Motivational Quotes for Exam Season | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Motivational Quotes for Exam Season

Life&Style writer Madeline McInnis shares some quotes to help you stay motivated during exam season

One of my favourite tips for studying is to take one of those boring, bland study cards and to do some pretty lettering on it to motivate myself. It gives you a moment to just be creative, but if you hang it up where you can see it when you’re studying, it can give you an extra boost of confidence when you need it. There’s nothing better for motivation than some famous quotes!

If you’re looking for some motivation in your cramming, here are some of my favourite quotes to get you through all your revision and keep you aiming for better things to come. Keep them where you can see them and aim for those firsts!

‘I don’t need backups. I’m going to Harvard.’ - Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

Please, feel free to replace Harvard with your dream school or your dream job. We all need a bit more confidence in our lives and this about sums it up. You don’t need a backup. With your motivation and hard work, you’ll be getting your first choice.

'No matter what people tell you, words and ideas change the world.’ - Robin Williams

I don’t know about you, but a lot of the time, when I’m feeling down, I wonder if there’s any point to the essays and the exams. I wonder if I’m wasting my potential in school while people my age are already successful athletes, entrepreneurs, journalists, etc. But this quote sums it up pretty nicely, I think. University is teaching us how to change the world. Our words and our ideas are going to make a difference, even if it’s difficult to see it right now.

‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’ - Nelson Mandela

No matter what’s holding you back right now, be it the simplest thing to remember, dealing with a mental illness during revision, or even just trying to find a job for the summer, it’s taxing and upsetting at times, and sometimes it can seem like you will never achieve your goals. A year from now, you’ll look back on this and think ‘how did I do that’, but you’ll have done it nonetheless. Keep going!

‘What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.’ - Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

What’s a list without some Harry Potter? This quote from Hagrid encourages you to just let go. There’s no point in being worried about something you can’t change, and if you can’t change it, there’s no need to worry. Keep pushing forwards and it’ll all be over soon!

‘You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.’ - Oprah Winfrey

This is something that I’ve been trying to live for more and more this semester. No one can read your mind. Unless you have the courage to ask for what you want, no one is ever going to know what it is that you want. The worst thing that could happen is a no, and I’d rather regret the things that I did rather than the things I didn’t do.

‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.’ - Pablo Picasso

Doing something poorly is always better than doing nothing at all. If you can’t think of anything to do for your assignment, it’s better to figure it out on the way than it is to just let it sit, blank, for days on end while you try to be perfect. Perfection will come in the editing, not in the first draft anyway.

‘Write drunk, edit sober.’ - Ernest Hemingway

Speaking of editing! Make sure to have a little fun while you’re revising as well. There’s no point in pushing yourself beyond your limits and burning yourself out before you even get to the exam room. Know when it’s time to take a break and walk away. Then, come back with a clear mind! Whether you fancy a drink or not, find something that will be a good de-stresser for you.



15th May 2018 at 9:00 am

Images from

Nick Youngson