77 Inspirational Quotes for Exam Success

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Why Read Inspirational Quotes Before Your Next Exam?

Do you have a big scary exam looming on the horizon? Are you doing just about anything to avoid studying for the said exam? Maybe you need a little pick-me-up before you dig into your books and notes – some motivational quotes for student success to boost your confidence. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of 77 inspirational exam quotes for exam success. Here are the best exam quotes to really kick butt on your next test!

11 Starter Quotes to Start Your Studying

11 Starter Quotes to Start Your Studying

11 Starter Quotes to Start Your Studying

Almost always, the hardest part of studying is finding the motivation to sit down and crack open the books. Here are some quotes from famous folks to help you get off the couch and into the library!

1. “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” – Mark Twain

Twain – one of the most famous American authors of all time – would naturally be an excellent champion for education. Students should view their knowledge as a blessing. For quite some time in American history, being literate was a luxury exclusive to the insanely wealthy. Therefore, we should not take our education for granted and sit down and study as soon as possible.

2. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle 

The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle realizes that finding the motivation to begin studying can be difficult. Education is an arduous task, but the rewards that follow are too great to ignore.

Many students, especially perfectionists, tend to procrastinate under the presumption that inspiration will strike them like lightning. Sometimes what you need is not motivational quotes to study harder, but rather a collection of quotes inspiring you to get your act together and just start working! Truth be told, when it comes to studying, you’re never going to be in a perfect state to absorb all of your learning material. That is because perfection doesn’t exist, and it certainly won’t find you when you’re in a panic cramming for an exam. The following quotes should incite your need to get a move on with your studying, even if you’re not feeling 100%.

3. “Do not wait; the time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert

4. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

5. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

6. “Education is a continual process; it’s like a bicycle… if you don’t pedal you don’t go forward.” – George Weah

7. “Success only comes to those who dare to attempt.” – Mallika Tripathi

8. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

9. “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – Steven King

10. “Start before you’re ready.” – Steven Pressfield

Remember that your education is a process and that the only way you can move on is to jump right in. Greatness isn’t something that comes to people magically. They have to be willing to sit down and say today is the day. Think of how many books and screenplays Steven King has written in his career. At some point, he had to sit down and write the very first sentence of what would spawn a decades-long career. Basically, we shouldn’t fear beginnings, and we shouldn’t expect greatness from the smallest of steps, even if they’re our first steps. You just have to have the audacity to begin. Of course, a certain actor sums this up perfectly…

11. “Just do it!” – Shia LaBeouf

11 Inspirational Quotes for Students About Believing in Yourself

11 Inspirational Quotes for Students About Believing in Yourself

11 Inspirational Quotes for Students About Believing in Yourself

Every student in history has had a moment where they are overcome with self-doubt and insecurities. Take, for example…

1. “I am very poor today and very stupid and I hate everybody and everything. One lives only to make blunders.” – Charles Darwin

That’s right! Charles Darwin, one of the brightest scientific minds of the millennia, once wrote a letter to a close friend lamenting his inability to complete his book on orchids. Keep in mind that Darwin wrote this letter after he had written his masterpiece, On the Origin of Species. Still, one of the Scientific Revolution’s greatest minds was stumped by something he assumed would be quite easy to consume mentally. Darwin’s letters show us that buried beneath the façade of raw talent is hard work, mental constipation, and a willingness to persevere. Darwin was not the only scientist to feel this way. Consider Albert Einstein’s opinion on talent:

2. “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

Essentially, you will not always be confident in your skills. However, it is your spirit and your willingness to learn in which you should place unwavering belief. We want to keep this in mind when considering inspirational quotes for students in college especially, as higher education has the tendency to plague our self-worth with doubt. The following are advocates for education at its most challenging and thought provoking.

3. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” – Confucius 

4. “Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills, I didn’t just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence.” – Michelle Obama

5. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, and I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

The above quotes show that self-confidence isn’t something that’s earned once you reach a certain educational milestone. You need to resign yourself to the fact that you won’t know everything – but that’s the beauty of education. It’s not the skills you develop, but the confidence that you grow along the way by virtue of all the challenges you have tried to overcome. Keep in mind that it won’t always be easy. Marie Curie, the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize, pays testament to that fact:

6. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie

Students should have an innate driving force in their soul that propels them towards greatness. However, it is important never to get carried away and become cocky in our own skills. Our buddy Charles Darwin has some additional insight on this:

7. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” – Charles Darwin

Another cautionary tale about avoiding cockiness comes from American comedian and actress Lucille Ball, who reflects that:

8. “I’m not sure that I want to be without some lack of confidence. If you are too sure of yourself, you don’t grow. You may feel confident in some things, but other fields come up as a challenge. And if you don’t anticipate trouble, you will be in trouble.” – Lucille Ball

Regardless, a self-aware student still requires great confidence to thrive in their academic environment.

9. “With confidence, you have won before you have started.” – Marcus Garvey

10. “Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.” – Zig Ziglar

While dramatic, all of the above quotes express the absolute importance of being confident. A student who lacks confidence will often second-guess himself or herself. Nearly everyone has faced the agony of changing an answer on an exam, only to find that his or her original answer was in fact correct!

American comedian Hannibal Buress shares a comedic example of how he carries himself in his day-to-day life, and I think it carries a certain swagger that can be applied to the classroom.

11. “I never use a napkin on my lap at a restaurant…because I believe in myself.” – Hannibal Buress

Keep in mind though, I would still strongly advise against taking a calculus exam in pen.

11 Motivational Quotes for Students About Working Hard

11 Motivational Quotes for Students About Working Hard

11 Motivational Quotes for Students About Working Hard

Raw talent is practically a myth. Even those who possess raw talent are not guaranteed success. Indeed, it seems that success in studying comes mostly from hard work. Where do we find motivational quotes to study hard? This takes us back to our friend Stephen King…

1. “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King

King is absolutely correct. While it’s tempting to attribute success to raw talent, it’s more likely that triumph is the direct result of hard work and perseverance. Take this into account when considering your studies. Here’s a collection of other successful people who attribute their success to pure, hard work:

2. “There is no substitute for hard work.” – Thomas A. Edison 

3. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

4. “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” – Anthony Bourdain

5. “Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

6. “A lot of hard work is hidden behind nice things.” – Ralph Lauren

7. “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien

8. “I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, and practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.” – Ray Bradbury

9. “Luck is great, but most of life is hard work.” – Iain Duncan Smith

Not only does it take hard work to be a successful student, but also it takes grit. How do we even find grit quotes for students that are applicable? What even is grit? Grit is a dedicated type of passion that motivates someone to see things through and reach their goals. Psychologist Angela Duckworth has devoted her entire career to studying grit. Here are some quotes about grit for students:

10. “Grittier students are more likely to earn their diplomas; grittier teachers are more effective in the classroom. Grittier soldiers are more likely to complete their training, and grittier salespeople are more likely to keep their jobs. The more challenging the domain, the more grit seems to matter.” – Angela Duckworth

11. “I like things that make you grit your teeth. I like tucking my chin in and sort of leading into the storm. I like that feeling. I like it a lot.” – Daniel Day-Lewis

Grit quotes, for students, are meant to awaken your inner badass – your intellectual Wolverine that’s waiting to burst forth. Go get ‘em, tiger!

11 Perseverance Quotes for Students About Dealing with Failure

11 Perseverance Quotes for Students About Dealing with Failure

11 Perseverance Quotes for Students About Dealing with Failure

Hard work and perseverance go hand in hand on the trail to academic success. Remember, your studies are a marathon; not a race. Here are some fantastic perseverance quotes for students:

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

2. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

3. “Success is not a good teacher. Failure makes you humble.” – Shah Rukh Khan

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

5. “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” – John Burroughs

6. “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

7. “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” – Truman Capote

8. “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.” – Unknown

9. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. “Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.” – E.O. Wilson

11. “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey

Perseverance quotes for students are meant to help you jump up again when you’re feeling down or when you’ve been struck with a heavy failure. Obstacles can often sway your motivation to begin studying at times where all your hard work may seem futile. This leads us to our next section…

