How To Look After Your Mental Health
During Professional Exam Prep?

Posted by Amaranth Singh, MD on June 09, 2021

Whether you are preparing for the CPA exam, CFA Level 1, PMP, or USMLE, the only thing on your mind right now is to ace that exam so that you can acquire the relevant knowledge as well skills to climb the corporate ladder.

You're probably studying overtime, trying to ensure you get everything right on the day.

However, amidst all the preparation, there’s one essential thing you may be compromising on: your mental health.

We know that just the mere thought of sitting through a rigorous hours-long exam can be exhausting, and preparing for it day in and day out can adversely impact your mental wellbeing.

But you need to prioritize your physical and mental health if you want to perform well in the exam and your career.

So, today we’ll walk you through some essential tips on how you can take care of yourself in the follow-up to that important exam.

Without any further ado, let’s get right to it.

1.   Eat A Well-Balanced Nutritious Diet

To stay healthy, you need to eat healthy.

Make sure to have a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Do not skip meals!

Get in the right amounts of protein, carbs, and fats for your brain to stay fresh and function optimally.

Secondly, avoid binge-eating.
It is tempting to grab snacks, such as chips and chocolates, to suppress those cravings.
Instead, try having dry fruits or a milkshake.

Whole foods contain a world of nutrients more than processed ones!

2.   Avoid Too Much Caffeine

Caffeine is the go-to after drink for students trying to pull all-nighters.

Unfortunately, caffeine causes more damage to your brain than you realize.

It may keep you attentive for a few hours, but if you go overboard with it, chances are that you might not remember anything you have learned so far.

Switch to healthy alternatives such as coconut water or fresh juices.

3.   Get Optimum Sleep Everyday

Our sleep cycle takes the biggest hit in our professional exam prep days.

But to keep your focus intact and your analytical skills sharp, you need to rest well.

All professional exams test your ability to stay alert and attentive. Take for example, The CPA exam, which tests your endurance for up to 16 hours.

It's essential you get your sleep before the day, and for that, you need to create a sleep-study balance from here on.

Plan your study, make a timetable, and follow it strictly.

This helps you stay organized and wake up the next day fully rested to give your best.

4.   Stay Hydrated

Having plenty of water will keep dehydration at bay.

If you feel anxious just before the exam day, make sure to have 8-12 glasses of water every day.

Water calms down anxiety and reduces headaches or dizziness.

Remember to take a water bottle with you on exam day!

5.   Learn To Manage Stress

A bit of adrenaline rush keeps you pumped up but if you find yourself under stress and panicking frequently, try to learn stress management techniques.

First things first, believe in yourself and know that you can ace the exam.

Don’t leave preparation to the last hour. Revise every topic and practice sufficiently. Timely reviews will reduce the workload before exam week and help you stay calm.

Moreover, any time you feel you can’t focus, take a break. Meditate for a few minutes.

Sitting in a calm place and meditating mindfully will relieve stress levels and bring back your focus.

6. Socializing

All work and no play is not recommended.

Once in a while, it is good to let go of the academic pressure and spend time with your family and friends.

But yes, just once in a while!

Having a monotonous study routine for months will leave you feeling alienated and dull, burning you out.

So, always unwind yourself for a bit and then get back on track. You can do it by taking a short trip, engaging in activities that you love, and simply going out with friends for a party.

7.   Exercise

You might think it is impossible to squeeze in time for exercise when you’re fully engrossed in preparation.

But don’t you want your brain refreshed so that you can retain maximum information?

Exercise helps you by improving blood circulation all around your body. From making you energized to helping you get stronger; exercise is crucial for your health and happiness. 

Hence, make it a point to take out an hour for exercise, be it going for a run or doing yoga.

8.   Reward Yourself

Make a checklist of all the topics you need to cover.

Every time you complete a target, reward yourself with a nice dessert, movie night, or anything you enjoy.

In this way, you will stay motivated to stay on course, and the material won't be too overwhelming.


Your health is the most important thing. Period.

Never compromise on it.

Follow the above-mentioned eight effective tips, and not only will you be able to ace those exams while staying healthy, but you’ll also develop positive habits that will help you pave your way to success.

Isn’t that just what you want?