Top tips for making your group work more effective at university
Working in groups is all part of university life, but it can be stressful being put with people you don’t know and then asked to create a project which you’ll be graded on, especially if you haven’t had any experience of group work at school. Follow our four simple steps, and soon you’ll enter the land of group work bliss – smashing it with a top grade!
1. Take Time
The chances are you’ve been allocated into a team where you don’t know anyone yet – so how are you supposed to work together? Well, take time to get to know one another. What are your learning and working styles? This will be important when things get stressful right before the deadline – everyone will know who to go to for help, and how best to get along. And don’t forget, you’re all in the same boat and are just as nervous as each other about the new team!
2. Support Each Other
There’s going to be a lot of work to do, so you may have to split it up into small chunks. Allocate work to people based on their interests and expertise – this will make sure everyone is happy with the tasks they’ll be doing, which will result in the best quality being produced. Give each other support in this stage – don’t feel totally restricted to your own section of work… you’re a team after all, don’t forget it! If someone is struggling then maybe offer them some help? Remember, everyone works at different levels and paces in a group – by aware and sympathetic of this.
3. Bounce Off One Another
Come together again after the research stages to formulate your project, bounce ideas off each other, and enjoy learning about what everyone has worked on. Resolve any conflict (and there will be some!) calmly and coolly – it’s unlikely that a squabble over which idea to lead with, or which colour the presentation should be will make the difference between passing and failing, so learn to compromise and everything will be fine. Remember – you have a deadline, so don’t waste any time having arguments.
4. Celebrate Success Together
You’ve done it – a top grade in the bag, and your first group project done, trust us, it will get easier from here! Why not celebrate your achievements together, you never know, you might have to work with some members again in another project. If you’ve found a great group that really gelled, then maybe (if you have the option) you can choose to work together again in the future – you’ve already got the foundation for a fantastic team, so why stop here?!