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Weird Things on Taobao to Help With Your Exams

I’ve found that if you want to find strange things on Taobao, using the term shenqi — mysterious tool — is a good place to start. And as school gets back into session and China’s students prepare for another year of high-pressure tests, what better time could there be to take a look at some of the mysterious tools on Taobao that can supposedly help you with your studies.

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For example, there’s this bracelet. It’s easy on the eyes, true, and at just $22 it’s certainly not the most expensive piece of jewelry being sold online. But this bracelet, according to its seller, features some special properties. It’s “spiritual characteristics” will supposedly “benefit your studies, open your intelligence, improve your luck on tests, and enhance your memory.”

T28PHSXfdaXXXXXXXX_!!46899466In fact, there’s lots of weird stuff that you can use to boost your test scores. This feng shui doohickey, for example, may look like something designed by a witch doctor (pictured), but it promises to “enhance” your “feeling” during exams — whatever that means. Or you can try out this watch, which claims to be “absolutely the first choice” for taking tests, although it’s not clear why.

(Disclaimer: none of this stuff actually works. If you want to get a good grade, try studying instead of buying weird stuff online.)

Of course, it’s not all superstitious nonsense; there are some actually useful things that are also marketed on Taobao as “mysterious test tools”, even though they’re not that mysterious. A graphing calculator, for example, is likely to come in handy. So are these earplugs, billed as “must-have” items for exams to keep background noise from interfering with your concentration. These weird little fruit-people fans (below) promise to help keep you cool for those high-pressure exams where you’ve got to sweat it out. And for getting your mind right, there are a variety of t-shirts with motivational slogans like “Strive!” and “Do our best!”

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(And of course, Taobao is full of more directly helpful things like exam prep books and workbooks to help students review the subjects they’re meant to be studying.)

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