Apps in Action: Using iPad as a Revision Tool

With exam season fast approaching, teachers across the land will be hoping and praying that their learners are revising thoroughly for that final push. There are many different ways to revise effectively and many individuals have preferred methods. However, iPad can be a useful and powerful tool to aid revision which complements more traditional methods. Here, I’ll introduce and discuss a couple of apps which may help with revision.

SimpleMind +
Mind mapping has long been an effective revision technique used by many and SimpleMind+ brings this forward into the digital age. Two major advantages of completing digital mind maps is that firstly they will not get crumpled, damaged and lost as easily as their paper counterparts. Additionally, it enables the creator to include many other pieces of external information like photos, videos, websites etc. which can enhance the end product. I have previously blogged about using SimpleMind which illustrates ways in which the app could be used as a revision tool.

mzl.iwfokqgxSimpleMind for iPad (mind mapping) by xpt Software & Consulting B.V. is available for £4.49 on the AppStore/SimpleMind+ (mind mapping) by xpt Software & Consulting B.V. is available for Free on the App Store.

Quilt allows students to create packs of interactive flash cards which are superb for revision. This can be used as a way to revise key words, concepts or case studies. Even pictures can be added to flash cards which can provide a useful visual trigger. There are different ways to use flash cards in the app: familiarise, learn and test. When in Test mode, student responses are timed so progress can be measured. Quizlet gamifies learning by offering learner the option of either completing a matching pairs game the alternatively, a Space Race where students type the answer before the word or image make it to the other side of the screen. If this app is used in class, learners see to love the element of competition and respond well as they attempt to beat their own best time and also that of their friends.

IMG_1043Quizlet – Flashcards & Study Tools by Quizlet LLC is available for Free on the App Store.

Gojimo is a great revision app that was created for students, by a student. It contains a number of quizzes for a range of qualifications, subjects and topics which are even arranged by exam board. The app even conveniently remembers the subjects choosen so learners do not have to scroll through the whole list every time to find what they’re looking for.

When learners first open the app, it will offer a range of qualifications to choose from (view here), then a range of subjects available and finally the exam board. This will ensure the content they are tested on will be relevant to the exam they will be sitting. Once they are here, learners can either choose to have a random set of questions covering the whole subject or to focus on specific topics. Each topic will contain a multiple choice quiz for learners to answer. In addition, the app tracks student progress so that they can see improvement over time and can also identify strengths and areas for improvement.

IMG_1044Gojimo – Revision App for Study & School, including FCSE, A Level, 11 & 13 Plus (with English, Maths, Sciences and more, exam board specific revision guides and quizzes for AQA, Edexcel, OCR & others) by EducationApps Limited is available for Free on the App Store


There are many features within Notability which make it a great tool for revision. Most obvious is its ability to create and collate notes which can include handwriting, typing, photos and drawings. In addition, learners can verbalise and record their revision notes and then listen to them later on. This is something I personally found effective: just think how easy it is to remember lyrics to songs and you’ll understand why!

However revision will only get you so far, being able to put it into practice is vital! Notability has the useful ability to mark up documents, including PDFs. With exam boards providing past papers and mark schemes online, why not encourage students to download these and complete them on their device. It’ll certainly save on printing a booklet full of exam papers. They can even then send this via email to a teacher once completed to receive feedback: it is important for learners to establish where they missed marks as much as where they achieved them. Very powerful!

mzl.idkxvrfqNotability by Ginger Labs is available for £2.29 on the App Store

iTunes U
iTunes U has a tonne of great courses containing some fantastic resources to aid revision including images, videos, audio files, websites, articles and a load more. Courses created by internationally renowned institutions, as well as those created by Khan Academy and The Stephen Perse Foundation are particularly informative and a great place to start. Furthermore, you may also find a range of courses developed by schools which include content specific to the exam board that learners are studying.
(Image Credit: Apple)

IMG_1047iTunes U by Apple is available for Free on the App Store

As well as the free courses available on iTunes U, iBooks offers a range of reasonably priced textbooks produced by top publishers. These are fantastic as the content is tailored to certain exam boards. Furthermore, these are far better than traditional textbooks because of the built in interactive features including embedded video, 3D images, image galleries and multi-touch review activities. iBooks also enables learners to take notes more effectively:

– Students can use their finger as a highlighter by swiping over a section within any iBooks textbook. Tapping a highlighted section reveals a colour palette appears, allowing learners to change colours or quickly add a note:
(Image Credit: Apple)

– They can even switch to Notes view which collates all of their highlighted sections and notes in one place. iBooks even has the ability to turn these into study cards, useful for revising key words and concepts:
(Image Credit: Apple)

You could even create your own interactive revision guide for students using a free Mac application, iBooks Author!

IMG_1054iBooks by Apple is preinstalled on iOS devices

Revision techniques are often something that is quite unique to individuals. Whilst there are many common methods which are effective, ultimately learners are likely to pick and choose the methods that they feel are most effective to them. With that in mind, due to the sheer variety of apps available on iPad, I think it makes a highly effective tool for exam revision that can be adapted to suit everyone. Just having everything in one place and knowing that things won’t get lost makes organisation more effective! However, it should be noted that whilst it is an effective tool, it is also important for learners to be disciplined. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other online services are often just a couple of clicks away and can be distracting, so it’s about ensuring that focus is maintained. Finally, be aware, especially here in the UK, when citing certain online revision resources as they are often tailored to specific exam boards. Where possible, try and source material linked to the exam board for the qualification.

Have you come across any effective apps to help with revision? If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

*all prices and links correct at the time of publication and are subject to change


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