| Prayer for Test Takers
Lord, today I am just really stressed. You know, Lord, that I am having some trouble with the test I am about to take. I know it’s probably not the biggest world problem, with people starving, people turning away from you, people in wars, and more. But, Lord, it’s what I’m facing right now, and I need you in this time. I know that no problem is too big or too small for you to handle, and I need to turn this stress over to you to help me with.
Lord, I just need to be able to focus. I need your help to look at this information so I can remember and apply it well on my exam. I need you to help me feel more confident going into the test and relax a bit so I can concentrate. Lord, please help the people around me to understand that I need to focus and study.
Also, Lord, help me when I walk into the exam. Give me the peace, when it is all said and done, to know that I walked in and did my best. I pray, Lord, for your guiding hand as I take the exam, and I ask for your welcome calm when I walk out of the classroom after.
Lord, thank you for all the blessings you have placed in my life. Thank you for being here in this time when I feel a bit overwhelmed. Thank you for always being there and allowing me to rely on you. Praise your name. Amen.
By Kelli Mahoney
The air crackles with anticipation in China’s tiny eastern town of Maotanchang ahead of the “gaokao”, the annual national college entrance exam more than nine million students are taking this year.
The town is famed for a middle school that puts students through rigorous 14-hour days in preparation for the exam, which begins on Wednesday and is usually spread over two days.
This year, about 9.4 million students will appear, the Xinhua state news agency said, roughly the same number since 2014 and down from a peak of 10.5 million in 2010.
The fiercely competitive test is seen as a key to social mobility and the best chance for school leavers to land a white-collar job.
China’s notoriously gruelling university entrance exams, the gaokao, begin today #EconArchive
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) June 6, 2017
Just 40 percent of students are expected to enroll in undergraduate degrees subsequently, however, Xinhua said, citing the 2017 enrollment plan of the Education Ministry.
But the exception is Maotanchang Middle School, whose website says 80 percent to 90 percent of its students have won college acceptances since 2010.
“My mother gave up her job and came here to keep me company,” said Xiang Licheng, a 20-year-old who came to Maotanchang to prepare for a second attempt at the exam.
He said the school had taught him endurance, among other life skills.
“Every time I don’t feel like studying, I will not relax, as I see the hardship my mother goes through in caring for me,” Xiang said.
Gaokao： a window of life-changing for students in China pic.twitter.com/P3FAC0IVVJ
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) June 5, 2017
Restaurant owner Zhang Xunze said he moved to Maotanchang three years ago so his son could attend the school.
“We thought life was too boring and had nothing to do. So we gathered some money and started this restaurant,” said 49-year-old Zhang, whose business is a short walk from the school gate.
In the lead-up to the exams, students took part in incense-burning ceremonies to pray for good luck. They also released into the sky floating lanterns inscribed with “gaokao” messages.
China’s Education Ministry has urged exam venues to “create an optimal environment for students”, and guard against “extreme weather conditions, natural disasters and disease outbreaks that could occur during the exams,” Xinhua said.
In Anhui, teenagers and mothers are facing the pressure in the days leading up to the ‘#gaokao’ pic.twitter.com/0E8zxL3eYS
— Sixth Tone (@SixthTone) June 5, 2017
The parents of Maotanchang Middle School were doing their part to help. Students cramming on the weekend received tins of steaming soup their parents had queued patiently to deliver.
“What I am most worried about now is that I will not perform well in the exam,” said Zhang Chenlin, who lives with his mother in a tiny room near the school to prepare for his second try.
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The patron saint for struggling students suffered from severe learning disabilities
Many know that Saint Joseph of Cupertino, who often levitated during times of profound prayer and reverence, is the patron saint of flying. But perhaps students preparing for their final exams, and in need of a heavenly boost with studies, will be glad to know that he is also a patron for struggling students.
Born in Puglia, Italy, in 1603, Joseph dealt with severe learning disabilities which – with the help of Heaven – did not prevent him from attaining the priesthood.
His father died before his birth and Joseph’s debt-ridden mother gave birth to him in a stable. From the age of five, the boy applied himself to devout prayer, often remaining motionless, with his eyes raised to the sky, which earned him the nickname “Bocca aperto” (“mouth agape”). At 17, Joseph became a Capuchin, but his intellectual impairments and frequent ecstasies made him unsuitable. His mother, whose brother was a conventual Franciscan, used her influence to eventually have him admitted to a friary near Cupertino.
At Cupertino, Joseph was put in charge of the care of the community’s mule, but his cheerful obedience eventually won over his superiors who, despite his illiteracy, were so struck by the young man’s piety and obedience that they received him as a candidate for the priesthood.
All unschooled, Joseph remained unable to explain a single text of the bible except verse 27 of Luke, Chapter 11: As Jesus said this, a woman raised her voice in the crowd saying, “Blessed is the mother who bore you into it, and whose breasts have fed you!”
On January 3, 1627, Bishop Jerome of Franchis presided over an oral examination required for entrance exam to the minor orders. In choosing a theme, the bishop opened the Bible at random and landed precisely upon Luke 11:27. To his surprise, Joseph made a brilliant commentary on the verse and was permitted to advance.
A year later, Joseph – by then a deacon – asked to be received into the priesthood. The first applications presented for review by Bishop de Castro were so impressive that the bishop decided the whole class must be similarly gifted, and admitted all of the candidates to ordination. Thus Joseph was ordained in 1628, having been exempted from exams he probably could not have passed.
So if you know someone who is sweating out his or her finals, pass along this prayer, and tell them to seek out Saint Joseph’s intercession for their academic intentions.
Read more: 3 saints who probably had learning disabilities
Prayer before an exam
O holy Joseph of Cupertino, who loves to bestow your favors upon all in need of your assistance, I implore your help with my studies and upcoming examinations. Despite my hard work and good will, I am anxious about these tests, and how I will perform. Remember, Saint Joseph, that you too endured a similar difficulty and that through obedience and the powerful protection of your spiritual father, you were providentially helped toward your calling and vocation.
Remember that you found yourself in the same difficulty and that through obedience and the powerful protection of your spiritual father you came out providentially well.
I beg your assistance now; help me to be confident in my testing, and prompt and alert in all of my answers. I ask your prayers for my intention, in the name of Jesus, and also with a special supplication to Mary and Saint Francis, your Holy Father.
O patron saint of academic examinations, I am convinced that my hope in your prayerful assistance will not be disappointed. Amen
Translated and adapted from the French
This powerful prayer is very effective in examinations. It has to be said before appearing in the examination. There are two variants to this prayer. Both the prayers are equally effective. You can choose any one of these:-
First Prayer O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
Through Christ our Lord.
St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.
Second Prayer O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of Examination eg. History paper I ) examination.
In return, I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me
O Holy Ghost enlighten me
Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.
Remember, when you succeed in the exams then you should thank St. Joseph of Cupertino.Recommended as a way to honor St. Joseph of Cupertino: