Have you ever spent hours studying just to realize you don't remember anything you thought you learned?

Lorelai Gilmore played by Lauren Graham saying,

You're not the only one.

Studying is one of the most essential skills to learn, as you must use it in school and every day after. It's a skill you'll rely on continuously in your life, so it is important to do it well. 

These motivational quotes for students will help you stay motivated to keep learning and provide impactful insight into how to study more effectively. 


I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

— Confucius, Chinese philosopher

Learning involves more than reading a book or hearing a lecture. It's important to apply knowledge to determine your level of comprehension of the material.

Icon image of three pieces of a puzzle with a piece missing and the last piece being hovering above it.

Applying knowledge is like a missing puzzle piece in most people's study techniques. You should use active learning strategies, be able to explain it, solve a problem, or perform the knowledge you acquired in ways other than passively reading the material or trying to recite the information from memory.

Here are a few examples of active learning strategies:

  • Summarize a key concept in your own words.

  • Explain a theory to someone else and providing examples of the theoretical application.

  • Create a concept map to connect and visualize complex subject matter.

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.

— Aristotle, Greek philosopher


I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

― Michael Jordan, American businessman and former professional basketball player

A person holding a basketball, jumping towards the rim of a basketball hoop. Photo by Tan kuen yuen on Unsplash

Failure can be a step towards progress. Take what you learn, whether it is a life lesson or missed questions on an exam, and learn from it. Assess where you went wrong so that you ace it when life hands you another chance. Improvement doesn't end because of a missed shot or a low score on an exam.

For example, if you miss questions on a quiz:

Icon image of someone looking at two documents, one with a checkmark and the other with an x

  • Figure out the type(s) of questions you got wrong and your thought process when answering the question to identify what prevented you from answering correctly.

Icon image of a magnifying glass hovering over a document with lines of representative text

  • Connect the missed questions to the specific topics you didn't fully understand.

Icon image of a laptop with a person on screen and a play button above their head

  • Use other resources (videos, walkthroughs, etc.) to gain more perspective on the material.

Icon image of someone sitting at their desk with a lamp reading a book

  • Re-learn the topic and do practice questions related to the content you got wrong.

A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.

― B.F. Skinner, American psychologist


The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.

― Sylvia Earle, American oceanographer and explorer

Learning the why behind something allows you to connect it to the information you already know. Ask questions, explore new ways of approaching problems, and develop a more holistic knowledge of the material or subject.

Icon image of a lightbulb with a question mark inside of it.

For example, you're studying for your biology exam. You know that mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. But what example question could you use to explore more about the purpose of the mitochondria to be more prepared for your exam?

A. What does it mean to be the powerhouse of the cell?

B. What is a cell, and why does it need a "powerhouse"?

C. Are there different types of mitochondria?

D. All of the above


Choose the correct answer


It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.

― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer

Artist Sam Smith sitting in a chair during an interview while saying,

Whether you're trying to learn a new skill or studying for an exam or certification, practicing and learning from not only your own mistakes but the mistakes of others and the wisdom acquired along the way can help you improve your performance.

Icon image of a person smiling next to a shining light bulb

Practice wisely:

  • Seek guidance or advice from classmates who understand the material.

  • Take practice tests based on lecture notes and your past assignments.

  • Practice with real-world constraints (i.e., time limits or other environmental factors).

  • Use supplemental learning materials from reputable sources that are easy to follow and logically organized to quickly get the information you need to reference.

  • Identify and focus on test content, skills, or strategies that will impact your overall score or performance the most.

Take Action

Use these motivational quotes for students to improve your study habits:

A GIF of a penguin putting on headphones and opening a book


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