Exam Quotes: Motivation to Pass Your Exam

motivational exam quotes

For those who are preparing for the CPA, CFA, CMA, CIA, or EA exams, or any board exam for that matter, you understand that this task requires a huge amount of time, effort, and sacrifice. And at some point, we all need something to motivate us as we continue on with our studies.

Therefore, I have compiled my favorite quotes that encouraged me all the way to CPA Exam success. I hope you find these quotes helpful.

Also, I think that it’s important to know about the person behind these famous quotes. So, please take the time to skim through the bio summary.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Frits Ahlefeldt (Hiking Artist) for the illustrations.

Finally, I’ve organized these motivational exam quotes according to how they address these 6 attributes of success:

  • Diligence
  • Persistence
  • Taking Initiative
  • Learning from Failure
  • Facing Challenges
  • Living A Fruitful Life

Exam Quotes for the CPA Exam


Do It Once, Do It Right. Get It Over With!” ~ Nan, CPA Forum member

Begin NOW thinking about how you will rejoin civilized society, but at a much higher level than you were when you started up this road, because you will have your CPA license.” ~ Nan

Exam Quotes on Diligence

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work learning from failure.” ~ General Colin Powell

Colin Powell (1937 – ) is a retired four-star general in the US Army and the 65th United States Secretary of State (and the first African American appointed to this position) serving under President George W. Bush from 2001-2005.

Few minds wear out; most rust out.” ~ Christian Nextell Bovee

Christian Nextell Bovee (born 1820) was an American author from New York City. Many widely circulated quotes from him comes from his two publications, Thoughts, Feelings, and Fancies, and Intuitions and Summaries of Thought.

Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.” ~ Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) was a famous eighteenth century English poet best known for his quotes and for his translation of Homer. He is the third most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson.

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

David Bly (1852-) is a Minnesota politician and a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives representing District 25B.

Exam Quotes on Persistence

Exam quote on success

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~ Robert Collier

Robert Collier (1885 – 1950) was an author of self help, and New Thought metaphysical books in the 20th century.

A lot of us would like to move mountains, but few of us are willing to practice on small hills.” ~ Anonymous

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” ~ Chinese Proverb

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” ~ Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) was a theoretical physicist, philosopher and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time. He is often regarded as the father of modern physics.

exam quotes on persistence

Exam Quotes on Taking the Initiative

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

William A. Ward (1921 – 1994) is one of America’s most quoted writers of inspirational maxims. He is the author of Fountains of Faith.

The best way to finish an unpleasant task is to get started.” ~ Anonymous

exam quote on taking intiative

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1970) was an American author who was one of the earliest producers of the modern genre of personal-success literature. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich, is one of the best-selling books of all time.

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement.

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” ~ Conrad Hilton

Conrad Nicholson Hilton was (1887 – 1979) was an American hotelier and founder of the Hilton Hotels chain.

Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.” ~ Jules Renard

Jules Renard (or Pierre-Jules Renard) (1864 – 1910) was a French author and member of the Académie Goncourt, most famous for the works Poil de Carotte (Carrot Top) and Les Histoires Naturelles (Natural Histories).

Procrastination is the thief of time.” ~ Edward Young

Edward Young (1681 – 1765) was an English poet, best remembered for Night Thoughts

motivational exam quote

Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.” ~ Yoda

Yoda is the Jedi Master in Star Wars.

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” ~ Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts (b. Eleanor Marie Robertson) (1950 – ) is a bestselling American author of more than 165 romance novels, and she writes as J.D. Robb for the “In Death” series. She also has written under the pseudonym Jill March, and some of her works were published in the UK as Sarah Hardesty.

Exam Quotes on Facing Challenges

I’m not telling you it is going to be easy — I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it” ~ Art Williams

Arthur T. Williams (1939 – ) is a former professional basketball player in America.

The most painful thing to experience is not defeat but regret” ~ Leo Bascaglia

Felice Leonardo “Leo” Buscaglia (a.k.a “Dr Love”) (1924 –  1998) was an author and motivational speaker, and a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California.

exam quote on facing challenges

Tough times never last, but tough people do.” ~ Robert H. Schuller

Robert Harold Schuller (1926 – ), is an American televangelist, pastor, and author known around the world through the weekly Hour of Power television broadcast that he founded in 1970.

Doubt whom you will, but never doubt yourself.” ~ Christian Nestell Bovee

Christian Nestell Bovee (born 1820) was an American author from New York City. Many widely circulated quotes from him comes from his two publications, Thoughts, Feelings, and Fancies, and Intuitions and Summaries of Thought.

Exam Quotes on Learning from Failure

When I was young I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures, so I did ten times more work.” ~ Bernard Shaw

exam quote on failure

Bernard Shaw (George Bernard Shaw) (1856 – 1950) was a talented Irish playwright of more than 60 plays. Nearly all his writings deal sternly with prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy to make their stark themes more palatable.

Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” ~ William Durant

William Durant (1861 – 1947) was a pioneering industrialist and founder of General Motors Corporation.

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ~ Carl Bard

Carl Bard (1907-1978) was a Scottish Theologian Religious Writer Broadcaster.

You’re never a loser til you quit trying.” ~ Anonymous

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

Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) was an American inventor, scientist and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.

exam quote on facing challenge

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915) was an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher. He was an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement and is, perhaps, most famous for his essay A Message to Garcia.

Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never.” ~ Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874 – 1965) was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II. He served as Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.

Exam Quotes on Living a Fruitful Life

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. it’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher

Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher (1925 – 2013) served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She is the only woman to have held either post.

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is for you.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid 1800s.

We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” ~ Max DePree

Max DePree is an American writer. A son of D.J. DePree, founder of Herman Miller office furniture company, he and his brother Hugh DePree assumed leadership of the company the early 1960s. He succeeded his brother Hugh as CEO in the mid-1980s and served in that capacity to 1990. His book Leadership is an Art has sold more than 800,000 copies. In 1992

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was the preeminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement.

If you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life.” ~ Confucius

Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese thought and life.

exam quote on positive thinking

Learn something new every day under the sun. You will never get old if you do.” ~Lois Bey

If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~ Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.

Check Out These Motivational Gifts for Everyday Wisdom and Inspiration

Studying on your own is tedious work. It’s best to have study buddies, but when that isn’t possible, these mouse pads, mugs, fridge magnets, and tees can help you through the journey of studying.

Send yourself a gift today. You deserve it!

motivational exam gifts

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!

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