It’s going to be the start of your 3 to 5 years of University. During lectures or tutorials, you may see people typing away on their computers or writing on their papers, iPads or touchscreen laptops to take notes. Even though most of the resources are uploaded in advance, for our reference and understanding, some of us learn and recap better by doing annotations and taking notes.


In this edition of the Uni Freshies Guide, we will be providing some criteria to decide if you should buy an iPad for University.  


1. Convenience


If you love to travel light and love having everything together in one place, use an iPad. If you are also using a MacBook or an iPhone, you can easily sync your notes on the iCloud Drive or simply AirDrop your files to your other Apple devices. Additionally, the Siri dictation function could help you to dictate your notes during lectures or tutorials. You can scroll, insert photographs, toggle between apps, highlight and insert text with certain apps. With all that being said, you will need an iPad, Apple Pencil and a user-friendly note-taking app.


If you draw, an iPad could also make it easier to do your sketches!


Some days, I really love going to school with just an iPad because it’s so convenient and light. It still amazes me when everything I need for the day can be reached within a few taps on my iPad. Also, it’s a lot easier on my back and legs when I climb up the stairs. (Wow, I sound old)


2. Additional Accessories



An iPad alone may not be enough. As mentioned earlier, if you need to write out your notes, you may have to get an iPad Pencil. Another recommendation is that if you need to type out your notes and do your essays, you may need to bring around a keyboard too! I purchased an iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard from Taobao. (See image above)


If you are planning to use your iPad for games, storing lots of files and images aside from watching lectures and annotating PDFs, do take into consideration the storage space you would need too.


3. Software


Some software may not be compatible for iPads, so students with modules with special software requirements (e.g. for Computing), please take note! Also, I felt that using software like Excel on my laptop was more convenient.


4. Multi-tasking


Source: NUS School of Computing CS1010S Lecture Notes


As seen in the images above, iPads support multi-tasking through functions such as Slide Over (Left) or Picture in Picture mode (Right). Not only that, iPads also support split screen functions for many apps. With these functions available, one is able to quickly access (and hide) other apps. Sometimes, I will watch a video, shrink it to the Picture in Picture mode, annotate directly on my notes, and thereafter, return to the original video size.


5. Your Method of Learning



If you feel that you learn and remember better by writing on paper, an iPad may not be necessary. Some friends of mine prefer to learn by writing on paper whilst others use iPads. Other friends also use their iPads at home to do their readings, or for revision. I mostly use my iPad to help me take notes during lectures and to do practices for certain modules which require more trial and error. It really depends on your learning style and how you plan to use your iPad.


6. Battery


According to Apple, iPads have a long-standing battery life of up to 10 hours1, which is long enough to last a few classes and/or self-study sessions.


I’m using an iPad Air (3rd Generation) and I love it because I can use it all day to watch my lectures, complete my work, and annotate on my PDF files directly. I worry more about battery when I use my (old) laptop where it’s battery dies easily after just a few hours of usage.



We hope that this article has helped you in your consideration of whether you should buy an iPad for University. Buying an iPad is like making an investment in your education, so it’s important to choose tools which will help you in your studies!



1 Apple. (n.d.). Why iPad. Retrieved from Accessed on 26 May 2020.



This article is brought to you by Denise Ong. Denise is a first-year undergraduate in NUS Business School. She is currently interning with SNCF as a Marketing Intern. She is experimenting with designing on Canva and Photoshop, and enjoys playing volleyball in her free time.