4 Ways Your Phone Can be an Asset (Not a Distraction) in College

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Need assistance in college? Your phone might seem an unlikely solution, but it can help you academically by performing tasks that include scheduling study times and viewing lessons and lectures. Read on to learn how to transform your phone from educational distraction to academic asset.

Your Phone as an Academic Asset

If you're in search of resources and tools to help you ace your next college exam, look no further than your phone. While often considered a distraction, your smartphone can actually help improve your GPA by providing access to study groups and schedules, academic resources and note-taking applications.

1. Note-Taking

One of the best ways to use your phone in the classroom is for taking notes. Whether you take long-form notes or just like to jot down ideas, there's an app to support you. Lifehacker has a list of the best note-taking apps for students, with both simple and advanced options. As the site points out, digital notes can be organized, archived and shared with classmates.

Auditory learners should consider using their phones to record lectures for future playback. One effective option is Dragon. If you want to be able to add notes to your audio recordings, you may like Evernote. One approach to recording lectures is to edit them down to key points. Benefits of editing college lectures include the chance to retain even more information since you're listening to it for the second time.

College student listens to lecture on their phones while reading a textbook

2. Study Schedules & Aids

Scheduling is one of the best smartphone features, and there are many different ways it can be used to help you succeed in college. Setting a study schedule can go far beyond just using your phone's standard calendar. Exam Countdown keeps track of exam dates, while other apps can help you make to-do lists and organize study times. Even the standard reminder app can help you: if you're out with friends and want to make sure you remember to study later, you can set a location-based alert for when you arrive at home.

Now that you know when to study, your phone can also show you how to study more efficiently. Focus Keeper helps you avoid burnout by scheduling breaks. Also, if you're dealing with a loud college roommate, consider using a white noise app to help you focus during study sessions.

College student schedules study time on her phone while walking around campus

3. Access to Study Groups

Some students claim that studying in groups can be a more effective approach, as it helps them clarify ideas and learn new study skills, according to Wellesley College's learning and teaching center. Your phone is also an excellent way to connect with a study group. For example, Study Buddy can help you find nearby students with the same academic pursuits and upcoming exams.

One of the biggest challenges associated with study groups is finding convenient times to meet. Now, thanks to your phone, you can get together without ever leaving the house. Apps such as Airtime facilitate live meetings, during which you can even watch videos, tutorials or lectures as a group.

College students in study group study together on their phones

4. Access to Academic Resources

One of the best features of a smartphone is its portability, so once you learn how it can help you study, it can then help you study anywhere. Accessing a virtual classroom used to be solely reserved for online courses, but that's no longer the case. Many colleges also require that on-campus courses have a virtual classroom space, which means you can review the syllabus, and possibly notes and lectures, through your phone. Many of the most popular platforms, such as Blackboard and Canvas, offer student apps for easier access.

You can also use your phone to connect with the college's academic services. Many offer online sign-ups for tutoring or writing help; some also offer virtual appointments. If you need help beyond what your college offers, consider accessing other study guides. For instance, Study.com offers lessons and study guides on almost every subject that can help you better understand classroom concepts and prepare for tests. Ten-minute video lessons can be watched anywhere, anytime.

Need help studying for your college exams? Sign up for Study.com today to access over 70,000 different lessons as well as resources like flashcards and practice tests!

By Michelle Garrigan-Durant
July 2018
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