Saturday, November 4, 2017

8 Apps You Need to Be an A+ Student

Hello, beautiful! Ever since I came to college, grades have been a huge deal to me. I mean, don't get me wrong - they're a big deal to pretty much everyone - but I personally have a lot riding on my GPA.

My scholarship depends on me keeping up a solid average of As and Bs every semester, which is precisely why, when I started to flunk homework assignments in economics, I started to wonder what I could possibly do to improve my grades.

Prior to this point, I've had a GPA of 3.5 for the past two semesters and haven't felt the need to worry about my overall GPA. I'm the kind of girl who works harder when she does badly, pours her heart into each and every writing assignment and has developed carefully-crafted study techniques that work perfectly for her.

So, needless to say, I didn't know what to do when all the strategies I exhausted thus far stopped working - besides get a tutor, of course. Yet even though getting an economics tutor has definitely helped me understand some of the key concepts better, I still haven't been able to figure out why my grades keep deflating so much over the course of the semester. I knew there must be something more I could do to improve my grades that I hadn't quite thought of just yet.

Eventually, I did what I always do in times of struggle: I went to the app store! And, since you're here right now, you might be able to guess that I found some good stuff. While I won't say these apps have cured my struggles in economics, I will say that they've improved my study strategies and renewed my motivation and dedication to my grades.

So, if you're someone who's looking to get a higher GPA this semester, wants to motivate herself to study more or is bored of the same-old strategies that worked for you all through high school, here are the eight apps you NEED to download now to help you become a straight-A student!

My Study Life

Arielle, my roommate, turned me onto the My Study Life app for web and mobile. This is my first semester using it, and I've got to say that I've already noticed a huge difference in my organization and ability to stay on top of assignments. My Study Life is basically a planning app to keep track of your class schedule, assignments and exams. You get notifications every time you have an exam or assignment due, and you can even track your progress as you work on assignments in real-time.

Why it deserves an A+

Every straight-A student I've met has one thing in common: they're all super organized and disciplined! If you want an A+ in any class, you can't just let assignments slip by you - not even the little ones. And, unlike high school, professors no longer warn you about upcoming due dates in college, so being able to keep track of them is key to handing in your assignments on time. My Study Life is the best method I've found that's perfectly geared toward college students when it comes to keeping track of due dates and assignments. Trust me: you'll never write another paper in 24 hours again (unless it's a conscious choice - which, let's face it, happens sometimes in college). 


When I discovered Socratic in the App Store, my jaw practically hit the floor. Socratic is one of the smartest apps on the market today. All you have to do is scan your homework questions and Socratic will automatically locate relevant information on the web - such as formulas, definitions, etc. - to help you out. I like it because it doesn't give me the answers themselves, so I don't feel like I'm cheating; however, it does help me better understand how to solve the questions for myself, so by the time my exam rolls around, I'll be ready to roll.

Why it deserves an A+

When you're struggling in a specific class, you might reach out to a tutor; however, since that tutor is also a college student, they're probably not available every time you need them. That's where Socratic comes in: Socratic provides helpful homework advice comparable to a tutoring session that you can use when tutoring is impossible/inconvenient for you.


I used to always write my notes by hand before college. Now, while I still have a paper notebook for each class (I just can't let go, can I?), I'm slowly getting used to the idea of having my laptop open in class - which is why I love Evernote. Evernote is a cool notetaking app that allows you to create virtual "notebooks" that you can either share with your friends for collaboration, or keep private for your own reference. You can create a notebook for anything you need, whether for something super specific like "History of the Middle East" or as simple as "Random Thoughts."

Why it deserves an A+

Evernote allows you as much flexibility as you want or need when it comes to taking notes. One plus I've found to digital notetaking is the ability to share notes with friends, so you can both be collaborating on the same notes during the same class and pool your collective knowledge. Another upside? You can easily delete errors without the clutter of scratching them out in red pen. Say hello to organization and kiss ugly cat-scratches goodbye! 


