OK I decided I might as well share some stuff that's got me through exams. I'm writing this now because the transformation takes a long time
Just contributing. It might not work for others, but for me it did. This is actually modelled on exceptional performers who I have modelled. I started using some of the stuff and it really has helped.
Firstly you need to change your attitude toward an exam
They will never ask you what you have never learnt
Simple as that. Unless you are studying for the wrong exam board, you will never ever get an alien question. If it feels alien then YOU haven't gone over the stuff you needed to.
There Is No Such Thing As Unrealistic Targets
Unless you are taking up a subject you have never studied, why should you limit your target? This is especially important because most times, if you enter the exam room expecting to get a C grade at most, you automatically preset your performance for just that. In a way you haven't challenged yourself. Why not get in and challenge yourself for a higher grade? In a way you are preparing yourself for over-performance. It's never harmful if there's a better chance of getting a higher grade right?
Avoid Separating Yourself From Others
More often than less, I see some students asked why others seem to get higher grades. They usually respond by labeling the performers as geniuses and boffins. While that is in some cases true, this is harmful. Geniuses and boffin as they are usually labeled are just individuals with a natural passion and inclination for academics. Therefore most of their time is spent doing thing which are directly and indirectly connected to academic work. This girl at my Secondary School was an extremely high achiever and every time I saw her she would be reading a book or just practicing her maths. Most of the "geniuses" do all their work and don't mind practicing with extension work. This means they get more practice and are more inclined to do well. A malleable mind is a desirable characteristic. However, if you aren't academically inclined, more practice will do you good.
You CAN Do It
Go in that room and feel like you can manage 100%!! Seriously, with confidence your thoughts will flow freely. You will remember stuff better and you won't spend much time worrying either. Regardless of the results, the less you worry, the healthier it is. Remember this:
A Coward dies a thousand deaths. A brave warrior dies only once.
Picture what you want in your mind
No this isn't New Age bull****. Picturing your grade will cement the grade in to your mind and you will usually begin to believe it's possible. Once you do that you'll naturally take inspired action. You will stop at nothing to make the grade. You don't want to let yourself down, right?
One of the most important after pure revision, is knowing what you are expected to know in your exam. This is because most books have more than what you need. If you work with criteria you will be able to focus on the very important stuff and then build up from there!!!
The obvious stuff: revise, past exam papers etc
Revise regularly. This is the most important. Just revise. Read more, and you will naturally start reading more in to what you need to. If u develop it as a habit, great. Your mind is your biggest enemy. You'll procrastinate. Find way of motivating yourself. Look at beautiful cars and dream of owning them. Then realise to do so you must pass first!
Timetable..stick to it
Make it realistic. Don't put in 4 hours for revision to make yourself feel good. You won't do it. Put in a puny 20 minutes first and slowly increase it till you feel it's the perfect amount of time in a day. And you can still keep other parts of your life running smoothly.
So these are very basic steps you might find useful. I have just been working on it and so I decided to share with everyone what I have so far. I realise that for others academic prowess doesn't come naturally and I tried to find ways in which, with enough determination, anybody can make themselves as good as anyone else. I have a real big problem with revision, but I have take up reading as a serious hobby. I hope it pays off.
PS: Some may say I'm encouraging people to lie to themselves, but if you have done enough work, are confident, have practiced enough, answered all questions...then there is a very good chance you'll perform greatly!!!
So please do contribute little tips on how you do it. No matter how unconventional, if it works, then it might work just as well for the next person!