We can’t be clear enough about this topic. If you are keeping any notes, study advice, practice questions, e-books, e-mail, files or any other digital information that is going to help you pass this exam, then you MUST BACKUP YOUR DATA.
Laptops get stolen. Computers get stolen. Computers get viruses (not Macs apparently), hard-drives inexplicably fail. Children put pieces of toast into CD-drives. Houses burn down. Whatever the cause, you DO NOT want to find yourself in a position where you are a couple of months out from the exam and your entire collection of notes disappears.
External hard drives are cheap and have great storage capacity, and are a great option for backing up your data. However they can also get lost or stolen. Many internet service provider offer free webspace that can be accessed by ftp programs like Filezilla, and are a great option for storing your data, as it is accessible from any computer (so you can read your notes at work).
If you use a Windows based computer, you must ensure your anti-virus software is adequate and up to date. You are going to be visiting hundreds of websites, and sending/receiving loads of emails this year, so you want to be protected.
Many people don’t think to backup their emails, but unless you have online storage of your emails, you should backup your emails regularly if you are swapping study notes or questions with colleagues. If you don’t know how just Google the name of your email program and “backup” or “archive” and you’ll find out how.
If you are writing notes on paper backing up is harder. You don’t really want to photocopy all of your notes, and if you are using index-cards, copying them is even harder. The main thing to do is keep them in a secure place in your house, such as a filing cabinet with a lock. Who would steal them? Who knows? Do you want to risk losing them? I wouldn’t…
For index cards, a quick way to make copies is to take digital photographs of them. This may sound tedious but is actually quite quick if you have a half-decent digital camera, and it also allows you to store digital copies of your notes on your iphone or personal webspace for quick reference at work.