When you’re in the midst of exam revision, maintaining a mindset for SUCCESS can be tricky. If you’ve lost your motivation to study, you’re in the perfect place to give it a boost – these motivational quotes about exam success will remind you to stick to your goals and aim for the top!

You can boost your studies with this quick trick:

  • Pick your favourite quote from the list below, and stick it up in large letters somewhere you’ll see every time you study!

And take comfort in one amazing fact: sure, these quotes were written or said by great and successful people – but they were all beginners once, in the midst of studying, just like you.

These handy links will take you right to the motivational exam quotes you need:

Is there a quote that always gives YOU motivation for studying? Let us know in the comments!

Quotes to motivate you to study consistently (even if you don’t feel like it!)

The great thing about successful people is that they know exactly what it takes to get there! Ready to hear some trade secrets? These motivational quotes will boost your exam success:

1. Love what you are learning to do

Study motivation quote #1 (Pelé) - library background

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

Pelé, Brazillian pro footballer

It may sound like a tall order to love what you are doing or learning to do for some of us. But, unfortunately, it’s not easy to find the motivation for that subject you don’t like to study, no matter how many quotes from iconic footballers you read!

Stick with it. Lean into the challenge.

Even a small improvement in your success could give you the motivational boost you need to study harder next time, kick-starting a virtual cycle of increasingly more success and motivation!

2. Hard work matters

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

General Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State

Prepare, work, and learn from failure if (well, when!) it happens.

3. Don’t let fear of failure put you off

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

Bill Cosby, stand-up comedian

Speaking of failure, make sure your thirst for success looms larger than your fear of failure – otherwise, your motivation to study might fall at the first hurdle.

A comedian’s fear of failure is more acute than just about any profession I can think of: imagine the feeling of “dying” on stage, with your increasingly desperate attempts at humour failing to raise even a smile from a packed and judgemental audience.

Thirst for success more.

4. Find your “thing” – like Stephen Hawking

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

Stephen Hawking

One of my favourite motivational study quotes comes from Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist who spent most of his adult life wheelchair-bound with a form of motor neurone disease.

No matter what your apparent “limitations”, you can find an area to excel in.

5. Today’s studying plants the seeds for tomorrow’s exam success

“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.”

David Bly, American politician

6. Stay consistent in your studying

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

―  Robert Collier, self-help author

Stay consistent: this motivational quote teaches us that success in studying comes from consistent effort.

Often, the daily routines of highly successful students look almost identical to those of average students. The only difference is a few extra minutes invested, perhaps in conquering some challenge questions at the end of a homework, or in reviewing the day’s material.

See also the advantages of spaced learning over cramming.

7. Make each day a little better than before

“Success isn’t overnight. It’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.”

― Dwayne Johnson, actor and former pro-wrestler
Study motivation quote #7 (Dwayne Johnson) - artistic background

8. It’s the little things that matter

“The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.”

John D. Rockefeller, widely considered the richest man in modern history

Focus on the basics when you’re studying, like understanding how to memorise for exams.

Many of the strategies in my exam technique book Outsmart Your Exams boil down to doing the basics better than anyone else – and thereby earning a handy little advantage for your grade. Add lots of those nice little advantages up, and you’re looking at a healthy score boost in your tests!

9. Go get it!

“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”

 Marva Collins, American educator

It’s up to you: go get it!

10. Recipe for success

“Recipe for success: Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”

William A. Ward, motivational writer

This powerful study motivation quote comes from a professional motivator. While I like the sentiment about buckling down, I would add a note of caution about studying too much, especially “while others are sleeping”.

Sleep is really important for learning – don’t skip it!

Study smart during the day, and get a good night’s sleep.

11. Set your study goals; then realise them

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.”

―  Earl Nightingale, author

Study motivation often starts with a clear goal: this quote beautifully summarises the drive that comes from working towards that goal.

12. Be the boss – like Beyoncé

“Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.”

Beyoncé, 100 million record selling artist

YES, Beyoncé! Go claim the success you deserve in your studies.

Motivational study quotes for overcoming failure well

If you’re struggling with your mistakes, the most important thing is that you don’t let them defeat you. Learn from them, and stay inspired for your exams with these motivational quotes:

13. Success is forged in the fire of defeat

“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, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou, American civil rights activist and poet
Study motivation quote #13 (Maya Angelou) - calm vs story sea background

14. Failure is an opportunity to try again (better)

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

Henry Ford, industrialist founder of the Ford Motor Company

Don’t let a temporary setback dint your self-esteem. You can do better next time!

15. What can you learn from your study / exam mistakes?

“Failure doesn’t mean the game is over, it means try again with experience.”

―  Len Schlesinger, Harvard Business School professor and author

And when you do go again, you’ll have the experience you need to succeed!

16. Pick yourself up – like Batman

“And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Thomas Wayne, Batman’s Dad, in ‘Batman Begins’

Another of my favourite motivational quotes for study success, a great reminder of the cycle of falling and rising; success and failure.

P.S. Dozing off at your desk? I LOVE Hans Zimmer’s ‘Rise‘, composed for the Batman trilogy, to give you a sleepy brain a boost!

17. Stand tall, no matter what happened yesterday

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”

H.G. Wells, English writer and sci-fi author

Today is a new day. So stand tall – even if you don’t feel like it.

18. Keep going – you might be almost there

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

 Thomas Edison, businessman and inventor of the phonograph and electric lamp

Edison knew more about it than most: he tested more than 6,000 plant-based options alone for electrical filament, before finally landing on the winning formula for the light bulb. (Carbonised bamboo, if you’re wondering).

