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“I think” can also be “saya pikir” without “ber-“ so I think this should have more context to avoid confusion.
You can say "saya pikir" in colloquial/informal speech.
Absolutely no problem with that, because the affixes are usually dropped in colloquial speech.
However, the issue here is that the root word "pikir" is a noun and not a verb.
That's why the "ber-" prefix is used here (to make a verb out of a noun).
In the tips (https://www.duolingo.com/skill/id/Ber--Verbs/tips-and-notes It says the ber- can be added to a noun, verb or an adjective. I think pikir should be accepted. I also asked a frined of mine in indonesia who said that pikir is a verb...