5 Tips To Ensure A Healthy Lifestyle Whilst Preparing For Medical Board Exams

  Jun 12, 2024

Medical board exams are taken typically in the second and third year of med school by most aspirants. The USMLE exams are considered one of the most competitive tests in the world. As it is, the journey of prep for the exam is a strenuous one for most students as they would have competed with scores of people before battling for their seats in a med school after clearing their bachelor’s program in science and clearing the MCAT with a good score. Life doesn’t get easier for someone who is staged for USMLE Step 1 preparation. But to make it more bearable and productive, efforts have to be channelized, and energy focus should be limited to essential stuff. 

medical board exams while being healthy

A healthy routine for preparation will help one revise the syllabus, cross-check their knowledge, prepare with practice exams and friends, and be confident for the exam at least one month before the actual exam. It may seem like an uphill task, but small steps will lead to a giant leap without creating any pressure on the student. A good timetable includes small breaks to eat and sleep regularly. Also, bigger breaks to relax once in a while will maintain a healthy and sharp mind and a fit body to combat exhaustion. Most students commit the mistake of ignoring the basics for health and forgo sleep. Skipping meals will bring your sugar levels down and can lead to headaches. The fatigue that sets in later will cause massive burnout and ultimately force you to rest with unwarranted health issues that can be easily avoided. 

Considering everyone appearing for USMLE is a future doctor, it is reasonable to accept that they understand the repercussions of continued stress. It is therefore upon the students to take precautions and give due importance to maintaining a healthy routine that will ensure that they manage their time appropriately and give due importance to med school lectures, USMLE prep time, sleep, and diet. Here are five tips that will help you achieve your goal and stay on the top of your game:

Fix Your Schedule

Once you are comfortable in your medical college lectures, prepare a timetable. If you can spare three hours of study four months before your exam time, then you will have enough time in hand to cover the syllabus, write two practice tests, revise the weak areas, and discuss with your study group to motivate each other. If you start late, you will end up cramming a lot of things within a short period. This will lead to loss of recall as there was not enough memorization. Once you start making mistakes, you will develop anxiety which will add to the stress of a tight schedule and that’s when you will start consuming your rest and repair time and trade it off for an extra hour of study. 

Smart Work Vs Hard Work

Let’s face it! The schedule is packed, and it doesn’t get easier from here with the numerous topics and long mnemonics that you need to remember to get the names of the body parts and physiological conditions right. If you carry big books around the campus and clinical rotations, you will be adding to the load, besides they slow you down. Instead, switch to Medtech apps like Lecturio, where you can watch the entire procedure through simulated visual graphics. The app also offers other features like quick quizzes and short notes that can be revised from any laptop, mobile, or tablet. Instead of carrying a dozen big books, you can search the topic within the lecture videos and other material in the app. 

Exercise In Between

Sitting and making notes for a long duration can cause neck and shoulder pains. It is a good idea to read for twenty-five minutes and take a short break for five minutes. In this manner, you will not cause any undue stress that will further derail your routine. You can also stretch a little during the break and practice breathing with a yoga asana for meditation and focus. 

Diet Is Important

When you eat right, you feel energetic. Eat a balanced meal that will fit into your schedule. Including fiber and protein in your plate will keep your glycemic levels regulated and not lead to cravings. More vegetables and portions of fruit will help your gut to digest the food easily. Eat healthy snacks like dates, greek yogurt, nuts, and seeds instead of fast food made with high saturated fats. This will help in avoiding irritable bowels and you stay energetic for most of the day. 

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water and liquids to stay hydrated is important to improve your concentration and stay focused in the area of work. When the fluids in your body reduce essential minerals, salt levels in the body are disturbed. It will lead to further complications related to the brain and nervous system like seizures when the mineral levels are not balanced. Keep an alert in your smartwatch to get up, walk a little, and sip some water. You can even try soups and smoothies to increase the intake of fluids in your body. 


Becoming a doctor is tough but doable if one plans their actions and acts on their plan. With a little organization of your calendar, you will be able to completely set space and time for everything important. As a medical student who is exposed to a fair amount of patient histories, you do understand the importance of the right diet, fluids, a fair amount of exercise, and the need to avoid stress. With effective time management, mindful eating, meditation, and regular breaks from the routine to rejuvenate your mind, and body through social and family gatherings, you can skim through your exams with ease. You will not even feel the stress if you plan early and don’t leave everything to the last minute, and then repent otherwise. So get going, and have a blast preparing for USMLE.