CASPer: An Overview of the Core Competencies

CASPer Preparation Specialists

The CASPer test, no matter where you are sitting it or for what program, has been designed with a set of core competencies in mind. Here, we will look at each in turn and provide an overview of it.

CASPer Core Competency 1: Communication

Your ability to communicate with others will be crucial to your future as a healthcare or teaching professional. You must therefore be ready to reflect on times that you have struggled to communicate with others and how you overcame the challenge, times when your communication ability served you or your team well, and the characteristics that make a good communicator.

CASPer Core Competency 2: Collaboration

Your ability to work with other healthcare professionals or work with students and other teachers – depending on where your future lies – will be assessed through CASPer. In order to do this, the test will look at your ability to collaborate with others. You should be aware of what makes a good team player, what makes a good leader, and the best ways to interact with others in your team. You should have given thought to your experiences as a team player and leader, both positive and negative.

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CASPer Core Competency 3: Empathy

Often touted as the most important attribute a healthcare professional can have, empathy should be seen as distinct from sympathy, and compassion. It is the ability to put yourself in the place of another, and to understand what they feel and why they might feel it. With empathy comes the ability to communicate well, and to show to patients that you care about them, their treatment and their opinions. You should reflect on how you have shown empathy in both your day to day life and through volunteering or healthcare roles that you have already undertaken.

CASPer Core Competency 4: Equity

Perhaps the most nebulous of the competencies, equity is a concept distinct from equality. Equality is the idea of treating everyone the same, no matter their need. Equity on the other hand involves treating other people differently, dependent on their need, in order to achieve equivalence between people. This can be thought of for the CASPer test as an invitation to consider diversity, think about working to help those from less fortunate positions in society, and to understand one’s own privilege.

CASPer Core Competency 5: Ethics

Ethics are moral principles that govern behaviour or conduct. In the context of CASPer, you should consider both your own personal ethics and the ethics of the professional body which you are hoping to one day join. If you are applying to Medicine, for example, ensure that you are well versed on medical ethics, and that you are able to consider ethical quandaries in the nuanced manner that would be expected of a future doctor. Read professional guidance to ensure that your ethical principles are aligned with those of the profession.

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CASPer Core Competency 6: Motivation

Motivation here pertains more to your general motivation to succeed and do well, and is less likely to mean your motivation for the specific career that you are hoping to follow. CASPer does not position itself as a means of assessing a candidate’s desire to study a given subject – so don’t expect any questions like that, and don’t try to answer any questions in that way. Instead, show that you are motivated no matter what you are working on, and ensure you have experiences that you have reflected on in this domain.

CASPer Core Competency 7: Problem Solving

Don’t expect difficult puzzles in the CASPer. A problem solving question will involve your ability to find ways to work with others, or work towards a solution. Ensure that you are sensible, fair and equitable in your answers if there is a problem that is presented to you. An example could be colleagues disagreeing and you having to find a solution for them. Your approach is likely to be of more importance than your result.

CASPer Core Competency 8: Professionalism

Professionalism encompasses the skills and responsible behaviours expected of a good professional. You should have reflected on the way in which a professional will carry themselves in their day to day life and encounters, and the kind of difficulties that might pose themselves in a professional setting. These could be conflict of interest situations, inappropriate relationships, or behaviour that is otherwise unbecoming to a professional.

CASPer Core Competency 9: Resilience

Your resilience is your ability to reconstruct yourself and continue, even through challenging experiences. It will be crucial to both your studies and future career. Ensure that you have examples of times when your team failed, or when circumstances conspired against you – but that you use them to illustrate your ability to pick yourself up and carry on.

CASPer Core Competency 10: Self-Awareness

This is the ability to be aware of your own self and your feelings. You should be able to show that you are aware of when you are stressed and able to deal with it appropriately, and that you have a healthy attitude to your own mental and physical health.

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