What Kind of Doctor Am I on the Step 3 CCS Portion of the exam?

What Kind of Doctor Am I on the Step 3 CCS Portion of the exam?

What Kind of Doctor Am I on the Step 3 CCS Portion of the exam?

This is a common source of confusion about the role of the person your are “pretending” to be as the treating physician on the Step 3 portion of the CCS Cases. The answer is that you are a primary care physician “generalist.” You can treat the patient in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. You are responsible for the ordering of tests, imaging studies, diagnostic procedures, changing of clinical locations, monitoring the patient over simulated time, preparatory patient care (i.e. getting IV fluids, blood type and cross, antibiotics prior to surgery), and addressing health maintenance issues.

If you order a procedure that you are not trained for (i.e. brain surgery), the medical staff will either assist you or take primary responsibility for implementing your request. Therefore, you should not be shy about ordering surgical procedures or specialized interventions that a normal primary care provider would never do as long as it is indicated for the case.

If you’d like to try out our program, you can download two free cases here. 

How to End a Case When You Are Finished on the CCS Portion of Step 3

How to End a Case When You Are Finished on the CCS Portion of Step 3:

Many people ask why cases will end early which was a discussion in prior posts. We also get the question on how to end the case when you are finished, but there is still time left on the clock. The answer is fairly simple: Just go to the Clock which is named “Obtain Results or See Patient Later” and click “Call / see me as needed.” This will advance the clock to the end of the case. If you have pending results it will show the results and ask if you would like to stop the clock, but if you continue to say, “no” in about 2 or 3 checks, the case will go to the 2 minute warning, and you can then click “exit case.”

How to End a Case When You Are Finished

Just a quick reminder: On the real test day, this is the same for how to end a case early. You must be sure that you are completely done with the case. Once the case is ended, you cannot go back and make any changes. If you’ve advanced to the 2 minutes warning, you cannot advance the virtual clock. You can order future studies that can be used for preventive measures. You can also counsel with the patient and practice good bed-side manner. 

If you’d like to try out our program, you can download two free cases here. 

 

I am getting points taken off for not moving the patient to the right location. What’s going on!?

I am getting points taken off for not moving the patient to the right location. What’s going on!? 

 

This question has been asked by some of our users with some confusion (okay and maybe sprinkled with some accusation, condescension, and irritation). We’ve received a few comments that might go like: “How dare you take points away from me! Your software clearly had massive errors and flaws! I will hunt you down CCSCASES!” (maybe this is slightly exaggerated…emphasis on slightly).

Our test (just like the real test) will grade you not only whether you did something, but whether you did it correctly within a certain time frame. So, lets take a fictional example. Lets say a patient comes into your office with severe COPD. He is having difficulty breathing. You decide you’re hungry and want to go eat a sandwich before you see the patient. You go get a sandwich and slowly start eating it. It’s a good sandwich – Come on!

Meanwhile, the patient is dying and turning blue. You finish your sandwich; You get on the phone and call an ambulance and rush the patient to the Emergency Department. The family is livid. “No one was helping us when he was having trouble! You were eating your sandwich!” You reply, “listen, there patient. You were eventually put into the right location, so be grateful!” 

This fictional patient was put into the right location, but it was done too late. If this were in real life, you would be in trouble. If this was done on the USMLE Step 3 CCS portion, you would lose points. If you receive a negative patient update like, “The patient is having more difficulty breathing;” or “The patient is not feeling well,” and you are in the wrong location; you will lose points. So, the solution is to move the patient to the correct location BEFORE the patient worsens, then you won’t lose any points. Continuing with the fictional example, call the ambulance BEFORE you eat your sandwich and get him transferred and treated and THEN eat your sandwich. Timing matters on our program (and on the real test). So, to shorten the question, the reason you are losing points is that you need to be faster about moving the patient to the correct location. 

If you’d like to try out our program, you can download two free cases here. 

