School is just easy for some people. They show up to lectures (sometimes), maybe skim the assigned reading and then ace the test without so much as a wrinkled brow. But we normal humans often need a bit more effort to squeeze a decent grade out of our gray matter. I've found that the best way to make sure you absorb your course material is by finding the right tools that work for you. Here are five free online study aides that might just save your academic life this semester.
This non-profit learning center was started by Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst who graduated from MIT and Harvard Business School. He started posting videos on science and math online, and they blew up. Millions of people subscribe to the Khan Academy YouTube Channel, and you can join the website for free. There, you'll find thousands of videos on calculus, computer science, physics and other subjects, with tons of friendly help, online discussions and practice problems to try out. I survived Calculus because of this one.
This online computational engine is another lifesaver for math and science students. You can solve complex equation, including integrals, derivatives and general algebra. You can also download a bunch of widgets for various platforms, including a personal website, and install tools that let you get information right from your browser. It's indispensable for checking your homework to make sure you're on the right path. I'll warn you, though, it's not going to do your homework for you...yet.
Knowing technical skills like programming is becoming more and more useful for lots of professions. Plus, it's cool to be able to build your own website from scratch or understand what the code behind a website or simple program looks like. Code Academy can get you started with simple tutorials on programming concepts (If you're in an information technology program, I highly recommend you use something like this to get you started on object oriented programming.). You don't need any special software or prior computer knowledge, just a web browser and a few hours.
Need to drill yourself on concepts, formulas and other hard-to-memorize course material? Ditch the note cards and go digital with Studyblue's digital flashcards which let you use multiple devices to get study time in wherever you are. Plus, you can analyze your accuracy to see which topics you really need to work on.
Evernote started out as a simple note-taking app, but it's ballooned into a way to capture anything you want to learn or consume online and make it easy to access, turn into reminders or just sock away for when you have free time to look at it. Evernote works with a whole bunch of other amazing apps, and you can share all of your information across multiple devices. It's super handy.
Jennifer Cook is always looking for new learning technology to help college students crack the code of higher education. When she isn't writing for Strayer Buzz, you'll find her pontificating on the latest issues relating to college financing, grad school preparation and disruptive online learning tools.