10+ Web Tools To Save Your Butt In School

Ken Burkes 28-12-2008

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.


Similar Sites: Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, LitSum, GradeSaver, Bookrags

2. BibMe

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.

Similar Sites: EasyBib andOttobib.

3. FlashCardExchange

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.



Similar Sites: Quizlet, StudyStack


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.

10+ Web Tools To Save Your Butt In School school4

Similar Sites: See the MakeUseOf list of To-Do lists Comparison of Online 'To-Do List' services Read More .


5. LectureFox [No Longer Available]

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

6. RateMyProfessor

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.


7. PrintablePaper

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.

8. BookFinder

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 The 11 Best Sites to Get College Textbooks Online Don't let college textbooks empty your pockets every semester. Use these websites to buy or rent cheap college books. Read More .


Similar Sites: Half

9. Evernote

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.


Similar Sites: Ubernote, [NO LONGER WORKS] NoteSake

10. Plagiarism Detection (no longer available)

Plagiarism is a huge issue in colleges and even in high school. While teachers get access to fee based sites like TurnItIn, 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.)

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Similar Sites: Plagiarism Checker, Copyscape (Need to pay to get full features)

Bonus: 11. File Destructor

File Destructor has been mentioned before File Destructor : Fake File Generator Read More 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.

10+ Web Tools To Save Your Butt In School school10

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.

Image Source : CCarlstead

Related topics: Education Technology, Note-Taking Apps, Printables.

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  1. Leonel
    February 7, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    brilliant intel you guys have here what are you're opinion on mine post with regards to skydoms
    unlimited resources

    February 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Nice information. Thanks for sharing

  3. mad sad
    April 9, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    stunning :))

  4. Mobile Phone Easy
    January 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I really liked the Book finder, file destructor. Kinda great tools :)

  5. Amol Patil
    January 25, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Wow... Bibme would be helpful not only for schools but also in colleges! We still have those problems :(

  6. Bryan
    November 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Ken, I didn't comment to complain, or to tell you that you missed anything, I just wanted to thank you very much for the great effort you put into your article, to bad a few others would quit complaining and understand you are doing us a FAVOR!!!, I am sure you aren't making a retirement off doing this, if you are getting anything at all. thank you sir!

  7. TonNet
    January 5, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Relevant work here. Is this only for students b/c I am madly waiting for the same list but for teachers. Should I?

    • Ken Burkes
      January 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm

      Well, I suppose that you'll be able to use the Plagiarism Checker to check the student's work, but you teachers should have access to better tools to do such tasks.

      I myself am not a teacher, so I find it hard to write a similar list of tools directed towards teachers. I could recommend apps that I've heard about, but since I don't test the apps out myself, I have no say in which ones work and which don't. Maybe fellow teachers can help you out?

  8. Michael McCoy
    December 30, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I use Zotero for the bibliography. Zotero works within Firefox to capture the important information. It has plugins for Open Office and MS word for formating the citation and bibliography.

  9. Blogger Tips
    December 30, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    flashcard exchange is a pretty cool idea

  10. Susan
    December 30, 2008 at 2:00 am


    Best article ever. I'm adding this.

    You have no idea, my immense gratitude and admiration for you.

  11. adoh
    December 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

    you really are freaking awesome :P

  12. D.
    December 29, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Curious, do you know of any sites that offer downloadable podcasts to help students review material? Something along the lines of LectureFox, but podcasts that cover basic subjects (like biology, physics, Spanish, business management, etc..), aka something for high school students?

  13. hc
    December 29, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    The Indian National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning has numerous video courses on youtube! College courses!!

  14. hc
    December 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Whenever I read a chapter of a text I record it using a USB audio player for easy review later. It would be great to see a review of the best player/recorders for capturing lectures and readings. If I could ever find one that disguised voices, I'd like to upload those a chapter at a time for other students ... anyone know of software or a website that does that?

