Inevitably, in a long enough academic timeline, you will be required to participate in group work where you’re either lumped with doing all the work or you’re paired up with a control freak who insists on doing all the work. Either option is as pretty as that damned pimple on your nose that just keeps on getting bigger.

Allow us to be the Clearasil of your group work troubles.

First off, pay attention to that damned subject outline (that’s the equivalent of a bank’s small print when applying for a car loan). When it describes the assessment, does it say that you will be marked individually but can work in groups? If so, be aware to present your own work in the final instance. When it becomes murky who did what and who copied from who, the lecturer/tutor is obliged under university policy to report you and your group to the faculty for collusion (a.k.a Academic Misconduct). This process could result in you getting a fail for the WHOLE subject (even if your group work is only weighted 3% of your final mark).

To avoid these pitfalls, keep track of your contribution in, say, a diary or any other written form. This could come in handy in proving that the work that you presented is your own. Ultimately, working in a group can be a great experience or one that brings you to the brink of wanting to pull your hair out. Either way: remember that group work is much like a ménage à trois. To go smoothly, everyone should be on the same page, equally engaged and active.

That, my friends, requires communication.

This post was brought to you by the UMSU Advocacy Service.

They have a combined educational experience of approximately 500 years. Their collective HECS debt is zero per cent of your business. They call themselves ‘the justice league of UMSU’ (they have a poster on their wall to prove it). They are: the most interesting advocates in the world*.

*They are very likely not the most interesting advocates in the world.