IELTS Writing Exam

49 Inspirational Exam Quotes For Students: Ultimate Motivation

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The ultimate collection of motivational exam quotes for students, to help inspire and encourage you as you’re preparing for test-taking!

Studying for exams is stressful. It is HARD to stay inspired and keep going. Maybe you’ve forgotten why you’re doing this at all?

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Read more: Writing exam quotes

I get it, I’ve been there…

… So let’s take a moment to boost your motivation to study for exams with some of the world’s greatest-ever quotes about exams, tests and finals.

If any of these gems really catch your heart, why not print it out (or write it out yourself) and put it up above your desk? That way you’ll get a motivational shot in the arm every time you sit down to prepare for your tests!

Perhaps all you need is this simple set of encouraging words before a test:

“If you don’t do your revision properly, you know what’ll happen? YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

― actor Sir Ian McKellen, channelling Gandalf from Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, speaking to students at a high school in Somerset, England

My personal favourite 😉

But there’s lots more on the list: keep reading for the full list of all the best 49 powerful, inspirational exam quotes for students just like you!

Simply scroll on down – or use these handy links to jump to the type of exam inspiration you need:

  • Invest in self-belief
  • Chase your goals
  • Overcome your fears
  • Find the courage to persevere
  • Get prepared
  • Eliminate your excuses
  • Just get started

Which quote is your favourite? Let me know in the comments section below!

Table of Contents

Exam quotes for investing in self-belief

Maybe self-belief doesn’t come naturally to you.

But trust the wisdom of these next set of test quotes: even for the toughest set of final exams, trust me when I say:

You’ve got this.

Choose one of these inspirational quotes to remind you that you can succeed in your exams:

Inspirational exam quote

2. Fake it till you make it

Students often doubt their abilities (see also “imposter syndrome“) – this awesome motivational quote is a fabulous antidote. Read it two or three times, and let it really sink in.

Remember this when you’re encounter challenges in preparing for an exam, or when you’re sitting in the test feeling stuck or lost.

Just ask yourself “what would a top A-grade student do about this?” Act accordingly. You might just unlock something you wouldn’t normally!

“Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t, pretend that you do and, at some point, you will.”

― Venus Williams, the first African American World No. 1 tennis player in the modern era

3. On overcoming obstacles

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”

― Christian D. Larson, author and teacher

4. Believe in yourself

“Self-belief and hard work will always earn you success.”

― Virat Kohli, Indian cricketer

5. Power of mindset

Another of my all-time favourite motivational exam quotes for students.

If you’re totally convinced you’ll fail, you’ll struggle to succeed.

But if you believe you’ll succeed, you’ll stand a much better chance.

Take it one step at a time – you can get there!

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

― Henry Ford, industrialist founder of the Ford Motor Company

6. Trust yourself

Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do”

― Benjamin Spock, paediatrician and author

7. Coping with limiting beliefs

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

― John Wooden, basketball player and coach

8. Everybody is a genius – according to Einstein

“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 stupid.” ― Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

9. You got to keep going

“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.”

― Chantal Sutherland, Canadian jockey and model

10. Keep your dreams alive

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

― Gail Devers, American Olympic champion in track and field

Motivational quotes to inspire you to chase your exam goals

Find some exam inspiration by reminding yourself what you are working TOWARDS with these quotes.

11. How badly do you want this?

Inspirational exam quote

Watch more: Should You Write a Free Sample to Get a Freelance Gig?

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

― John Maxwell, author and leadership expert

12. Nobody said this was going to be easy…

“If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.”

― Unknown

13. Education: opening your mind

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”

― Malcolm Forbes, entrepreneur

14. Work smart, not just hard

This exam quote is about more than just motivation, it also reminds us as students that test success isn’t just about putting in as many hours as possible. It’s also about studying smarter, so we can make more progress in less time – see here for more tips on time-saving study strategies.

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“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

― John F. Kennedy, 35th US president

15. Know what you want to achieve

“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.”

― Henry Ford, industrialist founder of the Ford Motor Company

16. Finding mean even in extreme challenge

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstance, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

― Viktor Frankl, neurologist, philosopher and Holocaust survivor

17. Don’t focus on how you’ll fail: focus on how you’ll win

“Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.”

― Unknown

18. Go live your dreams!

“Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.”

Unknown

Quotes to inspire you overcome your exam fears

Has exam season got your nerves frayed? Repair your confidence with a boost from these powerful quotes:

19. Embrace the power of the possible

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m Possible’.”

― Audrey Hepburn, actress and humanitarian

Mind blown!

I loved this exam quote – for students, it reminds us that no matter how hard things seem at first, there IS potential to succeed. See also the science of growth mindset.

Inspirational quote for students

20. Just do it

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”

― Jules Renard, author – French

21. Being afraid just shows this matters to you

“Fear, inherently, is not meant to limit you. Fear is the brain’s way of saying that there is something important for you to overcome.”

― Unknown

22. How to bounce back

“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom.”

