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Note-taking techniques

Recording your notes

In certain situations you might find it easier or more helpful to record your notes. This can be useful when it comes to revision because it allows you to listen to the notes you've made without having to have access to all your books - while you're travelling, for example.

Recording devices

You can record your notes straight onto your computer or to an external device, such as a digital recorder, MP3 recorder, iPod or mobile phone. External devices will often allow you to transfer your files to your computer. Although some have built-in microphones, some may require a compatible microphone. Some devices require you to install software on your computer to enable you to transfer your files.

Recording and editing software

Your computer probably already has recording software installed, such as Sound Recorder. Alternatively, there are free software packages available on the Internet. A good example is Audacity, which offers the tools for recording and editing your material.

Tips for recording

  • Before you start recording, check that your recording device works properly and that you have spare batteries if necessary.
  • While recording, speak clearly into the microphone and make sure your recording levels are set correctly.
  • Try to minimise any background sound. Do your recording in a quiet place. Turn off any noisy appliances and make sure that others in the house know what you're doing, so that they don't interrupt you.
  • Record in short sound bites. You can record these in one go, as one larger file, but it would be helpful for you if you can edit your notes down to short clips of between three and five minutes. Smaller file sizes will make it easier for you to send your files electronically, if you want to share them with other students or use them as evidence for assignments or projects.
  • Give each clip a meaningful file name so you can find it quickly at a later date.
  • Set up folders to store your sound files. You could group your clips by topic or block, based on your study material.
  • If you have recorded your clip on an external recorder, make sure you are able to transfer the files onto your computer.
  • If you are worried about the files taking up memory on your computer, you could store them on CD or DVD.
  • You should always make CD or DVD copies of your sound files to keep as a back up.

Last updated 6 months ago