Want Some?!?! Academic Self-Efficacy = College Success


Academic Self-Efficacy (ASE)

So what is this Academic Self-Efficacy stuff you say?!?! Well, it refers to an individual’s belief, or conviction, that they can successfully achieve, at a set level, on an academic task or attain a specific academic goal that they have set for themselves (Bandura, 1997; Eccles & Wigfield, 2002; Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2002a).

Research suggests that having high self-efficacy when attempting difficult tasks creates feelings of calmness or serenity while low self-efficacy may result in a student perceiving a task as more difficult than reality, which, in turn, may create anxiety, stress and a narrower idea on how best to approach the solving of a problem or activity (Downey, Eccles, & Chatman, 2005).

High ASE may = Feelings of Calmness

Low ASE may = Anxiety and Stress

Self Concept

Are you wondering…Do I have low ASE?!?!

Well check out the following chart:

High Self-Efficacy High Self-Esteem Low Self-Efficacy Low Self-Esteem
Self-Confidence Responsibility Fear of Risks Unhappiness
Accurate Self-evaluation Goal Commitment Fear of Uncertainty Anxiety
Willingness to take risks Genuineness Feelings of Failure Inferiority or Superiority
Sense of accomplishment Forgiving Impression Management Impatience or Irritability
Internal Values Externally oriented goals
Positivity Negativity

When your self-esteem and self-efficacy are low, you may have lower aspirations and a weaker commitment to the goals you have chosen to pursue. You may find that do not concentrate on how to perform well. Instead, you may spend more of your energy focusing on your limitations and failures.

Let’s work on that 🙂

Brain Nerd

Psych-Nerd Light

just a light and nerdy snack!

Measuring Self-Efficacy

Dr. Chemers, University of California SC, and his research team found that academic self-Self-efficacy-measureefficacy is strongly related to academic performance and adjustment to college. Part of their questionnaire included a section on self-efficacy and the following questions were used to measure Academic Self Efficacy.

Take a moment to rate yourself in these 7 areas on a scale from

1 (Does Not Describe Me at all) to 7 (Describes me Very Well).

Academic Self-Efficacy (ASE)

  1. I know how to schedule my time to accomplish my tasks.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  2. I know how to take notes.   1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  3. I know how to study to perform well on tests.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  4. I am good at research and writing papers.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  5. I am a very good student.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  6. I usually do very well in school and at academic tasks.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  7. I find my college academic work interesting and absorbing.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7
  8. I am very capable of succeeding at the college.  1  2  3  4  5  6  7

The closer you get to a rating of 7 for a question, the more skills you believe you have in that area. Take a look at how you rated yourself on each question and then decide which areas you would like to improve on.

ASE Growth Strategies

Take a moment to watch a few of these videos to help you to grow in the areas that you are still building.

I know how to schedule my time to accomplish my tasks.

I know how to take notes.

I know how to study to perform well on tests.

I am good at research and writing papers.

Being an Engaged Student: Question Group

  • I am a very good student.
  • I usually do very well in school and at academic tasks.
  • I find my college academic work interesting and absorbing.
  • I am very capable of succeeding at the college.

The following TedTalks can help you to become a better student, do well on academic tasks, help you to dive into your work (engagement) and build the belief that you are capable of succeeding in your college program.

The Psychology of Self Motivation (TedTalk)

Getting Stuck in the Negatives (TedTalk)

Programming Your Mind for Success (TedTalk)

How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes (TedTalk)

Food for Thought

  • Goal setting and self-efficacy are powerful influences on academic achievement  (Zimmerman, Bandura, & Martinez-Pons, 1992).
  • Learning goals that are specific, short-term, and viewed as challenging but attainable enhance students’ self-efficacy better than do goals that are general, long-term, or not viewed as attainable (Zimmerman, Bandura, & Martinez-Pons, 1992).
  • Students believe that they can attain their goals when they have clear standards against which to gauge their progress. As students work on tasks, they compare their progress against their goals. The perception of progress strengthens self-efficacy and motivates students to continue to improve (Schunk, 1995).

So, as you begin to work on tasks, apply these new strategies, take note of your progress as you go, you will strengthen your Academic Self-Efficacy!

Believe in Yourself

Start Building your Academic Self-Efficacy!

You will feel better 🙂

New Mindset

Mindset, Emotion Regulation and Living Your Best Life

Another instalment in the Emotion Regulation = Academic Success Series.

Ok, I am going to be a bit of a butt kicker today. Probably because I have spent my entire week repetitively kicking my own but; trying to keep the motivation alive and moving. Sometimes we just need to clear out the mental clutter and create a mindset that works for us. Really, who doesn’t feel awesome when they are effective and taking control of their lives? We have to seize the moment that passion meets motivation and get going. Today, I would like to talk a little more about a strategy that can give your mindset a little nudge in the right direction.

