50 Best Apps for Surviving Finals

by Staff Writers

You've been told to steer into a skid, to not mix beer and wine, and to dare to be drug free. But how come nobody tells you how to survive final exams? These are not just any tests; these are flunk-a-class, delay-graduation, change-your-life type tests, and there's more to them than just studying. There's time management, maintaining health, dealing with stress, and trying to still have a semblance of a life outside school. Use these 50 apps to help you streamline the preparation process and come out whole on the other side.

Studying and Exam Tools

  1. Flashcards+: Create your own flashcards or access millions of pre-made ones, then share them with friends or across devices. Best of all, it's free with no ads; how do they do it?!
  2. StudyDroid 2.0: On the Android side of the aisle there's this free (with ads) app for easy flashcard creation, shuffle, and switch between front and back.
  3. Study Buddy: Track your study efficiency and see graphs of how well you're bearing down with this $.99 app for iDevices.
  4. Formulas Lite: Scientific calculator, periodic table, translator, unit converter — they're all here in one free package.
  5. Dictionary & Thesaurus: Offline functionality is the beauty of this free app. Keep it on hand for illuminating tricky words you come across in your studies.
  6. Graphing Calculator: Your TI-83 might be able to play Drug Wars, but it can't take calls. Your iPhone, on the other hand …
  7. Grades 2: It's always nice to know exactly what you need to make on a final to get an A in a class (or to pass at all). Grades 2 will help you figure that out, plus remind you of when end-of-semester assignments are do, all for free.
  8. Viber: Whether you're rocking Google or Apple, get thee to your app store and grab Viber. It will make distance study sessions painless with group texting and free calls.
  9. Evernote Peek: By now you know about the highly lauded organization app. Peek tweaks those notes by turning them into study questions for your iPad.
  10. Documents To Go: If you find yourself at a boring Christmas party, sneak in a little surreptitious PDF reading, writing, or even PowerPoint creating on your iPhone, Android, or Blackberry.
  11. SparkNotes: There are only 50 books covered, but if you're desperate, you might luck out and find a long story made short with this lit app.
  12. WriteRoom: If your final involves writing an essay, this app and its "original distraction-free writing environment" is a solid option.
  13. Blackboard Mobile: The features won't exactly knock your socks off, but if your school is one of the many that uses Blackboard, it's worth a free download to stay connected with your classes at all times in case there are any exam updates.
  14. iAnnotate PDF: Instead of carrying around massive binders and textbooks, streamline the process with this $10 app for both Android and iOS. It makes reading and note-taking on PDFs a cinch.

Organization and Time Management

  1. Freedom: You know what needs to be done. You need an app to keep you off Facebook and Twitter so that you can study. And you need to spend $10 on it to make you want to use it just to get your money's worth.
  2. Don't Break the Chain: Based on Jerry Seinfeld's famous productivity secret, Don't Break the Chain will encourage to study some each day as the zero hour approaches.
  3. LeechBlock: For a free option for blocking distracting sites there's LeechBlock, with which you can set up to six sets of sites to block at any time of day you choose.
  4. Workrave: Designed to prevent the onset of Repetitive Strain Injury, Workrave is a slick program that displays three timers: one for your nearest mini-break, one to the next rest break, and one for your daily limit.
  5. AutomateIt Pro: In the past we recommended Tasker, but AutomateIt Pro makes it even easier to make your smartphone truly smart through customized automated tasks. Plus, it's cheaper.
  6. CamScanner: Sometimes you have to tweak the room lighting, but CamScanner is another great way to condense a stack of class handouts into PDFs accessible from anywhere.
  7. Astrid: With functionality on the web or your smartphone, Astrid is ridiculously adept, allowing you to control your studying to-dos by voice, email, or online, sync with Google Tasks, receive push notifications, and more.
  8. TeuxDeux: To experience the joy of crossing a to-do item off a list, try TeuxDeux. It's a "bare-bones" but efficient task app for the web with iPhone compatibility.
  9. Trello: If any of your finals involve a group project, this app will be your team's MVP. It will let you collaborate in real-time, make and see assignments, receive notifications on completed work, and more.
  10. Lookout Security & Antivirus: The last thing you need while you're studying is a damaging smartphone or tablet virus, or to have either of those stolen. Lookout protects you from both so you can concentrate on academics.
  11. Outliner: Use your iDevice to create outlines and organize notes — which can then be synced in-app via Dropbox — with this app by CarbonFin.

