Study Habits: App Gets Students Organized & Motivated

After testing the app for a month with two classes of students, I can endorse Study Habits as the best student productivity app for iOS. Compared to its competitors, Study Habits provides the richest array of features and augments its planning capabilities with proven study aids.

The app enables students to manage their time, monitor their GPAs, and adopt effective study habits. Thanks to its educational-psychology-based learning and motivation strategies, Study Habits is unparalleled in the productivity app market. Read on to find out what Study Habits can do and why no other student planning app compares.

Image via iTunes.


User-Friendliness (4/5)

Learning all the app’s features only took about five minutes and was very intuitive. While the interface is clean and easy to navigate, its lack of color contrast diminishes its visual appeal relative to that of its competitors, which made it lose a point.

Teaching (4/5)

Study Habits distinguishes itself as the only student-planner app that integrates motivational and learning strategies to teach healthier study habits. The only way that the app might improve is by citing specific examples of the suggested learning strategies.

Support (5/5)

I found all the answers that I needed in the FAQ section of the app, which you can also find on the creator’s site. For more specific questions, the app makes it easy to send an email to tech support.


I began the review process by downloading two leading, paid student productivity apps: Study Habits v. 1.0.5 ($0.99) and iStudiez Pro v. 1.8.1 ($2.99). The apps are available only for iOS devices, including both iPhone and iPad. I had two classes — 60 students total — download the apps on their classroom iPads or iPhones for those who had them.  For 30 days, my students and I tested and compared the apps’ performance on the two devices. I then reviewed each app for its pedagogical benefits, ease of use, and student appeal.

Study Habits Review


Reginald Laigo, a Doctor of Education, created Study Habits after he taught a course at USC on acclimating to college life and becoming a “self-regulated” learner. After securing funds from a Kickstarter campaign, Laigo sought to create a student planner app that goes a step beyond calendars and to-do lists. He wanted to design an app that actually “teaches effective study strategies, empowering [students] to learn how to manage their time.”

The result is Study Habits, which the developer calls the first productivity app to apply scientific learning and motivational strategies to teach students how to study smarter. The planning feature allows students to input assignments and schedule reminders for due dates, exams, and so on. The app syncs with your calendar, making it easy to transfer important events. Finally, the app instills healthy study habits by allowing students to apply any of 36 study strategies derived from educational psychology that address six critical areas: memory, stress/anxiety, reading comprehension, time management, writing, and motivation.

How Do You Use It?

Image via Flickr by English106

When you open the app, you’ll first need to create a semester for your various classes. To enter new assignments or calendar events, you click on a course for that semester. For each assignment, you can enter the due date and time, priority (low, medium, or high), an optional reminder alert, and type (homework, essay, project, exam, or quiz).

The last option that you’ll see on the add-assignment screen is what really sets Study Habits apart: “Steps to Complete Assignment.” Clicking that option allows you to describe each step (e.g., read chapter one two weeks before exam), prioritize it, and set a reminder. The most appealing feature, however, is “Use Study Strategies,” which allows students to select any of 36 options.

For instance, if I created an assignment for an upcoming quiz that required a lot of memorization, I could choose the “Boost Your Memory” option. Within that option are nine specific learning strategies to help me, such as “teach someone what you’ve learned” and “create acronyms.” My only complaint is that some of the strategies could use an example to prompt students; for instance, the strategy “turn the chapter headings into questions before reading” might cite a few headings and appropriate study questions.

Is It Useful for Students?

When he conceived of Study Habits, Dr. Laigo knew that the world did not need another generic student productivity or calendar app. Students who want to improve their study habits need more than electronic to-do lists and calendar alerts. They need guidance and concrete strategies to teach them how to study and manage their time effectively. Study Habits sets itself apart because it doesn’t just give students tools; it teaches them how to apply them.

