Coping with Coronavirus Medical Board Exam Cancellation Stress

board exam cancellation

You’ve spent months preparing for your board exam. You’ve gone through countless practice questions and spent hours studying in anticipation of your test date, but now your exam has been canceled. Now what? 

COVID-19 has led to the closure of test centers around the world, and cancellations or postponements of board exams in nearly every medical specialty. For countless medical students and healthcare professionals already dealing with worries about coronavirus, the stress of these cancellations can be hard. Will you be able to reschedule your exam within the next few months? How will a board exam cancellation impact your future career?

While it is too early to know the answers to these questions, there are ways you can cope with the stress that comes with a board exam cancellation. Here are some tips for dealing with the delays while staying focused on the future. 

Take a Break

It may seem counterintuitive to stop studying for your board exams, but taking a break can help you refocus. You’ve already spent months preparing for the exam, and you’re likely feeling burnt out. Take a week or two away from your question banks and study guides to catch up on sleep, Netflix, or whatever other relaxation techniques you’ve been neglecting. You deserve it! When you’re ready to start studying again, you’ll be refreshed and able to tackle the subject matter again. 

Focus on What You Can Control

With so many unknowns involving coronavirus and when things could possibly return to normal, many feel helpless. It is difficult to combat these emotions, but focusing on what you can control may give you a little relief. While you can’t control when your testing facility may open up again, you can still control how much you prepare for the exam. In an attempt to shine some much-needed positivity in these dark times, try to look at this as additional time to focus on improving your weaker subject areas.

Maintain Your Studies

If you were prepared to take your board exam right now, maintaining your knowledge while you wait for testing centers to reopen should be your goal. Commit to taking a few practice questions each day by setting a daily reminder for yourself every day at the same time to go through ten questions. This will help you keep your knowledge fresh in your mind, so you’ll stay in tip-top shape come exam day. 

Connect with Other Students

Above all else, it is important to remember that you are not alone right now. Students and peers around the country are facing the same challenges and uncertainties surrounding their board exams. Talking with others through Facebook Groups, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media can be a great way to blow off steam and find others to relate to. 

While no one can predict when exam centers will re-open and life will start to look normal again, remember that your exam stresses will eventually be a thing of the past. You’ve spent a long time preparing for the boards, and now more than ever your medical knowledge is essential. 

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at

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