Food and Health

  1. AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker: Want to toss back a few in between finals? Keep this BAC tracker handy to ensure "a few" doesn't become "a few too many."
  2. Fooducate: Finals season is no time to get sick. Fortify your immune system with nutrients by eating healthfully, courtesy of this app.
  3. Waterlogged: Your brain needs water to operate at peak efficiency. Never be dehydrated again by installing this water intake tracker.
  4. Relax and Sleep: Hit the pillow and disengage from facts and figures with this free Android app that's stocked with ambient audio like ocean tides, thunderstorms, and birds.
  5. Starbucks: You can't place orders, but you can find the closest shops, view your rewards, and use your Starbucks Card through the app.
  6. Beanhunter: The amount of java drunk during finals surely merits two coffee apps. For those of you who aren't into feeding the corporate beast, use Beanhunter to find cafes near you, anywhere in the world.
  7. Dosecast: Hopefully daily medication is not an issue for you, but vitamins and/or birth control may be. Let Dosecast keep you from forgetting an important pill.
  8. Sleep Time+ Alarm Clock and Sleep Cycle Analysis with Soundscape for Health and Fitness: A long name, true, but hey; it has a lot of features. For $1 you can fall asleep to white noise, analyze your sleep cycles, and be woken up at the best time for maximum refreshment.
  9. GrubHub: You'll only have to pull yourself away from studying long enough to answer the door with this great food delivery app.
  10. FastFood: If you want to go out, this is a one-stop shop for all your grubbing needs, with tons of menus, deals, and contact info for restaurants (not just fast food ones) and grocery stores in your area.
  11. Quit Smoking: Smoking saps your energy to study, so avoid lighting up before finals. To help you through, lean on this app to see how much money you've saved and how much longer you'll live by not puffing.
  12. Magic Window: Use the 20 beautiful vistas to help you fall asleep, nap, or relieve that mounting stress for a few moments.
  13. Office-Fit: To break up those long periods of inactivity you'll be suffering through while studying, install Office-Fit on your iPhone or iPad to 60-plus stretches and exercises for your desk area.
  14. Stretch Exercises: Androiders, stretch it out after a brutal study session with the 40 poses in this app categorized by body part targeted.
  15. Take a Break from Stress: One user claims in a review to have eased PTSD with this free app developed by the creators of the Meditation Oasis podcast.


  1. A-Z Brain Teasers: Keep your gray matter limbered up with these challenging mind games.
  2. Beat the Traffic: Don't get stuck in traffic while you're supposed to be in the exam room. Find the best route with Beat the Traffic.
  3. Audiogalaxy: While you're waiting for a final to start, calm your nerves with some Bach from your PC by streaming it to your phone via this free, handy app.
  4. Exam Support: Somebody went and made an app specifically for helping students like you concentrate and overcome exam anxiety through meditation.
  5. Bejeweled 3: We realize you're in college and $10 for an app (and a game app, at that) is asking a lot. But ask yourself this: would $10 be worth it to become so mesmerized by destroying diamonds and rubies that you completely forget about finals anxiety for a half hour? We submit it would.
  6. Pinball Arcade: Hey, there's nothing wrong with a free game. Pinball Arcade is darn near as good as the real thing and will transport you to a happier time and place where finals were just a rumor in the future.
  7. i. TV: Plan your break times around those Christmas specials we all love with this TV Guide app. Unless of course you have a DVR, in which case, bully for you.
  8. El Gifto: All your gift-planning time sapped by studying? El Gifto might be terrible at Spanish, but it may be terrific at helping you come up with killer holiday present ideas.
  9. Love and Romance Quotes: Use these sweet nothings to ensure your relationship survives this trying time (and cut down your search time while you're at it).
  10. ifidie: If you actually don't survive your finals, there's always this app that helps you craft your last message to your Facebook friends. In this case, "Worst day EVER" would be totally appropriate.