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Why You Should Invest in an iPad to Enhance Your Studying

Thinking about getting an iPad for college? Here’s why you should.

Photo by Marek Levák on Unsplash

If you’re in college or high school, you’ve most likely come across many students using iPad Pros if you don’t already have one. I mean, what’s not to be drawn to? It’s sleek, high-tech, and lightweight — the perfect gadget to carry around in your backpack.

The biggest problem: cost.

iPad pros are extremely expensive, costing anywhere from $700 to $1000 depending on the model.

While iPad pros are getting all the hype, many people are unaware of the iPad 6 (2018) and 7 (2020), both of which support the Apple pencil.

I, like many, was pretty skeptical about converting to a paperless setup. It seemed cool but unnecessary. I was perfectly happy taking my notes on paper, and I strongly believed that I would never get used to the feeling of digital writing.

That all changed when I received an iPad 6 about a year ago at the start of my second semester as a high school senior and I ended up loving it. My study habits didn’t change, but my study efficiency certainly did in addition to learning effectiveness in class.

If you’ve thought about purchasing an iPad or are curious as to why you should, then keep reading.

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I think we can mostly agree that cost is a big reason why people are hesitant to make the leap to a paperless lifestyle. As I mentioned earlier, iPad pros are very, very expensive with costs ranging anywhere from $700 to over $1000. If you can afford one, great — they’re very powerful and you should definitely go for it if you can and don’t mind the smaller size.

On the contrary, the price for the latest iPad (7th gen) is only $329, and better, the iPad 6 is even cheaper with prices starting from $230. Buying used ones off craigslist is also a good option, and is something my family does pretty often.

To my knowledge, both are pretty similar except the iPad 7 is 10.5 inches whereas the iPad 6 is 9.7 inches. Though a larger screen is nicer, it’s not a huge difference, so if you’d prefer to save $100, go for the iPad 6.

In addition to the iPad, you’ll definitely want the Apple pencil. The iPads are compatible only with the 1st gen of Apple pencils, which they sell for $99 on their site. You can definitely find cheaper ones on eBay or craigslist, so I recommend checking those out if you’d like. Just beware of scams and be sure you’re not buying damaged products.

Some additional costs you may want to consider:

  • iPad case: ~$12 on Amazon
  • Apple pencil sleeve: ~$6 on Amazon
  • Apps

Your total cost would go up to about $450 (at max) if you purchase the iPad 7 or just $350 with the iPad 6.

It’s not cheap per se, but it’s significantly cheaper than the iPad Pro. And for the amount you’ll be using it as a student, it’ll definitely be worth it.

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Efficient and effective notetaking

Notetaking is probably the main thing you’ll be using your iPad for as a student, and you’re probably wondering what it’s like and what the benefits are to digital notetaking.

There really are only two ways to take notes — by handwriting or typing. I personally prefer handwriting, as I remember information better that way, but whichever one is better really depends on you.

What I love about taking notes on my iPad is that I get the benefits of both handwriting and digital notetaking. I get the same information retention of handwriting as well as being able to store all my notes on the cloud (not to mention saving paper).

I do want to mention that writing on an iPad definitely feels different, but you get used to it pretty quickly and the Apple pencil works wonderfully.

Additionally, there are some really great note-taking apps with tons of built-in functionalities.

Here are some that I recommend:

  • Notability — $8.99
  • GoodNotes 5 — $7.99
  • OneNote — Free

Record lectures and write simultaneously

I use notability, and one thing I really like about it is that as I’m taking notes, I can record the lecture and later playback the audio and see exactly what my professor was saying when I wrote a particular thing down. This is extremely useful especially if you’re a slow writer like me and have trouble noting everything down in time or sometimes have trouble understanding what you wrote.

Write on lecture slides

I’ve also benefitted a lot from being able to import lecture slides directly into my note-taking app as it allows me to focus more on what the professor is saying rather than trying to write down everything from the screen. This way, I have the slides and my own notes all in one place.

Diagrams and images

Most note-taking apps support the functionality of being able to drag images and diagrams directly from external applications like Safari or Chrome. This is especially useful for some classes like biology or chemistry. Not only that but drawing diagrams yourself is significantly easier with auto shape tools.

Great for practice problems

I often import practice exams, worksheets, and other resources into my notetaking apps that allow me to write directly on them without wasting paper or printing time. Not only that, but I can very easily redo them by erasing the document over and over again.

I spend pages and pages on my iPad doing math problems or scribbling down diagrams or algorithmic ideas for my CS classes constantly, so I like that I can do so without wasting paper and can simply delete them when I’m done.

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Everything is in one place

Obviously you have all your notes in one place, but what else?

All my course material is accessible from my iPad.

Textbooks, worksheets, syllabi, you name it. This small device gives me access to everything I need whenever I need it.

As I’m taking notes or doing a worksheet I imported, I can always refer to my textbook or other notes right from my device. With multitasking capabilities, I can also have two apps side by side, which allows me to search the internet or use other apps simultaneously.

Photo by Omar Roque on Unsplash

It will save you from back pains

With everything in one place, you’ll realize that your backpack will feel very empty — which is good!

I remember weighing my high school backpack prior to getting my iPad to find that it weighed a hefty 50 pounds. That’s really, really heavy.

To give you an idea of the difference, this is what was in my backpack before my iPad:

  • 6 spiral notebooks (1 for each class)
  • 6 folders (1 for each class)
  • 2–3 textbooks
  • Laptop
  • Pencil case
  • 2 books

Don’t ask how I managed to fit all that — I honestly don’t know.

Here’s what I had after:

  • iPad
  • Laptop
  • 6 folders
  • Pencil case

With all my books and notebooks out of the picture, my backpack felt like nothing and it did wonders for my 18-year-old back.

Now that I’m in college and we no longer get handouts, I only need 1 folder for emergency paper. It’s great especially now that I have to walk 8–12 minutes between my classes all day long.

Ultimately, an iPad is just a tool that will help enhance your studying. It definitely isn’t something you need and isn’t for everyone.

But if it’s something you’re considering or have been wanting for a while and needed more insight into why you should invest in an iPad, I hope this article helped.

All these benefits are true not only for iPad Pros but also for regular iPads. If iPad Pros are out of your price range, I highly recommend the 6th or 7th gen as I absolutely love mine and plan on using it for the remainder of college and beyond.



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