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):
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.
There is also a video here that explains this.