Exam stress is one of those things that can make or break an outcome and no amount of practice can make it any better if you have a tendency to anxiety or lack of self-confidence! Even quite young children are experiencing high anxiety with Naplans becoming a benchmark for success in the classroom.
There are some useful remedies, combinations and essences to support a child (or adult!) at this time and take the edge off an all-pervading nervousness about a forthcoming situation such as a test, exam or even speaking event.
Because homeopathy treats the whole person and not just the symptoms, you do need to understand how the individual is feeling to some extent. Are they constantly staying awake thinking and worrying? Do they feel paralysed with fear? Are they super irritable or are they craving huge amounts of sugar or suffering upset tummies?
Below are some of the single remedies that can be helpful. If you find that your remedies are having no effect or not enough, a quick consultation can be helpful in picking a remedy that can help support and calm, because there are many more remedies than I’ve listed here.
Essential oils can also be helpful and, of course, good nutrition is paramount at this time. Keeping channels of communication open and a little quiet nurturing from a parent, partner or friend can be essential as well.
Remedies for Exam Stress
Arg Nit students are extremely anxious about their exams and will study to extremes in their efforts to do well. Symptoms may include weakness and trembling, and they may be nervous, restless and impulsive. They may crave sugar to keep them going, but are worse for it resulting in diarrhoea, which may also appear as the exams loom.
ArsenicumAlbum is good for people who get very anxious and very restless, especially after midnight. They may panic and pace the room to settle to themselves, and they are classically high achievers who are overly fastidious, getting worse as exams come closer.
Gelsemium is classic performance anxiety where the sufferer is dull, apathetic, withdrawn and wants to be left alone. They want to stay in bed, feel heavy and depressed – basically they’re paralysed with fear and feel sure they are going to fail! Their whole energy is heavy and this is how they feel and look – physically and mentally exhausted from overwork and anxiety, with anticipation of what’s to come.
Lycopodium has great anxiety and fear of failure around forthcoming exams – tries to bolster self-confidence by bragging and generally poor behaviour. They are pretty bossy with their peers and inferiors, but look up to their superiors. They are overwhelmed by too much to do, but usually do extremely well once they get doing, and this is definitely the case with anything involving public speaking. Symptoms may present as indigestion, loose stool, tummy aches and wind, and headaches from low blood sugar. Like Arg Nit they also crave sugar.
Kali Phos is traditionally known as a nerve tonic and can help with mental and physical depression from excitement, overwork or worry. There may be headaches, exhaustion, low appetite, weak sight and humming or buzzing in the ears.
Nux Vomica students are usually very irritable, very focused and very competitive. They don’t tend to have emotional issues around the exams, but will over-do the coffee, sugar, cigarettes, etc, in an effort to cram. They can make life miserable for the rest of the family, suffering also from indigestion, headaches and constipation and 4am is a classic time to find them awake and overthinking. They then have trouble falling back to sleep and if they do, watch out for Mr/Miss Grumpy!!
Sulphur students tend to be lazy, untidy, disorganised and will put off starting their study. They are the ones with the messy rooms, pizza boxes and takeaway containers strewn around, and you’ll find them studying late at night with music blaring. Their sleep tends to be restless and noisy when stressed and they are generally on the hot side, sometimes smelly and not great at showering!!
Anacardium is another remedy for nervous exhaustion from over-study and lack of confidence. They commonly suffer fear around the exam and loss of memory and may get into the exam and their memory deserts them completely! This is going to be a useful remedy if there is a history of exam fear. Your homeopath will usually prescribe this remedy or you’ll find it in our Exam & Study combination.
SOS is an all-round emotional saviour! Put in a water bottle with one of the above on the day of the exam and sip as required. If fear or anxiety is very extreme on the day, consider Aconite!
Don’t forget our Exam & Study Combination which can be useful throughout the study phase, right into the exams, and Anticipation & Anxiety Combination, both of which include remedies traditionally indicated for a variety of situations where anxiety or anticipation may be an issue.
Some of the WyldChyld Essences have an affinity for anxiety and stress and are applicable to adults and children alike. In particular I Can Do It and It’s All Good come to mind, but the student may pick something different based on their own internal voice at this time.
When to take and how much?
I generally recommend starting to take remedies when the stress begins. Again, if the stress is extreme or begins months before the event, a constitutional consultation with your homeopath is your best option. Otherwise, start when the symptoms become evident.
If it’s a couple of weeks before then just dose as required. If your chosen remedy is helping, you shouldn’t need too many doses, too often. My suggestion is to give a dose or two the day before if symptoms are only ramping up then, plus a couple of doses on the day. If permitted, you can add your remedy (drops or pilules) to a water bottle, shake, and you have your remedy in extended form to sip through the exam.
Melanie Creedy originally trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association.
She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter.
Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.