19. Don’t quit yet!

“One of the most common causes of failure is quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.”

Napoleon Hill, self-help author

Edison saw each material that didn’t work not as a failure, but as a learning experience: learning yet another way not to make a light bulb.

Defeat is so often temporary, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

20. Fail enthusiastically – like Churchill

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

― Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Try and keep your enthusiasm up! Not always easy, but if you don’t feel like smiling, stand tall and smile anyway. It may make you feel a touch better!

21. Success is often a direct result of failure

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan, former pro basketball player and businessman

Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time.

He didn’t make his high school basketball team at first. He was devastated, but used that to fuel a furious training effort that lasted a lifetime.

Study motivation quotes to build an unstoppable success mindset

Having a strong study mindset will get you a long way with your exam revision. Here are some great motivational quotes to remind you what you need to achieve SUCCESS in your exams:

22. Take complete responsibility

“The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top.”

O.J. Simpson, former American football running back
Study motivation quote #22 (OJ Simpson) - mountain top background

24. Believe you can

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

― Audrey Hepburn, actress and humanitarian

Mind. BLOWN.

Good spot, Audrey!

25. The things that are possible beyond the safety of your comfort zone

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

William Faulkner, writer and Nobel Prize laureate

Or as a good friend and mentor, Alan Donegan, likes to say: “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone… otherwise you’d have it already“.

(Little bonus quote there for you!)

26. You don’t need to be a perfect student. Just do your best for now.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

―  Maya Angelou, American civil rights activist and poet

Such wisdom from Maya there – we couldn’t resist adding a second quote of hers!

I often tell students that even if you don’t feel like a top student, pretend that you are, and act accordingly. No-one will know the difference but you! And do it for long enough, and you’ll suddenly realise that you now do feel like a top student.

26. Short on time to study?

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same amount of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Di Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

― H. Jackson Brown Jr., author

What are you going to choose to do with the time given to you?

27. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

“There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want to get things done and those who don’t want to make mistakes.”

John Maxwell, author and leadership expert

Go for it. It’s OK to make a mistake – provided you learn from it!

28. When to change the situation vs when to change yourself

“When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Viktor Frankl, neurologist, philosopher and Holocaust survivor

Few of us can imagine what Frankl went through. If the situation is intolerable to you, either change the situation, or if that really is impossible, how can you yourself adapt to it?

29. The motivation to study comes from within according to this quote

“Make sure your own worst enemy doesn’t live between your two ears.”

Laird Hamilton, surfer

Don’t hold yourself back!

30. Personal growth as a scholar

“Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”

Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and motivational speaker

Jim Rohn encourages us to celebrate problems and challenges as opportunities to grow as a person. I love that!

31. My favourite study motivation quote

“There are no limits!”

― The quote on the back of the flapjacks in our college canteen. My friends and I adopted it as something of an exam-term battle cry!

My personal absolute favourite of all motivational quotes for study success. This got me through some pretty tough times on the road to a First-Class degree from Cambridge.

If you can get your friends to adopt the same motivational quotes as you, it really helps as you can cheer each other on.

Motivational quotes for studying harder and smarter

Success depends on hard work, and these motivational quotes will get you fired up to get down to your books, put in that hard graft and beat your exams:

32. Don’t expect the results without the work

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Vidal Sassoon, hairstylist and philanthropist
Study motivation quote #32 (Vidal Sassoon) - book background

33. It will be worth it in the end

“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy — I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Art Williams, insurance billionaire

Stay the course: remember why it matters as often as you need.

34. Out of luck?

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US president

Don’t leave exam success to chance. Instead, study well, and the “luck” will be on your side!

35. No-one’s born with it…

“If people only knew how hard I’ve worked to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”

Michelangelo, master sculpture, painter, architect and poet

I love this quote – it goes such a long way to showing us how even truly exceptional “talent” so often is something we work for, not something we’re born with. See Malcolm Gladwell’s fabulously readable Outliers for more on this powerful idea.

36. Courage + work = success

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”

Honore de Balzac, French author

37. Hard work matters

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

Beverly Sills, operatic soprano

Singers like Beverly have a tough climb to the top. So again, remind yourself why the destination matters!

38. Hard work matters

“Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them.”

Unknown

Go out and get what you deserve!

39. Succeed on purpose

“Successful people are not gifted. They just work hard, then succeed on purpose.”

―  Unknown

I love the idea of succeeding on purpose! (Remember Michelangelo from #35?)

I wish we could have found who to attribute this study motivation quote to – if you know, let us know in the comments..!

40. Keep going

“There is no substitute for hard work.”

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

Broadly agree 😉

Though when it comes to motivational quotes for students, make sure you’re studying effectively, i.e. working smart and using your time well, not just working hard on low-value tasks.

41. Go the extra mile

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”

Zig Ziglar, ace salesman and motivational speaker

Ah, WHAT a great motivational quote to leave you on for study success!

Remember, when it comes to preparing for your exams, the extra mile doesn’t always mean doing all that much more. It can often come down to small things!

Inspirational quotes for exam success

Enjoyed this article? Hungry for a little more?

Then head over and check out the other half of this list: there are 49 more inspirational quotes ready and waiting for you!

Feeling motivated for study and exam success?

I hope so!

If studying SMARTER (not just harder!) sounds like the ideal way to boost your grades and ace your exams – you’re not alone!

Join thousands of students learning Exam Study Expert’s ULTIMATE secrets for exam success, simply by signing up below and claiming your free cheat sheet now.

Wishing you every success in your studies!


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