Those who still believe that Macs are useless in real life, except for office work and design, are completely wrong. Apple computers are universal machines that are perfect for studying, no matter what career path a student chooses. When you buy a new Mac, make sure you visit the Mac App Store first – Apple gives you free downloads of Pages, Numbers, and the best presentation program of its kind, Keynote, which can help you study right from the start. And don’t forget the iBooks reader that comes with OS X, which not only supports traditional ePub ebooks, but also interactive textbooks created with iBooks Author. There are plenty of other apps on every Mac to help you study without having to turn to writing help, but in addition to these, we want to recommend other useful programs specifically designed to make it easier for students to organize their studies.
One of the best-known and coolest academic timetable and homework managers ever. All you have to do is enter the semester’s class schedule and fill out a list of homework assignments on time – the program takes care of the rest. There’s a brief summary of your upcoming classes and automatic reminders of when certain work should be done. And if you take the time to keep a log of your grades, iStudiez Pro will even forecast your performance by the end of the semester. The program synchronizes data with its universal iOS version, so you can plan your learning process on Mac as well as on your iPhone or iPad, depending on the situation.
Evernote is probably the best Mac app for taking all kinds of notes. Evernote can hold almost any kind of information in its notebooks: plain and formatted text, photographs, handwritten notes, audio and video clips, web links, to-do lists, and even PDF documents. By organizing it all into separate notebooks, you can create a rich collection of useful notes that will come in handy not only in your studies but also in your cheerful student life. An iOS version of Evernote is also available, where all the data from the Mac will be available in the form you stored it when working on the computer.
Lingvo dictionaries do not need a special introduction for students: they have long been recognized by Apple and offer a set of 126 universal and specialized dictionaries for 7 languages with a total of more than 7.5 million entries – all of which are available in the application at once. The application also provides instant word translation mode: just put the mouse cursor on a word in your browser or text editor – and the pop-up window will get the translation. Unfortunately, the Mac- and iOS-version of the application are not interconnected in any way, although synchronization of dictionaries and other useful data between all Apple devices would be very useful.
FineReader OCR Pro
The high quality of FineReader recognition of printed texts has long been known around the world. Until recently, only the FineReader Express application with basic functionality was available on Macs. Now you can buy a full-fledged OCR package in the Mac App Store, the capabilities of which are already comparable with its Windows version. The program is equipped with the latest recognition engine, and there are more than a dozen options for saving the completed texts. Recognized documents can be saved not only in universal PDF or Microsoft Office formats but even as electronic books in ePub (native format for iBooks) and FB2.
Although Pocket works well on the Mac through its website, the developers have also provided a client app that works similarly to its younger iOS sister. Here you can also save almost any useful article found on the Internet to read at your leisure. It’s the same reading list in Safari, but with enhanced features: Pocket distinguishes between text, graphics, and video, and allows you to tag each saved material for easier searching and cataloging. In addition, the program cleanly saves articles: without banners, site navigation, and other distracting elements. Since all of your articles are assigned to the same account, everything you save on the Mac will be readable on your iOS devices.
When it’s hard to organize your thoughts and it’s important to shelve all the project data, a program for making so-called connection diagrams, or mind maps, comes in handy. Any complex entity can be broken down into several components, which, in turn, can also be decomposed into simpler components. This is both true for any entity and theoretical questions, depending on what you want to consider without losing sight of anything. Since MindNode supports iCloud, all the documents you save in the Apple cloud will be available on your i-gadgets, too, if you buy the iOS version of the app.
No matter how you look at it, our students can’t get away from applications that are designed only for Windows. But we can’t refuse all the charms of working with Mac because of that! Moreover, Windows applications can easily run in an OS X environment, if you install a special Parallels Desktop program on your computer. It provides “Windows” programs with all the necessary conditions for a stable and fast operation. So if you need to do some kind of lab, using only Windows tools – your Mac will perfectly cope with it.
If you need to focus as much as possible on a text or an application, use the FocusMask utility. It hides with an almost invisible black background anything that might distract your attention and keep you from your important work. The program is very flexible and can even highlight only specific areas of the active window you are working with.
A very useful utility that essentially turns ordinary websites into self-contained applications. This makes them much more convenient to work with, at least because you don’t risk accidentally closing the site, as often happens with browser tabs. What’s more, it’s much easier to work with frequently used websites if they have their icon not only in the Dock but also on the OS X menu bar. In addition, Fluid lets you customize the look and feel of familiar web services with the help of special software scripts.
It often happens that you spend a lot of time at the computer, but not as much work as you wanted to do. What was the reason for the waste of time, what you were unlucky enough to “get stuck” on instead of working – Timing will give a clear answer to these questions. It records each action of a Mac user, showing how much time has been spent not only on a single application but also on each file and Web page. So, if you happen to be “lost” in a social networking site instead of preparing an essay or a lab assignment, Timing will show you how much time was wasted. And for the responsible student, this is enough to seriously reconsider your approach to self-organization.