Korean Superstitions Believed During Exam Period

by Jasmine Kim

Final examinations are coming up for Beauties who are currently at school or doing Postgraduate studies. It’s a busy and stressful time and with every culture, there are superstitions you can choose to believe out of precautions or choose to lightly read and laugh about. Whatever you choose to do, there are well-known superstitions Koreans have believed for a while now and if you’re a K-drama fan, you may have been exposed to them already! If you wanted to know about them especially since it’s exam period, here are Korea’s top superstitions of ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ during this time!



DO eat anything chewy during exam period. For a while now, people would give yeot (엿) which is hard toffee or chapssaltteok (찹살떡), a chewy rice cake to students studying for a big test or exam. If someone were to give some yeot or chapssaltteok to you, they’re pretty much wishing you luck. The reason why people give you these particular snacks in Korea is because it's believed that eating these sticky snacks can help you "stick" the materials and information studied into your heads. I remember all too well, my parents buying Korean rice cakes during the exam period for me to snack on while studying late at night!

Naver Blog | @pippirim_cookies

DO have a fork with you during exams. This superstition even led Koreans to gift exam-takers a fork! It may sound like an odd gift to give someone but once you hear the reasons why someone would gift a fork or fork-shaped object to you, you’ll understand why. In Korean, the verb "jjikda" (찍다) means “to pick” and usually you’d pick up food with a fork. This means they’re wishing you luck in picking the right answers from the multi choice questions, or to pick the right knowledge and information from your brain to answer the questions correctly.

Naver Blog | @kang_d

DO have a roll of toilet paper during your exams. Koreans gift toilet paper which also sounds quite odd, especially if you were to put in in your bag and take into exams. But it's another way Koreans wish you luck as it symbolises that choosing answers would be as easy as unrolling a toilet roll. The verb “pulida" (풀리다) means "unroll" so not only is it a popular gift to give students during their exam period, but it’s also a popular gift to give as a housewarming gifts. Basically symbolising it as, “I hope everything works out well and is as easy as unrolling a toilet roll in your new house.” So if someone gives you a toilet roll, don’t be offended! They only have the best intentions for you 😆


Instagram | @mijung8105

DON’T eat bread or anything shaped in a circle. Bread is such an easy meal to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and also as snacks but in Korean culture, there’s a belief that you shouldn’t have bread on the day of your exams. Bread translated into Korean is “빵" (bbang) which also means “zero”. So they say that to avoid failing your exams, don't eat bread or anything shaped in a circle as it also looks like a zero! 


DON’T eat seaweed or seaweed soup. These two are  commonly eaten as a side dish, or banchan (반찬) in Korean, to pair with your main meal. But Korean superstitions say to avoid any seaweed of any sort during the exam periods as they believe seaweed is slippery and the student may “slip” and accidentally write down the answer incorrectly.

KBS2 | Descendants of the Sun

DON’T take a shower on the day of your exam. This one's also quite odd as people may want to feel clean and refreshed for their big exam or test. But there's a superstition in Korean culture that if you take a bath or shower before your exam, you “wash” away all the knowledge and information you have studied. So although it sounds a tad unhygienic, the people who believe in the superstitions or just want to be cautious (as a “just-in-case”) will be having a bath or shower after their exams and not before!


Whether you believe in superstitions or not, I hope this article was a nice little break from your studies. If you have acted on any of the “don’ts” and feel uneasy about the past, remember these are just superstitions! If you have a friend or family member that has an exam coming up and wants to cheer them up with a gift, the ideas are there for you in this TMI. But no matter what, superstitions are just superstitions! If you have an exam coming up, good luck Beauties, you’ll ace it ❤️

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.