Degree In Sight

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There are thousands of apps designed to save you time and keep you organized. gradPSYCH reviews a few programs that many students say they can't live without.

Dragon Dictation

What It Does

A hands-free solution to typing out long emails and text messages on the go, this voice recognition app types as you talk. Students may also find it handy for taking down patient notes. The application's notebook feature is great for getting writing and research ideas down on paper.

Users praise the app's ease of use and accuracy — the app's developers even claim that the speech recognition improves over time. Drawbacks include the lack of an autosave feature, which makes taking a phone call in the middle of a dictation a risky move. A strong Wi-Fi or 3G connection is also required for the application to work.

Cost

Free

Bottom Line

For cash-strapped students, this app is one of the best out there for voice recognition.

Compatible With

iPhone, iPad

Dropbox

What It Does

Dropbox eliminates the hassle of manually uploading files to an online Web storage program. Once you install Dropbox on your computer, any photo, document or video you save to Dropbox saves to all of your Dropbox-enabled devices. Dropbox can also store email attachments and photos on smartphones or other devices that don't have a large file-storage system. However, the app's security isn't airtight: The company has admitted to security breaches in the past.

Cost

Free for up to 2 GB of space

Bottom Line

"You'll never leave home without an important file again," says Lee Moore, a doctoral student in counseling psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Compatible With

Android, BlackBerry, iPhone

Evernote

What It Does

Like a Post-it note system for the net generation, Evernote allows students to draft to-do lists, take meeting and class notes, and snap photos of whiteboards and books. Users can also attach documents, PDFs and Web links to their digital sticky notes.

The app's sync feature ensures access to your notes and files on any computer or mobile device, and notes are searchable by keyword. Students shouldn't plan to spend hours working on a document from their phones, though — the lack of a physical keyboard can be challenging for scrolling through large research documents.

Cost

Free

Bottom Line

"Simply the best note-taking application there is," says Moore.

Compatible With

Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, PalmOS, Windows Mobile

Google Docs Mobile

What It Does

The Google Docs mobile app allows users to search, view, edit and share documents on the go. Most users agree that this is a well-designed, scaled-down alternative to QuickOffice Pro. Editing can be troublesome at times, however, and the app does not allow for comment insertion, which can make it difficult for graduate students to get feedback from advisers or colleagues.

Cost

Free

Bottom Line

A great document viewer that also works for minor editing.

Compatible With

Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile

Mendeley

What It Does

The closest thing to hiring your own personal research assistant, Mendeley is a Web-based application that helps students collect, organize, cite and share research. Users can search the app's open catalog of more than 30 million research papers, import references from other online research databases and upload journal articles, books and other resources, including PDFs, to create a personal library. Students can also make and join existing research groups and share research libraries, bibliographic data, notes and discussion threads. Mendeley users can also drop citations preformatted in APA Style into their bibliography.

Cost

Free

Bottom Line

"An easy-to-use mobile version of the most useful research software out there," says Moore.

Compatible With

iPhone, iPad

Notability

What It Does

This app allows you to handwrite your notes on your smartphone or tablet. Students can also type notes, draw freehand, and capture graphs and pictures to add to any note.

Notability's audio feature allows students to record a lecture or presentation as they take notes. When reviewing notes, users can tap a word and the app will play the audio recording of what was being said into the recorder at the moment they typed that word.

Cost

$0.99

Bottom Line

"One of the best apps I've found for organizing literature for my dissertation," says Marti Mason, a clinical psychology doctoral candidate at the Georgia School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University.

Compatible With

iPhone, iPad

Quickoffice Pro

What It Does

The software allows users to create and edit Microsoft Word documents, presentations and spreadsheets from anywhere.

Quickoffice Pro can also connect to online storage services such as Dropbox, Google Docs and Mobileme so you don't have to worry about file compatibility issues or connecting your phone via a USB port. It can be difficult to manage documents with large pictures and graphics on such a tiny screen, however.

Cost

$14.99

Bottom Line

"A must-have for getting things done on the go," says Shawna Black, a psychology graduate student at Queens College.

Compatible With

Android, iPhone, iPad.

Amy Novotney is a writer in Chicago.