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During long hours in the library cramming to meet deadlines, you might hope for a miracle — a solution to help you ace all the assignments, a wrinkle in time that sends you to stress-free bliss or an invention to change brains with Bill Gates. In these desperate times, you’ll try anything — even if it means spending a lot of money.
According to the American Test Anxiety Association, test anxiety impacts as many as 20 percent of the population attending school and another 18 percent may have a moderate form of the condition. That means 38 percent of students are affected by stress during exams. Coupled with a Credit Karma survey that found a majority of respondents cope with stress by spending, it paints a troubling picture: stressed students might spend money to find relief.
However, money won’t solve your studying woes. Your miracle solution doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Instead, create a plan using these free study websites and tools. And make use of student discounts to cut your costs.
Keep reading to find study tools tailored to different subjects, or jump to our study tools infographic below.
English and Vocabulary Sites & Tools
Between Shakespeare’s sonnets and vocabulary tools, you’ll need to do a lot of memorizing in your English courses.
Flashcards are often effective for this type of studying. Check out these resources for memorizing terms and editing and proofing papers to get you through your English courses.
Cite This For Me: You’ve finished your paper and now it’s time to cite. Don’t accidentally plagiarize your paper or get points docked for incorrect citations. Use this site to easily generate citations — it’s as easy as copying and pasting.
Describing Words: When that one word you can’t think of is on the tip of your tongue, use this website. Instead of suggesting commonly used language like the “boring” professor, this website will suggest some more creative words like the “prosy” professor.
Grammarly: Nothing is more embarrassing than an obvious typo in the opening sentence of your paper. Avoid grammar mistakes by using Grammarly. It scans your emails and papers to suggest grammar and spelling edits making sure you submit a grade-A assignment. Use these Grammarly deals to save if you want to upgrade to a premium membership!
Mercury Reader: Use Mercury Reader to declutter and organize articles to make them more readable. No more pesky ads or pop-up videos — this creates the cleanest online reading experience.
Project Gutenburg: This free online library offers over 60,000 eBooks for download. Whether you’re studying Louisa May Alcott or Oscar Wilde, you’re bound to find it on Project Gutenberg. If your teacher requires hard copy books, check out these Chegg coupons.
Poetry Foundation: Discover the beautiful world of poetry by exploring the Poetry Foundation. Pro tip: Sign up for their newsletter and receive their daily poem every morning for more insightful analyses and class discussions.
Quizlet: This flashcard tool allows you to create definition sets to test yourself and gamify your studying. Pro tip: You can create diagrams in Quizlet if you’re more of a visual learner.
Math and Science Sites & Tools
When you can’t crack an algebra problem, it’s easy to curse the assignment, crumple it in a ball and deem it impossible. No matter how daunting it seems these sites can help.
Brilliant: This website reinforces lessons with interactive explorations that create a learning experience for you instead of a simple online tutorial. Try it for free to see if this learning style suits you.
Code: If you prefer video games to studying, then this is right up your alley. This resource takes “edutainment” to the next level — you can create your own games and learn code in the process.
Khan Academy: If you’re struggling to understand something, Khan Academy has lectures and tutorials that cut through the confusion and deliver comprehensible lessons.
LinkedIn Learning: This database of online tutorials takes you through extensive learning programs. The certifications provided at the end of the course are also good to put on your resume!
Meta Calculator: You’ll probably need to buy a scientific calculator at some point during your education and these Staples coupons and deals can help you there. For the times you forget your calculator at your dorm, use Meta Calculator.
Photomath: Solving your math problem can be as simple as snapping a photo of it. Forget scrap paper; just take a picture and walk through the problem step-by-step on your phone with Photomath.
Stack Overflow: If you’re a STEM student, Stack Overflow will become a bookmarked website. It’s the closest thing to Google for coders. Ask a question and you’ll find a number of helpful responses.
Statista: Statista is a data platform for your research projects. The basic account is free and allows you to surf data and download PNGs and PDFs for research reports.
Liberal Arts and Humanities Sites & Tools
Liberal arts and humanitarian studies require creativity and resourcefulness. You’ll be asked to write opinion-based papers backed up by theories or to formulate your own thesis on a topic. Whatever the assignment is, liberal arts requires originality. Here are some resources to help your creative and research processes.
Coursera: This online resource is centered around skill development. If you want to be a better public speaker, write more creatively or learn how to design, Coursera breaks down the information into digestible lessons.
Duolingo: This language education website makes your path toward proficiency fun and interactive. Its personalized pacing and accessibility make staying motivated easy.
edX: Peek into the brain of an Ivy League student with edX, which includes lectures on a variety of subjects from the top universities.
Evernote: This note-taking app is good for not only taking notes in classes but also jotting down ideas, prioritizing tasks and collaborating with classmates.
Google Scholar: This website is a helpful tool for tackling research papers. The world of scholarly essays is expansive; this tool helps you find supplementary sources. Pro tip: Use the “cited by” filter to sort by how many people have cited this source. It’s an effective, early indicator of credibility.
JSTOR: Similar to Google Scholar, JSTOR provides access to primary sources, academic essays and scholarly articles to include in your papers. Use the “advanced search” feature to find credible sources faster.
Presentation Zen: Presentations are part of the package with liberal arts. You need to share your ideas, which often means public speaking. Learn how to confidently articulate in front of a crowd by reading Presentation Zen tips.
Skillshare: Skillshare is an online learning community for curious people. For out-of-the-box subjects that require tangible skill building like Alien Animation (real-life course), lean on Skillshare.
