AP Superstitions: How did Payton students give themselves good luck for tests?

By: Anna Calkins, Staff Writer

A motivational message for students found on a whiteboard during AP testing season.

Grizzlies- you did it! The two weeks of AP testing were not easy, and weighed heavily on everyone’s shoulders. Everybody has their own ways of coping with stress, varying from deep breathing techniques to dance parties to shake it off. To address test anxiety specifically, superstitions provide significant comfort and reassurance for high-stakes tests. These superstitions calm nerves and encourage people to feel secure and confident as they go into tests they’ve worked towards for the whole school year. Everyone’s superstitions are unique, and each is very interesting.

Junior Simone Shevchuk shared that she wears “a jade bracelet for general tests ” and specifically brings a jade monkey into AP tests. Additionally, she tries “to wear lots of red, too, since it’s lucky.” Red is a lucky color in Chinese cultures, where it’s considered auspicious to have red decorations, clothes, and more. Shevchuk also said she brings a watch, similar to many people. Hers, though, has a broken strap and the hands no longer turn. 

Wearable good-luck tokens are particularly popular since they’re easy to keep track of, and not too much effort to manage. Senior Evan Birks wears his varsity jacket into every test, along with one additional watch for each time- culminating with “one on each hand and two on the table” for his fourth (but not final) test. Another junior, Sareena Shah, wears the same socks for every AP test. They are her grandmother’s, and she explained that she acquired them on a visit that she forgot to pack socks for. One senior wears the same necklace for each test. I myself wear the same earrings, which brings me a sense of strong comfort.

Pens (with black or dark blue ink) and pencils (No. 2 only) are often associated with strategies for good luck and success. Birks sharpens a big handful of pencils before his first test, then doesn’t sharpen any pencils again until he has taken his last one. A junior I spoke with uses a specific pencil for the information sheet and brings another pencil used only for lending purposes. Placing some faith in your writing tool makes each bubbled-in answer feel a little better.

Perhaps you’ll borrow an idea for a new approach to testing from the surveyed individuals, or maybe you have your own superstitions- either way, congratulations on completing another year of AP exams. Hopefully, all your methods of garnering some good luck worked!

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