The chronic procrastinators in my classes appreciated study strategies like “study for five minutes to prevent procrastination, then try to study longer.” I had several students tell me that they continued studying after the five minutes were up because they were “in the zone.” Likewise, the students prone to stress and anxiety applied tips like self-imposing deadlines a day or two before assignments are actually due, which eliminated the frantic period preceding a due date.

Runner-Up Review: iStudiez Pro

Also a student productivity app, iStudiez Pro is Study Habits’ closest competitor. Like with Study Habits, students can organize their class schedule and assignments, track grades, set alerts for class sessions and calendar events, and back up data via email. Where iStudiez Pro falls short, though, is in offering little more than a school-specific calendar and to-do list. I don’t see the benefit of using iStudiez over a standard calendar feature, but Study Habits offers innumerable features beyond basic planning. To draw an analogy, iStudiez gives students the keys to the car while Study Habits teaches them to drive.

Other Study Habits Reviews

The few online reviews of Study Habits available are resoundingly positive. For example, Study Habits was a finalist for the “Best App Ever” award for high school and college students. Similarly, in the iTunes App Store, Study Habits remains the “Top-Rated Productivity App,” with an average rating of four out of five stars. User reviews note that the app makes organization simple and quick, and one user wrote how much the study strategies helped him as a student with ADHD.

Study Habits is by far the most pedagogically beneficial student productivity app on the market. Study Habits doesn’t just give students calendars and lists; it also gives students strategies to study smarter and succeed academically. No other app offers Study Habits’ unique blend of productivity functions and research-based learning tools.

Anne Moody Elliott graduated with degrees in English and Education from Bryn Mawr too long ago to warrant specifics. After teaching high-school English for several years, she returned to Penn State to complete a master’s degree in English. She now teaches 5th-, 6th-, and 7th-grade English in Lancaster, PA. When she is not crusading to save the English language from text-message butchery and prose limited to 140 characters, she enjoys kickboxing, freelance writing, and spending time with her two Greyhound rescues. Even after ten years together, she still insists her husband is the Mr. Darcy to her Elizabeth and always will be.


  1. Suzanne Jackson

    January 21, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Please stop reviewing apps that are only available on one system. If it isn’t available on Android AND iOS it should not be worth your review space (or wasting my time getting excited about an app to only see my students can’t use this). It’s a disservice to the reader to only include half the world.

    • Leah Levy

      January 21, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Thanks for your feedback, Suzanne. You make a valid point and one we will keep in mind for the future, particularly as we add more content about Google Classroom. You should see more Android-appropriate apps soon. Thanks for reading.

    • Ross

      January 21, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      By that logic, Edudemic should only post articles if they’re also translated into Mandarin Chinese. I have an iPad and I would not have known about this app if this wasn’t posted. Rather than not review entirely, why not just add (iOS only) somewhere in the title or abstract on the front page?

      • Leah Levy

        January 22, 2015 at 7:40 am

        That’s a good suggestion, Ross, and an easy fix. We do think posting iOS and Android-only apps is fine, but we also take Suzanne’s point to heart and think there should be a mix so that both platforms are adequately covered.

        There was an error in the initial post that stated the app was appropriate for both platforms (it’s not, it’s only for iOS) and I think that might have added to reader frustration levels. We’ve updated the intro to reflect this.

  2. OPGWS

    January 22, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing this such a great and useful information.

  3. Brian Silberberg

    January 23, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Using great apps to change how we learn is one of the great new frontiers of education. One that deserves to get some attention is Books That Grow, which can provide a library of diverse materials, which would cost a classroom astronomically if using traditional print books, but could be made far more affordable when using the app. In addition it can help divide texts by reading level, helping accommodate different students with different needs more easily than could be done with only traditional means. Something that absolutely should be checked out by those interested in the future of education:

  4. Annie Che

    February 6, 2015 at 5:30 am

    An informative article, if there an app that could combine student-plenner and contain pedagogical benefits? It is like combining several available app on different systems. Probably in a few years the system of education could include such independent paid and unpaid student productivity apps for easier work for administrative department of institutions and universities.

  5. John

    February 14, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Good article!