I’m an upper-year university student with a full course load, a part-time job and a few different freelance writing jobs that I hold down. I really struggle to keep my life organized. Even a few accidentally wasted hours can put me a day behind schedule. Before I got my iPhone and my iPad, my life was filled with sticky notes, notebooks, pens that I always lost, and a complete and total lack of sanity.
Since getting my iPad and my iPhone, my life has become more organized and much easier. I work twice as much and twice as hard — and I’ve become twice as productive. My income has skyrocketed, and I owe it all to becoming more organized. A big chunk of the solution has been iStudiez Pro, a universal app for all your devices. Let’s find out more after the jump.
Complementing iOS Apps You Already Have
I’m traditionally not a huge fan of apps that ape the Calendar function or the Reminders app on my devices. I see their place for many people, but they’re not meant for me. I use Reminders to set due dates for freelance writing assignments and Calendar so I can make sure I get to my classes and my job on time. Before iStudiez Pro, I never felt I had an app that would complement that experience in a way that could help me with my studies.
iStudiez Pro does exactly that. Although it can ape the Calendar function of your iPhone/iPad, its features are much more intricate. I’ve set mine to import multiple calendars directly from the stock app (including my work and personal calendars). I could have also imported my school calendar, but because I wanted to make sure that iStudiez knew as much as possible about my education, I created a new calendar within the app and gave it as much information as I could about each course.
The app also allows you to input your class’ schedules, professors’ names and contact information, and associated assignments and exam dates. You can colour code your classes as well, so if you’re looking at a list of upcoming assignments, the coloured dots beside them visually indicate what course they are a part of. It organizes your courses by semester and allows you to program any holidays ahead of time, so you know that come Thanksgiving, the app won’t notify you of any upcoming due dates and you can actually take the day off.
Once everything is integrated into the app, the app will display your monthly “events” schedule (both your classes and your imported events from Calendar) and your assignments by due date. On the iPhone, the monthly calendar should be familiar to anybody who uses the stock Calendar app. The iPad’s interface is tweaked for the larger screen, which makes it a little bit more pleasurable in my opinion, but both are extremely usable and provide very enjoyable experiences.
Lots Of Features
The iStudiez Team were smart enough to make sure that everything works exactly how you’d expect it: tapping on a professor’s email address in the app opens up Mail and has you immediately composing an email. Tapping an office phone number immediately makes a call. It sounds like such a minor thing, but I haven’t seen any other app that allows me to track the information I have for my courses and get me easy access to my professors this quickly. Just about any information related to class planning can be done here.
The iPad has an Instructors button in the main interface, while the iPhone has a section for Instructors within the Planner tab. The slight differences between the interfaces on the two come back down to screen size. While the iPhone app is a little handier on the go, I found myself using the iPad version whenever I could because it just feels a lot nicer to use.
On that note, iStudiez Pro offers iCloud syncing that works really well. The app is also available for OS X, so you never miss a beat no matter what device you happen to be using.
The Finer Details
iStudiez also allows you to input your grades on assignments. I felt this is one area where the app really fell short for me; it adds a layer of complication that didn’t complement the app’s otherwise simple interface. The other (and much more significant) problem is that the app asks for a grade on an assignment as soon as you check off that you’ve done it. This is useless. I’m lucky if I ever hear about how I did on an assignment; even getting it back within two weeks is a miracle. The app does allow you to retroactively add grades, but unless all your assignments are given the same grade weighting, you probably won’t see a point.
The app allows you to set notifications and badges to remind you whenever something is due (I usually have mine set to remind me twenty-four hours in advance). You can choose a priority rating for each assignment, which is handy when multiple are due in a day. iStudiez Pro has local language support for twenty-five languages (which is a huge achievement for any app, in my opinion). Apart from the problems I had with grades (which is admittedly a feature I wouldn’t use even if it did work properly), I can’t think of a thing they overlooked on either of the iOS platforms.
Some Little Things
At the time of this writing, the iPhone version of iStudiez Pro has not been updated for the 4-inch iPhone 5 screen. The developer has assured me this update will be available soon, hopefully by early November.
There are also some significant differences in the user interfaces between the iPad and iPhone versions of the app. I want to stress again that this is a good thing and that both of these apps are perfectly optimized for their respective screen sizes. It’s a universal download, so you’ll only have to pay once.
Finally, this is a massive app — not in file size, but in its sheer scope. There is no way to get into everything the app is capable of in a review without going over the word count limit. With that in mind, I think it’s necessary to point out that the app’s website has several handy guides on getting the most out of the app.
If you’re a starving student or a parent trying to figure out how to make sure your kid gets through the seventh grade, I can’t recommend iStudiez Pro highly enough. It suffers from a little bit of feature bloat, but in this app’s case, one student’s feature bloat is another student’s paradise. Since I started using the app, my grades have gone up, my productivity has more than doubled, and my schedule has become much easier to manage. Even planning vacations got a lot easier when I could see where the gaps were in between assignments and work.
iStudiez Pro comes with my absolute highest recommendation, and it’s a no-brainer download for anybody in school.