Test Prep: The Fixed versus the Growth Mindset

By SAT ACT Test Prep

Growth-v-FixedOur SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar differs in many ways from those run by franchises such as Kaplan and Princeton Review.  One of the bigger ways relates to the psychological shifting that occurs through my mini-lectures.  Explaining the Growth versus the Fixed Mindset in the context of test prep has been one of the lectures that seems to last with students. In quick summary, those with a growth mindset believe that success comes from their efforts. Those with a fixed mindset believe that success comes from their innate talents. Of course, we all are a mix of the two.  But in relation to test prep, our students will sometimes come to me and say “I’m a bad test-taker.” I explain that they are untrained test takers and that I will train them to be better.  They nod but only believe after they have gone through our class and then they believe.

Living on the Connecticut shoreline, particularly in a small town like Old Saybrook, leads to running into former students frequently. One of the more common comments from past students has been that they used the framework of growth from our SAT class and applied it elsewhere.  Recently, Michelle, an old student from neighboring Old Lyme, spotted me while I was walking into my Old Saybrook office. “I’ve been thinking of e-mailing you!” she exclaimed. “I was suffering through organic chemistry and was about to give up because I thought I wasn’t naturally good at the subject. Then I remembered when you explained that I just needed proper training when I said the same thing about SATs.”

Michelle is a pre-med. Organic chemistry tends to weed out pre-meds.  She’ll make a great doctor.