In Catholicism, prayer is the center of your relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It’s an acknowledgment of God’s power and your dependence on Him, and it allows you to understand God’s goodness more deeply.
Prayer can give you peace of mind and ease anxiety, which is a great help when undertaking stressful exams.
There are several saints who can also help you through your exams in prayer. St. Thomas Aquinas is known as the patron saint of students, but others such as St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Frances de Sales, and St. Gemma Galgani also have significance in education.
There’s even a patron saint of procrastination: St. Expeditus!
Below, we share eight Catholic prayers to lead you to exam success.
Prayers of St. Thomas Aquinas, Patron Saint of Students
There are two prayers of St. Thomas Aquinas for providing clarity in your studies:
Who out of the treasures of Thy wisdom has appointed three hierarchies of Angels and set them in admirable order high above the heavens and has disposed the diverse portions of the universe in such marvelous array,
Thou Who art called the True Source of Light and supereminent Principle of Wisdom, be pleased to cast a beam of Thy radiance upon the darkness of my mind and dispel from me the double darkness of sin and ignorance from which I have been born.
Thou Who makes eloquent the tongues of little children, fashion my words and pour upon my lips the grace of Thy benediction.
Grant me penetration to understand, capacity to retain, method and facility in study, subtlety in interpretation, and abundant grace of expression.
Order the beginning, direct the progress, and perfect the achievement of my work, Thou Who art true God and true Man and livest and reigns for ever and ever.
“Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator, true source of light and fountain of wisdom! Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect, dissipate the darkness which covers me, that of sin and of ignorance.
Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself.
Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to successful completion.
This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and reigning with You and the Father, forever and ever. Amen.”
Prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino
“O St. Joseph of Cupertino, who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination the only preposition you know.
Grant that I may, like you, succeed in the [name of class] examination. In return, I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino, pray for me.
O Holy Ghost, enlighten me.
Our Lady of Good Studies, pray for me.
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.”
Prayer Before Examinations (from The Catholic Economist)
“Lord, as I face another exam, send unto me Your Holy Spirit for guidance, enlightenment, and inspiration.
Grant me clarity of mind so that I may be able to recall well and apply correctly all of the things that I have learned and studied for in this [course/subject/field].
Grant me a peaceful and calm disposition before and during the exam so that I may be able to smartly tackle the exam and use efficiently the time allotted for answering the test, not being hindered by any anxiety that may derail me as I answer the exam.
Grant me confidence to face each item of the exam without any hesitation and fear.
Grant me humility to accept whatever will be the result of this exam.
Lord, I know that I have reviewed well and prepared for this exam. Help me, through Your Divine Providence, to do well in this exam.
I offer this exam to You for Your greater glory. I will do my best in this endeavor, mindful of the gifts that You have bestowed upon me and the privilege to study this [course/subject] in service of the truth.”
Prayer Before an Exam (from the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg)
“Dear Lord, as I take this exam, I thank you that my value is not based on my performance, but on your great love for me.
Come into my heart so that we can walk through this time together.
Help me, not only with this test but the many tests of life that are sure to come my way.
As I take this exam, bring back to my mind everything I studied and be gracious with what I have overlooked.
Help me to remain focused and calm, confident in the facts and in my ability, and firm in the knowledge that no matter what happens today, you are there with me. Amen.”
Prayer Before Studying for Final Exams (from the WCU Catholic Campus Ministry)
“God of Wisdom, I thank you for the knowledge gained and the learning experiences of the semester.
I come to you this day and ask you to illuminate my mind and heart. Let your spirit be with me as I prepare for exams, guiding my studies, and giving me insight so that I can perform to the best of my ability.
Please grant me the strength to handle the pressure during these final days of the semester, the confidence to feel secure in my knowledge, and the ability to keep an appropriate perspective through it all.
Help me to keep in mind what is truly important, even as I focus my time and energy on these tests in the immediate future.
Finally, may I sense your peace in knowing that I applied myself to the challenges of this day. Amen.”
A Student’s Prayer
“Loving Father, I stand before You in the midst of confusion and complexities of life. My future sometimes seems distant and unknown.
Give me, O Lord, the vision to see the path You set before me. Grant me the courage to follow Your way, that through the gift and talents You have given me, I may bring Your life and Your love to others.
I ask this through Jesus, Your Son and my Brother. Amen.”
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”
- “Prayers Before Exams,” WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
- “Prayer before Examinations,” The Catholic Economist
- “Prayer before an Exam,” Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg
- “A Student’s Prayer,” Catholic Online
- “Prayers for Exams,” Asheville Catholic Campus Ministry