11 Motivational Quotes for Students About Staying Motivated to Study

11 Motivational Quotes for Students About Staying Motivated to Study

11 Motivational Quotes for Students About Staying Motivated to Study

A lack of motivation is perhaps your greatest obstacle in persevering in your studies. Staying motivated requires great introspective thought. Why are you here? What’s motivating you in your studies? Hopefully, the following quotes should help you jog your memory on why you put your nose against the grindstone to begin with. Here are the best exam quotes to help you stay motivated:

1. “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.” – Calvin Coolidge

2. “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

3. “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

4. “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

5. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

6. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun 

7. “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

8. “People need motivation to do anything. I don’t think human beings learn anything without desperation.” – Jim Carrey

9. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H Schuller

10. “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

11. “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

11 Exam Day Quotes for Students to Stay Positive

11 Exam Day Quotes for Students to Stay Positive

11 Exam Day Quotes for Students to Stay Positive

Waking up the day of an exam is always disheartening. There’s a brief moment where you wake up and almost go about your day as if nothing is new. But when the anxiety does hit you, it’s important to stay positive. Here are some positive quotes about maintaining a bright attitude when the going gets tough, and an exam is only several hours away:

1. “Positivity is like a muscle: keep exercising it, and it becomes a habit.” – Natalie Massenet

2. “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

3. “Life’s too short…you got to keep it positive and keep it fun.” – Jose Garces  

4. “Be happy with what you have. Be excited about what you want.” – Alan Cohen

5. “You can influence, direct, and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” – Napoleon Hill

6. “A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness.” – Bernard de Fontenelle

7. “The secret of happiness is freedom; the secret of freedom is courage.” – Carrie Jones

8. “A goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot.” – Joe Vitale

9. “I love to smile, even through pain.” – Victoria Arlen

10. “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.” – Unknown 

11. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

11 Inspirational Exam Quotes for Test Day

11 Inspirational Exam Quotes for Test Day

11 Inspirational Exam Quotes for Test Day

Remember that you’re likely not the only student to be stressed about the exam. I recommend commiserating with your classmates. Knowing that you’re in the same boat as everyone else should help set your mind at ease. The camaraderie among classmates is something to be admired:

1. “The only thing that makes battle psychologically tolerable is the brotherhood among soldiers. You need each other to get by.” – Sebastian Junger 

2. “If misery loves company, then triumph demands an audience.” – Brian Moore

However, once it’s time to sit down and begin the exam silently – it’s all on you. Again, try to focus on the positive things and remind yourself of everything you know. These last few motivational quotes for students should give you that extra energy to ace that test:

3. “Don’t think about what might go wrong; think about what could go right.” –Anonymous

4. “Aim high and don’t sell yourself short.” – Holly Holm

5. “Courage in danger is half the battle.” – Plautus

6. “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” – George S. Patton

7. “We all have challenges. We have to face them, embrace them, defy them, and conquer them.” – Victoria Arlen

8. “Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagan

9. “Everything negative is all an opportunity for me to rise.” – Kobe Bryant

10. “Perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life.” – Joni Eareckson Tada

11. “Every project is an opportunity to learn, to figure out problems and challenges, to invent and reinvent.” – David Rockwell

Wrapping Up Inspirational Quotes for Exam Success

We hope that these 77 inspirational exam quotes sparked the eager scholar inside of you. You’ll find that the best exam quotes are those that apply to many of life’s challenges – from writing a college application to asking your crush to prom. Needless to say, motivational quotes for student success can only go as far as your own spirit. You are the ultimate master in your success! Case in point, it’s important to remember that everyone gets nervous, everyone feels stupid, and everyone needs a little extra motivational quote every now and then. Please check out our other articles on studying tips and techniques to help you study for your exams!

Did you enjoy some of these inspirational quotes for exam success? Then you may also like our post on how to get motivated to study and time management tips for students.

If you’re looking for the best self-motivational books for students, check out our post on that here.

Are you ready for your next test? These 7 signs will tell you.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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