By PLA Gillian
Most first year business students are originally comforted to know that, in each of their classes, they’ve been placed in teams of other students to help them complete what’s been assigned to them.
But, they soon find that this frequent group work usually takes up more time and leaves them feeling more frustrated than if they’d had to complete an assignment by themselves.
In order to get the most out of group work here are 3 tips…
- Make time for yourself. It’s important to be a good group member, but it’s also important to remember that, despite its frequency, group work often accounts for a small portion of your overall grade. If 20% of your term mark depends on group work, and the other 80% depends on midterms and exams that you write individually, be sure that helping your group members to understand the intricacies of an assignment question does not take away from the time you need to practice concepts individually.
- Cut your losses. Commerce students are busy and have little time to waste. A professor once told me that “a done assignment is a good assignment”, and he was right. Even if you’re not sure that you’ve finished a question correctly, hand the assignment in. Losing 2 or 3% on an assignment worth only 5% is not going to substantially affect your grade; get the part marks for trying the question and then allow each group member to put their time to better use by going to the gym, catching up with a friend, or reviewing notes and readings.
- Understand the importance of the questions assigned to a group. A professor will rarely put questions on an exam that are harder than an assignment question because he/she knows that the assignment question took the effort of multiple brains to complete. This makes assignment questions perfect tools for studying for midterms and exams – it’s all downhill from there! If you’re going to hand in an assignment despite being pretty sure that one of your answers isn’t perfectly correct (see number 2), be sure you know the correct answer and how to get it before walking into an exam hall.
Keeping these points in mind will help you to rise above the stresses of team assignments.
Instead of feeling frustrated, you’ll be able to enjoy the ‘two heads are better than one’ benefit of working in groups!