Let’s be honest - our phones rule our lives. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook… we are constantly tapping away both inside and outside the lecture theatre. Mobile phones aren’t just great for socialising though - they can be an excellent tool for studying too. Here are a handful of ingenious ways your phone could pose as a helpful study aide instead of a distraction.

Use your calendar

It’s easy to fall into the trap of jotting deadlines in odd notebooks or relying on memory to keep track of meetings and lecture times - why not switch over to your phone’s calendar instead? Never forgotten at home or in the library, our mobiles are often glued to our hands throughout the day. Use the ‘reminder’ alert to help plan your time. Instead of setting an alert for 30 minutes before a deadline, give yourself a week in advance to do final checks and avoid a last-minute submission panic. Most calendars can also connect with laptops and email accounts, so ensure your devices are all synced up to avoid those heart-stopping “what essay?” moments.

Man on phone

Record lectures

As well as keeping your schedule in check, mobile phones can help document your lectures. Most have a voice memo or recording programme built in (otherwise there are lots of recording apps available to download too!) so no matter how hungover or distracted you feel at the time, your lecture material won’t be wasted. Recordings act as a great safety net, particularly around revision periods. Bear in mind at some universities you’ll need permission to record lectures and seminars but it’s well worth the quick email. Just make sure you backup your recordings on your hard drive and who knows - maybe your first-year lectures will come in handy for your final year exams!

Download apps that aren’t social

Apps are one of the most obvious ways your mobile phone can help you study. There are hundreds of educational apps out there for all levels of study. Try not to hide them away in organised folders or it’ll be far too easy to forget about them. Keep them on your homepage and get into the habit of opening them whenever you‘re bored. No apps for your subject? The Kindle app has some great free resources like classical literature and historical texts. Once downloaded, you can access them anywhere so you can always dip into a few pages on your way to the next big night out.

Store your documents in the cloud

Cloud storage is a brilliant way to share, view and edit your work on any device. It will be particularly useful if you travel between home and university quite regularly or use computers at the library. Sync your phone, laptop and computer using a cloud and you’ll have all your essays and lecture notes with you wherever you might need them. They are also a great way to work on group projects, making it easy to edit and send them to any one of your classmates.

Photograph your lectures

Most of us are well-versed in using our phone cameras and who knew your Snapchat addiction could end up benefiting your academic career? Some lecturers like putting an entire textbook on one presentation slide and unless you can type like a superhuman, it’s likely you won’t get all that information written down in time. Try getting into the habit of snapping a photo of any important slides or diagrams. During revision season these pictures will be great to print off and stick around your room!

Our phones are a huge part of our lives so it’s only fair they help us along the way to a great degree. Record and screenshot your lectures to save yourself a cramming panic, make the most of your phone’s calendar so you never miss a deadline again and download some great educational apps and cloud features so you can study on the move. We’ve shown you some great ways your mobile phone can help you study, which will you try?


Shahrum Gilani is the founder of HandsetExpert. He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge and University College London and has a doctorate in Computer Science. His career and interests have spanned a variety of topics in science, engineering and technology. Dr Gilani is a published author in the fields of imaging and vision and is using his skills and expertise to make HandsetExpert the ultimate recommendation site for phones and tariffs.

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