Standardized Test Prep Sites
It seems like your whole K-12 education is geared towards taking the SAT or ACT. And once you get to college, your whole education tunnels into tests like the LSAT, CPA or MCATs. The pressure of these tests can be overwhelming, but if you have the right resources you can study confidently. Defuse the stress by being prepared and use these resources.
ACT Academy: This website allows you to take practice tests online. It also has a robust resource library for concepts that are covered in the exam.
College Board: On College Board, you’ll find all the details about the SATs and ACTs. What to expect, when you can take it and how to study for it can be found here. Be sure to download their mobile application to get a question of the day!
Google Keep: You’ll need to be organized as you study for any standardized test. It isn’t just a few weeks you’re studying for this — it’s a few months if not years. Keep a running list of exam-related tasks in Google Keep. Make sure to put in plenty of inspirational mantras to keep you motivated as you go!
Tinycards: Tinycards is an online flashcard app that reinforces your memory through repetition, design and pacing. It understands how you learn and nudges your memory as you go.
The Princeton Review: This SAT/ACT resource hub is tailored to your learning style. They have a 1400+ course, 1500+ course, self-paced course and an ultimate course depending on your goals.
Varsity Tutors: This is a community of certified tutors who are ready to help give you the advice you need to succeed come exam time.
Miscellaneous Sites & Tools
In the chaos of it all, you still need to prioritize your mental health. Stress can trigger spending, so finding ways to relax can help mitigate this. These tools will help you focus, prepare and de-stress during your study time, as well as provide shortcuts to streamline studying.
Asana: An effective task management tool, Asana’s free package allows you to log tasks, create projects, view your activity, collaborate with classmates and delegate assignments.
Brainly: This forum is great for asking homework questions. Ask your question like you’d post a status on Facebook and you’ll receive a flood of thoughtful responses.
Calm: This is the #1 meditation and sleep app on Google. Save yourself the stress and lost sleep by using Calm to take a breath and manage school and exam anxiety.
Canva: This website is known for its beautifully designed templates, but you can also leverage it as a great studying tool. You’ll find worksheet formats, lesson plans and agenda plans under the education category. Using these can help organize your study schedule, cutting down the long hours in the library.
Kahoot!: This trivia-generator platform gamifies your studying. Make a trivia game out of your notes and challenge a classmate. It’s more fun than reading through textbooks!
Kami: This tool is a PDF and document annotator. If you’re writing a first draft and want to make notes for later, use Kami as an editing tool. You can also download the Chrome plug-in and annotate documents as you surf the web.
Momentum: Sometimes you just need a simple reminder to stay motivated and on track. Momentum personalizes your desktop with peaceful images, inspirational mantras and your day’s priorities to keep you focused.
Noisli: This tool brings serenity to your studying. Mix different background sounds to block out distracting noise so you can focus while you study.
StudyBlue: StudyBlue is a crowdsourced studying platform. Thousands of students from universities across the country share study guides, tips and notes. Enter your university and the class you’re enrolled in. Then get resources from past students who have taken that exact course.
TedEd: School isn’t all papers, assignments and math problems. There are real-life lessons to be learned like what to do if you find a baby bird. General lessons like this can be found at TedEd. Pro tip: If you’re running out of ideas for a paper, watching some of these videos may spark creativity!
Other Ways to Save Money When Studying
Desperate times could call for desperate measures. Don’t resort to spending on solutions at the last minute to try and ace an exam. The above resources and these four tips can help you not only ace your exam but save you money in the process.
Tip 1: Use Google Calendar instead of buying a new planner. While a flashy new planner might be stylish, it can also be expensive. Instead, use Google Calendar to log your tasks and keep on top of your schedule. An added bonus is that hard-cover planners won’t ping you to remind you to do something, but Google Calendar will.
Tip 2: Avoid printing out your study guides. If you don’t have access to a printer, you’ll have to go out and pay to print your study guides. While a 15-page study guide might seem like no big deal, final exams with 50-page study guides will add up. Instead, make a habit of using the online study guide resources listed above. Another benefit of keeping your study guides online is sharing them with your peers. For example, Evernote allows you to collaborate with classmates to make comprehensive study guides!
Tip 3: Take a walk instead of buying another cup of coffee. When you get in a study rut, don’t immediately run to the closest coffee shop. Instead, take a study break. Go for a walk, clear your mind and then assess if you actually need that coffee. Most times when you hit a slow point in your studying, you need a break — not coffee. If you still don’t feel energized after a walk, try a quick meditation. Calm has a focus meditation series to help you clear out the clutter in your mind and focus on the tasks at hand.
Tip 4: Get enough sleep. According to an American Time Use survey, the more naps you take, the more productive you are when you’re awake. You’re more financially alert after a good night’s sleep. So don’t go overboard on the studying. Instead, cuddle up and go to sleep.
During your studying journey there will be temptations to splurge on last-minute solutions, like hiring people to write an essay (or “contract cheating”), buying study guides or spending a ton on tutoring. But you don’t need to spend a lot to score high.
If you want to upgrade your studying game, then make some micro-investments to avoid spending a fortune. Instead of hiring an expensive tutor, start by simply becoming more organized. You can use these OfficeSupply.com coupons to save on school supplies like planners and binders. You can also level up some of these free tools and pay for premium memberships.
At the end of the day, your grade won’t be a reflection of how much money you spent. Instead, it’ll be a reflection of how much you study — and you can do that for free.
We hope that you found this blog helpful. Our content is not intended to provide educational, health or financial advice. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional. Capital One Shopping does not endorse or guarantee any information or recommendation listed above.