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Are you ready for University?
How did you get that answer?
"Hey, what did you get for the last question? I got 25..."
"Yea....that's not what I got..."
This anxiety-ridden conversation takes place after exams across campuses everywhere. Students either end up rejoicing when they find out that they have the same answers, or proceed into a frenzied state of panic if differences arise. Most students can agree that exam season is probably one the most stress inducing times during one’s academic career. It is not uncommon to see many students forgo many of life’s essentials in an attempt to save time which would be better spent studying. What is rare to see are students who gracefully handle exam season as if it where any other time of the year. These are the students that supposedly never study and manage to avoid looking disheveled walking into an exam. We often mistakenly attribute their academic prowess to a high I.Q..
It is important to mention that there are many factors actually within your control that are much better predictors of your academic performance. In order to perform well on exams in university, you must have the proper mindset. Secondly, the way you study must make the learning process as easy as possible. Today, I will discuss the mindset of top students and how it alleviates test anxiety and leads to resilience in the face of failure when it comes to examinations.
When it comes to mindset, there is a subtle shift in thinking that will help you keep your intellectual self-esteem in the face of setbacks. A psychologist named Carol Dweck conducted an experiment which demonstrated how a resilient mindset allowed students to rebound quicker in the face of failure, and still proceed with confidence in the face of challenges. In her experiment, she took 400 fifth grade students and she split them into two groups. Both groups were assigned a series of 3 tests. All of the students performed well on the first test, which was deemed to be easy. One group was praised for their intelligence while the other group was praised for their effort. The students were then given an option for their second test. They could either challenge themselves or they could take another easy test. Who do you think chose the more challenging test? The students who were praised for their effort were significantly more likely to choose the more challenging test. Interesting. In the last part of the experiment, all of the fifth graders were assigned a difficult test written for a seventh grade level. Most of the students failed the test, but the students who were praised for their effort still performed better than the students who were praised for their intelligence. So what is it about making a distinction between intelligence and effort that causes such a difference in outcome in students? The answer is really simple.
As a student if you correlate academic success to intelligence, you have attributed your grades to a trait within you that you cannot change. So when you are being tested, your intellectual self worth is on the line. This train of thought can induce anxiety and stress during an evaluation. According to this mindset, if you fail a test it leads you to believe that you are not intelligent. This is certainly not the case for the vast majority of students who do not perform as well as they would like to. So what should we correlate academic success to? The answer is a number of things, and one of those things is your mindset. The mindset that leads to resilience connects your academic success to the effort you put in and not your intelligence. In the experiment by Dweck, praising the students for their effort made the students to attribute their academic success to factors other than themselves. So if they performed poorly on a test, it was not because they were incapable of doing well. Rather, it was because they didn’t do enough of the right things to prepare. When you correlate your academic success with the effort you put in, your intellectual competence is assumed and your view of yourself will not be shaken in the face of failure. By thinking like this, you can shrug off failure and pursue challenges, because you realize that failure is just a consequence of your actions and not who you are.
The students that achieve their highest potential aren't just smart. They also have a way of looking at learning that allows them to learn from failure while not being affected by it. If you can maintain this outlook when it comes to your academic career, not only will you be fearless in pursuing the academic field of your choosing, but you will also understand the value and the impact that effort makes when it comes to your performance.
What will we do for you?
On university exams, students typically find themselves in unfamiliar territory or racing the clock to finish their exams. We help our students overcome these hurdles by:
- providing challenging questions and comprehensive solutions to foster understanding of concepts
- providing tools to students to help them gauge their progress and understanding
- provide support outside the classroom via office hours
Our approach to tutoring ensures that
students are familiar experiencing the time
crunch on university exams and the level of difficulty as well. We make sure to give our students
an accurate image of what’s to come and the
tools they need to solve questions under