Stay safe and Study Hard! Oh, and go eat a sandwich…

Prometric to Restart Administering Tests Starting May 1st on a site-by-site basis

Prometric to restart administering tests starting May 1st on a site-by-site basis

Prometric Testing Sites Closed due to Corona Virus

The USMLE just recently announced that testing will be resuming for the USMLE at Prometric sites in the US/Canada on a site-by-site basic. There is likely to be less testing availability due to having to comply with new restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 precautions. Also, a backup from other tests that are also administered by Prometric will also cause finding a date to be more difficult than usual. However, it does appear that getting a firm date to take the USMLE Steps is available now.

There likely will be adjustments and modifications to Prometric to onsite administrative policies such as the check-in process. 

Stay safe and Study Hard!

If you’d like to try out our CCS Case Simulation product first before making a decision, try two free CCS cases located here

 

Release of Version 4.9.5

Release of Version 4.9.5

We have released a minor update. It has fixed some formatting issues that we have had. We also had some minor other fixes. 

We will continue to work hard to make improvements. Updates are free for paid customers. You can get the update by uninstalling your current version and reinstalling the new version here.

Thanks for your support. 

How Does The Time and Clock Work On Your Program?

How Does The Time and Clock Work On Your Program?

This may seem like a simple thing to the veteran CCS Students out there, but for the newly studying CCS students, learning the clock can take some time. The key students need to learn is that there are two types of clocks on the USMLE Step 3 CCS portion of the test: virtual time and real time. You mainly deal with virtual time. Real time is the amount of time that you are given to finish a case (either 10 min or 20 min). The only thing you need to worry about is to not run out of time. 

Virtual time is the time you tell the program to advance in the simulation (“not real time”). You could advance the simulation 10 years if you wanted (but the simulation would end before you got there). 

Here is a brief explanation of advancing the clock (same as the real test):

Virtual Time CCS Cases

The “On” option: This will advance the clock by giving an exact time you’d like to advance the clock to. If it’s Day 1 @9:00 and you want to advance the clock 30 min, then you would put Day 1 – Hour 9 – 30 min such as shown in the picture above. We feel that this is a confusing way to advance the time and recommend that you use the “In” or “With next available result” option. 

The “In” option: For this option, you simply put in how many days, hours, or minutes you’d like to advance the clock. If you wanted to advance 30 min, you just put 30 into the minute column. When you click “OK”, the virtual time will advance 30 min. If the time is Day 1 @9:00, the virtual time will advance to Day 1 @ 9:30am

The “With next available result” option: This is probably the most commonly used method to advance the clock. This will advance the clock depending on what is currently pending on your order sheet.  This will advance the clock to the order with the earliest report time. For example, if you have ordered 3 different orders: CBC – > report time in 30 min, LFTs -> report time in 60 min, and Pulse Ox -> report time in 1 min; it will advance the clock 1 min. If you had only the CBC and LFTs ordered, then it would advance the clock 30 min. If you have no orders on the order sheet, this will advance the clock to the next patient update. The only thing you have to be careful about on the real test is that if you have nothing on the order sheet or an order that you don’t realize the next report time is a day later. For example, if you had a report time of Day 2 @ 10:00 and it’s Day 1@9:30. You might mistakenly think that it’s only 30 min away, but if you advance the clock, it will advance the clock 24 hours and 30 minutes! Oops. This would likely cause you to lose a lot of points on the real test day, so be careful about that!

The “Call / see me as needed” option: This essentially will advance the clock until the case will end. You only do this if you are done ordering everything and have nothing further to do. If you have more to do with the patient, do not use this! 

We hope that this brief overview was helpful. The best way to practice this is with real simulation cases with a real program. You can try out our program by downloading the trial version here with 2 free cases. 

Thanks for reading. 

Release of Version 4.9.4

Release of Version 4.9.4.

We continue to work hard to make the program the best we can. We have updated to a new version: 4.9.4. We have updated to the latest back-end technology. We have made some minor adjustments to the formatting of labs. We have also fixed some minor bugs.

