There is just one situation in which you can’t control your grades – you guessed it right … it’s when you submit group assignments! For most students, group assignments are a nightmare and often result in poor grades, late submissions and catfights! Nevertheless, no matter which university you go to, group assignments will always be a part of student life. Since you can’t escape them, here are a few tips to ace these dreaded group assignments.
Form your groups smartly and swiftly
If the professor puts you in pre assigned group, you have no choice but to deal with it. However, if you are free to form your own group, be active. Pick team members carefully and at the earliest. Don’t postpone or else you might be left with an awkward group. Also, try to form a group with people you know or have worked with in the past. A known devil is always better than an unknown angel… isn’t it?
Learn about everyone’s strengths
The whole point of a group assignment is to take advantage of each team member’s skills and experience. Hence, before you start the assignment, discuss openly about who is great at which skill – research, ideation, writing, formatting, referencing, presentation etc. This will give you a broad idea on how to divide the responsibilities within the team. Just go out for team lunch/dinner or perhaps a few drinks and get to know each other better! It would also be a good time to understand whether everyone is aiming for pass or distinction in the assignment!
Distribute tasks and be accountable
Based on each person’s strengths, divide tasks with mutual consent. Be considerate of people’s schedules and try to accommodate everyone. You don’t want to create enemies within the group. Hence, be polite to everyone and be considerate when someone genuinely has issues performing their part of the task. Nevertheless, make sure everyone is accountable for his or her tasks so that no team member is tagged as a ‘Free Rider’.
Develop conflict resolution mechanism
When it comes to conflicts, group assignments are like primetime reality TV shows – DRAMA, SCREAMING & TEARS! Hence, figure out how the group wants to deal with conflicts. Do you want to discuss out the differences, or get an outsider opinion or go with a majority voting or speak to the professor? Every group works differently, so develop a strategy that works best in your context and stick to it.
Never divide the writing part
When it comes to writing reports or essays in groups, most students go with the strategy of dividing the sections of the report and allowing each student to write his or her section individually. NEVER go with this technique as it results in inconsistent writing and utter chaos. Instead, collaborate together in the writing process as well to ensure language and thought consistency. Moreover, writing together ensures that no one “Copy Paste” content that could land you in trouble!
Communicate and collaborate
Group assignments do not mean sticking together in one location while working! Thanks to all the new age apps available, you can have meetings over Google hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp or any messenger. Send a simple text to connect with your teammates and know how each one is progressing. You can also use collaboration tools such as Google Docs that allow multiple users to work together on the same file or Dropbox that can provide cloud storage for all your group assignment documents.
Group assignments test not only your academic skills but also your interpersonal skills. With the tips discussed above, you too can ace any group assignment in the future. If you are out of college, use these tips when collaborating with peers on workplace projects!
Hemal Mehta is a recent Accounting graduate from Melbourne, Australia. She is a total TV nerd, professional content writer and a passionate blogger. She also loves helping newbie bloggers find their groove! You can find her on her blog, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.