Matthew Loux


By Matthew Loux
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, American Public University

Students often ask me about the best study habits and if certain study habits can work for both online and in-person classes. Indeed, there are many different study habits that can work for both.

Some study tips are really simple, but many students overlook them. First, organization is an essential component in student success. For instance, keeping track of old papers and notes in a neat, organized manner makes studying for tests easier.

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Second, the other primary component of studying is using apps that track classes, schedules, exam due dates and countdown timers to know exactly how long you have until you have to take a test or submit an assignment.

Organization Methods for In-Person and Online Classes

I keep hard copy papers in binders, using tabs for each class, so that I can easily identify those papers that will help my students study pertinent information. For online classes, I like to keep papers and discussion questions in the cloud. There are various cloud storage options, such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Some are free; others are not.

I create storage folders within the cloud for each class. I also break down each week into subfolders for each reference.

I name each paper by week and by main subject in case I need to resubmit or reference it in subsequent weeks or future classes. Naming the files this way makes it easy to do a keyword search and locate the information I need.

Study Apps Make Classwork Easier and More Efficient

I love apps. Two study apps that I find especially helpful are iStudiez and Exam Countdown.

IStudiez keeps track of when forum posts or assignments are due. This app will help you reduce procrastination and prevent you from forgetting to do your classwork.

In a central area of the app, you can see daily or weekly assignments, so you can complete them in advance or just stay current with your classes. Some other features of the app are:

  • An overview that shows the schedule, lecture times, seminars, personal notes and assignments by date or week, depending on how you set up your dashboard
  • Assignments with details, priority settings and a checkbox for completion and insertion of grades
  • A daily or weekly planner
  • The ability to sync across all devices
  • A grade display by assignment and overall GPA
  • Notifications for reminding you of upcoming events which can be set for the current day or a future date
  • Integration with other calendars

With all of these options, students can easily check grades and stay on track with their classes. However, teachers can also use this app to plan courses, set due dates and share calendars with students. The instructor can provide a special URL for students to open in the calendar app on their mobile devices.

The full version of the iStudiez app costs $2.99 for Apple’s iOS and Android, and $9.99 for the MacOS or Windows version. They integrate together to make accessing and managing your tasks easy from any platform.

Exam Countdown Is Ideal for Tracking Exams and Major Projects

The second app I like is Exam Countdown, available for iOS and Android. This free app (Lite version) keeps track of upcoming exams or major projects.

Exam Countdown stores all of your important exam dates. It also has a daily countdown feature that alerts you to when your exams start. That will help you stay on track with your studying and reduce your procrastination.

Once you download the app, you can set up all your classes and color-code each class and exam. The color coding help you stay focused on specific classes.

Another great feature of Exam Countdown is that it allows you to add notes. The notes can be attached to a subject area or exam and will display specific details that you can use as a study guide for each exam or project. You can also insert keywords or points to remind you of the subject material.

How I Use iStudiez with Exam Countdown

I integrate iStudiez with Exam Countdown to better track items coming due. I also use these study apps to store teacher contact information and to monitor the specific days and hours until an exam or project is due.

I find Exam Countdown is particularly beneficial. Although I place assignment due dates in iStudiez and on my calendar, it is great to simply open Exam Countdown to see a list of projects or tests that are due.

That helps me to prioritize my study habits and workload. In addition, I can plan my life around work and personal responsibilities.

Each of these study apps is versatile. Often, I see updates, bug fixes and additional features added to them to enhance my learning experience.

Do you have any favorite study apps that you use for your classes? I would be interested in any comments or recommendations you have, so I can review them and write about them in future articles to help you in your learning journey.

About the Author

Matthew Loux has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and has a background in fraud and criminal investigation, as well as hospital, school and network security. Matt has researched and studied law enforcement and security best practices for the past 10 years.