Monday, October 24 2016


Exam rituals around the world

Update: July, 10/2015 - 08:46

Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers about what students in their countries do for good luck before important exams.

Here are some of your comments.

Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi

I laughed when I was told the reason why you don't eat eggs and bananas. Vietnamese students are superstitious and they watch cartoons! It is only in cartoons that someone slips on a banana peel. Eggs are cheap, easy to get & great energy.

Besides, if you eat one banana and then two eggs, that should = loo or 100 per cent, a perfect score. No? I thought kids went to school to learn science and get away from ghosts and other false beliefs. Back home our simple and effective method of success is attending classes, taking notes and participating.

For exams we study, review, get a good night's sleep and eat whatever we like that we can afford and tastes good. Why suffer? I will no more yell at the moon than blame a chicken if I fail.

Soren Kirchner, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

I used to try something called preparation and study. To use a dictionary to make sure you know every word you're reading before you keep reading on. Practise math problems so when you have to take a test you can perform well.

Nguyen Quyen, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

I eat bananas before exams. It helps with the stress and eventual cramps I might get from sitting for too long. Eggs help boost your concentration too.

Lee Bonggeun, Korean, HCM City

In Korea, some similar rituals are popular among students. For example, some say Korean traditional seaweed soup should never be eaten before taking an exam as it brings bad luck! Due to its slippery nature, Koreans believe that knowledge will just slip right out of your brain.

Also if you wash your hair before an exam you will wash away all your knowledge.

Yeot is a type of sticky and sweet Korean candy made from glutinous rice. Because it is so sticky it is believed that good fortune will stick to you. Koreans students usually eat this before an exam so that all the knowledge sticks in their heads!

Mai Anh, Vietnamese, United Kingdom

Living in the UK for several years, I found that many students there believe in good luck charms as well. A survey showed that one in three students admits to wearing "good luck underwear" to try to boost their exam chances.

As well as lucky pants, some also use lucky pens, wear lucky jewellery or take charms into exams.

I think it's totally understandable for people to have their own good luck charms. I also have a friend who wears exactly the same perfume when she takes exams. I don't know if it's a psychological problem, but they say they always do well when have their lucky stuff with them. But I think not eating bananas and eggs before exams is nonsense.

One thing we can't deny is that the most important thing is to study hard. Revise well and eat well so you don't have any health problems on your exam day. Wake up early so that you do not need to rush through having breakfast and getting ready. Have a balanced breakfast and eat nothing risky. Bananas are always a good option. - VNS

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