From textbooks under pillows to the Legally Blonde soundtrack: Our readers’ weird revision rituals and pre-exam superstitions revealed

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By Adam Mawardi on

‘I used to watch Harry Potter the night before every exam and guess what: I have a first-class degree’

Legally Blonde – credit: Tracy Bennet/MGM

You’d be wrong to think that grit, determination and serious graft were enough to get aspiring lawyers through exam season.

As it turns out, law students, known for their sharp logical and analytical reasoning skills, are also guilty of having fairly odd revision rituals and pre-exam superstitions. We asked our Instagram followers to share some of their own — and we weren’t disappointed.

“Textbooks under the pillow ALL THE WAY,” we were told.

“You have to count to 100 before you enter the exam hall or you go back and start again,” replied one respondent.

“If there’s not a three in my exam number, I’m going to fail,” one confessed.

“I have to turn up three hours early with my lucky pebble in my pencil case,” one explained.

“[I] used to watch Harry Potter the night before every exam and guess what: I have a first-class degree,” another admitted.

According to some, the secret to getting their head in the game is actually just gaming. One confessed to needing “a couple of hours of Xbox” before an exam — “if you don’t know it then you never will” — while another said: “I have to get a win in Warzone to get hyped or else I won’t do good.”

‘Dear me, please don’t fail. Kind regards, me’

Others prepare by ceremoniously listening to “the song from that montage in Legally Blonde where she starts revising hard” or with a Hamilton “half hour jam session to reserve my nerves”. Those with moot or advocacy exams recommended Tupac’s ‘All Eyes On Me’ “on repeat” or Megan Thee Stallion’s TikTok anthem ‘Savage’. One student apparently takes it one step further by playing “Sum41, ‘Fat Lip’, on my guitar before each exam”.

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Many superstitious students found they need to dress the part, whether it’s matching “the colour of my socks to the colour of the core text for each exam”, wearing “matching underwear to feel like life is together” or to always “try and look as good as possible in order to distract my classmates”. Cosmetics can inspire confidence too, according to one student who “judges how well my exam will go based on how my makeup went that morning”. The cherry on top is to “spray some perfume on you when revising and use the same one in the day of your exam,” added another.

The perks of sitting exams at home

Diets are also ripe with law student rituals. From nutritious “oatmeal with fruits for breakfast” and “almonds to help with my memory” to a less healthy “bar of chocolate right before the exam” and “a meaty breakfast”, to straight-up toxic “one Red Bull 45 minutes prior to starting [the exam] and glucose tabs”. One gave off Violet Beauregarde vibes as they admitted to “chew gum while studying and chew the same during the exam”.

Not even the law student love affair with stationery is free from wacky habits. One revealed, “I need to sit the exam with the pen taken from the uni/firm/chambers I’m aspiring to”, while another explained, “I also had the same Parker pen throughout my LLB, LPC, LLM and PSC — used without fail”.

If all else fails, there’s one ritual that has stood the test of time through generations of aspiring lawyers: “A good cry before during and after the exam. Works every time.”

Tell us your strange revision rituals and pre-exam superstitions in the comments below 👇🏼.

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