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Lessons on How to Deal with Exam Stress From 12th Fail Movie

by Mansi Gadre   ·  2 months ago   ·  

Here are practical tips on dealing with exam stress for board students and parents. And how 12th Fail movie teaches us to overcome stress.


My 13-year-old daughter and I had a ‘chat’ on the 2nd Jan on the roadmap for the next 2-2.5 months. With the approaching exam season, the alarm bells have started ringing – not just in our homes but in most of the homes in India. It is a reminder to the students and the parents that it is time to pull up their socks and gear up for the performance. There is a sudden and palpable shift in the mood of the households.

But the game takes a whole new level of seriousness for families whose children are appearing for 10th and 12th board examinations. Parents take leaves, children feel overburdened, mobile phones are hidden, wifi wars are fought and all strategies seem to make no sense in the period before the examinations. Let’s admit it – the competition is fierce and there is no escaping the fact that exams put pressure on the young child’s shoulders. 

So, what can we do to make this journey manageable if not stress-free?

What does Exam Stress Mean? The Elephant in the Classroom 

Exams in India – they take centre stage in the academic act. They’re not just tests; they’re an experience – of stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights. Exams cast a shadow that looms large over the academic landscape. As the exam season approaches, students find themselves on an emotional roller coaster, with parents holding on for dear life.

How Students Struggle with Stress and Anxiety During Exams?

The Pressure Cooker Environment

Imagine a room filled with textbooks, highlighted notes, and a palpable tension that could be sliced with a blunt pencil. It’s not just about learning; it’s about decoding the complex formula of expectations, comparisons, and societal pressure. The stress isn’t confined to the syllabus; it permeates the very air students breathe.

What are the Causes of Stress When Preparing for Exams?

For a student, exams are battles and they are lone warriors. The sensation of a knot in the stomach, the competition and the burden of expectations can be overwhelming. While some say that a little stress and nervousness are healthy, many reasons can lead to unpleasant stress situations.

  1. Peer Pressure: The constant comparison with peers, especially in a competitive environment, can lead to stress and a sense of inadequacy.
  2. High Expectations: Skyrocketing expectations from parents, teachers, and oneself contribute significantly to stress levels.
  3. Fear of Failure: The dread of not meeting expectations or facing failure can be paralysing, causing immense stress.
  4. Uncertain Future: The ambiguity of what comes next, especially in a society that often ties success to specific career paths, adds to the stress.

7 Tips To Overcome Board Exam Stress and Anxiety

Many teachers and experienced parents have tips on how to overcome exam stress. We have listed a few here:

1. Break it Down, Buddy!

Rather than gulping down the entire syllabus like a bitter medicine, break it down into bite-sized chunks. Tackling smaller portions reduces the overwhelming feeling and makes studying more manageable.

2. The Pomodoro Technique – A Time Management Gem

Imagine studying for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break. Rinse and repeat. This is the Pomodoro Technique, a simple yet effective way to maintain focus and prevent burnout.

3. Sleep – The Unsung Hero

Pulling an all-nighter might seem heroic, but trust us, your brain prefers beauty sleep. Adequate rest ensures your mind is sharp and ready to tackle complex problems.

4. Ditch the Comparison Game

Remember, your journey is unique. Comparing yourself to others only adds unnecessary stress. Focus on your growth, not someone else’s highlight reel.

5. Schedule Free Time

If you haven’t prepared well in advance, the last weeks before the exam may seem like climbing a mountain. Free time may look like an impossibility during this time, but it is important to recharge yourself after long hours of study. Listen to music, go for a walk, play a game with a friend, catch up on a book and you will see yourself getting back to studies with renewed focus

6. Keep The Focus Alive

I remember when my brother, who is now a doctor, was also preparing for his competitive exams. Being a ranker throughout his school life, he was so well prepared that he simply got bored of studying in the last few months. He lost focus and couldn’t concentrate because he had done too much of the same thing repeatedly. Later, in my teaching career, I came across several students who just seemed to run out of fuel in the last leg of the race. 

