By: Bradley Furgerson


In this digital age, the landscape of learning has never looked more different. In the past, students relied on bulky binders and heavy textbooks to aid their studies. Now, they have access to an endless repository of study resources on the internet, making traditional materials obsolete. 


Even with the focus on digital learning materials, it can be challenging to discover suitable applications on the App Store that cater to each student's unique learning preferences and needs. As a student of the digital age myself, I’ve compiled a list of my “can’t live without” applications for studying and keeping materials organized. This list is not exhaustive but serves as a starting point for adapting to education in these ever-changing times.


Notability is the best note-taking app you’ll find on the App Store. What makes it so productive, beyond the intuitive organization of dividers and subjects, is that it makes taking easy-to-follow notes fun. You can use different colors and fonts to make information stand out, and the built-in grids help guide your writing so you won’t hate reviewing your notes. Importing worksheets and photos is a breeze, and notes can be easily exported as a PDF.

Notability offers a premium membership for $14.99/year, a worthwhile investment if you intend on using Notability for all of your classes. Paid features include handwriting recognition (so you can search through handwritten notes to find key terms), premade templates for to-do lists and writing down your homework, and math conversion to transform handwritten equations into draggable images. Moreover, premium users can back up their notes to iCloud, streamlining workflow across multiple devices.


If Notability was the gold standard, Goodnotes is the runner-up. While not necessarily as seamless, Goodnotes occupies a different niche and is best utilized for long-form PDF files, like textbooks. The built-in annotating tools make active reading a breeze, and you can easily import your e-textbooks to the Goodnotes library. 


You might not know it, but your school’s learning management software is likely available on your tablet as an application. By downloading Canvas or Blackboard onto your device, you can change your app settings to notify you when new content has been posted or when an assignment or reading is nearly due, ensuring you stay current.

TI-84 Emulator 

TI-84 emulators are essential when you don’t remember to bring your calculator or if your calculator is experiencing errors or has a low battery. You can use an emulator the same way you would a physical calculator. While some students might favor their phone's calculator, using the emulator simplifies tackling complex calculations. 


The Quizlet application is critical for reviewing flashcards on the go. While the free Quizlet subscription has shed some functionality over the years, flashcards are still free to access. For best results, create your flashcards using your notes, or use the search function to sort through Quizlet’s immense library of sets to find the one that’s right for you. 

Google Drive

Having Google Drive downloaded to your device makes accessing files on the go quick and reliable. With Google Drive you can edit, suggest changes, and share files directly from your tablet. Additionally, files can be downloaded to your device for offline viewing, and edits will go live once you reconnect to the internet. 


Beyond its primary purpose of word lookup, the Dictionary app offers students several tools to improve their writing skills. When you search for a word, you'll receive a list of synonyms and antonyms to help eliminate redundancy in your text. The app provides example sentences to enhance understanding of accurate word or phrase usage. There's also a widget that displays the word of the day to aid in expanding your vocabulary repertoire. 

Special Mention: Pleco

It would be dishonest to leave out Pleco from this list of helpful iPad apps. Although not relevant to everyone, Pleco has been my top choice for translating English to Mandarin since the days of the iPod Touch. You can input either characters or pinyin into the search box, and it’s easy to identify different words that hold the same meaning or phrases that use the searched term. You can also look up common language structures on Pleco to view examples of their correct usage. 


As technology continues to improve, students will have even more options in terms of helpful iPad apps. In the meantime, if there are some that you feel are beneficial and should be part of this list, please don’t hesitate to email me at

Our team of seasoned test-prep and academic subject tutors is well-versed in electronic study tools, and many specialize in study skills tutoring. To start working with us, contact our office by emailing or calling 888-917-PREP (7737).