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Student Life

Six ways your phone can get you a first

Specialist student discount site studentbeans.com tell us your how your humble phone can also be your academic saviour.

You may have just started university or you may be a seasoned veteran staring down the barrel of your final year.

You may be going all guns blazing to get that first, or, more likely, balancing things as best you can and hoping to come out of the other side with a respectable 2:1.

Whichever group you belong to the chances are that the key to giving your results a serious boost is sat right there in your pocket, or handbag, or wherever it is you keep your phone.

Now obviously this works best if you have a smartphone but older models can still serve a purpose - it’s all about utilising what you have. And utilizing your phone in these six key ways can genuinely help you up your grade level - potentially to a mind-blowing, career kick-starting first.

Record your lectures and classes

Lectures and tutorials are incredibly important. They are full to the brim with information that is vital to your success but perhaps more significantly they provide key signposts, cues and warnings over how you should engage with a topic and crucially how your lecturer/tutor thinks. That’s the person who’s marking your work.

What’s more, they are a convenient and quick way to get you up to speed on a topic or provide an overview come exam time. With all that said, it’s almost a crime against your education to let them pass by in an hour-long flash. You need to record them.

Which is where your phone comes in. Plonk it down, hit record and you can start building your personal library of everything the lecturer has has ever said. This can then be used how you wish. We advise uploading it to a website like SoundCloud which has the advantage of being able to attach notes at various points across the recording. Brilliant. And of course, entirely free.


You’ve taken a trip to your library but you’ve realised you’ve left a book at home. Disaster. Or a book you’re reading has cited something which sounds interesting, but someone has already taken it out, or you’re nowhere near a library and you need it now. Disaster.

But never fear, as long as you have the Internet and your phone you have access to Google Books and (as long as you have a subscription) many other e-book services which may carry a copy of the passage that you need. Sure, you’ve got a laptop but you don’t take your laptop everywhere. Carrying a library containing hundreds of thousands of books in your pocket can enable you to do the breadth of reading required to get you that first. It also allows you to strike while your mind is hot on wider reading possibilities, therefore optimising their impact on your thinking and on your work.

Plan your time

There are many great organiser apps out there but amongst the very best reviewed is StudentLife Organiser. Not only will it allow you to break your time down into subject specific blocks, keep track of your classes and help you keep on top of deadlines, it can pretty much be used to plan your entire life as well.

Failing using an app, you can also simply use your phone as a mobile diary by using notes and your in-built calendar. Organisation is key to achieving good grades as is getting your work done in the most efficient way possible. And if you aren’t using your phone as a hub to do this, you should at the least give it a try. It is the thing that’s with you 24/7 - are we right?

Use it to revise

Apps like Flashcards can help with your last minute revision needs but as a long term proposition nothing is better than Evernote. It helps you collate, organise and utilise your revision material through a variety of different interfaces.

Revising using apps can often be directly equitable to real world methods but where app based revision comes into its own is in its slickness of presentation. Revising in quiz format can relieve some of that revision boredom and having easily editable and classifiable notes and revision cards that don’t take up a folder’s worth of space is clearly extremely convenient.

You may be into more old fashioned ways of going about your preparation and that’s fine, routine is very important, but don’t forget, there’s a wealth of alternatives out there. And once again, do you always have your revision folder to hand? What about your mobile?

Get a study buddy

Is procrastination winning out after you’ve spent all of that time making your study cards? Well turn your phone into the statistically dense and disappointed personal trainer you’ve been missing all of these years. Study Buddy keeps track of how efficiently you are working by monitoring the number and duration of breaks you are taking per study session. It will also immediately record the length of time you spend on any phone calls during your ‘work’ and will factor any texting time into account too.

So not only can you feel like a failure but you can see why you’re a failure at the end of the day as well. Good. Sometimes you just need a kick up the bum.

Working on the move

So now you’re working and filing efficiently what’s next for that first? Working some more. “But I don’t have any more time to work” you shout blithely unaware of the sheer power of the study machine in your pocket. Train journey? On the bus? Waiting for a friend? Exercising? Stick your recorded lectures onto your phone. Listen to them. Make voice notes from them. Not in the mood for that? Then you can listen to set texts as audio books.

So you’ve got revision cards, recorded material, a library’s worth of books at your fingertips, your essays, your notes, the Internet - available everywhere you are, whatever you’re up to.

You may think of yourself as just a pen, pad and page kind of person but with the potential of that grade boosting power house you carry around with you everywhere - can you afford to continue to be?

Studentbeans.com has masses more advice plus freebies and exclusive student discounts - so why not do what 925,321 students (and counting) have done and join the UK’s biggest student money saving club?