The Casper Suite for Graduate Medical Education (GME) is a set of selection tools created by Altus Assessments to assess and understand students and how they align to their program. The tests allow students to showcase their communication skills and non-cognitive skills, such as empathy, ethics, and professionalism. Plus, it aids in developing a holistic understanding of each applicant.
The CASPer examination enables medical schools and residency programs to evaluate applicants in lieu of or in addition to the traditional medical school interview.
So what is the CASPer examination and how can a prospective medical student prepare for it?
CASPer is the Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics. CASPer is a situational judgement test (SJT) that evaluates professionalism and non-cognitive skills such as collaboration, motivation, ethics, and empathy.
It is an online, web-based computer test that takes about 80 minutes. It was started to be utilized in Canada, but now has been also utilized in more than 60 United States based medical school admissions and about a dozen residency programs. CASper helps schools screen applicants as part of the admissions process, in addition to the GPA, MCAT, LOR, and everything else that goes into a great medical school application.
What is the structure of the CASPer test?
CASPer has 12 stations comprised of video-based scenarios and written scenarios followed by three open-ended questions requiring typed responses. Some sections are prompted by situational challenges displayed in short video clips; others are prompted by self-reflective questions. The applicant has 5 minutes to answer all questions in a given section.
CASPer tends to test medical and other scenarios focused on ethics and behavior. All the questions are not medically related, in fact most are simply behavioral questions. Here is a word based scenario:
Consider this statement: From time to time, we deal with conflict in some form.
Questions to the Applicant:
CASPer is not a test you necessarily need to “study” for, like the MCAT. In fact, it’s designed to not be studied for! It’s more testing your ability to think and handle situations. However, we do recommend you go through a few scenarios or sample cases to get an idea of what you can expect.
For that, the MedSchoolCoach CASPer Prep program is perfect. It will take you through every aspect of the exam you need to understand and includes coaching by a physician.
Another great website with medical ethical scenarios and situations is University of Washington’s Bioethics page. If you feel comfortable thinking about and going through scenarios such as those laid out, you will be good to go for CASPer.
There are a few other things that people recommend to study which we’ve included below (courtesy of Je Suis Banane on SDN:
Snapshot is a one-way video response tool designed to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their personal attributes to the programs they are applying to, particularly during this time where in-person communications are difficult. It is about 10-15 minutes in length, with unlimited time for practice questions. The format is such that there are 3 one-way questions with 2 minutes to record a video response to each.
Duet is a value alignment assessment designed to compare the alignment of the values that matter most to a student in a residency program with those of the program(s) that they are applying to. It is about 15-20 minutes in length. The format has 30 program characteristics that are compared in pairs across 3 categories, with no time limits.
Find out the latest medical schools that utilize the CASPEer/Altus Suite in our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assessments.
Best of luck. And remember, if you need help practicing, be sure to check out Medical School CASPer Preparation. We’ll pair you with a Physician Advisor that has interviewed thousands of medical school candidates and who has served on admissions committees. They provide a realistic experience, so that you know exactly what to expect when it’s time to take the CASPer exam. We’re here to help to make sure you maximize your chances of getting accepted!
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