    • teachair
      December 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm

      Did you mean "distinguished" voices? Or, did you mean "disguised"?
      I don't know any that will disguise voices, but I often use Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred for my Postgrad work and dictating things for my class of 34 eleven year olds. Hope that helps.

      • hc
        December 29, 2008 at 4:09 pm

        Hehe! I love the idea of a "distinguished" voice filter. "Disguised" is correct though, since I'm self-conscious about how I sound on recordings and there's an identity protection issue. (No telling what mischief could result from splicing together bits and pieces....)

  15. JK
    December 29, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Hahaha. Love the idea of "file destructor". Now maybe I can work submit that VB project even after the deadline.

  16. Ken Burkes
    December 29, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    First of all, thanks for all the great comments.

    @Teachair: Those are awesome websites! I really like the way GradeMate handles grades. It reminds me a lot of an old tool I used to use called MyNoteIT ( I guess these websites can replace my To-Do list websites. Thanks for sharing.

    @Dmitriy: You can also try "Parent 2.0". Just came out of Private Beta. Just be sure you have your Bambi eyes ready. For those of you interested in Snapter, check it out at

    @Deepikaur: I've played around with Diigo for a while, but not for that long. I never knew that you could take notes and make your own annotations. That's awesome! Thanks a lot for pointing it out.

    @HC: Most programs that allow you to disguise your voices all cost money and don't work that well. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a wonderful program to turn your speech into words, but it costs a whopping $99.

    @D: You can check out the MIT OCW for High School Students, but the subjects there are still a little advanced, unless you're taking advanced High School classes. (AP Physics, AP Calculus, AP Bio) Check it out at (

    If you don't mind reading information for reviews, you should definitely check out College Cram ( which has a ton of subjects you can study for.

    Thanks again for the comments you guys.

  17. deepikaur
    December 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Excellent article! I'll most certainly be giving some of these a try next semester. One tool that's so good I pretty much worship it is Diigo ( It has got to be THE best annotating tool ever. No toolbar download necessary - just add the bookmark, log in, and a nifty little toolbar magically appears! Add sticky notes, highlight it, whatever. Go check it out if you haven't already. :)

    • adoh
      December 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

      Agreed. :D

  18. Dmitriy
    December 29, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Is there a program out there that lets you scan your homework and does it for you while you read more MUO articles?

    • Mark O'Neill
      December 29, 2008 at 6:28 am

      Yes, "Little Brother 1.0". Just insert some money and chocolate and it will do your homework while you do other things.

      Always worked for me!

    • teachair
      December 29, 2008 at 7:00 am

      Yes, it's called "Snapter". Although it is a free trial, if your teacher doesn't mind a Snapter watermark on it, you can take a digital picture of your homework and submit by email or other online service. All my pupils submit their handwritten work using it...
      Good luck

  19. Party Rentals
    December 29, 2008 at 3:36 am

    The sites posted are very interesting and useful and helpful to the students very much.

  20. mrintech
    December 29, 2008 at 2:31 am

    These can really save the Butt. Thanks a Lot :D

  21. imoDOTcom
    December 28, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Excellent Sites!!

    Very useful and helpful.

    --- imoDOTcom ---

  22. Nathan Mylott
    December 28, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    You also left out It's an organizer for students and a collaboration tool. It's been posted on Makeuseof before.

  23. teachair
    December 29, 2008 at 2:38 am

    I'd like to see a list of sites which are for "course management". There are precious few quality ones around and I think a lot of readers would benefit from hearing about some of the better ones, such as: and In my opinion, it is an area in desperate need of free, open source expansion.

  24. Byrne
    December 28, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    You forget
    I use it all the time with my friends and it really helps and has a few study games.

    • Ken Burkes
      December 29, 2008 at 12:06 am

      Actually, I've included Quizlet in the 'Similar Sites' section of FlashCardExchange. Be sure to check out that section. :)