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writing for godot

10 Essential Academic Writing Tools for Students

Written by keswood   
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 21:48

The world is getting more competitive. That means that getting better grades is ever more vital. Fortunately, today we’ve got tools that our parents never had. Using them will even the playing field a little. Here we’ll describe a bunch. Then all you’ve got to do is figure out which one is best for you.

And the best part? They’re (mostly) free! (Yes, there is some overlap with our recent 18 tools to rock your blog content, but how couldn’t there be? Writing great blogs and doing well at university have quite some overlap.)


The last thing you want when you hand in an essay is for it to be full of grammar and spelling mistakes. Grammarly can help you with that. It’s a freemium service that you can install right onto your computer. Even the basic version picks up more mistakes than word ever will.

Hemingway App

While we’re on the subject of writing, make sure you check out the hemingway app. This one, rather than pointing out grammar mistakes, points out ways that you can make your writing easier and more straightforward.

And that is something every professor will appreciate.


Once you’ve started using mind mapping tools like Freemind (which as the name suggests is free), you’ll wonder how you ever did without. They’re great for everything. Want to work out the structure of an essay? Then mind map it. Put the main themes as nodes and then add your arguments, your quotes and whatever else as subnodes. You can easily move things around, allowing you to figure out the order you want to put it in.

It can even function as an advanced to-do tool, where you can keep track of what you have to do and what other people you’re working with have on their plate.

Cite This For Me

Sure, you could keep track of every citation on your own, but why would you when you can get them to do it for you? Cite This For Me can cite in Harvard, APA and MLA, which means you don’t have to pay attention to where all those stupid commas and periods go.

Grab My Essay

Sometimes you can’t do it alone. Sometimes the deadline is just too close. In that case, get a writing service, like Grab My Essay, involved. They can do the research, help you edit important texts or – when worse comes to worst – write the whole thing for you.

Sure they’ll cost you a bit, but they’re not that expensive and if that means the difference between passing or failing a course, I know what I’d do.


Like most people in this world, you probably think Powerpoint is the gold standard for presentation design. In that case, you’re wrong. There are, in fact, better packages out there that can give you some awesome effects to dazzle your professors with.

Prezi is a fantastic tool that looks great, works intuitively, and gives you presentations that have real character. It is absolutely worth checking out.


You have to have Dropbox. You don’t know how many times it’s saved my life. It’s a fantastic tool that makes sure you’ve always got your files within reach, no matter what machine you’re accessing from.

It doesn’t end there, either, as you can create shared folders that a whole bunch of people can access and even make files available to people that don’t have dropbox, simply by providing them a link.

Google Scholar

The definitive source for finding whatever articles you may need, I know for a fact that even most academics prefer Google Scholar to other searching algorithms. And how couldn’t they? It’s the power of Google applied in the academic sphere.

And you know what? Not only can you find nearly every article on there, there are often links to free versions that are to be found online. That means that even if you don’t have access to the most advanced library of academic papers, for some reason, you’ll still be able to get a big chunk of your papers for free and with the click of a mouse.


The great thing about LanguageTool is that it doesn’t just point out mistakes in English, but in German, French Polish and 20 more languages as well. And that’s just fantastic if you’ve got to work in several languages (which is more something that people outside of the US have to worry about, admittedly).

As an added bonus, it’s better at finding mistakes than most basic spell checkers, so even if you’re only working in one language, it’s still a great choice.


Sometimes it’s hard not to allow yourself to get distracted. In that case, install something like SelfControl. This program will allow you to decide what hours  you can’t access common websites like Facebook, Twitter and Netflix, so that you can actually get on with the work you’ve got to do.

Sure, you can keep yourself from doing those things, but why burn your willpower on that when you could instead use it to actually keep writing the task you’re on? And then, when the time is up, you can use all of those programs again and really enjoy the new Orange Is the New Black

Last words

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are dozens upon dozens of tools out there similar to these. You just have to look for them. And use them. To not do so is to try to get through school with half your brain tied behind your back.

These programs will make your life easier and your grades better. And as most of them are free, what’s not to love? your social media marketing partner
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