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Study Skills

What is Your Mindset?

By recognizing your learning style(s), you can establish study techniques and approaches which will enrich the quality and efficiency of your learning process. In addition to identifying your learning style, it is also imperative to consider your “mindset.” Your “mindset” is your perception of your qualities, capabilities, and potential.

Fixed or Growth Mindset?

According to Dweck (2008), there are two types of mindset – that is, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their attributes (e.g., intelligence, talent) are fixed and cannot be changed. While individuals with a growth mindset believe that their attributes and abilities can be developed and improved with effort and experience. Individuals who have a fixed mindset can be at a disadvantage because they often see no point in working to develop and improve on their existing capabilities. On the other hand, individuals who have a growth mindset believe that they can develop and improve and thus they are more likely to put in extra effort which has a positive impact on their success and achievement.

  • What kind of mindset best describes you?
  • When faced with a challenging task do you give up out of frustration or do you put in extra effort to accomplish the task?
  • Do you view mistakes as a product of your limited ability or as an opportunity to learn and grow?

Dweck (2008) and others have noted that fixed beliefs can hinder your success and growth by keeping you from making positive changes to increase your potential.

  • What might be holding you back from developing a growth mindset?
  • What positive changes can you make to better yourself?
Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Here are a few tips for cultivating a growth mindset:

  • View challenges as opportunities to grow. Actively seek out challenges that will enrich your competence.
  • Prioritize learning over praise, grades, and seeking approval. For instance, reward yourself for higher degrees of effort and learning (e.g., increasing your knowledge of APA formatting) and not simply for higher levels of achievement (e.g., passing a test).
  • Set learning-oriented goals for skill mastery, rather than performance-oriented goals for achievement. Performance-oriented goals are about achieving praise for your competence and avoiding criticism for your mistakes. Learning-oriented goals emphasis long-term development and help you to build the skills necessary to attain high performance-goals.
  • Concentrate on the process instead of the outcome or end result. For example, choose “learning well” over “learning fast.”
  • Learn from your mistakes and acknowledge that a need for improvement does not equal failure. Avoid learned-helplessness and self-handicapping.
  • Take a moment to reflect on your learning every day. What new skills or knowledge have you acquired? How will this influence your long-term development, not only as a learner, but as a professional in the field?

The concepts of mindset and learning style are naturally connected. Identifying your learning style and using the right learning strategies will help you develop a growth mindset. In essence, finding the best techniques to enrich your learning process will increase your mastery of new concepts and your motivation for lifelong learning which will lead to higher levels of achievement in school and in your career.



Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House Digital, Inc.

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