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis, and generate reports." Say what?

If you're looking for the value of your dollars in pounds, the caloric content of your breakfast, or the answer to a complex math equation, just enter your question into the app's query field, and let Wolfram Alpha compute an answer. The hardest part about using Wolfram Alpha might just be figuring out all it can do.

 

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