productivity tools
A new semester is the chance to set things right and get rid of poor study habits. Here are ten productivity tools that will help you start your upcoming semester on the right foot. Source: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP

Starting a new semester after a long summer break can be difficult. There’s having to readjust to your study routine again and adapt to a new syllabus. Underlying all of this is a chance to reinvent the wheel and eliminate the poor studying habits you might have practised in the past semester.

If you’re looking for a way to put your best foot forward in the upcoming semester, Ben Meer — a Fortune 500 consultant and Cornell graduate — tweeted the 14 best productivity tools to help crush your semester. Here are some of our top picks:

10 best productivity tools to help you ace your upcoming semester

1. Grammarly 

When it comes to productivity tools, there’s no doubt that Grammarly is one of the best picks for students. Launched in 2009, Grammarly is a sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) system built by linguists and engineers who develop algorithms to detect patterns of good writing, according to Balance Careers.

You can integrate this system with some of the most popular apps such as Google Docs, Gmail, Microsoft Office, and many more. 

The free plan will correct spelling mistakes, confusing grammar issues, or incorrect punctuation — which is more than enough for a university student and will allow you to submit your assignment confidently. 

2. Quillbot 

Quillbot is one of few other useful productivity tools for students. In essence, it is an AI tool that acts as a paraphrasing website to help you rewrite your content. Apart from paraphrasing, the website also serves as a grammar checker, plagiarism checker, summariser and citation generator. 

The free version will grant you access to many of these tools, although the amount of usage you get is limited. For example, you are only to paraphrase a sentence in two tones (standard and fluency) with the free version. 

3. Focus To-Do

This app is a handy Pomodoro timer, which is based on the Pomodoro technique (that’s the habit of working in 25-minute intervals). Focus To-Do also doubles as a task management application that will help you develop a disciplined routine, stay motivated, and tackle your tasks efficiently. 

You can download this free Pomodoro timer in many devices such as your smartphone (Apple and Android), Apple Watch, Macs, Windows, or add it as a Chrome Extension.

4. Notion

Notion doubles as both a note-taking and project management tool. The best part about using this software is its endless amounts of Instagram reels and YouTube tutorials to guide you on crafting the ideal productivity template.

In fact, we’ve written about how you can use Notion as a note-taking app here. Essentially, Notion can help you to take class notes, integrate your class schedules, add assignments as to-do’s, and many more — making it one of the most effective productivity tools for students out there. 

productivity tools

From learning how to code to curating your ideal study playlist, YouTube is a useful resource for students – and getting rid of ads will help smoothen that learning experience. Source: Benson Ibeabuchi/AFP

5. Adblock

Adblock is a free Google Chrome extension that can help you to block ads, disable tracking and block sites known to spread malware — which is useful when you’re leveraging YouTube to pick up a new skill or enhance your knowledge in a particular area. 

6. Power Thesaurus

Power Thesaurus is another Chrome extension to replace weak words by tapping into the power of synonyms, which will help you grab attention and evoke emotion in your reader.

7. Noun Project

Want some productivity tools to spruce up your next presentation? Check out Noun Project. This website aggregates and catalogues symbols created and uploaded by graphic designers from more than 120 countries, following its mission to build “a global visual language.” Here, you’ll find trendy icons from Artificial Intelligence to UI elements and Beyoncé

8. Coursera

It’s always a great idea to work on developing your existing skills — or learning new ones. If you have time to spare and would like to stay productive, you can pursue short online courses to broaden your knowledge and develop newfound skills on Coursera.

It’s not only a fantastic way to explore different fields and interests but a chance to learn from world-class instructors; many of these courses are free, and some even provide you with a certificate.

9. Brainscape

Are you struggling to keep up with lectures in your previous semester? Try Brainscape. This app creates flashcards that drill you on bite-sized learning objectives. This technique is based on decades of cognitive science research that repeat concepts at optimal intervals for retention.

10. Khan Academy

Established in 2008 by famed Bollywood actor Salman Khan, Khan Academy is an American non-profit educational organisation which creates online tools to help educate students. Khan Academy’s library of trusted practice and lessons covers math, science, and more that are free for learners and teachers. 

You should consider utilising this website if you need to look for skills and courses covered in K-12 institutions.