28 Brilliant Exam Confidence Motivational Quotes for Students

Written by Dr Lucy Russell DClinPsyc CPsychol AFBPsS
Dr Lucy Russell Clinical Psychologist Founder of They Are The Future
Author: Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist

We all need words of encouragement sometimes. When we are stuck in a rut or a cycle of unhelpful thinking patterns, the best motivational quotes can completely shift our perspective.

These inspirational quotes will help students of all ages with upcoming exams, from college students to children.

Share my article with your child, family member of friend to help them feel motivated and empowered to succeed.

Exam Quotes and State of Mind

During exam times we need as much help as we can get, to get ourselves in a positive state of mind and stay motivated.

You can choose your favourites from the following quotes, and keep them somewhere you can be regularly reminded of them.

If you are a parent or teacher, show these exam confidence motivational quotes for students to your young person.

Ask them to choose their favorite quotes.

Reflect with them how they might use them to increase their motivation.

young woman studying in a library

You could even turn the most powerful quotes into a motivational poster to go on the wall!

My inspirational exam quotes are grouped into 8 categories:

  1. Get Perspective
  2. The Exam is Just Part of Your Master Plan
  3. Focus on What You Can Do in The Here And Now
  4. Face the Discomfort and You Will Be Rewarded
  5. You Can Succeed Even if Exams Are Not Your Strong Point
  6. Perseverance and Focus Are The Secret of Success
  7. Remember the Power of Education
  8. Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

1. Exam Quotes to Help You Keep Things in Perspective

Education is an important route to success, but let’s not forget that the education system is imperfect. It doesn’t suit everyone’s learning style, which can be frustrating and demoralizing at times.

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

Albert Einstein

exam quotes motivation for students Einstein

So if you or your child have struggled through education, do remember that exams don’t define you. Also remember that sometimes you have absorbed a lot more than you think.

Trust yourself; you know more than you think you do.

Benjamin Spock

Our next inspirational quote is one of my favourites. Make those big plans, but map out a clear route to get there and be realistic about the hard work it will take.

Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.

Theodore Roosevelt

Exam Confidence Motivational Quotes for Students

2. The Exam is Just Part of Your Master Plan

Most of the time, a lot of hard work goes in to giving the exam your best shot, and sometimes we become hyper-focused on the result. It can feel as though nothing else matters.

three students studying on grass

Please remember, this feeling will pass, given enough time. The exam is not the most important thing in the world. It’s really important to remember that. The only thing that’s important in the grander scheme of things is living a meaningful and fulfilled life. The exam is just a stepping stone.

Your success and happiness lie in you.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller inspirational quote for students

If your grades don’t reflect your ambitions, or if others doubt you, remember the power of your will to succeed.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

Abraham Lincoln

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Thomas Jefferson

Although exams and study may be a means to an end, don’t forget that it’s important to enjoy the process too. Furthermore, think about all the non-academic skills learned in school, college and university. Those vital life skills and social skills.

Education not just preparation for life, but part of life itself – a continuous art.

Henry Ford

Exam Confidence Motivational Quote for Students Thomas Jefferson

3. Motivational Quotes For Students: Focus on What You Can Do In The Here And Now

The best way to get good results is to prepare. If you or your child don’t know how to do this, make sure you find some support or mentoring in study skills, well before exam season starts.

Check out these motivational quotes for students who need a reminder to focus on what you can achieve right here, right now.

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.

Alexander Graham Bell

exam preparation quote Alexander Graham Bell

I love the following exam quotes by Charles Dickens and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Fear or overwhelm can make us freeze.

Getting started on a task can be the hardest part.

So, if you haven’t got started yet, just start. Take that first tiny step.

Focus on that step and not all the other tasks to be done.

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

Charles Dickens

The world of the future is in our making. Tomorrow is now.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt inspirational quote for students

You may have regrets about not doing more study, and fear about the forthcoming exam.

But the most effective way to prepare for exams is to put the past and future worries aside and focus on what you can actually do in the present.

Today is a new day, and regrets will not help you at all.

There are two days in the year that we can not do anything, yesterday and tomorrow.

Mahatma Gandhi

inspiring quotes for students Mahatma Gandhi


4. Face the Discomfort and You Will Be Rewarded

It’s natural for humans to avoid hard things and follow the easiest path, especially when we’re young.

If you’re a parent, don’t be too hard on your child if they haven’t learned the concept of delayed gratification yet.

Many school students and even college / university students just want to have fun in the moment, and struggle to balance that with the arduous task of preparing for their next exam or completing that essay.

two older teen boys in a library looking at a computer screen

You can’t force someone to change their outlook on life.

It comes with time and maturity.

And it is never too late to learn.

Whether you are 16 or 60, learning and studying are open to you. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you don’t achieve good grades at high school, your dreams are over.

But at some point, to achieve something great, you have to become dedicated and self-motivated.

You may face tough times along the way, and resilience will be needed.

Facing this discomfort can be the hardest thing about having dreams and goals.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.


Aristotle education quote for students

No gains without pains.

Benjamin Franklin

Nothing will work unless you do.

Maya Angelou

Exam Confidence Motivational Quotes for Students Maya Angelou

I agree that natural talent is no match for perseverance.

