Just because you’re not in school anymore, doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t ever have to sit an exam again. Training courses, hobby qualifications and even learning to drive require exams so it’s important to maintain the sharp exam skills throughout adult life.
If you rely more on good luck charms than your abilities, you could learn a thing or two from the students in East Asia, who feel the stress of exam seasons more than anyone.
Here are ten superstitions and preparations, reports the BBC, that students use to ensure passing.
1. “Take a break”
Succeed by not literally taking breaks from revision but rather following through with the gaudy marketing campaign from Kit-Kat. The Japanese pronunciation of the dual-packaged treat means something along the lines of “surely winning”.
2. A is for Apple
The pronunciation of apple in Chinese is “ping guo”, which also means “safety”. As well as making sure you get to school safely, you might even pass the exam.
3. Don’t wash your hair
In South Korea it’s thought that washing your hair runs the risk of washing out all the knowledge. The amount of germs an exam hall harbours doesn’t bear thinking about.
4. Make a meal of it
A month prior to exam season in Hong Kong, students gather for the annual ‘superpass’. It’s kind of like a pop-up summer camp with dinners and activities to increase the group’s chance of success.
5. Wine and swine
As a part of ‘superpass’, everyone has a crack at slicing through a roast pig as a sacred offering. If you can succeed in cutting the pig in half, congrats, you’re probably going to pass. It really pays to have a strong upper body.
6. The final gamble, religion
The keenest of parents will go as far as spending every day 100 days prior to exams praying at their local temple for their son or daughter.
7. “Soups, I did it again”
In South Korea, the popular seaweed soup is said to have the same effect as washing your hair. The slipperiness of the dish is thought to make you lose all your knowledge.
8. Chicken shots
Dylan Lee Soon Yoong, a Singaporean student at University College London, says: “I drink chicken essence on the morning of the exam… you down it like a shot after heating it up. It’s supposed to help your concentration and is marketed pretty heavily to students in Singapore.”
9. The underpants make the wearer
Red is considered to the colour of luck in China, so much so that it’s common practice to wear red underwear on days when you need fortune on your side.
10. The Bell Curve God
Deities throughout history have represented both wish-fulfilment and embodiments of fear. Death, famine, love, animals and, more recently, the bell curve grading system. The University of Singapore has gone as far as setting up an electronic shrine to the Bell Curve God for students to pay homage to the cruel grader of grades.