Here are the ground rules, for today, to get you in the best state of mind:

Shift to Warm Fuzzies

I know! Totally not what counsellors generally say, but today we are honing in on our ideal mindset for getting stuff done. Have you ever noticed when you choose to describe a situation in only positive terms that it makes you feel better about the event or, even sometimes, the person that you are talking about? Let’s do it, let’s learn how to create a beneficial mindset today 🙂

Let’s start with a Video Snack to set the stage.

This one’s for you Kelsey C! …because you said you love the TedTalks 🙂

The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin

Amy’s article, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” introduced the world to the bad habits that can keep us from being mentally strong. Her article was reprinted and shared millions of times as it became a viral sensation. Within a few days, her list was republished on Forbes.com, where it became one of their most read articles of all time with 10 million views. Check out her TEDx Talk…simply fantastic!

Nerdy, Nerdy PsychNerdy Time!

Brain Nerd

Sometimes it is hard to get out of thinking traps and focus on the things that make us mentally stronger. Yes, building a new habit is hard, but really, are you not tired of feeling crappy about yourself and your life at times? I know that I have to work hard to get out of those traps sometimes, so I challenge you to find a new approach, develop a new mindset and create a life that even you are envious of 🙂

Here is a place to start…

Researchers, Burton & King (2004), ran an experiment that was looking at enhancing positive mood and health. Check out their journal article, The health benefits of writing about positive experiences: the role of broadened cognition, for more information. The theory that informed this experiment’s design was The Broaden and Build Theory of Positive emotions (for the really PsychNerdy ones, see below for a link).

What they did:

  • They took 90 post-secondary students and split them into 2 groups: experimental (intervention) and control (no intervention)
  • For 3 days, both groups were asked to come to the lab and write for 20 minutes. They took a survey about their mood before and after writing.
  • The control group was asked to write, in detail, about their plans for the day, their shoes and a description of their bedroom.
  • The experimental group was asked to write about Intensely Positive Experiences (IPEs). See the directions below.

What they found:

Three months later…

  • Writing about IPEs was associated with enhanced positive mood.
  • Writing about IPEs was also associated with significantly fewer health center visits for illness, compared to those in the control group.
  • Writing about your day, your shoes or your bedroom has no significant effect on enhancing your health and positive outlook (you probably guessed that!).



Do you want to write about your shoes or would you like to change your Mindset?

I thought you might say that 🙂

Start Today!

Writing About Intensely Positive Experiences

Here are the directions from the researchers, Burton & King (2009), to get you started:

“Think of the most wonderful experience or experiences in your life, happiest moments, ecstatic Positivemoments, moments of rapture, perhaps from being in love, or from listening to music, or suddenly ‘‘being hit’’ by a book or painting or from some great creative moment. Choose one such experience or moment. Try to imagine yourself at that moment, including all the feelings and emotions associated with the experience. Now write about the experience in as much detail as possible trying to include the feelings, thoughts, and emotions that were present at the time. Please try your best to re-experience the emotions involved”.

Feelin’Super PscyhNerdy?

Check this out:

Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions by Barbara L. Fredrickson or even check out Wikipedia for a better idea of this theory.  Pretty cool stuff!

Everyday is a conscious effort

I am thrilled and  grateful for all the wonderful comments that I have been receiving from readers. Thank you so much for your feedback and support!


Dr. Heather Drummond,  C.Psych.

Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Flourishing * Human Muddling Through



Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York:W. H. Freeman.

Chemers, M.M., Hu, L.T., and Garcia, B., Academic Self-Efficacy and First Year College Student Performance and Adjustment. Journal of Educ. Psychology 2001, Vol. 93, No. 1, 55-64.

Downey, Geraldine, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, and Celina Chatman. (2005). Navigating the future: social identity, coping, and life tasks.New York: Russell Sage. 2005.

Eccles, Jacquelynne S and Wigfield, Allan Wigfield. (2002).  Motivational beliefs, values, and goals. Annual Review of Psychology, 53 (1), DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135153

Linnenbrink, E. A., & Pintrich, P. R. (2002a). Motivation as an enabler for academic success. School Psychology Review, 31(3), 313-327.

Schunk, D. H. (1995). Self-efficacy and education and instruction. In J. E. Maddux (Ed.),Self-efficacy, adaptation, and adjustment: Theory, research, and application (pp. 281-303). New York: Plenum Press.

Zimmerman, B. J., Bandura, A., & Martinez-Pons, M. (1992). Self-motivation for academic attainment: The role of self-efficacy beliefs and personal goal-setting. American Educational Research Journal, 29, 663-676.


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