I've flip-flopped between many to-do list apps over the years, but Todoist is a classic that I can't let go. Todoist lets you organize your to-dos into "projects," aka sublists that prevent, for example, your weekly shopping list from getting buried in a list of books you want to read next. Todoist also allows you to organize your to-dos by due date, collecting all of the tasks you need to finish today in one list and your to-dos in the next seven days in another.

Why it deserves an A+

I love that Todoist takes a streamlined approach to the typical to-do list. If I didn't use Todoist and instead stuck with my typical paper to-do list, my list would naturally be miles long and practically unreadable. Todoist helps me feel more organized, and keeps me on top of important due dates so I don't miss them. It's basically like carrying a personal assistant around in my pocket! What's not to love about that? (Oh, and did I mention that it's FREE?!)


Grammarly is a must-have browser extension for any college student - because no matter your major, we could all stand to have better writing. (I might be biased being a Communications major and all, but I'd be willing to bet that 95% of your professors would agree with me on this one.) No matter what site you're on, Grammarly underlines your errors in red, be they grammatical or spelling-related.  Especially as a blogger, I know Grammarly has helped me notice some of my own tendencies (*cough overusing commas cough*) and correct them to become a better writer! 

Why it deserves an A+

Your grammar is part of your first impression, both on your professors and on your future employers. In fact, many employers (including ones from Harvard) have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to silly grammar mistakes. Downloading Grammarly not only helps you correct these mistakes when they happen, but also notice your personal patterns and learn to self-correct. 

Self Control

If you use a Mac, Self Control is the perfect productivity app for regaining control of your time spent on the Internet. Whenever you're working on something and don't want to be distracted by the temptations of Pinterest, Facebook or Netflix, you can open Self Control and set a timed "blacklist" of sites to block your access to. While it might seem a bit extreme to completely cut off your access to such sites, I promise it will completely transform your productivity when you're working on assignments that require the Web! 

Why it deserves an A+

Focusing is half the battle when it comes to getting good grades in college. When your attention is divided between multiple tasks, you're likely to put less effort into an assignmnt and even make careless errors in grammar, math and more. Personally, I think you're better off disciplining yourself for a short period of time than you will be if you have to force yourself to crack down due to unproductivity - in other words, you'd much rather block your access to Netflix binging for an hour than have to write an entire paper in five. 

Google Calendar

@ college students who have tried to survive without Google Calendar: I hate to be the one to break it to ya, but you're wrong. Google Calendar has honestly saved my life on so many occasions, whether because I would have been late, overbooked myself or forgotten about a due date for an assignment or blog post. My favorite feature of Google Calendar is that you are able to make multiple calendars for yourself, so you can easily separate tasks by personal/school/blog/etc. and even by course. If you're a busy gal like me, I promise Google Calendar will make it WAY easier to manage the simplest things in life! 

Why it deserves an A+

In college, time management is half the battle when it comes to getting stellar grades. Using Google Calendar allows me to plan out my entire day from start to finish, makes scheduling appointments with professors easier and even lets me block out time to study and accomplish basic life tasks, like laundry or dishes, when I'm feeling overwhelmed. Plus, I love that you can set certain tasks as recurring until a certain date, making it easy to enter your classes for an entire semester without the hassle of doing them one-by-one.


Plan is an amazing extension for Google Calendar that allows you to write a to-do list and schedule those tasks into your preexisting schedule for the day. To use Plan, you need to enable Google Calendar so you can see the basic outline of your schedule. Then, all you have to do is enter and drag tasks over to block out chunks of time to work on each one individually. This works perfectly for anything from laundry to lunchtime for ensuring you get everything done that you need to accomplish  during your day. 

Why it deserves an A+

As a blogger, balancing work and studying is always a challenge for me. Since I love to blog, I find it easy to work on those tasks, but need a little bit more of a push when it comes to studying and required readings. The click-and-drag system of Plan lets me easily divide my time between blogging and studying, so I can still get good grades while balancing the things I love to do. If you're someone who's busy with a side hustle or extra-curriculars, Plan is the time management system you NEED to get everything done without so much as a sigh!

What apps do you use to help you get good grades? LMK @haleymarieblog or in the comments below!