student life

5 motivational things to watch during exams

exam time tv and films, Kettle mag
Written by Millicent Thomas

If you find yourself having writers block or you’re stuck in a revision slump, one thing to do, that I imagine you’ll be hearing a lot from your tutors, is take a break. They might say go for a leisurely walk, have a healthy brain-food snack or even hit the gym. If none of that sounds too appealing, take our advice and try some screen-time.

Whether it’s down to atmosphere or a particularly bookish character, some films and TV programmes have a subtle power that makes us want to hit the books again. Here are some of our favourites.

Gilmore Girls

Watch any episode of Gilmore Girls and I can guarantee you, Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) will not once be seen without a book under her arm. She is highly motivated to stay on top of her work and get into her dream school, but what’s great about her is that she knows her limits. She still makes time for community events in her local town and seeing her friends. Seasons 1-3 are the best for that top-notch study inspo.

Legally Blonde

“You got into Harvard Law?” / “What, like it’s hard?”

Reese Witherspoon’s iconic Elle Woods is the prime cinematic example of brains and beauty, proving with every line of dialogue that the two have never been mutually exclusive. She set’s her sights on a goal and she utilises every resource to achieve it.

Start every day with an Elle Woods mind-set; need I say more?

Educating Rita

In this 1983 classic, twenty-seven year-old Rita (Julie Walters) decides to head back to school to complete her basic education. She is tutored by alcoholic literature professor, Dr Frank Bryant (Michael Caine). With his help Rita learns to not underestimate her own intelligence. Originally based on a play by Willy Russell, Educating Rita shows us that it’s never too late to go on to higher education, and further than that to never stop learning in our day-to-day lives.

Monsters University

Mike Wazowski’s sheer excitement over the prospect of heading to university is enough to get any student out of bed in the morning. Watching as he steps for the first time onto the green and scream “I’m officially a college student!” is heart-warming, especially when you cut to just how hard he works to be the best in class. I find that Pixar’s Monsters University is a reminder of how lucky we are to have access to the education that we do, and to make the most of every moment. Meaning definitely sign up for the ‘Scare Games’ and hand in that essay on time.


Damien Chazelle’s 2015 directorial debut, Whiplash, is a film very close to my heart. It’s what inspired me to pursue higher education in the first place. After leaving the screening I quit my awful job and dedicated all my time to pursuing the career that I wanted.

Films that have that kind of power astonish me; it’s Andrew’s (Miles Teller) sheer will and streamlined focus that had such an impact on me. Watch Whiplash and be inspired, but definitely don’t reach the point of hard work that leaves your hands bloody and your peers isolated; know your limits.