7 Motivational Quotes to Memorize Before the Big Exam

An open book in a library
Gulfiya Mukhamatdinova/Getty Images

Know the feeling of butterflies in your stomach before the big test? You're unsure of yourself. You're betting you'll fail…again. You're certain that you're just not a good test-taker. You're sure that the GRE or the ACT or the LSAT is finally going to eat you alive. You'll never make it into the school of your dreams because there's just no way you're going to succeed at this test.

Well, stop right there.

Before you take your next test, whether it's a lower-stakes midterm or a high-stakes exam like the SAT, memorize one of these 7 motivational quotes to inspire you to do your best. Better yet? Memorize a few and really give yourself a confidence boost. ​

of 07

Thomas Edison

Quote about persistence and determination by Thomas Edison

K.Roell, ThoughtCo

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

Thomas Edison, known best for his invention of the incandescent light bulb, certainly knew failure in his life. His teachers said he was stupid. He was fired from his first two means of employment for being "unproductive." He tried over 1,000 times to get the light bulb right. 

But try, he did. And, as we know and can appreciate, he succeeded. 

The next time you're tempted to give up on getting that score you really want, take your motivation from Thomas Edison.

of 07

Florence Nightingale

Quote about perseverance by Florence Nightingale

K.Roell, ThoughtCo

"I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse."

Florence Nightingale, the founder of the modern nursing profession and the lead British nurse in the Crimean War, certainly followed her own advice. 

The next time you're studying for the SAT and think "I don't have enough time" or "I'm just not a good test-taker," consider that you may be making excuses instead of figuring out a way to get the job done. 

of 07

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Quote about never giving up by Harriet Beecher Stowe

K.Roell, ThoughtCo

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

A song by Craig Morgan, "You Never Know," revealed the same sentiment: "You never know what's around the bend." That's something that Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, knew all too well. Wait. Be patient. Don't give up on your studies. Just when things feel especially difficult, your break will come.

of 07

Alfred A. Montapert

Quote about overcoming problems by Alfred A. Montapert

K.Roell, ThoughtCo

"Expect problems and eat them for breakfast."

Alfred A. Montapert, the author of The Supreme Philosophy of Man: The Laws of Life, truly had good advice for testers (and anyone for that matter). Problems will always arise. Anticipate them and thwart them. For instance, you will never get the score you really want if your study conditions have to be just so. Someone will be there to bother you. The room will be too cold. You may be hungry, bored, or distracted. Instead of focusing on study distractions, find a way to get over them and you'll pave your way to success.

of 07

Philip Sidney

Quote about determination by Philip Sydney

K.Roell, ThoughtCo

"Either I will find a way, or I will make one."

This quote by Philip Sidney, a prominent writer of the Elizabethan period, is perfect for those who struggle with taking tests. Maybe you're a kinesthetic learner and you haven't quite figured out a way to study that works for you. Try a bunch of different study techniques and if nothing is working, make your own way. In any event, keep on going until you master your task. 

of 07

Henry David Thoreau

Quote about achieving goals by Henry David Thoreau

K.Roell, ThoughtCo

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

Success leads to success, as Henry David Thoreau, American writer, poet, philosopher, and naturalist, points out so succinctly. If you believe yourself to be a certain way—a lousy test-taker, a bad student, a moderately likable candidate for medical school—you'll be that. Achieve some small goals (I will stay focused for 25 minutes, I will get a B on this essay exam). Eventually, you'll build enough confidence to become the success you never allowed yourself to be in the past. 

of 07

Samuel Beckett

Quote about failing by Samuel Beckett

K.Roell, ThoughtCo

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

Samuel Beckett, an Irish-born author who wrote enormously influential French-language novels and plays, such as Waiting for Godot, knew a little bit about failure. He couldn't find a publisher for his works at first and some of his most influential pieces were largely ignored during his lifetime. That makes his quote resonate so much more loudly. He knew failure, but he also knew great success because he learned from his mistakes. If you fail on an exam, try again and do it better next time. Learn from your ​own mistakes. You could be sabotaging your own test score and not even be realizing it. 

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "7 Motivational Quotes to Memorize Before the Big Exam." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/gallery-motivational-quotes-before-big-exam-4122997. Roell, Kelly. (2020, August 27). 7 Motivational Quotes to Memorize Before the Big Exam. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gallery-motivational-quotes-before-big-exam-4122997 Roell, Kelly. "7 Motivational Quotes to Memorize Before the Big Exam." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gallery-motivational-quotes-before-big-exam-4122997 (accessed June 7, 2023).