Growth mindset versus fixed mindset

There’s two types of mindset that are relevant to studying – the fixed mindset, and the growth mindset. People with the growth mindset learn better and get better grades than people with a fixed mindset.

What are they?

A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence (or any ability) is a fixed trait, that you’re born with and can’t do much to change. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed. Why is this important? Because if you have a fixed mindset, then the results of an essay or other test are a reflection on your intelligence. People with fixed mindsets don’t want to risk finding out that their intelligence is low, so they give up easier.

People with growth mindsets care little about the results of test, because they don’t see it as a reflection on themselves. They know they can learn and develop, so they take on more challenges rather than avoid them, and persist more, especially in the face of setbacks.

What’s your belief about your intelligence? Do you think the grades you get on this course are a reflection of you? If you got a bad grade, would you think “I’ll be bad at this no matter what I do,” or, “If I try harder I’ll do better”? The research suggests that being in the latter group – having a growth mindset – will help you get better grades, and it’s also more rational, because you can develop your skills, especially your study skills.

Watch this for more:

And now the big question – how do you change from a fixed to a growth mindset? More on that soon (I’m not building suspense I just didn’t realise how late it was…).


Here’s one paper, and here is Carol Dweck’s (the main researcher of mindset) page with lots of stuff.