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100 Motivational Quotes for Exams – The 2024 Student Guide

Are you feeling overwhelmed with preparing for exams in college? Check out these 100 motivational quotes to help bring back your motivation to take exams.



girl college student smiling before taking an exam

As a college student, sometimes I forget why I am taking a specific class, or why I am anxious about an exam that I am about to take. It’s normal to lose the motivation to study for an exam.

The reasons can vary, but sometimes it’s burnout, or there’s too much pressure to get a good grade for that class.

But I force myself to remember why I am here and experiencing all these things: I want to learn. After all, that’s the whole point of going to college!

I compiled one hundred motivational quotes to help bring back your motivation in taking exams. I find that quotes that I can scribble on my reviewer sheets or write on my dry erase board help a lot.

There are tons of motivational quotes for exams out there, but I hand-picked one hundred of the best ones that changed my approach to testing.

I hope you find solace in the fact that you’re not alone in what you’re experiencing, and I hope that you find that motivation you need for your approaching exams in this article.

In this Post:

Inspirational Quotes for Exam Success

1. “Failure is impossible.” – Susan B. Anthony, Speech to National Woman Suffrage Association

2. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins

3. “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt

4. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington

5. “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison

6. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is incompetent.” – Albert Einstein

7. “We exceeded expectations just by turning up for the exams.” – J.K Rowling

8. “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m Possible.’” – Audrey Hepburn

9. “Quality is a proud and soaring thing.” – Jessica Julian

10. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou

11. “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

12.  “Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” – Earl of Chesterfield

13. “No one knows what he is able to do until he tries.” – Publilius Syrus

14. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

Related: 110 Most Uplifting Self-Care Quotes to Transform Your Life Today

15. “Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.” – Paul Engle

16. “Success comes before work only in the dictionary.” – Anonymous

17. “There’s always room for improvement, it’s the biggest room in the house.” – Louise Heath Leber

18. “Maturity of mind is the capacity to endure uncertainty.” – John Finley

19. “Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be; custom will soon render it easy and agreeable.” – Pythagoras

20. “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” – John Foster Dulles

Exams are daunting, and they can incite all types of fear. But these twenty motivational quotes for overcoming your fears, like Marie Curie’s call for understanding fear and Voltaire’s claim that to be certain is to be absurd, will help put things in perspective.

college student writing on paper studying for exam


Motivational Quotes for Overcoming Your Fears

1. “Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus

2. “Fortune favors the bold.” – Latin proverb

3. “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

4. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

5. “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” – William Faulkner

6. “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

8. “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” – Soren Kierkegaard

9. “The secret to happiness is freedom…and the secret to freedom is courage.” – Thucydides

10. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

11. “You cease to be afraid when you cease to hope; for hope is accompanied by fear.” – Seneca the Younger

12. “The only certainty is that nothing is certain.” – Pliny, the Elder

13. “The essence of courage is not that your heart should not quake, but that nobody else knows that it does.” – E.B Benson

14. “The first and great commandment is, don’t let them scare you.” – Elmer Davis

15. “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire

16. “It doesn’t hurt to be optimistic. You can always cry later.” – Lucimar Santos de Lima

17. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin

18. “It is better to wear out than to rust out.” – Richard Cumberland

19. “Better ask twice than lose your way once.” – Danish proverb

20. “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, because if you enjoy it today, you can do it again tomorrow.” – Anonymous

Self-doubt is an unpleasant feeling, but you have all you need inside of you.

You have the information and the skillset to overcome any adversity; let Joan Didion remind you why self-respect is important, or let Virginia Woolf remind you that you need not be anybody but yourself.

Related: 80 Best Life is What You Make It Quotes – The Ultimate Guide

Motivational Quotes for Believing in Yourself

1. “Character – the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.” – Joan Didion,

2. “Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” – Margaret Atwood,

3. “This above all: to thine own self be true.” – William Shakespeare,

4. “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” – Virginia Woolf

5. “Don’t feel inadequate if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love.” – Emma Watson

6. “Very wise is he that can know himself.” – Geoffrey Chaucer

7. “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” – Winston Churchill

8. “If you haven’t got it, you can’t show it. If you have got it, you can’t hide it.” – Zora Neale Hurston,

9. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

10. “Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” – Robert Frost

11. “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves…self-discipline with all of them came first.” – Harry S. Truman

12. “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

13. “We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

14. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” – Karl Marx

15. “The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside.” – Dag Hammarskjöld

16. “Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin

17. “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the right to do the same.” – Voltaire

18. “Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.” – St. Francis of Sales

19. “The final mystery is oneself.” – Oscar Wilde

20. “It ain’t over till it’s over.” – Lawrence Berra

Chasing one’s goal can look impossible, but never forget that great things come to those who wait; even better, great things come to those who take it one day at a time.

Next thing you know, you’ve got your goals in front of you and you’re where you’re supposed to be. Don’t lose hope.

Eleanor Roosevelt challenges you to do one thing every day that scares you and Sigmund Freud reminds you that the craziest dreams you have are the most profound.

Related: The Best Persuasive Speech Topics- The Ultimate Student Guide

Inspirational Quotes for Chasing Your Goals

1. “A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility.” – Aristotle

2. “One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” – Jane Austen,

3. “It’s amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly, and authoritatively demand it.” – Meryl Streep

4. “If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead.” – Gusteau,

5. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant,

6. “You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” – Shonda Rhimes,

7. “Hold fast to dreams / For if dreams fade / Life is a broken-winged bird / That cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes,

8. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

9. “To go too far is the same as not to go far enough.” – Confucius,

10. “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

11. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

12. “Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.” – Nathaniel Emmons

13. “Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.” – Sigmund Freud

14. “The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same.” – Heraclitus (500 B.C.)

15. “The best throw of the dice is to throw them away.” – Austin O’Malley

16. “If you only keep adding little by little, it will soon become a big heap.” – Hesiod

17. “Some pursue happiness – others create it.” – Anonymous

18. “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

19. “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you dislike.” – George Burns

20. “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

When you feel like giving up, rest! Sometimes we need to recover to be able to push further. Not everything has to be rushed, because you are in control of your own life, and you can pace it however you want.

As Miguel de Cervantes wrote in patience is key! Or as Countee Cullen put it, the secret to success is lots of hard work, but also lots of breaks.

Related: 20 Sites That Pay You To Actually Do Homework – The Ultimate Guide

Inspirational Quotes for Never Giving Up

1. “Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” – Betty Smith,

2. “You have to fight for your life. That’s the chief condition on which you hold it.” – Saul Bellow,

3. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

4. “What I say is, patience, and shuffle the cards.” – Miguel de Cervantes,

5. “There is no secret to success except hard work and getting something indefinable which we call ‘the breaks.’” – Countee Cullen

6. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke

7. “There is a sense that things, if you keep positive and optimistic about what can be done, do work out.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton

8. “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” – Thomas Edison

9. “To live without Hope is to Cease to live.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

10. “Hope is tenacious. It goes on living and working when science has dealt it what should be its deathblow.” – Paul Laurence Dunbar

11. “Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.” – Jane Ellice Hopkins

12. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

13. “Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, ignorant people already have all the answers.” – Socrates

14. “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

15. “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” – Walter Elliott

16. “Wise men don’t need advice. Fools don’t take it.” – Benjamin Franklin

17. “Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” – Emily Dickinson

18. “A genius is one who aims at something no one else can see and hits it.” – Anonymous

19. “Tact consists in knowing how far to go too far.” – Jean Cocteau

20. “Circles though small are yet complete.” – Anonymous

Wow…that was long. I spent hours compiling this list of motivational quotes for exams so I really hope you find one that resonates with you. Exams are hard, but they are just that: exams.

They are meant to test what you already know and what you’ve learned in class. Plus, if you’re worried about getting a good grade, here’s a gentle reminder that they don’t define your intelligence.

Let it not be a reason for self-doubt, because you are more capable than what you make yourself out to be. Good luck! I really hope that in this list of motivational quotes, you found one that will help you get going.




100 quotes to motivate students before exams

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