So, I think I might need more than a pen and paper: a student's guide to the best study apps

Blog // So, I think I might need more than a pen and paper: A Student’s Guide to the Best Study Apps

By Dinelle Hettiarachchi

There are a lot of study/note-taking platforms on the market nowadays and it can seem overwhelming trying to navigate which ones are actually worth the time and money. No one wants to be spending their time investing in a note-taking app that is frustrating to grasp when time is precious, especially if you have treatment plans to write up and assignments due. Physiotherapy and other allied health courses not only require detailed anatomical knowledge, but the ability to clinically reason as well. So, today I’ve minimised the time YOU have to spend looking for the best apps and compiled a list of some of the life-saving tools you can use throughout and beyond your course.

(In no particularly order, although I may have saved the best saved for last… )

1. Notion

Notion is a stunning, easy-to-use note-taking platform that allows you to take detailed notes and compile them in subject folders. Notion can take a good hour to learn the “ins and out” of, but is worth investing the time in! Have you been on placement and forgot the healing timeline for fractures – no worries, you can access notion on your phone as well (granted during an appropriate time on placement), as it allows you to sync across a variety of devices. A picture tells a thousand words, so here’s an example of how I have used notion in my theory classes! You can pay for greater PDF upload, but I’m currently using the free subscription and it works a treat. Notion can also be used to organise your life – with great templates of journals, budgeting, and class notes, in fact I’ve drafted this entire blog post on notion!


2. GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes 5 is predominantly used on iPad/tablet devices and allows you to write hand-written notes/diagrams. If you’re environment-conscious it’s also a great alternative! If you’re university provides study guides, pre-work booklets, etc – it can be such a handy tool to be able to hand-write answers instead of printing off paper or converting into word documents to use on your laptop. For those who know me, know that I swear by summary notes and what a better way than by having a digital copy of one-page summary notes to have quick access during exams, instead of them getting lost in the endless void of folders! While it can sync with iCloud, you often need to pay for more iCloud storage to sync to your laptop – so that can be a downside considering the app itself is $7.99 (AUS), so in non-placement scenarios it’s a great note-taking option!

Goodnotes 5

3. Complete Anatomy ’22

Complete Anatomy is an app that allows you to have visual access to human muscles, bones and body systems! Sometimes it can hard to imagine how all the individual muscles/muscle groups we learn function within our body that’s were Complete Anatomy comes in hand – not only are you able to visually see origins/insertions/neurovascular supply but also the movement of each muscle as well! Subscription to platform also offer student prices (with introductory one-year plan of $55, then $103.20/year after the first year). It’s basically a winner during anatomy-classes and saved my grades during 2nd year! 

Complete Anatomy '22

4. Google Calendar

One of the most over-looked organisation tools, in my opinion. Google Calendar not only lets you sync your life events but university events in one, you can plan out your day and set reminders! As physio students, it’s important to try and stay on top of things (while that’s not always possible, it’s a good goal to have!). On placement especially, time management is everything, so try and practice maximising your time and staying organised!

Google Calendar

5. Learning Physiotherapy

What?! Learning Physiotherapy?! I did say, I’d save the best for last . Learning Physiotherapy is a platform that offers quizzes, case studies and exams that are physiotherapy-specific! Active-recall is proven to be one of the most effective and efficient methods of studying. Instead of making quizzes for you and a friend – which can be fun and helpful, but time-consuming, LP provides access to up-to-date knowledge on musculoskeletal, neurology, cardiorespiratory, paediatrics and so much more. You also have access to the LP community on Facebook where we share articles, placement tips and tricks as well. Clinical reasoning is also something that I had trouble “studying” for but with the case studies I found myself gaining more and more confidence! LP also cheap as chips with it’s membership price starting at $9.99USD/month (~13AUD), and with a number of affiliates on the physio side of instragram (or physiogram, as I like to call it) you might also be snag a discount as well!


Studying used to be as simple as rocking up to class with a pen and paper. Although you don’t need all of the above to achieve amazing grades, they will certainly help out along the way!

You can check out Dinelle’s Instagram account here.

Learning Physiotherapy

Written by Dinelle Hettiarachchi

Student, LaTrobe University, Australia

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