Ask yourself:


  • Are you aware that you might be placing limits on yourself and this may be preventing you getting the grades you’re truly capable of?
  • Are you prepared to think differently and focus on reaching your potential?


Why should you take this module?

You should take this module if you really want to succeed at university and beyond and if you’re ready to think about yourself differently

What you need to know:

If you reach for the stars, you may find yourself touching the sky” ~ Heather Dorff

If you develop a growth mindset – the belief that your academic capacity can be nurtured and grow – then you are more likely to succeed at university.

Video Content

Start this module by watching one (or more) of the following short videos to gain a broad understanding:

The Power of belief -- mindset and success

Eduardo Briceno

Take a Quiz

Test Your Mindset

Take the quiz to find out if you have a growth mindset

Develop a Growth Mindset

What you can do to develop a growth mindset and reach your potential:

If the mindset quiz indicates you have a fixed mindset, don’t worry, this just means you have work to do! Below are some ideas on how you can grow your mindset.

Take this seriously:

  • The concept of developing a growth mindset is not just a great idea, it is based on scientific evidence that it works.
  • You are in charge of your own abilities and your results. So…change your mindset… change your life

Move your brain out of your ‘comfort zone’:

  • Every time you put effort into learning something new, the neurons in your brain fire an electrical charge and new connections are formed between the neurons.
  • Neurons that fire together – wire together
  • The more you practice your new skill, the stronger and thicker the new pathways become – you are learning

Talk to your fixed mindset voice:

  • When you think ‘I can’t do this’… add the word ‘yet – I can’t do this…yet’. This reinforces the message to your brain that you can learn, grow, achieve and will be able to do this in the future if you apply yoursel

Embracing and learning from failure:

  • Acknowledging the potential for failure, and preparing yourself to deal with it, may help you to become a better student.

Other things to think about

Maintaining a growth mindset may not always be easy – people in your life might not demonstrate a growth mindset, they may tell you university is too hard, that it’s okay to give up, or suggest you get a job instead. You will need to work out what works for you to stay on track and grow your mindset – here are some ideas:

  • Challenge unhelpful thoughts – use this great tool from The Desk:Linked to mindset is motivation – you need to be motivated to study and motivated to continue to develop a growth-mindset. Tips to stay motivated:
    • There are other useful resources on The Desk, such as the tool on ‘Using Feedback
    • Set and focus on your goals
    • Make study a priority
    • Maintain a healthy life/study balance
    • Reward self-discipline and effort
  • Once you are on the right path to growing your mindset, you might want to also grow your GRIT – your passion and perseverance for long-term goals:

Websites to visit and videos to watch

Professor Carol Dweck’s website

Grit: The Key to Your Success

Sources & useful readings:

Duckworth, Angela L.; Peterson, Christopher; Matthews, Michael D.; Kelly, Dennis R.; Carver, Charles S. (editor) (2007), ‘Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals’Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol.92(6), pp.1087-1101

James, R (2001) ‘Participation Disadvantage in Australian Higher Education: An Analysis of Some Effects of Geographical Location and Socioeconomic Status’ Higher Education, vol. 42(4), pp 455-472.

Kilpatrick, S and Abbott-Chapman (2002) ‘Rural young people’s work/study priorities and aspirations : the influence of family social capital’, Australian Educational Researcher, vol. 29(1), pp. 43-67.

Patel, R., Tarrant, C., Bonas, S., Yates, J., & Sandars, J. (2015). ‘The struggling student: a thematic analysis from the self-regulated learning perspective’, Medical Education, vol 49, pp. 417-426.

Pintrich, PR, De, EV, Calfee, RC & Schunk, DH (1990), ‘Motivational and Self-Regulated Learning Components of Classroom Academic Performance’, Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 82(1), pp. 33-40.

Yeager, D., & Dweck, C. (2012). Mindsets That Promote Resilience: When Students Believe That Personal Characteristics Can Be Developed. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), pp. 302-314.

This module is based on some earlier work by Dr Diana Quinn and Dr Kerry Smith.

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