BY ALEX HASLAM
The internet is the most powerful research tool on the planet, but as any fellow student will tell you, it can also be a distraction. If you want to stay productive, start with the basics and then build from there. A well-equipped browser will allow you to collect your resources in one place, and a reliable internet connection will let you work as quickly as possible to meet deadlines. Once you have the basics, you’ll also want robust tools to help you research, review, write, and focus.
As studies have noted, some of the best resources are the hardest to find online—so we’ve done the digging for you. Here are a handful of useful free apps and websites available to help you use your time online wisely and get down to the business of studying without the distractions.
Collaborate with StudyStack
Create free flashcards and share them with your study group, or use a deck from the database. StudyStack makes it easy to stay efficient and collaborate with other students. You can also use StudyStack to create and play games with flashcards so cramming doesn’t feel like a chore.
Edit with Grammarly
If you’ve been staring bleary-eyed at the same paper for hours, let Grammarly do the cleanup for you. This free writing assistant catches most simple spelling mistakes, sentence fragments, and significant grammatical errors. Advanced versions of Grammarly may be worth the additional cost as they also check for plagiarism and offer suggestions to align the writing to your audience.
Read with Gutenberg
When you’re scrounging for resources and access to books online, don’t forget about Project Gutenberg. It offers more than 57,000 free e-Books, many available for download or to read online. You’ll also find books in several languages including German, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
Review with Crash Course
Have you forgotten the basics of a subject and you need a quick review before you start cramming? Crash Course is a fantastic place to start. This free YouTube channel, founded by author John Green, breaks down complex topics across a variety of areas like statistics, history, computer science, and study skills. These bite-size videos are fun, dynamic reviews of concepts that get you prepared for a deeper dive.
Focus with Cold Turkey
Sometimes we all need a little help with self-control. Cold Turkey has your back with a free filter that blocks distracting websites and helps you impose time limits for studying online without surfing social media. There’s also a free version for writers that doesn’t let you exit until you’ve reached your selected word count goal.
Stay Productive with RescueTime
It’s said that awareness is the first step towards resolving a problem. RescueTime takes that to heart, monitoring your productivity online and producing weekly reports about how you’re spending your time and which apps or websites might be the most distracting. It also lets you set goals and alarms to keep you focused and give each activity a productivity score so you can track your improvement over time.
Alex Haslam graduated from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah in 2017. Today she is a freelance writer who focuses on consumer technology, entertainment, and higher education.