We will continue to work hard to make improvements. We have some ideas up our sleeve, but we don’t want to give away any surprises quite yet. Updates are free for paid customers. You can get the update by uninstalling your current version and reinstalling the new version here.

Thanks for your support. 

USMLE Announces Prometric Closures Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

USMLE Announces Prometric Closures Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Prometric Testing Sites Closed due to Corona Virus

The USMLE just recently announced that all prometric testing centers in the US and Canada will be closed for 30 days starting March 18th due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), so no one will be able to take any USMLE Step tests during this time. Anyone who was scheduled to test a USMLE test during the closure will have to reschedule. If you are taking the test outside of the US/Canada, you will have to go to the Prometric website to see if your specific testing center is closed.

The USMLE also announced that eligibility windows will automatically be extended, so you need not worry if you were pushing the edge of your eligibility window when scheduling for your Step test.

The silver lining from the closures is that you can have more time to study for it! Yeah! If you are studying for Step 3, 25% of your grade is from the CCS Portion of your test. Going through real simulated cases during this time of quarantine will help you be prepared for the CCS portion of Step 3. If you’d like to try out our product first before making a decision, try two free CCS cases located here

Stay safe out there! Spend some of you free time studying for the test to take your mind off the chaos going on in the world. 

Thanks for reading.

USMLE reduces number of allowed attempts for Step 3

USMLE reduces number of allowed attempts for Step 3

USMLE reduces number of allowed attempts for Step 3

The USMLE just recently announced that the allowed number of attempts to pass any Step or Step Component has been reduced from 6 to 4. This means that you have four attempts to pass Step 1; four attempts to pass Step 2 CS; four attempts to pass Step 2 CK; and four attempts to pass Step 3. This will be effective starting January 1, 2021. Most students do not have to worry about this, but some students struggle with standardized exams. It is more important than ever to make sure that you pass each exam the first time if possible. Each Step exam should be taken seriously, particularly Step 3 as many students are too busy in residency to study for Step 3. A common mistake is to think that there clinical experience in residency is enough to pass the exam.

In an ideal world, what you learn in practice would correlate to what is on standardized tests, but this is not the case. Many times you must study what the USMLE deems is important even if you feel that it is not relevant. Studying the CCS Cases portion of Step 3 is very important as it is 25% of your total grade on the Step 3 exam. Doing well on this section can help you raise your score or it can contribute to failing the test if performance on this section is not up to par.

The best way to learn for the CCS portion of the test is to simply practice cases. Practice cases that you will be seeing on test day and using the software that you will be using on test day. Of course, we would recommend using our product to help in your preparation to performing well on the CCS portion of the exam. If you’d like to try out our free 2 cases; you can download it and try it out here.

Thanks for reading.

How to Master the USMLE Step 3 CCS

How to Master the USMLE Step 3 CCS

How to Master the USMLE Step 3 CCS

Learning how to master the USMLE Step 3 CCS (commonly misspelled as USMLE Step 3 CSS) is an important piece of being able to pass/excel in the Step 3 exam. As the CCS Cases portion on the exam is roughly 25% of your total grade for the 2 day test, this is not a portion of the test that you should ignore as this can be the difference between passing and failing and having to retake a 2-day test. 

There are some good resources out there that can be helpful and provide good information for managing clinical cases. However, if you have not practiced using a real-time simulator, then you may struggle on test day learning to navigate the software and to understand how it works. The USMLE provides 6 cases for you to study, but most find this insufficient amount of material to be able to master the USMLE Step 3 CCS. Many people are unaware of the nuances of the program such as: how to order; how to advance time; patient updates; ordering a physical exam; importance of preventative care; the meaning of when the case ends before the maximum allowable time, and more.

You can read about these things, but until you actually practice on real software, it is likely that you will not fully understand how the program works, and you definitely do not want to try to “figure it out” during test day. You are already strapped for time, so learning how to navigate the software should be the least of your problems. In addition to helping learn how the real test day works, the program will also teach you good clinical skills on how to diagnose and treat 101 different clinical scenarios which will prepare you for test day.

Try our program out by clicking here and try out two free cases.