The 10 Best Productivity Apps For Students

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The best productivity apps for students. As you look for ways to increase your productivity, how do you know which apps to use when there are so many of them? In this article, I will recommend the 10 best productivity apps for students.

1. Forest

Do you find yourself getting distracted by your phones while studying? If so, Forest is the app for you. I discovered this application in 2014 and till this day, I’m still using it.

With Forest, you get to plant trees as you focus. You have to focus for the amount of time you select. If you leave the app, then your tree dies. And you’d have to restart again.

The longer you manage to stay off your phone while studying, the nicer your forest will look by the end of the day!

This app is also handy if you use the Pomodoro technique. For a detailed insight into what the Pomodoro technique is, you can take a look at this article

You are given credits after each successful growth. You can then use these credits to either unlock new trees or exchange them to plant real trees around the world. Not only does Forest helps you stay focused, you get to save the environment too. How amazing is that?

2. Notion

I installed Notion after I heard that my friends were using it. Notion uses a ‘building block’ concept, which allows you to create your own workspace layout. 

I’m about to share my top 3 favourite features of Notion:

  • Toggle function: this allows you to reveal and hide contents. You can now keep tons of information while keeping your screen simple and tidy
  • Hyperlink function: this allows you to link pages within a page. Any information that already exists in your Notion is now readily accessible and you can avoid wasting time typing the same content.
  • Embed function: this allows you to attach online contents (links, images, and videos) within Notion pages

With so many awesome features, Notion truly is one of the best productivity apps for students.

Take a look at this article to see how you can use Notion to organise your workflow.

3. Microsoft OneNote

I started using OneNote when I noticed so many of my course mates using it. I find OneNote very user-friendly and especially useful for organising my lecture slides.

OneNote allows you to create notebooks with multiple sections and pages within them, which is really neat!

OneNote also provides an extensive space such that you can put relevant information and images alongside your lecture slides. This just makes revision so much easier.

What’s more, OneNote automatically saves your notes so that you can access them online while minimizing the risk of losing them.  

4. Google Drive

Whether it’s for personal use or group projects, Google drive has never failed me. It’s free, user-friendly and reliable. Your documents are also synced to your email address; As long as you have your email account, you will be able to access all your documents in it. In addition, your document autosaves as you type, how convenient is that? 

When it comes to group projects, google drive can undoubtedly help you to save a lot of time via its “share” feature.

Last year, my friends and I decided to combine our study notes with one another using google drive. All we needed to do was upload documents into a folder and ensure that it was shared with all of our email addresses.

Just like that, all of us were granted access to every document within that particular folder. We could view and edit the same document simultaneously.

With these features, you do not need to imagine how simple group tasks can become when you use Google Drive. 

5. Bear

I started using Bear in 2017 after its cute illustration caught my eye. Several other reasons that I adore using Bear are:

  • The search function. This gives me quick access to any note I want. With Bear, it doesn’t matter when the note was created or how many random notes you have, all you need to do is search for the keyword and you’ll find what you were searching for. 
  • The hashtag system. By applying a hashtag (#) before a word, you can create a column of keywords that allows you to access all notes related to the same topic.

6. Microsoft Excel

For those who like to keep a close eye on how well you are using your time, I would recommend using Microsoft Excel.

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that is a number 1 for businesses as it can record expenditures, chart datas, etc. How can it be of use as a productivity tool for students then?

I never thought Excel would ever be of use to me, at least while I was still schooling, but a friend of mine introduced it to me as an electronic record of how I spend my time, and there was no going back.

By creating a spreadsheet on how I use my time, I found that it was easier for me to better dedicate time for studying, exercising and socialising. On top of that, I can’t deny that it was somewhat satisfying to end the day.

Here are 3 simple steps to start your spreadsheet of daily doings:

  1. Create a legend and colour scheme for different events e.g. for study, meals, exercise, etc. 
  2. Create a template and use copy+paste to avoid wasting unnecessary time repeatedly typing the same things 
  3. Fill up the blocks of time with what you do as the day goes by – this can be either prospectively or in retrospect to what you’ve done.

Here is a screenshot of how I used excel during my first year in medical school (I didn’t always specify what I studied as I only had one major module):

7. Alfred4

Alfred4 is an award-winning and free productivity tool for mac users. I started using Alfred4 in 2019 after Youtuber Ali Abdaal mentioned it in a video and it has helped me to maximize my efficiency in searching up for stuff.

Instead of needing to open google to search up things, all I need to do is double tap my “command” key to toggle Alfred4 and type in what I need to look up and Alfred4 will provide. You can calculate values, search for the best food places, pictures of the cutest animals and more, without a single need to lift your fingers off the keyboard.

While this might seem to save you only a bit more time compared to clicking on chrome or safari, a few seconds each time actually helps you to save a considerable amount of time in the long run. 

8. TimeTree

Are you searching for a better way to organise your upcoming events? It’s time for you to try TimeTree. With this app, you can create multiple calendars. This allows you to organise your own private plans as well as share plans such as work appointments with others. 

You can take a look at this article for a detailed description on how to use TimeTree.

9. Anki

This is one flashcard tool that is highly favoured by many. Some people even swear by it. This is one of the best productivity apps for students who need to memorise tons of facts such as drug names and dates of important historical events.

Anki allows you to create your own decks of flashcards or download decks that have been created by others. It uses an algorithm that is constructed around spaced repetition and active recall, which are highly effective study methods that come hand in hand.

Anki is also an intelligent flashcard program. As you progress through your revision, it is able to learn which cards require more revision based on how easy it is for you to recall them. This way, you no longer have to keep track of the cards that require extra visits!

10. Quizlet

Another app that is popular among many students is Quizlet. It’s free to download from the app store and I would highly recommend using it for learning new languages.

Each card consists of 2 sides, named “term” and “definition”. When creating a deck of flashcards, Quizlet prompts you to select the languages for each side and once you have selected the appropriate languages, the app does the translation for you.

As seen in the screenshot below, the korean term for the english word typed automatically comes up, saving you the hassle of constantly searching up terms and changing keyboards.

This function makes it extremely easy and quick to create new sets of cards as you progress with your language learning. 


In this article, I have recommended the 10 best productivity apps for students.

Each of these apps serve different functions; Some of them help to boost your focus levels. While others provide you with a system that makes it easy to organise your files and events.

Regardless of what they do, all of them helps to boost your productivity in getting things done.

Choose a few of these apps that appeal most to you and discover how useful they can be!

12 Replies to “The 10 Best Productivity Apps For Students”

  1. I just started using anki last week and so far it’s been pretty productive although quite time-consuming. I guess all studying comes with its sacrifices but also the need to be committed. Thanks for the good summary- will be sure to check out some of the ones I haven’t heard like Alfred4!

  2. Ahhh a much needed article to help me get through uni!!! Will definitely try out anki one of these days! (Also your excel timetable is actually insane :o)

  3. Haven’t heard of some of them so thanks for the recommendation, excited to try!!

  4. very informative! i personally prefer sticking to onenote & google drive but my friends really enjoy notion

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