• Christian Paul

Create a KILLER summary book for Further Maths

VCE Further Maths presents a pretty unique opportunity: you get to bring in a summary book.

It certainly sounds like a dream come true. And used properly, a good summary book can be a total game changer in the exam.

The problem is, many people just think this means that taking in the textbook is the best way to go. That way you have absolutely everything.

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Taking in the textbook means you have EVERYTHING, including hundreds of pages that you don’t actually need.


Which makes it really hard to find what you are looking for, especially when you’re under pressure. The better option here is to create an actual summary (hence the name summary book) that is only going to be full of useful things.

Less is more

As you work through the year, you’ll come up against hundred of topics. But you’ll probably understand and remember about 80% without much help.

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Your summary book is for the 20% you don’t remember

[/feature_box] That way, everything you need will be relatively easy to find and you won’t have to frantically search through endless pages to find what you need.

If you need some help on what should be in your summary book, check this out

The power of the contents page

You know when you’re trying to find something in your textbook, but you have no idea where to look? When that happens, the first place most people go is the contents page. That’s certainly where I head.

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If the contents page works so well for the textbook, why shouldn’t your summary book have one too?

[/feature_box] It’s a great extra step you can take once the content in your textbook is finalised. Spend the hour or so going through your summary book and create a contents page. It’s really pretty simple!

  1. Number each page

  2. Create a contents page (maybe in a Word doc) that shows where to find each major and minor topic

  3. Print and paste on the inside cover of your summary book.

For extra points, split the content page into four sections, one for Data, Finance, and your other two modules.

Theory might be important, but instructions are better

Don’t just write down pretty definitions. They are rarely useful.

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Give yourself clear reminders and instructions about how to perform certain tasks

[/feature_box] Things like finding a residual value or using the finance solver. If it is helpful to you, it’s worth putting in there. When you’re under pressure, definitions are nowhere near as helpful as a simple set of instructions. You can basically use your summary book to teach yourself on the fly!

Don’t forget calculator instructions

Your summary book is for you. No one else will be using it. Which means it should be very tailored to what you need.

One of the most commonly forgotten parts of Further is how to use the calculator for certain jobs. If you are prone to forgetting these kinds of things, you should DEFINITELY have instructions written down.

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A simple list of steps or button presses for particular jobs can be an absolute lifesaver and will definitely save precious minutes in the exam.


Go easy on the worked examples

Two examples of the same style of question is very simply a waste of space. If a question is going to be helpful as an example, put it in your summary book by all means!

But if you are just putting in copious amounts of examples for the sake of filling out your summary book, you’re going to end up wasting your time and also the space in your book.

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Make sure you’ve got enough to help you remember what you need, and no more.


If you want other ideas on saving time in your exam, check out this post

White space is gold space

Just because you don’t have as much content in your book as you first thought, that doesn’t mean you need to cram everything together on 2 pages.

Spread out your topics with clearly marked (and highlighted, if you have a highlighter obsession like me) headings and subheading. Make everything easy to find. You shouldn’t need to read through three topics to find the bit you need. Your headings, subheadings, and contents page should do that work for you.

Leave space empty on your page so it doesn’t get too crowded. You’ll give your eyes some much-needed relief when you don’t have to scan through so much at once!

Finally, make sure you practice using your summary book

When you get into the exam, make sure it’s not the first time you’re using your summary book. You should have plenty of practice using your notes from practice exams you’ve already completed.

The more you make use of your summary book before the exam, the more you will remember. Which will actually mean you don’t rely on your book as much in the actual exam.

The best summary book is one that you won’t actually really use; the process of writing and organising it helps you to learn the content anyway!

#exams #furthermaths #tipsandtricks #vce


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