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Get smart: The 25 best educational apps for iPhone and Android

“Educational” is a broad term. When it comes to mobile apps, there’s a diverse range of software that falls under the umbrella of education, with offerings encompassing both first and third-party developers.

You could peruse the top educational offerings in any app store, but locating the best ones — and those that aren’t merely a fad — is more difficult than you think. Some are tailored for high-school students, some for soon-to-be college graduates, and others still, are more apt for those who provide an education or those who still pine for knowledge long after school lets out for summer.

Related: Twenty helpful apps for teachers and educators

Whether you’re specifically looking for ways to exercise your mind, organize your coursework, or expand your knowledge on King Matthias Corvinus’ role in the Hungarian Renaissance, there’s more than one app specifically designed to get the job done. Then again, no app is truly tailored for exploring the global repercussions of the Renaissance. You’ll simply have to settle for our favorites below.

Ready4 SAT

Ready4 SAT app

Ready4’s series of test prep apps, like Ready4 SAT, goes well beyond just drilling you to answer practice questions. It actually aims to teach you the material and test-taking tips in mobile-friendly chunks, so that you can study whenever and wherever you have your smartphone. This free app even tries to match your potential SAT score with schools and academic programs around the world, just in case you need extra motivation to study.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

Photomath

Photomath app

For high-school students who just need a bit more guidance on how to isolate “x” in their algebra homework, Photomath is essentially your math buddy that can instantly solve and explain every answer. Simply snap a photo of the question (you can also write or type), and the app will break down the solution into separate steps with helpful play-by-play, so that you can apply the same principles to the rest of your homework.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

GradeProof

GradeProof app for iOS

Most students don’t have a personal editor to show them how they can improve their writing, one sentence at a time. GradeProof’s AI offers concrete ways to improve your style, check for originality, as well as identify complex grammatical issues that other word processors often miss. While the app itself is free, you’ll need to upgrade to the $10-per-month GradeProof Premium to unleash the full power of this pocket writing coach.

Download now from:

iTunes

Math Motion: Cupcake! ($6)

Motion Math: Cupcake! for iOS

Not many kids are excited to practice addition or multiplication outside of school, but they might be more enthusiastic about applying their math skills to run a mean cupcake business. From figuring out the cost of each cupcake, fulfilling orders, to paying back business loans to keep the bakery running, Math Motion: Cupcake brings elementary-level math to life in a deceptively sweet — yet palatable — package.

Download now from:

iTunes

edX

edX app

Higher education is no longer exclusive to college students or contained within Ivory Towers. EdX makes it possible for anyone with a smartphone to learn from distinguished institutions such as MIT and McGill, and maybe even earn a certificate while you’re at it. You can tune into online lectures, take quizzes, and complete assignments at your own pace, all without having to worry about getting a student loan (though some certificates and courses do cost extra).

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

My Study Life

My Study Life app

School life is complicated. To help you stay on top of your schedule and often conflicting deadlines, My Study Life is more than just a day planner and school calendar — the app even sends reminders to your mobile device whenever you have upcoming deadlines. As one of the few ad-free agenda apps on the market, My Study Life’s colorful interface gives you all the info you need regarding your day at a glance.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

Mendeley

Mendeley app

If you already use Mendeley Desktop to manage your research citations and collaborate with classmates, then the Mendeley app is a no-brainer. After all, the app is a PDF reader that lets you annotate and search across the journal articles you need for your paper or your class readings, directly on your mobile device. Once you’re back at your computer, the app will also sync your mobile notes to keep you organized.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

OneNote

OneNote app

Now that Evernote is charging users who want to use its app on more than two devices, Microsoft’s OneNote is looking like a decent alternative for your mobile note-taking needs. It helps that the app is usually pre-loaded on new Windows 10 devices, and works across all platforms. Not only can you can record a lecture and snap photos while “handwriting” your notes with a stylus or pen, but you can back up your class notes to OneDrive and Office 365.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

Periodic Table

Periodic Table app

More than just another interactive periodic table, this Periodic Table app from the Royal Society of Chemistry incorporates everything from podcasts to videos to help you learn about the elements. Don’t worry about being overwhelmed by all the information though, as the app showcases different levels of data to satisfy everyone, from a novice to an AP Chemistry student.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

StudyBlue

SkyBlue App Final

Studying is the mainstay of an education. With StudyBlue, you can create and share a plethora of mobile flashcards, study guides, and quizzes, or choose from an extensive collection of student-authored flashcards and flashcard decks. Afterward, accept the score you earn or try again to top it.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

WolframAlpha ($3)

WolframAlpha Final App

Queried by Apple’s Siri, WolframAlpha utilizes a vast collection of algorithms and data to answer any questions you might have about, well, anything. The knowledge engine is surprisingly accurate, culling answers from a variety of sources, with thorough instructions on how it arrived at the answer.

