With the USMLE finally behind me, I can officially leave my study cave, and begin to feel like a normal human being again. I think those were the most challenging 7 weeks I have ever experienced in my med school career.
While the exam is difficult, it is definitely doable if you put the time and effort in to it. I believe one of the most difficult parts was just having enough mental stamina to critically think for 7 hours straight. To get through this you want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. If you feel better in formal clothes because you’re overly concerned about the way you look, dress up. If you are fine in sweats and a T-shirt, dress down. If your eyes dry out, bring eye drops. Pack all this stuff the night before. Don’t give yourself any surprises the day of the exam, or cause yourself any unnecessary stress.
Also, it’s important to remember that packing the right food is key for this exam. You don’t want a heavy lunch that will just knock you out half way through. It’s important to have a balanced, slow burning meal that will keep you energized throughout the exam. I thought PB & J was always a good choice with some veggies, almonds, water, and some type of beverage containing caffeine. Snacking is important to keep your energy up through this monster of a test. If you’re a coffee drinker, do not forget to drink your morning cup of coffee! Take some with you. Also, it might be helpful to take a couple Tylenol before, or during the exam to avoid a stress headache. If you also get them, you know they always come on at the worst possible time.
With this chapter now behind me, I can finally get out of the classroom and focus on my clinical years. I can’t wait to get back into the hospital setting and really try to make a difference in people’s lives again. I’m really excited to begin the journey that lies ahead.