In this special "back to school" edition of Tap That App Tuesday, we look at a couple of apps that can help everyone returning to college this week.

What if we told you there was an app that could help you organize your assignments, tests and class schedule -- and keep you from getting in trouble with the professor by automatically silencing your phone?

Well, if you have an Android smartphone, there's a little free app called Studious.

Studious: A Simple Way To Keep Your Classes on Track

Studious, by one-time app developer Braden Young, offers a simple interface, some core features and nothing much else -- besides banner ads at the bottom. Studious allows you to input each class you're taking, along with the days of the week and times you'll be in the lecture hall. You can customize classes with a related icon and color, but the interface isn't all that complicated -- or beautiful, but it gets the job done.

(Photo : Google Play: Studious)

One key feature of this app is the ability to choose a ringer mode for each class. During class time, that ringer mode will automatically switch on -- (your professors will probably prefer "silent") -- saving you from embarrassment or the wrath of an angry interrupted lecturer.

Beyond that, you can add notes, (though we wish you could import notes from a PC or Mac), and set up test dates with custom reminders that will alert you beforehand that it's time to study. And you can keep track of homework assignments under the same banner.

Your tests and homework all go into a nicely laid out calendar view with your tasks listed underneath.

Not everything is perfect in Studious. For example, notifications for tests only come with a brief vibration and banner notification, and we wish you could customize those with ring tones. But the ability to immediately set a new reminder, almost like a snooze button, is a nice plus.

Studious's iOS Analogue, InClass

If you're an iPhone person, there's an app for you too, and it's also free. Called In Class, this app is also a class scheduler and reminder, but it's much more professionally developed, with more features -- including better options for taking and sharing class notes.

InClass is much more complex than Studious, which is good in some ways, and annoying in others. For example, InClass groups your classes by "Term," which seems a little unnecessary and can cause navigation problems, but perhaps some would find it useful in the future to check out previous class schedules and notes. But more on that in a bit.

(Photo : App Store: InClass)

Much of InClass works just like Studious. In each term, enter your classes, along with the days and times they'll be taking place. Unlike Studious, when you add a schedule to your classes, you can include what type of class it is, along with locations and reminders. So if you have a Tuesday lecture and a related lab on Friday in a different building, you can keep track of that -- and even get reminders before your class starts.

That shouldn't be necessary, since everyone should know their class schedule by heart after the first week, but for the scatterbrained iPhone user, you have that extra option.

InClass also adds several other input fields for every class, like "course code" and "instructors," which may be useful to some but tends to clutter up the navigation and user interface more than it's probably worth. How many people really want a database of their instructors on hand at all times? Well for those people, you have the option as well, but most users will probably just find these types of detailed entry fields to be wasted space.

You can also add tasks and reminders, like in Studious, but InClass lets you view tasks by date, course or priority, which you can set to either "none," medium or high.

Notes are much more functional in the more professionally developed iOS app as well, since InClass gives you several more options than Studious. Importantly, you can record audio (or take pictures/video if your professor doesn't have a problem with it) and you can also share notes via iTunes sharing, which opens the possibility of importing audio or text notes you took using your full-qwerty computer.

You can also email out notes in raw form or using InClass's format, so if any of your classmates are using the app as well and they miss a lecture, you'll be their hero.

But as hinted above, there are a couple of drawbacks to the more complicated InClass, compared to Studious. For one, despite all the extra options, InClass doesn't offer automatic silencing of your phone during lecture time.

And the interface -- while more polished -- is much more complicated, and oddly more restricting at the same time. For example, once you input your classes, you can only look at a calendar or daily view for your class schedule.

To get the kind of "overview" class list available on the default screen of Studious, you might find yourself getting lost in the navigation -- since there are so many tabs, details, and options for everything, along with that unnecessarily confusing and relatively useless "Term" menu that you end up with if you follow "back" links as far as you can.

It turns out that the only way to get an at-a-glance view of your full course load is by going back to that "Term" menu and "adding a class," even if you don't intend to add another class.

Simple is usually better, and in this aspect, Studious's relatively feature-poor interface is actually nicer to use.

Tap That App

But those are mainly quibbles about otherwise very useful (and reminder -- free!) apps for iOS or Android.

Studious and InClass both offer great, systematic ways to organize your academic life. Take a look at these apps so you can spend your brainpower on the really important things, like figuring out what you're plans are for this weekend.