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Student study habits have changed. McGraw Hill responds with the SHARPEN™ study app

McGraw Hill announced the launch of SHARPEN™, a mobile study app that delivers learning via a continuous content feed, bite-sized videos, swipeable study tools, and a personalized activity dashboard

Tags: Higher Education, Press Release, Corporate

75% of college students have changed the way they study since COVID-19,
according to new McGraw Hill/Morning Consult survey

Survey finds college students routinely turn to social media to find studying help

NEW YORK – October 4, 2022 – McGraw Hill today announced the launch of SHARPEN™, a first-of-its-kind mobile study app that delivers learning via a continuous content feed, bite-sized videos, swipeable study tools, and a personalized activity dashboard. SHARPEN™, which is free for the Fall 2022 term, complements the Higher Education classroom experience, combining what students need to learn for their courses with how they want and prefer to learn.

According to a recently completed survey of 500 undergraduate students conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of McGraw Hill, 75% of students have shifted how they study due to COVID-19, with three in five students regularly feeling stressed or overwhelmed due to studying. Students report that they routinely use social media to study and are looking for learning tools that are just as engaging and convenient. Specifically:

  • 78% of students reported turning to social media when studying to find supplementary content for their classes.
  • 19% of students spend six or more hours per week searching for study content and help with classes on social media.
  • Nearly three in four students (74%) say they would study more if their course materials matched the convenience of resources they access via social media.

Students' demand for the engagement and convenience delivered by social media is so strong that they are turning to these platforms en masse despite broad recognition that social media offers imperfect study tools with glaring shortcomings. The McGraw Hill/Morning Consult study indicated that 88% of students do not entirely trust the education-related information on most social media platforms.

"The student experience has undergone tremendous upheaval in recent years," said Justin Singh, Chief Transformation and Strategy Officer at McGraw Hill. "We've closely watched changing student study habits and responded with our new app, SHARPEN, which will help students stay engaged and focused while delivering trusted content they can easily digest. We've proven that you don't need to compromise on delivering high-quality content to provide an engaging learning experience. A number of existing providers focus on textbook and exam answers. SHARPEN is different. It provides to-the-point support designed to help students learn, understand and succeed themselves."

Autym, a sophomore from Montclair State University who was one of the hundreds of students consulted during the SHARPEN app development process, noted, "It is so easy to use, in between classes and work, and it doesn't make me feel like,  "ugh, I'm learning.' SHARPEN breaks down my chapters, so I can understand the information as quickly as possible."

Instructors agree. According to Dr. Julia Kalish from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, "students are becoming more distracted while in class and having trouble finding time to study. Having engaging content that my students can relate to – and I know I can trust – will help them be better prepared."

SHARPEN blends a social media-inspired, mobile-first design with trusted content built specifically to align with popular college courses. Key elements of the app include:

  • Continuous, time-based study feeds customized to each student's course subject
  • Bite-sized, mobile-first videos that display brilliantly on mobile devices, including iPhone and iPad
  • Swipeable visual chapter summaries, quizzes, and flashcards
  • A personalized dashboard of actionable study insights to help learners improve their scores
  • Accessibility tools like captioning, voice control, and screen reader

Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw Hill, said: "Education has transformed massively in the last several years – and so has McGraw Hill. We're proud to provide this groundbreaking solution that responds to the needs of today's college students and will help them succeed on their unique learning paths."

SHARPEN is now available for download exclusively in the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Mac:

For more information about SHARPEN, visit:

McGraw Hill
McGraw Hill is a leading global education company that partners with millions of educators, learners and professionals around the world. Recognizing their diverse needs, we build trusted content, flexible tools and powerful digital platforms to help them achieve success on their own terms. Through our commitment to equity, accessibility and inclusion, we foster a culture of belonging that respects and reflects the diversity of the communities, learners and educators we serve. McGraw Hill has over 30 offices across North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions for PreK-12, higher education, professionals and others available in more than 80 languages. Visit us at or find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or X.

Survey Methodology

Morning Consult conducted 500 online interviews of undergraduate students who had taken college classes in the spring between July 8th and July 13th, 2022 on behalf of McGraw Hill. The margin of error is +/-4%. Care has been taken to match the known composition of the undergraduate population on age, gender, race, region, and part-time or full-time student status.

Tyler Reed
McGraw Hill
(914) 512-4853