Download now from:

iTunes Google Play

Dropbox

Dropbox App Final

Moreso a tool for organizing your education than receiving it, Dropbox allows you to access all your photos, documents, and videos on nearly any device. You’re given 2GB upon signing up, with options for styncing and adding files to your favorite list for offline viewing on the go. It’s very useful for sharing files.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

TED

TED App Final

It’s rare that an organization truly makes you think. The TED app lets you peruse more the entire library of more than 1,700 TED Talks videos, introducing you to intriguing presentations and revolutionary ideas from education radicals, tech geniuses, business gurus, musical legends, and the like.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play Amazon

Khan Academy

Khan App Final

Education can be expensive. Fortunately, Khan academy provides more than 4,000, free downloadable videos, so you can brush up on everything from K-12 math and earth science to art history and computer science. You can also track your progress and unlock basic achievements.

Download now from:

iTunes

Evernote

Evernote App Final

We’ve touted Evernote more than once. The free productivity app gives you the tools for taking photos, crafting notes, creating to-do lists, and recording voice reminders, all of which you can tag for additional organization. The app even syncs content across multiple devices.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

Notability ($6)

Notability App Final

Simply put, the iCloud-abetted Notability lets you take notes in a variety of forms. With Notability, you can sketch ideas, annotate uploaded documents, sign contracts, and complete worksheets in addition to other actions. You can also format documents, using the app’s advance word processor.

Download now from:

iTunes

iTunes U

iTunes U App Final

Apple’s iTunes U showcases the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content. Instructors from leading universities such as Stanford and Yale teach the assorted courses and divvy out assignments, providing resounding material for you to take notes on and share with your friends and family.

Download now from:

iTunes

Star Walk ($3)

Star Walk App Final

As an augmented-reality app of sorts, Star Walk is an elegantly designed mobile stargazing app of the highest quality. The app follows your device’s movements in real-time, offering views and providing info on more than 200,000 stars, constellations, and other celestial bodies. Moreover, the app possess a remarkable calendar of celestial events and lets you view the night sky during different time intervals.

Download now from:

iTunes Google Play

Duolingo

Duolingo App Final

Learning a second language isn’t easy. The crowd-sourced Duolingo gives you the opportunity to translate real-world texts in your desired language of choice — i.e. Spanish, German, Brazilian, Italian. It can translate Web pages and other documents into many languages. It also offers language courses at all levels.

Download now from:

iTunes Google Play

Studious ($1)

Studios App Final

For most students, school doesn’t stop when you leave the campus grounds. Fortunately, Studious offers a quick method for organizing homework and exams via their due date, allowing you to see what’s on deck in the upcoming week and add assignments with a simple shake of your device. You can even use the app to jot brief notes and email your professors.

Download now from:

iTunes

EasyBib

EasyBib App

Any and every writer knows that bibliographies aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re less so with EasyBib, though, which is an app that functions as a basic citation generator. It allows you automatically create and export citations in a matter of seconds using more than 50 different source types, not mention more than 7,000 citation styles (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

Due ($5)

Due 2 App

You can think of the aptly-titled Due as a robust alarm clock, one that functions without an account or Internet connection. With Due, you can set reusable countdown reminders and implement both daily and weekly reminders that capitalize on nearly 60 alert tones. Moreover, reminders sync across your devices and automatically shift as you cross time zones.

Download now from:

iTunes

Learnist

Learnster

In many ways, Learnist kind of acts like a social network for knowledge. You can browse an organized collection of text and video content, much of which is sequenced into lessons covering thousands of topics. Learnist has it all, too, whether you’re looking to learn a few movie-making points courtesy of Gus Van Sant or simply want some insight into the early life of artist Salvador Dali.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

CamScanner

CamScanner app

Turn your mobile device into a portable scanner with the CamScanner app. Simply take a photo of the page you wish to digitize, and the app will give you the option to convert it into a PDF/JPEG file, store in the cloud, and even print or fax the document. Best of all, it can extract the scanned text (Optical Character Recognition) and make your PDF files searchable.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play

Quizlet

Quizlet App

As the name implies, Quizlet is an app specifically tailored for marathon study sessions. It’s fairly no-frills, sure, but the rudimentary app allows you to create your own personal flashcards — using text, images, and audio — or browse a wealth of user-created quizzes spanning nearly any topic you can think of. The straightforward interface and setup process just adds to its appeal.

Download now from:

iTunes Google play