How to use your smartphone for effective revision

Your smartphone doesn't have to be the kryptonite to your superhuman revision efforts. Use it in the right way and it can actually help you. Here's how...

Some of the most handy smartphone features for revision come built right in, like note-taking and recording functions. They're handy when you're in the middle of a revision session and you want to get something down quickly (that you'll be sure to have with you later), or when you're out and about and have an idea / question that you want to explore when you return to revising.

Note and recording functions are also great for revising with friends. You can take down any good ideas and tips that you get from each other, or you can just record your study session and go back to it later to review things (don't worry, we all hate how we sound on recordings).

Beat your mind into revision submission

The procrastination demon awaits you at every step of revision, tugging your mind off into all kinds of unhelpful places. What even is Irn-Bru? Do whales dream? Are we absolutely certain Arya killed the waif? (Note: this is not us giving you permission to Google those things. Focus!)

One effective way to lock your brain into a revision rhythm is with, well, rhythm. The right kind of music can help you stay on track for hours. Your phone can help you build and play the revision playlist you need, and if it's different to your usual tunes – try something instrumental and / or electronic, or a curated Spotify collection – you'll know that when the music starts, it's study time.

Stick to your schedule

There are lots of fancy timer apps out there and they can be very useful, but sometimes you don't need anything more than the one that comes with your phone. Make a revision planner that works for you, split your sessions into manageable chunks (air traffic controllers can't focus for more than a few hours at a time, so you shouldn't try to either) and use your phone to keep you on schedule.

Gamify your focus

Sticking with the subject of focus, it's a tricky thing. There's a reason why countless books have been written to help us stop getting – ooh, butterfly!

Sorry. Where were we? Yes, focus is hard. Your phone can help with games like Forest, which lets you plant a seed that then grows into a tree over a fixed period of time – as long as you stay in the app. If you use your phone for anything else the tree dies, and who wants to be a tree killer? Leave the app open, grow cute virtual forests, stay on task. Win.

Manage your stress

Look, revision is dreadful. Deadlines, timetables, late nights, insomnia, eating all the biscuits, crying, eating all the biscuits while's miserable at times, and it's no wonder that we all find it stressful.

With that in mind, looking after your physical and mental health when revising is as essential as the revision itself, otherwise you'll look like an extra from the Walking Dead on the day of the exam. Your phone (or smartwatch / fitness tracker) can help with little things like telling you when to stand up, or prompting you to take more steps, but it can play a more active role too.

You could use it to help with an exercise programme, for example, via YouTube or Insta, or with a dedicated fitness app like Runkeeper. Or you could try a mindfulness app like Calm or Headspace, which millions of people use to stay relaxed.

And sometimes? Your phone can help you the most by being left at home. Go out. Get some fresh air. someone with it

There are lots of revision-specific apps out there, but your phone can help you study just by being itself. Call your friends, get on a group chat, test each other. It's a totally legitimate way of revising that will help you find where the gaps in your knowledge are – just don't make it the only thing you do.

Finally, let your normal life back in when revision is done for the day. Be social. Post pictures. Watch videos. Downtime matters, and your phone can help with that too. It can even tell you when to do the single most important thing you can do to cultivate a revision-ready mind: sleep.

There you have it. Use it right and your phone can be a great asset to your studies, so hit play, start growing that tree, and head towards exam success. No superpowers required.