Three Great Apps for Exam Candidates

So I've had my iPad for about a year, now - it was one of my birthday presents to myself last year. It's interesting to see how more and more people are investing in tablet computers - and the good news is that if you're learning English and you have a tablet computer, there are lots of great apps (short for applications) that you can use.

The best apps, however, aren't always the ones that are only about English. Here are three apps that we've used in class and which we really like. All of these are free and it won't take you any time at all to learn how to use them.

EVERNOTE is an online system that allows you to organize images, class notes, lists and voice files so that you can use them again in the future. Do you always lose the words you want to practice most? Do you need a better way to organize your notes? It's free to use (though you can get more advanced features for US$45 a year) and once you have an account, you can open, edit and re-organize notes through the app or through the website (your account will work on both platforms.) Evernote is available for BlackBerry, Apple and Android devices.

FLASHCARD MACHINE is perfect for those of you who need to practice and memorize a lot of vocabulary, or a specific grammar point, like irregular verbs. After you set up your account on the website, you can access the sets of cards that other users have published (you also have the option of not making them public), or create your own.

The website is free to use, and if you have an iPhone (or one that uses Android - sorry, Blackberry users), you can download the app for free to get 100 card turns, or pay a one-time fee of €3.99 for an unlimited number of card turns. This app is great if there is something you need to review a lot, like phrasal verbs or irregular past simple.

(Would you like to try Flashcard machine? Click here for a set of cards that helps you with MAKE/DO combinations.) 

PENULTIMATE was recently purchased by the Evernote people, and where Evernote works with typed text, Penultimate (which is only available as an app, not via a website) allows you to use your tablet as you would a notebook. The app allows you to create an unlimited number of notebooks (so you could use one for exam vocabulary, another for questions you want to ask your teacher) and you can organize your ideas by colours and topics - this is a great tool for those of you who like to use word maps. Evernote is completely free - but I will say, from experience, that it helps to have a stylus (the pen-like item that draws lines) because those of us with normal-sized fingers will tend to draw big, thick lines, even if we don't want to.

What about you? What apps have you found to be useful? Do you use your apps on a tablet or a smartphone? What apps would you like to see in the future?

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