How to develop the right mindset for the new school year

Sure, a lot of hard work and studies are needed to achieve your goals, but the key to achieving your goals lies in your mindset. This article tackles exactly that, keep reading to find out.

10 months ago   •   7 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Anna Hunko / Unsplash

We all know that one person who seems naturally bright always achieves their academic and personal goals.

What if I were to tell you that success in the school year doesn’t require you to be naturally smart? Anyone can achieve their goals by just stepping into the new school year with the right mindset!

Create a mindset that improves productivity and motivation

Many students think that high school, especially year 12, is all about the grind.

Sure, a lot of hard work and studies are needed to achieve your goals, but the mindset of studying 24/7 can make you feel less motivated.

Instead, try some of the following methods that will allow you to adjust your mindset towards school and learning, leading to greater productivity and motivation overall:

Discover ways in which you can enjoy what you are learning

There’s no doubt that when you enjoy the content of your subjects and see how it fits into your reality, you are more likely to actively participate in studying and feel motivated.

There are many ways you can do this! For example, let’s say you love sports but aren’t interested in your biology subject. What you can do is take the information in Human Biology, and use it to explain how an athlete can run a marathon, for example.

Connecting content to your interests is a scientifically backed way to better understand and remember concepts! If you're interested in getting some Year 12 support, browse Australia's top tutors here.

Focusing on your past academic success and not just your future goals

In the thick of high school, sometimes we forget to show pride in ourselves for the things we've accomplished so far. I recommend that you create a list of things you are proud of achieving.

This activity causes you to reframe your mindset from “I can’t do this” to “I’ve already accomplished so much, and I know I can do more.”

By shifting how you view yourself and your abilities, you can develop a mindset where you know you can succeed if you put in the work.

Use a growth mindset to reframe how you view “failure”

You’ve probably heard the spiel your teachers love to give about having a growth mindset. But hear me out!

Lots of students lose motivation very quickly once they’ve received a bad grade or unexpected feedback. Next time you feel that you haven’t achieved your best, and feel that familiar sense of dread kicking in, try this activity.

Instead of solely focusing on what you need to improve, take a moment to write down some great things you did in your assignment or exam, and don’t hesitate to get your teachers’ feedback too! Then, outline areas for improvement and specific ways you can do this. Take the time to consider how exactly you can move forward and learn from your experience to do even better next time.

This prevents you from being just disappointed with yourself- it will give you a sense of direction that enables future improvement.

Studying in year 12 doesn't have to be a struggle, book a free consultation with a 99+ ATAR tutor to see how you can take your studies to the next level.

How to factor self-care into the way you approach this school year

High-scoring students look after themselves and their mental and physical health so that they can succeed in their academics too.

Make time for the things that matter

I would recommend that you set aside non-negotiable times throughout the week for socialising with friends, going to the gym, spending time with family or just taking time to yourself.

Not only does this ensure that you feel happier and more motivated throughout your high school experience, but it also boosts productivity because you know these events cannot be rescheduled and you need to work around them!

  • Know when you're struggling and need help

Getting extra help is not a sign of weakness. Acknowledging that you need support or advice is a demonstration of self-awareness, which is a trait that high achievers have!

If you need help with the content of your subjects, need studying tips and techniques, exam advice, or someone to lean on for support during the year, getting a tutor could be a great course of action!

A great mentality with which to approach goal-setting and resolutions

Creating Micro-goals

It’s great to have big end goals to guide you, but it’s also important to create micro-goals that allow you to work towards those bigger goals.

For example, instead of just aiming for a great mark on your persuasive essay for English, think about the smaller goals that will help you achieve this, such as reading a persuasive article each day to gain ideas. Try and achieve these smaller goals every day, and celebrate the small wins and the big ones.

This technique not only breaks down big goals so that they are more doable, but it also gives you confidence that you have a game plan to achieve your best.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.    How do I shift my study mindset so that I enjoy what I’m learning at school?

You can do this in two ways- First, try to make the content that you’re learning more relatable to your interests. For example, think about how food chemistry links to your interests in living a healthy lifestyle, and use that as a way to build curiosity in the content. Instead of viewing learning as a chore, see it as something that furthers your existing knowledge on certain topics.

If this doesn’t work, make the actual process of learning and studying more enjoyable. This depends on what type of learner you are, but change things up by altering your study space now and then or holding study sessions with your friends. If you'd like to try interactive online courses for your subjects to change things up, check out KIS Academics' online courses for free!

2.    How do I adopt the right mindset towards this school year, when I’m burnt out?

The best way to do this is to recognise that a productive mindset that avoids burnout, is one where you understand the merit of taking time for yourself and not going overboard with studying.

Whilst taking a break is a short-term solution, a more long-term solution could be to factor in non-negotiable hours throughout the week to engage in your hobbies or spend time with friends or family. Seek out help from your friends or get support from a tutor or mentor who can help you. If you're interested in getting some Year 12 support, browse Australia's top tutors here.

Normalising the fact that you need breaks and support, can help you reshape your mindset even when you’re burnt out.

3.    What is the best mindset for recovering from bad grades or performance during the year?

Getting a bad grade despite working hard can be disappointing.

However, instead of spiralling into an “I can't do this” mindset, take a moment to reflect on the assignment or exam. Sit down with your teacher to go through what you did well, and what could be improved, as well as how exactly how to improve next time. Your teachers are a huge resource and are likely more than happy to help!

If not, you can always get support, advice, and feedback from a tutor who can explain to you exactly where you did well, and where some improvements can be made.


Written by KIS Academics Tutor for VCE Chemistry and Biology, Sharnica Sivananthan. Sharnica is studying Medicine at Monash University and has over 150 hours of tutoring experience. You can view Sharnica’s profile and request her as a tutor.

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