Study smart: Online learning tools to help with the HSC

Exam study can seem tedious and repetitive, so we’ve found some of the best online resources to help students tackle the final year of school.

Whether you’re a student, teacher, or parent, the HSC (or state equivalents) can be a stressful time for all.

In an age where laptops and tablets are commonly found in both classrooms and bedrooms, you might not be surprised to know that there are a great number of apps, online tools and resources to help you use connected devices to study productively.

With final high school exams almost upon us, we’ve compiled a handful of ways to use technology and online resources to help get you ready for those final exams.

Music streaming (constructively) 

Music is engaging; it can bring out a range of different emotions and it can change your mood. That’s why we love to listen to it, however it’s also why it can become a distraction when trying to study.

Have you ever popped on your favourite tune to only suddenly find yourself away from your desk and dancing in the mirror?

Interestingly, the way we listen to music might also have an impact on how one learns information; it has been suggested that increases in aurally-received beta waves have been linked to sustained focus and attention control.

So, how do you find music to help you study? Focus@Will is an online music platform, the aim of which is to help to boost productivity and concentration.

The science-inspired music service has been developed in partnership with leading neuroscientists and is designed to provide users with a unique library of instrumental music that has been remastered specifically for focus and concentration.

Alternatively, there are a smattering of tracks and albums available on streaming services like Spotify and YouTube, among others, if you’re willing to hunt around.

Mindfulness app 

A cross-study paper suggests that regular mindfulness practice through meditation can provide useful benefits in all aspects of life. For students this may mean benefitting their academic studies, as well as mental wellbeing.

A recent review of the impact of meditation in schools saw an analysis of 15 studies and almost 1800 students from Australia, Canada, India, the UK, the US and Taiwan.

The research showed meditation having a positive impact on students' well-being, social skills and academic skills.

If you’re keen to start your day with some Zen, the Mindfulness App, available on iOS and Android, is a simple tool to use on a daily basis designed to decrease stress and anxiety, while enhancing focus, concentration and creativity.

It features a range of silent meditations from 3 to 30 minutes, as well as a library with meditation teachers such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodron, Sharon Salzburg and more.  

Online flash cards 

Using flashcards has been an effective and traditional way to retain information.

Imagine how much easier it can be to learn, memorise and absorb information if your flashcards are always with you on a portable device instead of a pile of paper cards?

Well, good news! There are plenty of simple ways to create digital flashcards online.

StudyBlue App (available for iOS and Android) uses text, images and audio to create the perfect collation of digital flashcards. Can’t be bothered to create your own? Search the database which allows you to borrow someone else’s!

Cram (available for iOS and Android) flashcards are designed to be effective because they are founded on the principles of repetition and memorisation. Cram allows you to use the web-based flashcard generator to create your own or explore others. Whether you’re studying at home or on-the-go, your flashcards can travel with you and are easily accessible. 

Quizlet believes that learning is most powerful when shared, which is why the website is based on connecting with others who are learning similar topics using interactive games and online flashcards.

Streaming educational videos 

There can be many educational benefits when it comes to learning via video streaming. Videos may not only improve your learning, but also how you absorb information.

Consider the ‘flipped classroom model’ where students are encouraged to learn content at their own pace and explore it further in the classroom.

By streaming educational videos on sites like YouTube, a student can view content as many times as they need to, which may help make the connection between visual clues, the memory process, and the recall of new knowledge.

In effect, this may help to enhance research, problem solving, and organisational skills. 

Audiobooks and online text books 

Audiobooks and online textbooks may not only help to enhance student learning, they can also be incredibly accessible. In fact, almost anyone with a smartphone can now also pocket an audiobook or textbook and read on the go!

Similarly to videos, audiobooks are great in the way that they could help students to absorb information at their own pace, with the ability to play, pause, and rewind.

Audible.com.au offers a range of educational audiobooks and commonly-studied novels for high school students, K-12 educators, parents and families, as well as tertiary-level content from the likes of The Great Courses, if you’re feeling particularly keen.

Online textbooks save the hassle of carrying books to and from school, and can help to save you on those days where the book you need to complete your assignment is sitting at the bottom of your locker.

These online books could also help with time efficiency and can be simple to use, which may make it easier to find the information you want, rather than flipping through countless pages and scanning with your eyes.

Fast broadband and online study tools could help you get exam ready. Check your address to see if you can connect to the nbn™ network.