When you get your stationery list for year 11 or 12 it usually only tells you to buy the bare essentials and some people go to Big W or Officeworks to buy their supplies cheaper instead of using the textbook/stationary providers.

A few tips on the stores that you go to to buy your stationery…

  • Officeworks- Wait until they have their back-to-school catalogue out and thoroughly browse this. Most of the time you will find things that you know you will need but have forgotten about and it is not listed on your booklist. They are also much cheaper during this time to buy all of your exercise books. Instead of buying 1 or 2 that will last you for the first few weeks of school, buy a large amount of exercise books that will last you for hopefully the whole year. A bit extream I know but you will save a lot in money and trips to the store later in the year when you are chewing through a tonne of exercise books. Officeworks starts their sale really early. so it is best to visit them first before you start your stationary shopping at any other store.


  • Kmart and Target- These stores release their back-to-school “specials” and compared to Big W and Officeworks, they are not really that cheap. But if you live in area where you are not spoilt for choice when it comes stores that sell stationery then these stores are still a reasonable choice.


  • Big W- Big W sells good price “home brand” stationary but their highlighters are a no go- you have been warned….  The rest of their well known stationary brand prices are slightly cheaper than Kmart and Target but their exercise books are still reasonably expensive compared to Officeworks.


  • Woolworths/Coles- Now I know what are you thinking… Why would I go to a food supermarket for my school supplies? Well, Back-to-school supplies ordered in by Woolworths and Coles are what we call “seasonal items” which means that they sell these items during the back-to-school rush and then they will try to get rid of them relatively quickly. And how do they get rid of these stationary items? By discounting them of course! By early/mid-Feb ( after school starts I know..) anything that hasn’t sold ( which is usually a lot of stock) it becomes discounted by 30%, 50%,60% off the original price which is a bargain in my books. So if you are willing to wait until after you get back to school to tick off those last few items off your booklist, these two shops are a sure thing to take a squiz at.

So now that the shops have been gone through, here are few tips and items to help you when you are stationary shopping for this year or next.

What to buy…

  1. Document Wallets.
  2. paap012984_a_papermate_pk10_papermate_inkjoy_100_ast_multiNot 1, not 2 but 3 packets of pens. The best value for your money would be PaperMate InkJoy 100 Ballpoint Pens. They are really smooth to write with and I have never had one leak on me. In VCE, especially year 12 there is a lot of writing and you will go through your fair share of pens ( but most of the time you will lose them) and you can’t be scrounging around trying to find some old pens that don’t work because you only bought 1 packet to last you the entire year.
  3. A good rubber. The best ones for me are the Faber-Castel  PVC Free Erasers.
  4. Not one, but a  range of highlighters with different colours and thicknesses. If you are anything like me, I love colour coding and I colour code everything! But there is always the ongoing problem that when I highlight using the “conventional” thickness highlighters I end up highlighting half of the line above and bellow the line I actually want to highlight no matter what side of the highlighter tip I use. So when you go shopping for your highlighters make sure you browse the range and pick some of the less conventional tipped markers.
  5. Study CAARRDDDSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.I can not stress how much this helped me when remembering masses amount of information whether it was facts or formulas they work fantastic! You can opt out for a digital version of study cards and there is a plethora of apps and websites. But I found it was best for me to use paper study cards when it came to memorising information on the train and during study periods. Everyone is different with how they study.




What not to buy…

  1. The cheap 5 cent exercise books- at first they may seem like a bargain but be warned! They are usually made from poor quality paper that is terrible to use highlighter on and the pen ink goes straight through the page.
  2. Large exercise books such as the A4 240 pages books. I thought these were a great idea at the start of the year but as soon as I got 1/4 of the way through the book, the book started to fall apart. It eventually turned into an endless charade of glueing the spine back together and trying not to lose my pages all the time.  Stick with a max of 128 pages instead- you will thank me later.
  3. Erasable pens. YOU CAN’T USE THEM IN YOUR EXAMS.Nuf said.
  4. Colouring pencils/markers. Unless you are completing a folio subject or specifically use markers/pencils in your notes or study cards, you will not need them and you probably have bunch of mix-matched packets lying around your house anyway. So put down that packet of colouring pencils.



What is not on the normal stationery list but is a must to buy…

  1. A stack of A4 printing paper- not only for your printer but for woking out as well.
  2. A glue gun
  3. A whiteboard
  4. Whiteboard markers ( see my study tour here)
  5. Post it notes/ flags ( Do not get cheappy ones- they do not stick and you will end up wasting more time and energy trying to continually stick up the cheap post it notes than it is worth).


So those were just a few tips or things to consider the next time you do the big stationary shop. Good Luck!


xx A.Elizabeth