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Beyond CliffsNotes: 100 Free & Useful Tools for When Time’s Running Out


If you’re a consummate procrastinator–despite your best efforts to be otherwise–then you’ve undoubtedly waited until the last minute to start that research paper or read that book more than once. Here you’ll find a collection of resources that can help you cram for tests, understand the main ideas of a work of literature, do your math homework and a whole lot more so your procrastination won’t send your college career down the tubes.

Study Guides

These study guides can help you understand literary metaphors, summarize readings and give you the tools necessary to muddle through the densest of texts.

  1. SparkNotes: Whether you’re reading Shakespeare or something a little more modern, you’ll find helpful study guides and notes on this site.
  2. PinkMonkey: Here you’ll find over 460 study guides you can use for free to better understand just about any work of classic literature.
  3. BookRags: This site is home to study guides and summaries aplenty, as well as information for research topics.
  4. Bibliomania: Search through study guides on this site by title or author.
  5. Study Guides and Strategies: Try out this site for some ideas on how to study better as well as some more specifically designed study guides for reading and math.
  6. CollegeCram: This site is a great place to find social learning resources from study guides to shared notes.
  7. Bartleby.com: Lose your book? On this site you’ll find a collection of many works of literature as well as helpful study resources as well.
  8. Free Book Notes: This site is essentially a free online version of CliffsNotes.
  9. Shmoop: There are loads of literature guides available on this site as well as other teaching materials you can use for learning.
  10. LitSum: If you didn’t bother to do your reading, you can find basic summaries of well-known books on this site.
  11. GradeSaver: On this site you’ll find a great number of study guides as well as example essays and other learning tools.

Study Tools

Use these study tools to quiz yourself, solve math problems and cram at the last minute.

  1. QuickMath: Use this site to get answers to math problems quickly and easily over the Internet.
  2. Cramster.com: Join study groups, get answers to your questions and find help with textbooks on this study site.
  3. TutorLinker: If you are struggling to work on your own, use this site to find a tutor to help.
  4. FlashcardExchange: Create, study, print and share flashcards of all kinds on this site.
  5. PocketMod: Make your class notes small so you can take them with you and study them anywhere you go.
  6. StudyStack: On this site you can use flashcards made by others or create your own to use.
  7. Quizlet: This tool can help you study more effectively for just about any subject out there.
  8. Flashcard Machine: Use this tool to build helpful flashcards so you can study better.
  9. StudyRails: Try out a free trials of this tool designed to help keep you organized, help you study and eliminate those pesky distractions available when you do work online.
  10. Mathway: Use this tool to get easy answers to your math homework or to double check your work.

Sharing Notes

On these sites you’ll be able to share your notes and get notes from others from classes you might have missed.

  1. Notely: On Notely you can store and share your notes as well as keep track of your assignments and schedule.
  2. MyNoteit: Use this tool to take, store and share your notes in an online format.
  3. NoteCentric: Get notes from others and share your own on this site.
  4. Stu.dicio.us: This site acts as a social note-taking forum so you don’t have to work alone.
  5. NoteMesh: Fill in any gaps there may be in your notes with help from this site and your classmates.
  6. ShareNotes: With this site you can look through class notes for free and also make a profit selling your own notes.
  7. GradeGuru: Share and search for notes from your courses on this site.
  8. StudyBlue: This tool makes it simple to keep track of your notes and connect with others who have taken or are taking your courses.
  9. ShareCourseware.org: Find free lecture notes on this site.
  10. FruitNotes: This site acts as an online notebook, making it simple to share work with friends, make voice recordings and even add photos.
  11. Helipad: Sick of searching through your notes for important facts? This tool makes it easy to store and search through all your notes.

Reference

If you need to look up any kind of basic information from word translations to a more intelligent sounding word, these tools will help.

  1. Dictionary.com: Look up just about any word you could need the definition for on this site.
  2. Wikipedia: While it won’t hold up as a citation on a research paper, it can give you a great starting point for your real research.
  3. RhymeZone: Writing a poem or a song? This site will help you come up with great rhymes when you’re at a loss.
  4. ArtLex: Look up art terms you don’t understand in this free online dictionary.
  5. Webopedia: Don’t understand all those techie terms? This dictionary is here to help.
  6. Dictionary of Algorithms: On this site you’ll find a collection of algorithms and other data structures.
  7. Biographical Dictionary: Check out this resource for information on the lives of tens of thousands of people.
  8. Roget’s Thesaurus: Make your writing sound fancier by finding synonyms in this free thesaurus.
  9. BabelFish: Translate basic phrases and webpages from another language into your own with this tool.
  10. WordReference: Look up words in English, Spanish, French, Italian and more on this site.
  11. Visual Dictionary: If you’re more of a visually oriented person, this dictionary can help you understand a myriad of concepts.

Research

Augment and speed up your research with these helpful tools.

