I believe that Mindset will affect your studying MORE than anything else

I believe that your Mindset will affect the success of your studying, almost more than anything else!

This is why I now focus on Study Mindset & Strategy coaching for Accounting students instead of focussing on subject-matter.

WHAT is Mindset?


  • Some people run TOWARDS new, uncertain, different situations
  • Some people BACK OFF from new, uncertain, different situations.

When you start thinking about the mindset of those around you, and yourself, you’ll start seeing this EVERYWHERE! In all sorts of ways.

Stretch vs Safe

In the video, I talk about it ‘stretch’ vs ‘safe’. 

For most accounting students, the idea of trying to do something, when you KNOW you don’t know what you’re doing… (ie: stretching) is IRRESPONSIBLE?! Why even try it? Why apply for a job if you can’t do it? Why study something you KNOW you’ll fail? It makes no sense. We don’t see this as ‘safe’, or having a Fixed Mindset. We see this as common sense. Logical. Responsible.

It feels like common sense to study and get comfortable with the work before you touch a question. That’s not ‘safe’, that’s obvious!

So, how does your study mindset affect your studying?

What's Your Study Mindset?

NOTE:  I’ve seen a few studies, and heard a bunch of people say things like “I have a Growth Mindset BECAUSE I registered for this tough qualification process. If I had a Fixed Mindset, I wouldn’t have registered for it, or would’ve stopped studying it.”. Because of this, a lot of people dismiss the possible impact of a Fixed mindset, because they’ve already decided they don’t have one. 

So, keep an open mind for just a little bit!


You’re in my class. We’re about to start a new topic. You’ve kinda learnt only the real basics, more than a year ago. I tell you the following:
“Before we start, I want you to do this more advanced question relating to what we’re about to learn. Complete the question, and give it to me. It doesn’t count for marks, but I guarantee it will help us learn faster.”

What’s your instinctive feeling and response?

Fixed Mindset

You panic a little (or a lot!). “I can’t do it! I don’t know the stuff! I don’t know what to do. And she’s going to take it in!”

If you had a valid reason, an easy way to leave ASAP, you’d run out the class! If you have the solution in your file, you’d check it out before doing your attempt. Your mental energy would be spent on worrying about how it’s going to go, as opposed to actually THINKING about the question.

You’d be severely uncomfortable, possibly angry with me for putting you in that position. “I’m not comfortable with this stuff”.

The fact that I’ve told you it will speed up your studying is irrelevant for you. Although you LOGICALLY want this, your decision in this moment totally ignores this. 

Growth Mindset

You know you won’t know the answer, but I’ve already said that it doesn’t count, so it’s not like it ‘matters’ how you do. And hey! She said it’ll make the studying go faster… and THAT’S definitely worth it!

“So what if I get it wrong, we haven’t DONE the stuff yet!? She wouldn’t expect us to be able to do it yet!”

So what?

“Ok Yvonne… so what?! How does this ‘mindset’ affect my studying?”

  • You will ALWAYS avoid doing questions until you ‘feel’ comfortable with the work, you will wait until you ‘feel’ ready. Whether it’s at the start of the topic, midway, or 2 weeks before the exam.
  • Your study sessions will be probably 70% theory-based, if not more. You KNOW you need to do more questions, but there’s just never time to get through the work to the point where you’re comfortable AND do the questions. What is sacrificed? Questions.
  • When you do questions, you’re more likely to ‘check’ the memo, or go back to revision when you start the question and see it’s something you can’t quite do.
  • Your mental energy is spent more on WORRYING about your studying than the actual content. You’re more concerned about doing badly, what I’ll think of you, what it means… than actually THINKING about the content.
  • Higher stress levels… never good for focus and concentration. More procrastination. More guilt. Basically… not a great learning experience!

We CAN change our Mindset

Awareness is the first step in making any change. Before we panic about how to change, just spend a little time thinking about, and paying attention to how you respond to stuff on a daily, hourly basis. We really need to understand the daily, constant impact of our mindset. Otherwise, we’ll make a change for two days, then slip right back to our old ways, because they’re REALLY embedded in our brains. 

I have loads of content on this on this site, my YouTube channel, and you can look into Mindset way more. My main goal here is to make you really THINK about what drives your study decisions, and what’s REALLY creating the struggle.


Yes, I can help

I believe your mindset will affect your studying so pervasively, that this is my main focus with students.

If you can relate, or have a query...

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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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