It’s a new year, and the beginning of a new semester in school. Students who didn’t do so hot last year have probably made a New Year resolution to improve their grades.
To help you all with the next semester, I’ve decided to make a list of extremely helpful web tools that will make school easier for all the struggling students out there.
Enjoy, and good luck with the new semester.
1. PinkMonkey / Shmoop
Everyone already knows about Sparknotes and Cliffnotes, but there are very few who have used PinkMonkey. PinkMonkey is very much like Sparknotes and Cliffnotes, except it seems to me that it has slightly more detailed summaries which is always nice. Pinkmonkey is just another resource for book notes.
Another website you’ll like is Shmoop. It’s currently in Beta, and doesn’t have a large selection of books as the other websites. However, it does include a section that I absolutely love. Instead of just stating the theme and symbol of a book, Shmoop gives a list of quotes supporting the theme. Perfect for a thesis paper.
One of the things I hate most about school is that for every paper you turn in, professors insist that you cite your sources. The problem I had was that it took too long to cite my sources. My essay would take about 40 minutes to write, and my bibliography would take two hours.
Luckily for you, there are a lot of websites that will put together a bibliography for you.
My favorite site for this is BibMe. It’s extremely easy to use, and supports books, magazines, websites, newspapers, and much more. Just input a little info about your source, and BibMe will cite it for you. After adding all your books, you can download the bibliography. Easy to use, and works wonderfully.
Known as the “worlds largest flashcard library”, FlashCardExchange is the best place to study for tests. You can create your own Flash Cards or study using the hundreds of pre-made flashcard sets. Hundreds of flash cards covering a variety of different subjects, it’s the first place you should go to when you need to study or review.
A great way to make sure you do well in school is to make sure you do all your homework. For an unorganized person such as myself, it’s hard to remember all the things that are due, so I find it useful to use simple lists like TadaLists to keep track of what I need to do. I personally like TadaLists because it’s so simple, and I can use it on my iPhone.
Similar Sites: See the MakeUseOf list of To-Do lists.
All you need to get a head start in college is to get a good understanding of the subject you’re taking, or see what type of topics are covered in a course. It’s really great that many colleges provide free lectures for you to listen to/download as this helps tremendously with the understanding of the topic. LectureFox is a great place to go for these free university lectures. Choose a category and see a list of lectures from various colleges, including MIT and Yale.
Similar Sites: Check out iTunes U for more free lectures
RateMyProfessor is a self explanatory website. Students can rate your professors, and help out new students by showing them the strengths and weaknesses of each professor. This may not be helpful this semester if you’re not transferring classes, but this website can seriously help you out when you’re choosing what courses to take. RateMyTeachers has a similar idea, although it’s for K-12 teachers.
You have a paper due. You’ve waited until the last day to get started. It has to be handwritten. You take a look into your backpack”¦.no paper. You take a look at the clock on the wall”¦3:00am. Stores are closed. If you didn’t have access to PrintablePaper, you’d be pretty screwed. With PrintablePaper, you never have to worry about running out of “special” paper. As long as you have a printer, you can print graph paper, lined paper, and even Cornell paper. Download 400+ different papers, all for free. A must for all students.
Similar Sites: If PrintablePaper isn’t enough, go make your own in Photoshop.
Schools scam us out of too much money. You spend hundreds to get a new book each semester, and you only use it for a few weeks. With BookFinder, you’ll get to save hundreds on textbooks. Great website for the half starved students.
Also check out Nick’s article on where to find cheap textbooks.
Similar Sites: Half
Notes, notes, notes. Teachers tell you to do it all the time. Students never listen. School is going to be a lot easier if you can take good notes. Takes notes about lectures, and keep track of everything you learn all year. The better your notes, the better you’ll do on the finals. Evernote is my favorite note taking application, and it’s even better now that it’s out of private beta. Get notes synced to the desktop, the web, and even your iPhone.
Check out Shankar’s review of Evernote for more information.
Plagiarism is a huge issue in colleges and even in high school. While teachers get access to fee based sites like, students can still check their work with free tools to make sure they haven’t plagiarized too much. Plagiarism Detection is a free tool that you need to signup to use. Then you can browse or copy/paste your work into the box. It then checks with Google to see if there is anything else similar.
Of course, if you wrote the whole thing yourself then you have nothing to worry about right? Use this tool to double check that you did not copy too much from other places. (Also, if you’re a blogger, use this to track down those article stealers.)
Bonus: 11. File Destructor
File Destructor has been mentioned before by Aibek, and is a tool that should only be used for emergencies. Basically, it’s a tool that creates a fake file that you can send to your teachers. You can choose the extension as well as the size of the file, and when your professor can’t open the file up, you can just blame it on your computer. Of course, many teachers are starting to not accept these excuses, so be careful when using this. This web tool allows you to spend hours browsing MakeUseOf instead of working on that stupid project.
I hope you all got something out of this list of useful web tools for school. I know there are a lot of students out there, and I know I’ve missed a lot of great web tools. So, if you know any other great websites that you use to help you in school, be sure to leave a comment and tell me all about it. And again, good luck next semester.