― General George S. Patton, WW2 commander in the US Army

23. Imagine the possibilities…

Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”

― Jamie Paolinetti, pro bicycle racer and film-maker

24. Play to your strengths

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

― Stephen Hawking, who revolutionised our understanding of the universe despite near-total paralysis from motor neurone disease for much of his adult life

25. Be the best version of yourself – like Ariana Huffington

“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”

― Arianna Huffington, founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post

Test taking quotes for encourangement before the exam

Giving up now might seem easier, but these inspirational exam quotes for students will help you KEEP GOING and conquer your tests!

Some wonderful words of encouragement before a test.

26. The courage to continue

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

― Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Inspirational exam quote

27. Go again: one more time

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

― Thomas A. Edison, businessman and inventor of the phonograph and electric lamp

28. Keep going!

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

― Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

29. When it gets really tough…

If you’ve ever had to retake a big final exam, you’ll understand the pain this quote describes! Persevere, my friend – you can do it.

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

― Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives

30. Don’t give up: you’re almost there

If your motivation to prepare for the test is fading, remember this quote from author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

― Harriet Beecher Stowe, author

31. Patience and perseverance

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

― John Quincy Adams, 6th US president

32. Do you want to be hard to beat?

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

― Babe Ruth, pro baseball player

Quotes that motivate you to get prepared for exams

Find a quote to remind you to maximise your chances in your exams by studying well.

33. The power of preparation

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”

― Benjamin Franklin, scientist, author and Founding Father of the United States

Exam results quote

34. Sharpen the axe

Watch more: Linking Words for IELTS Writing Task 2

This motivational quote reminds us as students of a hugely important factor in exam preparation. If you

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“A woodsman was once asked, ‘What would you do if you had just five minutes to chop down a tree?’ He answered, ‘I would spend the first two and a half minutes sharpening my axe.”

― Anonymous woodsman, popularly attributed to Abraham Lincoln

35. Play wisely

“Your life is not a simulation; it’s the real game. Play wisely.”

― Richelle Goodrich, author

36. You were born to win

If you’re encouraging someone before a test, remind them of this simple truth:

“You were born to win. But to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.”

― Zig Ziglar, ace salesman and motivational speaker

Test taking quotes for students who make excuses

Defeat the urge to procrastinate and get ready to study SMART with some help from these inspirational quotes:

37. Cut the excuses

Best exam quote

“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”

― George Washington Carver, agricultural scientist and inventor

38. Overcome procrastination

One of the most important exam quotes for students who are prone to put things off to the last minute… you’ll regret it! For motivational strategies to help you overcome procrastination, check out these strategies.

“My biggest regret could be summed up in one word, and that’s procrastination.”

― Ron Cooper, American artist

39. Don’t look for excuses

“It’s not the time to look for excuses.”

– Rafael Nadal, pro tennis player

40. It’s OK to excuse others – just not yourself

“The real man is one who always finds excuses for others, but never excuses himself.”

― Henry Ward Beecher, social reformer, speaker and clergyman

Motivational quotes to kick-start your exam preparation

Sometimes the hardest thing is just getting started! These inspirational exam quotes will help you dive in and get MOVING:

41. The secret to greatness

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

― Zig Ziglar, ace salesman and motivational speaker

Quote for students

42. Do it today

“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”

― Charles Dickens, author, in ‘David Copperfield’

43. You can’t get ahead without getting started

Mark Twain’s wisdom makes for a great motivational quote for exams. Just remember you need to start, and success will flow from there!

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

― Mark Twain, writer, novelist and author

Just remember not to get too carried away focusing on “getting ahead” vs classmates. Competition can be a dangerous form of motivation for exams, as motivation expert Dr Erika Patall explained in her recent appearance on the Exam Study Expert podcast.

Run your own race, and focus on being that bit better than you were yesterday.

44. Be resourceful

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

― Arthur Ashe, pro tennis player

45. It’s quicker once you start!

“It’s the job that’s never started as takes the longest to finish.”

― author J.R.R. Tolkien in ‘The Lord of the Rings’

46. It’s never the perfect time – start anyway

“If we wait for the moment when absolutely everything is ready we shall never begin.”

― Ivan Turgenev, Russian novelist

47. Ancient Chinese wisdom on how to move mountains

Preparing for a big final exam can be daunting: this motivational quote for exam preparation could be just what you need. Just take it one small stone at a time: learn one paragraph, study 10 words or try writing a sample essay introduction. Stay consistent, and before long you’ll have started to move the mountain!

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

― Confucius, Chinese philosopher and politician

48. Is today the day you write a new ending?

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

― Maria Robinson, child development and early years education author

To round up…

…here’s one final motivational exam quote to encourage you before an upcoming test!

49. Final exam quote for students before a test

“Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.”

― author Sir Terry Pratchett, in “Moving Pictures”

Look, I’ve got no beef with anyone who does any of these things for a living – these are vital services we all need (well, the guitar-playing one is debatable..!) – but we all know what the late Sir Terry means in this exam quote.

Show up properly prepared for major exams and finals, and you can open the door to life success.

I hope that you’re feeling inspired to get to work and ace your exams! Good luck!

If you didn’t find a quote that resonated with you, never fear – you can find 41 MORE quotes to motivate you to exam success right here!

And if you’re feeling super inspired and would love to get an advantage for your exams right now, my free exam success cheat sheet will show you EXACTLY how. Sign up below to learn my ultimate secrets to studying SMARTER (not just harder!) and boost your grades today.

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