What study tools are available to students?

If you’re starting at college or searching for details on the latest study tools, you’re in the right place. See our top ten study tools and aids here!

Clock 4 min read Calendar Published: 26 Sep 2023
Author Lawrie Jones
What study tools are available to students?


Students have survived for generations with a pen and paper, but in a world full of distractions, digital tools can help us all study better. If you’re starting to study at college or searching for details on the latest study tools, you’re in the right place.

Over half (67%) of students use some form of Edtech in the classroom or while studying, McKinsey has found – and the numbers are growing. Why? Because online study tools can help you to learn more efficiently and effectively, embedding essential knowledge. They can also take care of some frustrating jobs, like timing study sessions or referencing sources.

So, what are some learning tools you should use while studying? Here are 10 of the best study tools for students. We’ve tried each one and provided an explanation of its strengths and weaknesses, as well as its price. You’ll find a range of free platforms and paid-for options in our list. 

10 of the best online study tools

The 10 study tools here have been handpicked to help improve your productivity. Using them could help improve subject knowledge, increase information retention, and boost assessment performance. 

#1 Avoid distractions with Blocksite

Digital distractions are a massive problem, with half of US students saying technology was taking their attention away from studying. Blocksite enables you to take control of your digital devices, restricting access to certain sites (like social media platforms) when you’re studying. You can set up a blocklist and apply it at certain times. You can even create your own lock screen messages to keep you motivated. 

It may seem like an over-engineered solution, but it’s an effective tool to protect your study time. 

#2 Track reading progress with StoryGraph

Reading is a critical part of studying, but sometimes it can be hard to keep track of what you’ve read, when, and what you thought of it. The answer? StoryGraph. 

StoryGraph is a free, cross-platform app that enables you to track your reading. What’s more, when you’ve finished a book, the AI algorithm will make suggestions for your next one. Sure, you could record your reading in a notebook or diary, but it’s easier with StoryGraph.


#3 100% spelling and punctuation perfection with Grammarly 

If you’re not already using a grammar checker, it’s time you did. Grammarly is one of a whole range of AI tools that can help you to improve your writing. The basic free package provides minimal assistance, but sign up for a subscription, and you’ll benefit from more detailed analysis and advice. 

Grammarly makes writing suggestions, but you shouldn’t automatically accept them. You can find that the suggested changes impact your writing, so be confident and don’t always trust what the computer program tells you.

#4 Let AI do the admin with ChatGPT

Firstly, you shouldn’t use AI to help you write essays, as that’s against all academic rules. But AI programs like ChatGPT or Bard can help you with some of the admin of being a student, like creating lists, formatting text, and offering content suggestions. Other AI platforms can do more, including translating text into other languages and analyzing text. Just don’t ever use it to write essays.

#5 Refine your research with the Wikiversity

The Wikiversity applies the same open-source principles of Wikipedia to education, with over 31,000 free English language courses you can access. As well as courses covering just about every subject you could think of (and more besides), you’ll find other tools, including Wikiquote for (you guessed it) quotes and Wikibooks for copyright-free textbooks. 

#6 Access the latest papers on Google Scholar

Every day, thousands of academic papers are published covering a mindblowing array of subjects. How do you search through them? With Google Scholar. Google Scholar enables you to search for academic papers with various filters (including paper age, article type, and relevance). Results are displayed in familiar Google fashion, enabling you to click through to access them. In some cases, you’ll need a subscription to access the content, but you should be able to request this through your college or educational institution.

#7 Time study sessions with Glean

Timing study sessions is a great way to keep focused. The Focus Timer feature within Glean ensures that your study sessions have structure, allowing you to make the most of your time.
Focus your attention on one subject at once and you’ll see how much more effectively you’re learning, which will really help you in the long run.

The Focus Timer is just one of many helpful features within our study tool; learn more about how Glean can help you here.


#8 Get creative with Canva

Canva has led a design revolution, with the online platform making it easier than ever to create graphics, presentations, and even animations. It uses a simple drag-and-drop interface, and even the free version has thousands of templates you can use to create your designs. 

Subscribers get access to more templates and greater functionality, including the option to upload your own fonts. Canva makes it easy to add graphs, graphics, images, and more to your essays – without any annoying Word formatting that everyone finds frustrating.

#9 Simplify referencing with Cite This For Me

Do you understand the difference between Harvard referencing and APA style? We don’t, but it doesn’t matter because we use CiteThisForMe. You can download CiteThisForMe as an extension for Chrome. When you find a page or publication you want to reference, click the button, and it will generate one for you. 

Like all tools, you’ll need to check to ensure it’s accurate, but it’s a superb time-saving tool for the most annoying academic task. 

#10 Organize your life with Google Docs

Long gone are the days of mountains of paper; instead you can organize your academic life for free with Google Docs and the wider G-Suite of apps. Available free, you can create a near-limitless number of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations – all sorted in the cloud. 

To get started, you’ll need a Google address – and that’s it.


Use tools to study smarter

This list includes 10 of our favorite study tools, but there are many more out there – you just need to find them. You should aim to find study tools that help you achieve more in your study sessions, not take up time, or create even bigger barriers. Remember, study tools are here to help you optimize your study sessions, but you’ll still need to spend time reading, writing, and reflecting to embed the knowledge. 

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