stress coping strategies are considered as health protective factors. positive coping supports a healthy life style and favors both mental health and quality of life. from this viewpoint, medical students′ academic stress and coping styles are characterized. with a sample of 42 second-year medical students from the medical school of camagüey, a descriptive study was carried out during academic course 2007-2008. tests and surveys were applied. results showed that the most important factors within the academic context are: taking exams, academic overload, and lack of time to complete school tasks. concerning coping styles, strategies focused on solving problems were predominant, such as: active coping, positive reinterpretation, development after elaborating an action plan, situation coping, and learning from experiences. there was little prevalence of passive coping focused on emotions. as conclusions, the whole sample proved to be vulnerable to stress.