The key is to keep taking breaks and not overdo yourself to exhaustion. If you feel yourself running out of steam, do something you enjoy and talk to friends or parents for support.

7. Declutter Your Desk

A cluttered study area signifies a cluttered mind. Make a schedule, gather all the materials you will need and keep them in a designated area. This will help you focus better. A cluttered area overloads the brain which then leads to stress. Organise your study area to get yourself sorted for the exam game.

5 Tips for Parents of Kids Preparing for the 12th Exam

If you’re feeling stressed about exams, the 12th Fail is a must-watch. And here’s a quick list why:

1. Be the Pillar, Not the Pressure Cooker

Parents, your role is crucial. Be a supportive pillar rather than an additional source of stress. Encourage your child, reminding them that you’re proud of their effort, not just the outcome.

2. Open the Lines of Communication

Create a safe space for your child to express their concerns. Discuss their fears, listen actively, and offer reassurance. Sometimes, a candid conversation can be the best stress-buster.

3. Nourishment for the Mind and Body

Healthy meals are to the brain what fuel is to a car. Ensure your child is eating well, staying hydrated, and indulging in brain-boosting snacks like nuts and fruits.

4. Celebrate Breaks, not Just Success

Acknowledge the effort your child puts into studying, not just the grades they bring home. Celebrate small victories, and let them know that their hard work is noticed and appreciated.

5. Offer Solutions

As parents offer the solution to the following questions to your kids:

How do I stop stressing during exams?

  • Effective Time Management: Encourage your child to create a realistic study schedule. Break down study sessions into manageable chunks with breaks to avoid burnout.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Promote a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise. A healthy lifestyle positively impacts concentration and reduces stress.

How do I calm myself down for exams?

  • Deep Breathing Exercises: Teach your child simple breathing techniques to calm nerves. Deep, slow breaths can help reduce anxiety and improve focus.
  • Positive Visualisation: Encourage them to visualise success and focus on positive outcomes. Remind them of their hard work and preparation, boosting confidence before the exam.

What We Can Learn From the Movie 12th Fail?

A friend’s daughter is preparing for her 12th board exams. Since she wants to do engineering she is also preparing for JEE and CET. The competition and pressure have worn her down completely and she feels lost despite being a bright student. Her parents decided to take her to the movie ‘12th Fail’ to cheer her up and motivate her. Though the movie is about the struggle of a student’s life, there are many potential lessons that young aspirants can draw from the movie.

1. Resilience and Determination 

Failures are a part of a student’s life. 12th Fail underlines the importance of staying persistent and facing failures. All while being resilient and never giving up.

2. Explore the road less travelled 

Just as the protagonist deviates from conventional education methods, students can also seek guidance and explore alternative learning styles. They can make their unique path to success.

3. Importance of Mentorship 

Just like Manoj, many successful people have highlighted the importance of mentors and a strong support system. Mentors can play a powerful role not just in providing information but also in building the right attitude and emotional framework for success

4. The Power of Self-Belief 

The movie teaches us the importance of being your own cheerleader in every adversity. It was his self-belief that kept him going when things started falling apart for Manoj. Trust yourself and your journey, even when others might disapprove of it.

Conclusion: “Acing the Exam of Life”

As exams approach, let’s redefine success beyond grades. Students, remember that stress is a temporary visitor, not a permanent resident. Parents, your role goes beyond being a spectator – you’re the coach, the cheerleader, and the safety net.

So, let’s approach exams with a strategic mindset, a dash of humour, and a whole lot of understanding. After all, acing the exam of life requires more than just bookish knowledge; it demands resilience, self-care, and the unwavering support of those who believe in you.


Author : Mansi Gadre

Mansi finds solace in exploring new horizons and loves to weave tales that talk about travel, parenting, and life’s myriad experiences. A marketer, teacher, content writer, and above all a mother, she will take you on a journey of discovery guided by the wisdom of an educator, the curiosity of an artist, and the soul of a wanderer.

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