Ah, O-Week: Seven glorious days of meet-n-greets, parties, afternoon breakfasts, new mates, and coffee (!!!). But upon day eight, reality sets in. You’re in a new city. You’re on a budget. You must study. You can’t cook. Your new house smells like cats, but there’s no house pet. Fear not. This list of O-Week hacks highlights apps, guides, courses and tips that’ll make student life that little bit easier.

Study, study, study

The point of higher education is learning, but this can get lost in the madness of young life. To keep you on track, iStudiez Lite (free) is a calendar app and ‘to do’ list that helps manage class schedules, teacher contacts, and upcoming assignments or tests. The free version gets you a semester’s worth of control, including alerts and alarms. Pay the $2.99 upgrade to iStudiez Pro for push notifications, backup options and other features.

Savvy students know that bibliographies are an oft-painful part of research projects. To lighten the load, RefMe syncs essay sources and citations to the cloud for import into word processing software. Log in with your academic email address and get all the premium features for free.

Dropbox, Google Documents, e-mail – every group assignment has their preference for sharing documents. Sort them out with apps like Documents which work with a range of platforms (including iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive) to list all your stuff in one place. You can also annotate PDFs, edit Microsoft documents, read e-books, and browse pics from the one app.

If you have to deal with algebra, integrals, polynomials, or even algorithms, consider downloading Mathway, a free app-based calculator that reduces complex equations into absorbable solutions.

Textbooks can be a big financial hole, which makes programs like Chegg a lifesaver. Rent and buy discounted books (or read them online) thanks to this handy resource. Chegg’s study section also connects students with online tutors at the click of a button.

Academic writing is a whole new ballgame, one that relies on verified facts to take your essays from a mere pass to a coveted distinction. Search engine Wolfram Alpha is here to provide them: it answers factual questions from ‘curated data’, (rather than giving a list of documents or web pages like Google might) with linked references for that gruelling bibliography section.

Keep it productive

Stay on top of study and life admin with a ‘to do’ tasker like Clear ($5), which allows for multiple list management and more. For ‘to dos’ on the cheap, Wunderlist or Todoist are there to help too.

Remember that prevention is better than the cure, and this applies to passwords. Password protectors such as 1Password and LastPass add an extra layer of security and streamline multiple logins into one spot.

Write text messages, emails, Tweets, or even Facebook updates with the sweet and simple power of your voice. Dragon Dictation works well on iOS and Dragon Remote Microphone is tight on Android.

If you’re someone who thinks visually, consider expanding your mind on-screen with the help of a MindMapping program like XMind. It’s currently limited to desktop, but available across Mac, Windows and Linux.

Flashcards help many learners absorb info faster. For iOS, Tinycards and Flashcards+ are great memory aides. On Android, give Brainscape and Quizlet a whirl.

Taking notes quickly is part of any productive student’s life, which makes programs like Evernote a godsend. Write ‘em, snap ‘em, however you want to take ‘em—Evernote will capture whatever you scribble down and it syncs with almost every platform in your backpack. Or pitch in for the Everlast ‘reusable’ notebook currently smashing its targets on Kickstarter!

You gotta live, too

You’ve sussed the study. You’re super productive. Now you need to live! This might mean getting around town, chilling out, working up a sweat, or just filling in the breaks between classes. Whatever the activity, there’s an app for that.

Restaurants. Traffic. Caffeine… the Google app is a voice-activated search engine that’ll connect you with almost anything you want to know about a new city.

Navigating town is one thing, but how do you know what’s good? Head to Broadsheet for nearby caffeine hits, local news, and new restaurants, or try The Thousands and Concrete Playground for more sub-cultural happenings.

On a tight budget? Money managing apps such as Mint or Wally can keep spending on track. And apps like Wholesome can ensure you’re eating well while saving cash.

Self-care can fall off the list with so many new distractions, but put it front and centre with assistance from the Nike+ Training Club, which packs over 130 workouts for all levels into one place. Want to stretch out between classes (and not pay a small fortune)? The Yoga Studio app ($3.99) for both iOS and Android comes inbuilt with 65 yoga classes that range from beginner to advanced.

Maximise down time with an alarm clock app like Sleep Cycle, which will monitor your REMs and wake you during your lightest sleep phase. Or give a busy mind a break with Headspace, the mindfulness app that can help lower stress levels, reduce anxiety, and is available to use wherever you end up.

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Aimee Chanthadavong

Content Producer

Aimee Chanthadavong,
Content Producer

As Content Producer of RedWire, Aimee is a passionate storyteller about people, technology, and anything else that requires her to use a bit of journalistic detective work.

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