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CASPer: Health Sciences Speciality Training

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Who Sits this CASPer?

 This exam is designed specifically for those who have completed medical school and are applying to residency programs. It is applicable to both those in the US and in Canada.

Currently the following residency programs are piloting CASPer. However, it is expected that this group will grow rapidly in the coming years, with some of the pilot hospitals already looking to expand their use to other areas and residency programs.

Due to the specific nature of this exam, there are fewer dates to sit it than the general CASPer: in 2020, it could only be sat on dates in the latter half of October.

Family Medicine:

  • Hamilton Medical Center

General Surgery:

  • Boston University Medical Center
  • UConn Health (Optional, but encouraged)
  • Florida Atlantic University

Internal Medicine:

  • Parkview Medical Center
  • Hamilton Medical Center
  • UConn Health (Optional, but encouraged)

OB-GYN:

  • NYU Langone Health
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • University of Michigan

Psychiatry:

  • Temple University (Optional, but encouraged)
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Key Features

 The questions are likely to follow the same structure as the general Medicine CASPer, i.e. you should expect around one in ten questions to feature a hospital setting, and the remainder to be general scenarios. You should expect a fairly equivalent breakdown between the different core domains. Many of you that will be sitting the CASPer for residency programs will already have encountered it for your college admissions, and you should therefore draw upon your experiences in the first test to help prepare you for this next step.

You should note that this CASPer – technically labelled the GME Suite, or Graduate Medical Education Suite, is not just the same 15 question format as the typical CASPer, but instead combines this with two other assessments – hence ‘Suite’. These two additional assessments are Snapshot and Duet. Snapshot will take ten minutes to complete, and Duet should take between fifteen and twenty minutes to complete.


Core Components

 The core CASPer test, as stated, will be similar to that for a typical Medicine course, and look to provide an overall breakdown of your abilities with other people, professionalism, and ethics. Residency programs are looking for the same calibre of person as a medical college, so don’t expect this CASPer SJT to feel any different to the one that you sat before, although some residence program directors have implied that there may be a bias toward questions on ethics, professionalism and leadership. Expect 15 questions broken down across two parts, with the first being 9 written answers and the second part being 6 video-recorded answers.

Snapshot consists of a one way recorded video interview, which is designed to provide you with a chance to show your personal attributes to the program that you are applying to. It was designed to show someone’s personality, and you should therefore expect questions closer to generic ‘icebreakers’ than tough technical or ethical quandaries. You should dress professionally, and CASPer advises avoiding bright colours, which could prove distracting for those reviewing the footage. Wearing a shirt or blouse is suitable. You should have a neutral backdrop.

Duet will provide you with 30 program characteristics that must be compared in pairs, across three categories. There are no time limits for Duet, but it is typically completed within 15-20 minutes. The simple concept behind Duet is that you compare the alignment of your personal values with those of the residency program to which you are applying. There is no need to prepare for Duet, and as it stands no material available in the public domain which might help one prepare. This will likely change over the coming years if Duet becomes more widely used. You should take as much time as you need, ensure that you understand all the characteristics, and consider which pairing would be most suitable for your residency program. Whilst CASPer advises ‘use your gut… you are not meant to spend long considering each,’ the opposite may in fact be true if you wish to succeed in this test.

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Preparation for this CASPer

Your general preparation should be the same as for the CASPer Medicine examination that you may have sat for college. You should balance some medical ethics work with around 2 months of CASPer specific work, focusing first on understanding the test, then moving through practice questions, comparing to model answers as you go in order to improve your score and focus on weaker areas. You should record yourself and have others review the footage as practice for the second part of the principal CASPer test. You should work on verbal and non-verbal communication for Snapshot, in which you must appear enthusiastic and confident – necessitating that you work on your general interview technique. For Duet there will be no specific preparation possible beyond looking into any characteristics or principles that the programs you are applying to have made public.

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