This study investigated motivational variables and retention ability of senior secondary school students in physics in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State. Three (3) null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A quasi experimental design was used. Three motivational variables such teachers communicative skills, self-efficacy and reinforcement was selected to test retention ability. All the Senior Secondary School Two (SS2) Physics students in the two (2) chosen public secondary schools in Calabar South Local Government Area formed the population of the study. A total of 120 SS2 Physics students who were randomly selected formed the sample of the study. They were treated with motivational variables. Motivational Variables and Retention Ability Achievement Test of Physics Student (MVRPATT) and questionnaire (MVRQSP) was used. The reliability coefficient of MVRPATT was found to be 0.97. Analysis of data using t-test statistics at .05 alpha level of significant revealed teacher’s communicative skills has a significant effect on retention ability of physics students. Other findings of the research was that self-efficacy and reinforcement does not have any significant effect on retention ability of physics students. Theresearcher recommends among others that in-service training programs for science teachers like seminars, workshops and conference, should focus more on the kind of motivational variables adopted to enhance retention ability.