The child with average musical ability who is still playing their instrument at the age of sixteen will have had more enjoyment than the exceptionally talented child who gave up at age ten because they didn’t have enough resilience to keep going.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Thomas Edison

Exam Confidence Motivational Quotes for Students Thomas Edison

If you find yourself full of self-doubt or otherwise caught up in thinking, just take the next small action.

This means you will have made a step in the right direction, however small.

The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.

Alexander Graham Bell

Remember, it can be tempting to stay inside our comfort zone, but the only way to grow is to step outside that comfort zone just a little.

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

William Faulkner

inspirational quotes for students William Faulkner

5. You Can Succeed Even if Exams Are Not Your Strong Point

Exams are not a true measure of your abilities or what you (or your child) can offer as a person.

But they can act as a gateway to the life you want.

It can really help to have that finish line in mind, if you find that you or your child have little motivation for the exam they need to pass.

However, passing the exam doesn’t guarantee success, and not passing or doing well doesn’t mean a person has failed.

If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I guarantee you that.

Michelle Obama

Exams can sometimes give you the straightest, clearest path to your goal.

But there are always other ways to succeed in your plans for a bright future, even if the exams don’t go your way.

three students studying at a table

So many successful adults report that they could go back in time and speak to a future self, they would want their younger self to know that it will all work out in the end.

Your plans may not follow a straight line.

There may be many pivots and curve balls along the way.

6. Exam Quotes for Students: Perseverance and Focus Are The Secret of Success

Success is not about good luck.

Many people go through their whole life believing they are either lucky or unlucky, academically able or not academically able.

But you can get good grades through perseverance and razor sharp focus on your longer-term goals.

Here’s a fantastic exam motivational quote which you may want to put on your wall!

The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee success quote

It’s not just focus which leads to success. You’ll have good days and bad days, but it’s the sum total of all this persistence that is going to get you where you want to go.

Here’s another exam motivation quote to make a note of!

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

Robert Collier

There will of course be many times when you feel like giving up. You may question whether your goal is worth all the effort, or whether you really want it.

As exam quotes go, the next is one of my favourites.

Even if you change your goals and dreams, it’s always going to help you if you can keep going to get that exam grade you are working for.

There is no point in giving up. You have come this far!

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

Thomas A. Edison

perseverance quote for students Thomas Edison

7. Exam Quotes: Remember the Power of Education

Exams are a stepping stone on a journey which can lead to great things.

It’s easy to take our education for granted. That’s why I wanted to share this thought-provoking exam motivational quote from Audrey Hepburn as a reminder of the doors it can open.

A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation; provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labor exploitation and disease; and give them the knowledge, skills and confidence to reach their full potential.

Audrey Hepburn

Exam Confidence Motivational Quote for Students Audrey Hepburn

8. Exam Quotes: Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

Fear of failure is behind so many students’ fears and difficulties when it comes to exams.

When I was at university my exam fears resulted in sleepless nights and so much stress which was counter-productive.

happy female student with books

It may feel as though those years of hard work are on a knife edge when it comes to your final exams, and it could all come to nothing.

But this is not true.

There may be options to re-take or pivot. Even if not, you will have learned invaluable lessons from your studies. That knowledge and set of skills will never be wasted, if you choose a positive attitude and use them to your advantage.

Do not allow yourselves to be disheartened by any failure as long as you have done your best.

Mother Teresa

If I could give one message to the young people who come to my clinic stressed about failing an exam, it is summed up in the following exam quote:

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

Winston Churchill

exam confidence motivational quotes Winston Churchill

Exams can sometimes feel like everything, especially when we’ve worked hard for them.

But what if we don’t get the grades we hoped for?

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

Alexander Graham Bell

Just like a door closing, there’s always another opportunity waiting to open up.

If we’re too busy worrying about the exam we didn’t pass, we might miss out on other great opportunities.

Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works.

Leonardo Da Vinci

success quote for students Leonardo Da Vinci

The pressure to perform, the fear of failure, and the judgment from peers can feel overwhelming.

But it’s in the challenging moment of the exam that true character and resilience are revealed. Only if you have the courage to “dare greatly” and go for it will you stand a chance of succeeding.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

Through my final exam motivational quote I want to reinforce the message that one failure is not the end. It’s just the beginning!

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking don't give up quote


The inspiring quotes above are not just exam confidence motivational quotes for students. They are applicable to any challenging situation or goal you may face. 

But when it comes to exams, I hope these exam quotes are like a cheer from the sidelines, reminding you to keep going, not to be afraid of making mistakes, and to know that trying hard is just as important as getting good grades.

These exam motivational quotes remind us that the road to doing well isn’t always easy or straight. There might be bumps and wrong turns, but it’s the determination to keep going, the excitement to try, and the passion for what you’re doing that can lead to success in the end.

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Dr Lucy Russell is a UK clinical psychologist who works with children and families. Her work involves both therapeutic support and autism assessments. She is the Clinical Director of Everlief Child Psychology, and also worked in the National Health Service for many years. In 2019 Lucy launched They Are The Future, a support website for parents of school-aged children.

Through TATF Lucy is passionate about giving practical, manageable strategies to parents and children who may otherwise struggle to find the support they need.

Lucy is a mum to two teenage children. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, children, rescue dog and three rescue cats. She enjoys caravanning and outdoor living, singing and musical theatre.

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