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Summer study: tips to staying focused

Trimester 3 – the trifecta of teaching periods. Trimester 3 is the study period which runs from late October to early February where many students can catch up on units and keep the ball rolling with their degree.

Many students will agree that choosing to study over trimester 3 for the first time, can seem both exciting and daunting. Exciting, because you’re looking forward to the unit you have chosen. Daunting, because… well trimester 3 falls upon the busiest and most social time in the year. Christmas and New Year’s happen during trimester 3, and with the weather warming up and restrictions easing there’s plenty to get distracted by. But it’s not to say that there are also some incredible positives to studying over the summer break!

If you’re looking to hit the books this upcoming summer, here are our top five tips for staying focused.

Take a break

During the trimester there is a break in teaching toward the end of December and over Christmas, so make sure to give yourself a break. If you’re like me then you probably leave the trimester break to catch up on weeks you might have missed… but my advice for Trimester 3 is to try and get on top of your coursework before the break so you can really give yourself time away from the books to spend with family and friends. Chances are, you’ll come back to your coursework feeling a whole lot refreshed!

Get enough rest

Rest is something we mention a lot in our study-focused blogs, and that’s because it is really important! Sleep is essential for cognitive function and helps beat brain fog. Often the summer period is when we begin to loosen up on our sleeping schedule, especially after a long year of study and work, there’s nothing more we want to do than spend a few nights up late with friends or binging Netflix. The rule of thumb, is to try and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a day.

Get organised

The trick to balancing your studies and social life is organisation. Everyone has different ways of keeping organised, but one thing that helps me get through my to-do list is to plan ahead. At the start of each, I like to write down the date and time of any major commitments I know are happening that week, such as work, and social plans. Then I like to block out times I will dedicate to study and stick to those. It might mean adjusting your regular study routine to fit with your summer activities. Such as choosing to wake up a little earlier and doing your study in the morning so then you have the rest of the day to do the stuff you enjoy!

Find your balance

Trying to juggle rest, a social life, study, and other commitments can be overwhelming at the best of times! Often trimester 3 can have more distractions than what you might get during the earlier study periods. It’s important to find your balance with your routine over the summer period. It might mean cutting down on the number of units you will do over the trimester or adjusting your schedule as we mentioned above. And don’t forget – finding balance simply takes practice.

 Be kind to yourself

I think the most important thing to remember over trimester 3 is to be kind to yourself. It’s been a huge year for many of us, and so if you find yourself feeling a little more tired than usual or struggling to keep up – that is okay. The best thing you can do is to keep going and not beat yourself up if you find yourself behind in the coursework or getting distracted. There’s support at UNE if you need someone to speak to, you’re never alone!

The thing to remember is that study does involve sacrifices, but it doesn’t mean you can’t spend time doing the things that you enjoy. It’s not sustainable to be continuously working and studying, and often the holiday season reminds us of the importance of taking a break. Once you find the balance that suits you, you’ll find yourself breezing through the summer study period – and enjoying the holidays too!


If find yourself needing to speak about extensions or lightening your workload, reach out to your unit coordinator, UNE Student Success, or Advocacy & Welfare for further advice and support.

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