Going into the exam period with the belief that you can succeed is a powerful exam strategy. Here's why and a few things you can do to become a positive thinker.
There is a story about a shoe company that wanted to expand its sales into Africa. It sent one salesman to East Africa and a second to West Africa. The first salesman reported back, "Forget doing business here, no-one wears shoes." The second salesman reported back, "This is a great place to do business; no-one wears shoes."
In the same way that these two salesmen saw the same situation, but responded according to what they wanted to see, we all respond to university study according to what we already think and believe about ourselves and our capacities. This, in turn, determines what we see and how we respond to the many demands of university study.
Need academic skills
This is not to suggest that you do not need a reasonable level of the traditional academic skills such as effective reading skills, essay writing, research skills, reasonable time management, notetaking and so on. But these are all relatively useless without a belief that you have a significant degree of control over academic outcomes and you have the capacity to achieve your desired outcomes.
Reality is made up
Those students who believe their academic success is directly related to what they do and that they have control over their effort and performance, do much better than those students who believe external factors, like luck or the skills of the lecturer, decide their success.
Effort equals success
There is a direct link between the effort that students put into their studies and their success. Effort is connected to control - the more effort the more control. Effort is also connected to a sense of personal capacity. For instance, if you believe you do not have the capacity to get through university, then there is no point putting in the effort because it will make no difference. However, if you believe you do have what it takes, then it makes sense that more effort will result in higher grades.