First class iPad apps for university students
Library fines, weighty textbooks, short-term loans: if these terms seem a bit old school to you, it may be because you are one of an increasing number of students turning to tablets such as the iPad to assist your studies.
Whether you’re a biology first year or an English literature postgrad, the following apps will prove to be useful and authoritative study aids that won’t break the bank, or your back.
Cliffsnotes Study offer study guides for an essential selection of literature classics, from Shakespeare’s Othello to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Though the app is free, each study guide contained within the app costs £1.49. But the outlay is worth it - comprehensive plot and theme analyses, character summaries and essays will help students critically engage with the texts.
For older undergraduates and postgrads, Oxford’s Critical Theory app (£10.49) is a virtually peerless guide to critical theory, covering everything from hermenutics (the study of literary interpretation) to postmodernism - absolutely essential.
HISTORY & POLITICS
Students of ancient civilisations will find a wealth of apps for their courses, with multiple quality apps for Greece, Egypt and Rome all available.
Meanwhile, an excellent app on World War I outlining the socio-political context of the conflict is worth investigating, though its lack of depth means that it’s perhaps best employed for pre-exam cramming.
For something more comprehensive, the Oxford Dictionary of World History (£10.49) boasts over 4,000 entries on all aspects of history, as well as biographies on major historical figures and summaries of key events.
Similarly weighty - and seriously good value, too - is Politics Classics HD (£1.99), an essential collection of texts for students of politics, though history and literature students will also find it useful. Containing complete texts of Sun-Tzu’s Art of War, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Aristotle’s Politics - A Treatise on Government, as well as the UN Charter and the US Declaration of Independence, it’s a near-indispensable collection of key works that have informed contemporary political discourse.
A free periodic table app (The Periodic Table HD) would be a good start for any science student worth his or her salt, but since you know it inside out already (right?), Sciencepedia (£0.69) is perhaps a better platform from which first years can dip a tentative toe into their subject(s).
Oxford’s Earth Sciences (£10.49) offers a more comprehensive guide for students of geology and related disciplines (Oxford also publish similar reference guides for Chemistry and Zoology), while biologists should find an excellent study partner in Developmental Biology, published by the Oxford University Press (£2,99).
Regrettably, there exists no comprehensive educational app on Scots law at present. However, UK Laws & Cases (£2.49) should still be of considerable use, coming as it does with a wealth of useful and contemporaneous case law and Acts, all of which are frequently updated at no extra cost.
PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY
Though outnumbered by countless ‘pop psychology’ offerings, there are a few educational psychology apps that should prove useful. The American Psychological Association’s (APA) free iPad app offers access to a vast range of scholarly journals, though you’ll have to have a degree of patience to wade through a lot of irrelevant material - much like real life.
Meanwhile, Psychology HD (£0.69) offers a solid, broad overview of the key topics first- and second-year students will be expected to cover, including research methods and key theories within the discipline.
Collins have made a range of high-spec foreign language dictionaries available on the iPad that aim (and, to a large extent, succeed) in replicating the substance and breadth of their hardback counterparts. Dictionaries are available in German, French, Spanish, Portugese, Mandarin, Norwegian, Greek and Latin. Collins also publish a range of dictionary/phrasebook apps in an even wider range of languages at £8.99.
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