How to ace group-work projects at uni

When you were at school, there was nothing better than group-work projects as it gave you an excuse to hang out with your friends and muck around to produce something that resembled what you were meant to be producing. At uni, when these group collaborations can contribute to significant parts of your grade, things get a bit more serious (and stressful). Here’s how to ace group-work projects…

Avoid groups with friends

I would recommend not going in a group with friends. The danger of going in a group with people you know only too well can result in minimal work being done as you will constantly be distracted and go on to talk about other things (trust me, I know from experience).

Another problem could be if one of your friends weren’t pulling their weight or procrastinating, would you be willing to put a strain on your friendship by potentially telling them to get on with work or even contacting your project teacher about it?

The ideal group-project companion is someone who you know and get along well with but don’t have too many stories and past experiences that could result in timely gossip and chat.

Arrange your first meet-up early

I would arrange to meet your group project members ASAP (i.e., not one week before the deadline). That way you give yourselves time to sort out different roles and to separate the task into equal chunks for you each to have a go at.

It then also gives you the extra time after to make sure everything flows together at the end and no one ends up repeating what somebody else has already said. This allows room just in case you get any group members who are a bit late and unreliable.

Only meet with something to discuss

I would say try and meet together as and when there are things to discuss or go over. It’s pointless making an effort to get everyone together when no one has actually done anything that they can contribute. Maybe make a group chat online to check on your group-work project progress regularly.

Listen to other ideas

I recommend making sure you take the time to listen to everyone’s ideas when working on group-work projects. In your head, your way might be the best, but make sure you hear them out – you never know, you can learn from them and find out some new techniques and skills for future projects.

Be straight

If worst comes to worst, do feel free to be straight with any unwilling group members. It is your grade at risk here too, and it is unfair for their lack of effort to affect your overall mark. Don’t be rude or assumptive, but make your points clear and make sure that the whole group understands the situation.

Good luck!

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