How GMAT Students With a Growth Mindset See Their Mistakes

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How GMAT Students With a Growth Mindset See Their Mistakes

Did you ever notice that some people preparing for the GMAT seem to handle all kinds of obstacles and setbacks calmly and effectively? Whether they have trouble understanding a concept, are performing poorly on a practice test, or experience another type of GMAT related issue, they don’t seem to get frustrated or anxious. Rather, they press on and eventually achieve their goals. So, what is it that enables GMAT students and other people to operate this way and succeed?

Stanford University professor Carol Dweck had a similar question. She observed that some students are devastated by issues they experience while learning, while others are more resilient, bounce back from setbacks, welcome challenges as opportunities, and in general enjoy the learning experience. So, she studied thousands of students to determine what some had going on that resulted in their having these tendencies that lead to success. In doing so she discovered that the key thing these students had in common was what she termed a “growth mindset.”

Understanding What a Growth Mindset Is

A growth mindset is a way of viewing yourself that involves the idea that your intelligence and basic abilities can be developed through work and the utilization of good strategies and input from others. We can also understand a growth mindset by contrasting it with a fixed mindset, which involves the idea that abilities and other personal qualities are largely fixed and can’t be significantly changed. So, basically, a person with a fixed mindset has the impression that his or her successes or failures depend on fixed traits, whereas a person with a growth mindset believes that he or she is in control of his or her destiny.

As a result, people with fixed mindsets and people with growth mindsets handle challenges and setbacks very differently. For instance, since people with fixed mindsets believe that everyone’s traits are fixed, one of their goals is to appear smart, and thus show that their supposedly fixed abilities are strong. The goal of people with growth mindsets, on the other hand, is to learn. Accordingly, people with fixed mindsets tend to avoid challenges, whereas people with growth mindsets embrace challenges.

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