Exciting Announcement: New Online Version in Beta Testing!

Exciting Announcement: New Online Version in Beta Testing!

Exciting Announcement: New Online Version in Beta Testing!

Over the years, we have had many customers express their desire to have CCSCases.com available on a more wide array of devices. We have been working hard over the last six months and are pleased to announce our new online version, now in beta-testing. This will be part of a subscription model, and the user will be able to use the program on pretty much most modern devices. It will work on chrome books, iPads (iOS 11+), iPhones (iOS 11+), Android phones/devices, Linux, Windows, Mac computers. Pretty much any device with a modern browser. Browsers that have been tested that work well are Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox. 

We have done extensive testing, and the program should work well, but we would like to do a couple months of beta-testing (pre-release testing) with our customers who would like to participate. Those who are eligible to participate, you can e-mail us at info@ccscases.com, and we can set you up with an account. 

Eligible customers to participate in the beta-testing (free):

1. Recent customer within the last 3 months
2. Has a home internet (not business) to test. The beta version will be limited to test on their home internet ip address.
3. Willing to give us feedback and report if they come across any issues.
4. Customer located in the United States.

Thanks for reading!

Release of Version 4.9.8

Release of Version 4.9.8

This is a minor update. We fixed a minor issue.

To update, please go to our download page here. Download the latest version and uninstall the old version and install the newer version. You should not need to reactivate/re-register when you update versions.

Release of Version 4.9.7

Release of Version 4.9.7

We released 4.9.6 about 5 days ago, but an astute customer pointed out that a certain order/combination caused certain cases to end early. We have identified and fixed the problem which is now fixed on the new version 4.9.7. This issue only affected customers with version 4.9.6. We recommend that all users with 4.9.6 update their version to 4.9.7 to avoid this issue. 

To update, please go to our download page here. Download the latest version and uninstall the old version and install the newer version. You should not need to reactivate/re-register when you update versions. 

Thank you for your patience. 

Release of Version 4.9.6

Release of Version 4.9.6

We have released a new version: version 4.9.6. We have cleaned up some things in this version — minor changes but too numerous to list. We have cleaned up some formatting issues and tidied up some cases. All minor changes.

Future plans: We have been working a new release of the program for the last 4-6 months that will likely replace all versions. Details to come. We are currently beta testing. This will bring features that our customers have been asking for including mobile and iPad capabilities. 

We are also planning on adding new cases. Each case takes a lot of planning and time, but we will add them over time.

If you would like to try out our program, you can try 2 free cases located here

Thanks for reading.

Why Does Your Program Have Health Maintenance as Part of the Grading System?

Why Does Your Program Have Health Maintenance as Part of the Grading System?

Why Does Your Program Have Health Maintenance as Part of the Grading System

A frequent question that we get is why we include health maintenance as part of our grading system? Examples include: counseling (smoking cessation, safe sex, medication compliance), screening (pap smears, colonoscopy screenings), vaccines.

 

We get the “No one else is doing this, so you must be doing it wrong.” We have received other criticism saying that we “overly-emphasize” this topic. Just because we include this does not mean that we emphasize this to be extremely important. On our grading system, typically this would account for a very small portion of the grading for the case (like 5% of the total grade). Could you do fine on the test without doing these things? Yes. You would be fine. The most important is the physical exam, diagnostic labs, and treatment. Does the USMLE include this as part of grading on the USMLE Step 3 CCS portion of the test? Yes, see below.

Why do we include this? Because the USMLE says that it should be addressed. From the USMLE in what is graded on the CCS portion under the “What are my responsibilities? heading” : “Addressing health maintenance issues. Note: The nature of each case dictates whether or not health maintenance issues are relevant within the simulated time frame.” Health maintenance issues is defined by the USMLE as: “common screening tests for conditions amenable to prevention or detection in an asymptomatic patient or population and selection of appropriate preventive agent or technique (eg. contraception, vaccines, vitamins).” This also includes: “Education of patients on screening, health maintenance, self care.”

So, we feel that it is important to include as you may pick up some extra points on the cases which could have a small but meaningful impact on your final score.

Having said this, we know that this is a small portion of your grade. If you are in crunch time and have limited time to study. The most high yield would be to study the diagnosis tests and treatment with the most cases as you can. The health maintenance would be the cherry on top. The most bang for your buck would be with the “meat” of the CCS Portion which is to diagnose and treat. You can view all of the this on the USMLE website located here

If you would like to try out our program, you can try 2 free cases located here

Thanks for reading.

Tips for the USMLE Step 3 CCS Cases

Tips for the USMLE Step 3 CCS Cases

Tips for the USMLE Step 3 CCS Cases

At ccscases.com, we have thousands of tips for the USMLE Step 3 CCS Cases portion of the test. Our program has 101 cases of the most commonly seen cases which goes through all of the tips to do well on test day. This includes appropriate diagnostic orders, appropriate treatment, timing tips, tips on where to move the patient, and tips on preventative care and bedside manner things to do to maximize your score on the CCS portion of the test.

You will also receive tips on differential diagnosis and a case summary. You will also receive tips on whether certain orders were appropriate or too invasive for the case as well as receiving tips for appropriate sequencing in the case.

All of these things are included in the grading section when you have completed the test, so you get feedback on the things that you did well and things that you could do in the future to improve your score.This includes all the tips that you will need to do well on test day. With our case simulation program, you can do each case as many times as you would like.

There is no limit. You will receive feedback after each attempt on a particular case, so that you can monitor your progress. The program also offers tips on ways to practice in case there is a lag or slow-down on the real test day. You can practice doing cases with different time limits or no time limit at all if that is your preference. So, in summary there are many tips on the USMLE Step 3 CCS Cases that will help you out on test day, so we recommend that you try our program out for free.

You can try out our program before you decide to purchase. You can download the trial version here.

Thanks for reading.

The real CCS software was so slow on test day!

The real CCS Software was so slow on test day!

The real CCS Software was so slow on test day!

We have gotten reports that there have been lags/slow downs/delays on the real test during the CCS portion of the USMLE Step 3 at certain testing centers in the United States. This is an unfortunate event, and there is not much that can be done about this. It is the luck of the draw whether a testing site’s Internet connection to the USMLE servers are fast that day or if there is a lag. It tends to be testing site specific, though if the USMLE servers are slow that particular day, all of the Prometric sites would be slow as well. Meaning that if the Prometric Internet is slow, it is test site specific, but if USMLE servers are slow, then it would not be site specific. 

We have also received reports that there can be extra lag time when making the real software do a search for an order. For example, if you were to type in the partial name of an order such as “hydro” instead of “Hydrochlorothiazide” then this would take additional time to return the list of possible options matching “hydro.” Other than hoping for a good day where there isn’t a delay or lag on the test, if you are very concerned about the lag time / delay on the real test affecting your performance, we recommend that you practice with a lag on the test to get used to it. We have this option available to slow down the program and intentionally lag / delay results after each interaction. 

You can try out our lag time / delay feature in our program for free with the link below. 

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

Hope this information is helpful. Thanks for reading and happy studying on your test.

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…