In today's world, it can be incredibly hard to concentrate on the work in front of you. Constantly we are bombarded with social media posts, stories, news updates, snaps from our friends, DMs and most importantly - memes. But with the Leaving Cert always looming (no matter whether you're in 5th or 6th year you're reading this). You need to be able to block out these distractions so you can get some real study done! You're better off doing 45 minutes of concentrated study rather than 2 hours of distracted work.
To help get you there - here are some of the best study apps we've used to help us study smarter every day!
Habitica is brilliant if you love video games - this app gamifies your life and your goals. It does this by giving you in-game rewards for your real-life tasks. The better and more real-life tasks that you complete, the more you progress in the game. If you slip up in life, your character starts backsliding in the game.
Habitica is all about accountability and responsibility. Completing your real-life tasks means you can tick off your Habitica tasks. These are your once-off targets (To Do's) e.g. finish an essay.
Things to do every day (Dailies) e.g. study for 45 mins. There are also the Habits that you are trying to do more of or stop doing. e.g. watching Netflix before bed.
The avatar you create in the games represents your progression in completing tasks. You can level up, gain gold, collect equipment, and find pets. This is all by simply accomplishing real-life tasks, remembering to do your daily chores, & avoiding bad habits.
This app/ game was great for me when I was studying for my Leaving Cert. It kept me accountable to make sure I hit my goals. It was a great feeling seeing my character level up as I was levelling up IRL. I stopped using this app as much as Notion and Dailio (which will be discussed later) is now my preference.
Forest is an app (and a chrome extension) to help you keep your focus.
You start by planting a seed in Forest, which you’ll watch gradually grow into a tree. But if you leave the app to open a Snap or check TikTok then the plant immediately dies and you’ll have to start over again. But you aren’t faulted the first time you exit out to access a different app. A banner pops up, warning you that your tree is going to die. If you do it a second time, you’ll have to start over. You can also set a white and black list - so that you can use certain apps (such as your calculator) but not others such as Instagram.
Setup is simple: after creating an account, you set a timer and begin your task. Depending on how long you set the timer. You’re able to see it count down as the tree grows above it. You’ll also see different encouraging phrases to remind you to keep going, like “Put down your phone!” or “Don’t look at me!”
I especially liked in a similar style to Habitica you receive coins for hitting your time goal. These coins are used to unlock more Tree styles (Doggo is my favourite). So you can plant your Forest to your personal style. You can also use these coins to plant real live trees!
This app works best when you use it in conjugation with the Pomodoro technique (which we explained in this blog post) to use the app effectively and make study frequently and without distraction!
If you, like me, spend too much time looking at productivity Youtubers. Then you probably already know of (and are probably using) Notion for your note-taking and organising. If you don't know - Notion is a productivity nerds dream. The Notion tagline is "The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.". Notion is a mix & match of the good bits from Google Docs, Evernote/ Google Keep, a To-do list & Kanban boards.
The block style of Notion allows for you to set up your pages with whatever you want - text, images, bullet points, code, kanban board, checklists etc. If you look online you will find templates that people have created to help them in school. We will be releasing our own Notion template for the Leaving Cert in a few weeks. So keep an eye out for that!
While not directly one of your "study apps". This does help you study more this will help you while you're studying. Insight Timer is a mediation app with the largest library of free meditation classes. There are classes for no matter what you are feeling - from needing to sleep, anxiety, stress, relationships etc. Meditation offers many benefits to your mental health and overall wellbeing, with the guided free classes you can be walked through the meditation process.
I have found this super helpful when I'm stressed to minimise how bad it is, help me get it off my mind, get to sleep. I would say while this not a "study tool" it is as important as any of the other apps we have already talked about.
Daylio/ Journalling App
Similarly to Insight Timer, journaling doesn't seem to be one of our "study apps". But it does have a direct impact on your study by getting you to be your best. Daylio is a mood-tracking and journal/diary app. This is a private journal (all data stays on your device) for tracking your moods, activities, habits, and goals. You will begin by choosing the mood (which can be changed). Then how you feel at that time. Finally followed by the activities you did that day (e.g., study, gym, hang with friends, etc.). You can set recurring activities with streaks to help you keep doing the activities - we would recommend you set one up for study or whatever other goals you have for a few times a week without fail. If you miss a day your streak will disappear (you can journal retroactively if you forgot).
The app gives weekly and monthly reports on your mood and activities. This is is a great resource to see how your mental health is on a larger timeframe. It is great to see if you're just having a bad day or two or if you need to talk to someone.
Additional Study Apps: Khan Academy
While it is not really an app Khan Academy is really helpful for your time in school! It is very helpful for learning sections of the Leaving Cert Maths course. Including arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, calculus, linear algebra. There are also courses based on Biology, Chemistry, Physics (no Ag Science sadly). It is a great resource to help you learn visually how to expand on your knowledge!
Let us know your favourite study apps below!