How To Make Bound Reference:
Everything You Should Know
Tips from a RAW 50 student
Table of Contents
Every year, in every Maths Methods cohort, there are mixed opinions about the effectiveness of the bound reference. Some people view it as a literal bible – others think it’s a total waste of time. So which one is it? How to make Bound Reference? In this blog I’m going to clear this up for you and give some advice on how to make the BEST bound reference one you can.
The Bound Reference – Why it’s more important than you think
When you’re sitting around students who have brought an entire library in, trust me when I say it’s best to have one regardless of how confident you are of your maths knowledge. It’s indeed quite terrifying otherwise – just think of it as a safety net, essentially. Personally, I only used it 1 time in the exam, but that is a saved minute, and in the exam every second counts; basically, bound reference is important, you never know when you will need it, even if you are a 50er.
Making a Bound Reference is great revision for consolidating your knowledge, and it’s something you should be steadily adding to throughout the year. But how to make Bound Reference? The reality is, there’s no single “perfect” way of creating one, but after speaking to fellow high achievers and using my own experiences, here is some advice.
Before we start, what actually is a bound reference?
It’s exactly what it sounds like! There really are just two requirements. First, as the name suggests, it has to be bound. Meaning that, as if examiners walk by your table, they should be able to shake your reference as hard as possible and it cannot fall apart (you can check out the official VCAA rules here).
Second, it needs to be a reference. Whatever material you think will help you ace the exam and is something that you want to be able to refer to, put it in. This can include notes, summary sheets, example exam questions, and even textbooks if you’re really desperate. Yes, you can technically just bring in textbooks duct-taped together. But we don’t necessarily endorse this. 😅
How to make a Bound Reference
1. Title page
Make it unique and something you actually want to work on! During a study break, or when you want to relax productively, you can design one, hopefully it’s something you can hold up proudly
2. Table of contents
The most important part of the bound reference is to make sure you can find the information you’re looking for as quickly as possible. And the best way to do that is to have a table of contents. Side benefit is that it makes your reference look very very professional 😎
3. Notes & examples
Here is where you put in the notes for the most important information in the course. Typed, handwritten, scanned, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s readable, and means something to you
4. Mistake bank
Nearing exam time, hopefully you will have a bank of errors you’ve made throughout the year. Reflecting on your past mistakes is the best way to learn! Summarise all preventable mistakes, and lay it open next to you as you do the exam (great confidence boost too since you’ll see all the difficulties you have overcome in your journey)
5. Seperator questions (45+)
If you’re aiming for a raw 45+, this might be useful. Seperator questions refer to questions that below 10% of students score on the examiners’ report. There’s a good chance that the same type of questions will appear, and understanding them and saving the solutions in your bound reference might make that extra difference on exam day. Use Forestree’s exam module to find out more.
6. Blank Pages
This part is completely optional, but one of the weird things about the exam is that they don’t actually provide working out paper. So, if you’re someone like me who’s dependent on a stack of blank paper to be able to do maths, make sure you have plenty of room at the end of your reference!
Top 3 tips for making a Bound Reference
1. Start early!
This isn’t something that you want to leave till the last moment. Although the process of making it is certainly great revision, it is not the most effective thing you can be doing come exam time. You also want to do lots practice exams and SACs with it. So, if you haven’t started yet, make sure to start now!
2. Size doesn’t matter 😉
That’s right, you heard it here first. Don’t get intimidated by the sort of students who duct tape together the entirety of their locker and lug it to the exam room. It’s all about how well you know where everything is, which brings us to the third point…
3. Make it YOURS
Looking at the other people’s references for ideas is great, but make sure you take your own into the exam room. There’s nothing worse than needing to look up something you’ve forgotten in the middle of an exam, but having to read through 30 pages of foreign notes to find it. Make sure you know your reference inside out!