  1. Ottobib: Simply enter in the reference information into this tool and you’ll get an instantly rendered citation in MLA, APA, and Chicago style.
  2. Zotero: This Firefox extension can help you organize and track your research from beginning to end.
  3. WizFolio: Manage your references and cite them when you’re done with this tool.
  4. EasyBib: Use this tool to ensure that you’re citing your sources correctly when you turn in your paper.
  5. Bibme: Add your reference material to this site and it will generate a bibliography for you.
  6. CiteULike: This tool allows you to search for and manage a wealth of scholarly resources.
  7. Delicious: Bookmark sites that look promising for research on this site.
  8. Backpack: While designed with business in mind, this tool can be an excellent way to manage your research projects as well.
  9. WorldCat: Find just about any book you could need using this site that searches the world’s libraries, letting you know where you can find it nearest to you.
  10. Google Scholar: Use this search engine to scan through loads of helpful scholarly articles.
  11. High Beam Research: Search through thousands of reputable sources for research materials using this site.
  12. Diana Hacker: This site will help you to double check your citations to make sure they’re done correctly.
  13. GoogleBooks: You can often find some extremely useful books you can look through for free on this site.

Writing

Improve your writing and get a little help in the process from these tools.

  1. Viper Plagiarism Checker: Ensure that your work is free from any plagiarism by using this tool. With its help, you can make sure you’ve cited any resources.
  2. Etherpad: Those who have to rush to turn in a group project can use this tool to work together at once online.
  3. GoogleDocs: Take your writing with you whether you are at home or at the library with this online word processor.
  4. Eduify: This site knows that writing isn’t always easy and offers tutorials, writing samples, help with citations and even stores your writing online.
  5. Elements of Style: Check through this classic book to make sure you’re sticking to correct grammar and style.
  6. Ultimate Style: Here is a more updated version of the Elements of Style you can look to for help.
  7. Technical Writing: Those who work with more technical subjects should consult this guide.
  8. WordCounter: This tool will tell you what words you’ve used most frequently in your text so you can make sure you’re not repeating the same things over and over.
  9. Verbix: Use this tool to conjugate any English verb correctly.
  10. Advanced Text Analyzer: Create a profile on this site and you’ll be able to use the text tools to analyze your work, determining a wealth of information that can help you improve your writing.
  11. yWriter: Try out this word processor that’s designed just for writing stories and novels.
  12. Scholar’s Aid Lite: The free version of this tool will give you a place to write your paper, organize your notes, cite sources and more.

Presentation

Use these tools to put together a last minute presentation.

  1. Sliderocket: This online tool uses drag and drop functionality to make it simple to create great presentations.
  2. Slideshare: Whether you’re working together or by yourself this tool will make creating presentations a cinch.
  3. ZohoShow: Use this open source tool to build presentations, if you don’t have another program to do so.
  4. Prezi: Create great presentations on the web using this impressive tool.
  5. Jing: Use the free version of this tool to easy snap pictures of your screen and create great presentations.
  6. 280Slides: Try out this presentation tool to make sure you’re prepared for your class.

Productivity

Remind yourself of your important tasks with these tools.

  1. Ta-Da Lists: Create an easy-to-use to-do list using this free tool, a big help in keeping your work on track.
  2. Toodledoo: Organize your tasks and improve your productivity using this tool.
  3. 30 Boxes: This online calendar can help make sure you don’t forget upcoming due dates.
  4. Stickies: As you’re doing your research, use these stickies to make notes to yourself for later.
  5. Remember the Milk: Whether you want to track your social schedule or make sure you get all of your homework done, this tool can help.
  6. HassleMe: This tool will incessantly remind you of tasks you need to get done so you have no excuses about forgetting.
  7. Bla-Bla List: You can use this list-making tool to create your own to-dos or create a set for your group.
  8. Diigo: This tool will help you organize all of your important research and keep everything easy to find.
  9. WebNotes: Manage and make notations on your research using this time-saving tool.
  10. A.nnotate: Try out this tool to make searching for and storing information on the Internet easy and more productive.

Brainstorming and Organizing

Pull your ideas together and get your information organized using these tools.

  1. Thinkature: This site allows users to create mindmaps of their ideas and easily share them with others.
  2. FreeMind: Check out this free mind mapping software to better organize your ideas.
  3. Bubbl.us: Keep all of your material and ideas for projects in order with this tool.
  4. WiseMapping: This open source tool makes it simple to lay out outlines and organize information for a paper.
  5. Mapul: This tool takes a different approach to mind mapping, creating outlines that are much more organic in nature.
  6. View Your Mind: Insert pictures, links and other information into your mindmap using this tool.
  7. Gliffy: If a flow chart is more akin to what you need, then try out this free tool.
  8. Mindomo: With this tool you’ll be able to organize, get productive, define goals and track what you need to get done.
  9. Manage My Ideas: Try out this demo to get a leg up in organizing any project you’re working on.
  10. DeepaMehta: Keep all of the information and ideas you’ve complied for your paper organized using this software.
  11. The Brain: Pick your own brain using this mind mapping software that’s incredibly fully-featured.

Miscellaneous

From writing help to printable graph paper, these tools offer a range of assistance in finishing homework and projects.

  1. ProBoards: Use these forums to post your homework and project questions.
  2. Spreeder: Learn how to speed read using this site.
  3. Printable Paper: Need specialized graph or printed paper but don’t have any lying around? It’s no problem with this site.
  4. PDF Creator: This tool will help you to turn any kind of document into a PDF.
  5. Box.net: Need to store some data online? This tool will make it easy to store and access the important things you need.

 

January 24th, 2010 written by Staff Writers

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