The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Group Assignments

Ultimate Guide

Every uni student has gone through the struggle of group assignments. It all starts when you see the words ‘Group Assignment’ written under the assessments section of your unit outline and a sense of dread immediately overcomes your entire being.  You seriously consider dropping out of the class or at least deferring it for another semester so you an older and therefore wiser, future version of yourself. Seriously, the prospect of being behind in your degree is marginally better than being forced to work with a group of strangers. The tutors may claim that these assignments will teach you valuable skills for the real world but all you really get out of the experience is the lesson not to trust people and how to poorly conceal violent rage.

Group assignments usually go either one or two ways. Firstly you’re stuck with a group of people who apparently have no interest in actually doing the work and passing the class. So you reluctantly take on the role of group leader and end up doing all the work. The second way is when you luckily enough find people who are willing to do the work but unfortunately they have terrible ideas and an inability to listen to other’s opinions. So you pretty much end up doing all the work anyway.

If you find yourself in either of these situations, there’s only one possible thing that you can do: Just get through it.  There’s no use in dwelling on the cruel fate of randomly assigned groups or wasting time complaining about how much the whole assignment sucks to literally everyone you know. No matter what you do, you can’t change your group but on the other hand you do have the power to change your grade and at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that really matters anyway.

The first thing you need to do is organise a group meeting so you can start dividing up the work. There’s always going to be the one group member who will find an excuse to miss every single meeting, but you just have to move on and catch them up later, you can’t let one person slow down the entire team.  When you’re dividing up the work, don’t forget to look out for yourself! Make sure you get your hands on the sections which you really want to write and don’t get stuck with the really tricky stuff just because no one else is brave enough to attempt it.

Above all else, just try to divide up the work as evenly as you can. You may be a part of the most dysfunctional team in history, but you’re still a team which requires everyone to pull their weight.  It’s also a good idea to keep in constant contact with your group, just to make sure that everyone is on top of their game and to ensure that there aren’t any last minute surprises.

If you really feel like you can’t trust any of your group to do the work, take on the additional role of assignment editor. Request that everyone have their individual sections completed a few days before the assignment is due so you can put everything together and go through it with a fine tooth  comb to ensure that everything is up to standard. This way you know that everything is done and ready for submission by the due date.

So there you have it, group assignments may be unavoidable but they sure are manageable. All you have to do is make sure your whole team is organised, even if it means taking on extra responsibility. Just get it done and aim for the highest grade you can. And if all else fails, just remember that there’s always peer evaluations forms to fill out! Revenge can be pretty sweet sometimes.