More Clock Questions

We've been getting a lot of questions about the Clock typically phrased in a accusatory way. We can assure you that the clock feature has been well tested. We will go through some common questions and answers.

Question: Why does my case end early even though it's a 20 minute case?

Answer: We've written a lot about this in the past. We will reiterate this again. This is not a bug when the case ends early and is part of the USMLE and how the real program works. Each case has a set virtual time limit and if you go past that set virtual time limit, the case will end. If you don't believe us, open a 20 minute case and do nothing, and we guarantee you that the case will end at 20 minutes.

Question: How do you know how long the set virtual time limit is?

Answer: You do not know the virtual time limit. Emergency cases are typically very short (like 30 minutes) while outpatient cases can be as long as months.

Question: Sometimes I order a test that takes days to get back, and I never get the result back from that test.

Answer: Yes, this can happen. If you order a test that takes 1 week to come back and the case ends after 2 days, you will never get that test result back. You might want to think about a different test with a shorter return window.

Question: What is the difference between virtual time and real time?

Answer: Real time is how long the case has been going on in real-time; meaning since you started the case. This will be either 10 minutes or 20 minutes as the time limit in real time. Virtual time is the pretend time in the case where you advance the clock. You can advance the clock seconds, minutes, hours, or days. Most of your thinking should be in virtual time. The real time's function is to end the case if you go over your time limit for that case (either 10 min or 20 min).

Question: So, I can end a 20 minute case in 1 real minute?

Answer: Yes, easy. Just start the case and go to the clock immediately and click "Call / See me as needed." Advance the clock until the case ends. This would be an excellent way to fail that case in record timing. We recommend that you take a look at our Videos at the bottom of our Screen-Shots page and view the video about the clock feature.