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Student's Guide to PCS Spark in the Browser

A guide for learners on how to sign up and use Spark.

Bálint Székely avatar
Written by Bálint Székely
Updated over a week ago

Please use a laptop or desktop if possible for the best simulation experience. Whichever device you decide on, use Google Chrome as your browser.

Sign Up and Log In

Go to to sign up and click on "Sign Up".

Enter your name, email, and password in the fields, and remember to tick the Captcha checkbox at the bottom.

Please click "Accept" for "Terms and Conditions" and "Privacy Policy" to be able to use PCS Spark.

Enter your email address and click on "Next":

Then, you will be prompted to create a new one if you haven't created an account previously with this email address, simply click on "Yes":

At the same time, a verification email is sent to your email address.

Check your inbox for the "PCS: signup" message and click the link to continue your registration:

Enter your name and password:

Finally, please accept the "Terms and Conditions" after reading it:

Signing up without a welcome / sharing email is useful for learners to be able to use PCS simulators and resources accessible for them. With a PCS Learner account, you will have no access to any simulator and/or patient until one is shared with you.

Simulator Access

You may either receive an access link to your virtual simulator or just an access key. If you receive a direct link to your simulator, it may look something like this:


Simply click on it, sign up if you do not have a PCS account yet, and start a simulation.

If your faculty has given you a simulator key only, it may look something like this:


To add the key to your account, click your personalized menu in the upper right corner:

Go to the “Account Settings”, enter/paste the simulator key and click "Add to Keychain":

This will save your simulator access to your PCS account. Click "OK" and you’ll see your freshly added simulator.

Running your simulation

If you’re not there already, go to and log in. Once logged in, you will see this screen under the "Assignments" tab: click on the blue "Start" button to start your assigned simulation:

Note: your session times out after 10 minutes of inactivity. You’re reminded on screen and can ask for additional time.

First of all, you will find the necessary information to start the simulation on a pop-up window, please read it carefully, then click "OK, Got It":

The control buttons at the bottom will help you navigate:

Move around the Room

You can move around in the room during your simulation in Spark. Once the simulation loads use the left and right arrows on your keyboard to turn right and left. You can also drag the mouse around the screen to look around.

Move forward or backward using the up and down arrows or simply scroll on your mouse.

Double click (or double tap on a tablet) on a position in the room to move to the targeted position faster.

Talk to Your Patient

Remember to allow your microphone in the browser:

Click on the microphone icon to initiate a conversation with the patient. (The mic icon will become active, turn green and you'll hear the beep-beep sound indicating the patient is listening and ready for your questions.)

During your conversation, you will see yellow bubbles in the lower right corner of the screen. These show the transcripts of the questions you ask and the patient's responses to your questions.

You will also see the answers of your patient:

If speech recognition does not look okay, or the transcript is very different from your question, you should probably consider

  • try again and speak more articulately,

  • try to ask short, concise questions and just one question at a time,

  • pause after each question and listen for your patient’s answer,

  • try moving closer to the microphone of your computer or using a headset,

  • try to reduce background noise.

If the transcript looks okay and you are still not getting the answer you'd expect, please refer back to the "Hints and Tips" for more tips.

Click the microphone icon to stop the conversation at any time you need to think over what to ask next, review your notes, etc. Click the microphone again to re-activate the conversation and continue when you are ready.

Examine Your Patient

You can acquire more information about your assigned patient by opening the Patient File and the Vital Signs:

You can start a physical examination by clicking on the "Physical Exam" button at the bottom left corner:

Learn more about the physical examination here.

Get More Information, Order Treatments, Lab Tests, Imaging, Diagnose the Patient and Decide about the Next Steps

Order diagnostics, analyze them, set the diagnosis, and decide about the next steps for the patient from the “Diagnose and Treat” tab. Search for specific items or scroll down for more options.

Order Diagnostics: Order the diagnostics you need to learn more about the patient.

Set Diagnosis: Decide on the final diagnosis.

Administer Treatments: Order the treatments the patient needs to receive right away.

Next Steps: The necessary steps for the patient to do after this visit.


Just like when interviewing a real-life SP, your aim is to get critical and valuable information from the patient. That will be the basis of your assessment.

When you are done interviewing, just click the stop button:

Any further questions? Reach out to your facilitator or feel free to contact the PCS Support Team at

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