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“If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail….”

Now, we don’t really think it’s this straightforward, but there is certainly a correlation between the numbers of students who begin the trimester feeling prepared, and those who complete the trimester satisfied with their results (and without having pulled out all of their hair!). 

We’d love for all students to reach the end of trimester feeling positive (putting aside the unexpected things that can get in the way – that’s a topic for another blog), so we’ve taken a moment to put together a list of important considerations and helpful resources to assist you. 


Part One: Study Load

Something we hear a lot in Student Success is “I thought I had to take two units each trimester as a part time student”, or “I thought I had to do four units because I am full time”.

Let us start by dispelling the idea that there is a set number of units that you must stick to every single trimester of your studies, no matter what. This is not the case.

If you’re a part time student, you’re welcome to do anywhere from 1-4 units per trimester depending on what else you have going on at the time.

You’re also able to do none! and take the trimester off if you aren’t able to proceed with your studies for a few months, and at UNE we know this as taking an Intermission

Full time students, we understand you’ll generally take 4 units a trimester – but this doesn’t mean you have to. Putting aside the impact that altering your study load may have on centrelink payments or scholarships etc, in terms of university requirements, you generally won’t have to stick to 4. (If you are receiving financial support, speak with Centrelink or the relevant Scholarships Team about potential impacts before making any changes, or give us a ring if you’re not sure who to talk to). 

If you’re feeling like you’d rather start with less and build your way up (or you’re reading this back later in the trimester and needing to adjust your subject load) then please give us a ring (02 6773 2000) and we can walk you through your options. 


So how do you work out a study load that will work for you? 

There’s a few things that play into this, but your main factors will be;

  • The amount of time you need to devote to each subject you’re looking at, alongside
  • How much time you have available to dedicate to study each week. 

UNE recommends that you allocate between 10-15 hours per week, per subject for your studies. This will be made up by hours spent watching your lectures, participating in tutorials, completing readings, working through any tutorial tasks and class preparation, organising your assessment plans, researching for assignments, studying for exams and more. 

This time management tool is a helpful way to work out how much time you might have available for study.

Make sure to add in hours spent travelling to/from work, enough time for general daily habits (showers/amenities, cooking/prep/dishes, laundry/household jobs etc) and allocate yourself some down time. Don’t forget to allow yourself an appropriate amount of sleep too, and if you’re unsure, estimate higher for the amount of time it might take to get the kids ready for bed/to cook and clean up during the week. 

Once you’ve decided this and begun your trimester or year, set yourself some reminders to check in with yourself throughout the trimester and see how you’re finding things. The best first checkpoint will be mid-end of Week 3, just before Census Date (23 March for Trimester 1 – last date to withdraw from a Trimester 1 unit without paying the unit fee). 


On Thursday, we’ll be looking at ways to plan out your time and resources to help you stay on top of everything! Subscribe at the bottom of the page if you’d like to receive our blog via email.