You’ll be amazed at the sheer volume of FREE learning resources available simply by jumping online. Here are a few of my favorites:

Does Hamlet Have your Head Spinning? Free Alternatives to Cliffs Notes

So, reading the dead white guys gives you a headache — I don’t blame you — Shakespeare gives me hives. For decades, students have been passing their literature classes by shelling out dough for the trusty yellow-and-black striped Cliffs Notes study guides. The Cliffs Notes guide for Hamlet will set you back $5.99. If you read six books in Shakespeare 101 and need Cliffs Notes for all six books, then that’s going to set you back $36. Save your money – the following free sites offer easy-to-read plot summaries for many of the same titles covered by Cliffs Notes: PinkMonkey.com; Shmoop.com; JiffyNotes.com; BookRags.com; BookWolf.com; and WikiSummaries.com.

Remember, some schools have strict policies against using study aids such as Cliffs Notes. Be on the safe side and ask your teacher before using such materials.

Need Spanish Help? Flashcards for Free!

Learning a foreign language is tough, but studies have shown that the repetition that comes from using flashcards is one of the best ways to master a new language. However, you don’t need to shell out money for pre-made flashcards or a tutor. On Flashcardmachine.com, you can create your own online flashcards for free. On Quizlet.com, which is also free, you can create your own flashcard collection or choose from millions of other flashcard collections created by other Quizlet users. Not only is it free, but it has also been shown that making your own flashcards helps you retain material. Mucha Buena!

Sick of Wasting Gas Driving Across Town for Group Projects? Try Skype

Higher education is full of group projects. Engineering programs and business school are especially notorious for team projects. If you find yourself wasting time and money constantly crisscrossing town to meet up with your school group, suggest a virtual meeting using Skype. One of the most popular features of the Internet-based Skype program is the ability to make group (conference) phone calls for free over the Web. If all the members of the group have video capabilities on their computers, then everyone can video conference while they talk. It’s fun, convenient, and best of all free. Go here to sign up.

Pump up your Resume with Free Enrichment Courses

One way to distinguish your resume from the crowd is to take seminars and enrichment courses in your field of study. Sometimes such courses have fees and are only offered live in limited cities, thus requiring participants to incur travel expenses. As an alternative, why not watch free, relevant enrichment programming online through TED, Academic Earth and the Khan Academy. For example, a pre-med student interested in surgery could watch a free talk on ultrasound surgery on TED.com so as to have something relevant to discuss in her upcoming medical school interviews. She could also show her interest in medicine by watching a free Stanford University course called “The Future of Human Health” on academicearth.org. Not only are such learning programs free, but also they show student initiative.

It’s time to hit the computer and start learning!

This has been a guest post by Lisa from Miami, FL
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One thought on “Free Online Educational Tools for Students”

  1. Ea says:

    All these web sites are awesome to use.