Clear your head
• The real value of higher level exams • Helpful and unhelpful attitudes to learning • Pressures of student life • New ways of thinking
No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a great
change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of
John Stuart Mill
I wonder why you're reading this book. Maybe it's because you know you could do well in your exams, and you've heard about exam techniques that might help you. Maybe that's because you're anxious about your prospects, perhaps because you've had a long absence from studying or because your past experience of exams wasn't ideal and you want to perform better this time round.
Most students fret about exams
I doubt that you're feeling calm about your oncoming exams. The odds are certainly against it. Higher level exams can make students feel more insecure than they ever did at school. The stakes often seem higher: the prospect of being formally assessed, social pressures to succeed and the added pressures at college or university, make many extremely anxious in the run-up to exams.
To resolve anxiety, you have to understand what it's about. We shall start by exploding a few popular myths about failure and success. That's because you stand a better chance of reaching your goals if you can keep a clear head and a healthy perspective on your exams. One reviewer who read the first draft of this chapter remarked upon the irony that a book on exam success should start