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The Amazing Power of "Not Yet"
The Amazing Power of

If You Do This One Thing, Then You Can Pass the EPPP

Perhaps this is not your first EPPP attempt. Or, maybe, it is your first attempt and your EPPP practice test scores have been discouraging.

Discouragement and feeling like a failure can be detrimental to your success. However, failure is not final.

If you believe in improvement, then you can pass the EPPP.

Carol Dweck, psychologist, says that we should look at unsuccessful attempts as “not yet” succeeding instead of as failure. What she means is that an unsuccessful attempt is the beginning of a learning experience towards success rather than a final determination of success. Dweck describes the difference as “the power of yet” vs “the tyranny of now” in her TedTalk called The Power of Believing You Can Improve.

She describes a study she conducted on 10 year olds in which she gave them problems that were “slightly too hard for them” (the type of problems is left unspecified). Most of them, to her surprise, responded positively and expressed that they enjoyed a challenge.

They understood that their abilities could be developed. They had what I call a growth mindset. But other students felt it was tragic, catastrophic, from their more fixed mindset perspective, their intelligence had been up for judgement, and they failed.

Dweck found that students who enjoyed a challenge and saw difficult problems as a chance to learn were successful. Students who felt the problem was too hard and that “their intelligence had been up for judgement” were not successful and had a harder time learning the material. The students who failed said they would cheat or find someone who did worse than themselves in order to feel better the next time they were met with difficult problems.

The more fixed mindset of the failing students, however, could be changed. Dweck describes how we can switch from a mindset of failure to that of “not yet.

Whether this is another attempt to pass the EPPP or you are discouraged by the outcomes of practice tests, perhaps you can benefit from this two-step mindset shift.

First, Dweck suggests to praising wisely. She is referring to praising students but this step can easily be applied to studying for the EPPP by rewarding your short-term goals wisely. Do not praise intelligence or talent but, rather, praise the process. Reward yourself when you have completed your goal of studying a certain number of hours, or praise the concepts and terms that you finally understand without having to peek at the back of a flash card.

Second, understand that a failing score does not determine where you will be forever. In fact, your neurons are creating new and stronger connections when effort is put forth through difficulty therefore making you smarter. A failing score determines that you have an opportunity to learn more and succeed next time. So, instead of saying “I did not pass the EPPP,” change your language to “I have not yet passed the EPPP.” The difference is arguably syntactically minor but, put into practice, is effective in achieving success. 

 



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