CASPer Test Cheat Sheet
CASPer Preparation Specialists
This resource is designed to provide a brief overview of the CASPer, along with some of the most pertinent advice on how to ace it. You should use it in conjunction with the other resources that we offer, and remember to practise thoroughly before sitting the test.
Why Do I Have to Sit the CASPer?
If you understand the reason that the schools you are applying to are using the CASPer, then you will be able to better understand what they are looking for – and in turn better to provide the correct types of answer. The CASPer was built to be an online MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) – essentially assessing that potential medical students have the correct personal attributes and soft skills. It therefore focuses on empathy, ethics, team working, professionalism, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication skills, ability in judging situations, and diversity. Bear what the CASPer looks for in mind when you sit it – you must come across as great with people, empathetic, compassionate, able to lead teams as easily as you are able to work within them. You might also wish to research the ways in which the schools you are applying to will use the CASPer – you should aim to excel in the test regardless of how it is used by a school, but having an understanding of the importance of the exam to each application process will still be an advantage.
What Should I Focus on While Sitting the Exam?
There are five particular areas that we would highlight here. Each is important to bear in mind whilst you are in the exam, and each tip should get you crucial extra points.
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I: Time Management
You should look to answer each question to the best of your ability. To be able to do this, you have to approach each question with a good time management process. We would advise reading through each question at the start of the scenario, in order to understand which might pose you the greatest problems. This will also allow you to avoid repeating yourself, which could waste you vital seconds. You may prefer to move through each question steadily, spending around 90 seconds on each part for the written questions – we would advise against this, as it could lead to repetition of certain areas, or more difficult questions being largely unanswered.
II: Follow the Rules
You should look to be empathetic where possible, and speak to people before involving authority. However, you must always involve authority if there is a serious breach of professionalism, or a crime committed. You must show that you will rely on rules and guidance, and that you will seek the advice of a senior if needed. Even if an issue seems minor, it’s safer to explain that you would report it – you must look like a future professional, and this involves following the rules that are designed to safeguard others.
III: Write like a Professional
Whilst CASPer states that your spelling, grammar and word choices are not taken into account, this is not entirely the case. As each domain is marked by a human, there will necessarily be an element of bias, with those providing grammatically correct and professional sounding answers likely to be seen as more professional than those providing poorly written answers. We would advise that you use a formal voice when writing, largely as if you were writing a paper at college.
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You will find yourself ‘talking’ to many other people in your answers – be it a co-worker, manager, patient, or policeman. You should therefore have a process in your head for conducting these conversations that makes you appear professional and empathetic. We would advise that you always explicitly state that you will hold the conversation in a private place (unless the scenario demands otherwise), and that you lead with open questions. You should then listen actively, show empathy as needed, and check that you and the person that you are speaking to have the same understanding of the situation. This is particularly important during the video section, where your ability to speak clearly and articulate your points will result in a higher score.
V: Recognise the Question Type
There are a limited number of types of scenarios in the CASPer. If you are able to quickly recognise the type, you will be much more able to answer the prompt correctly, using the right terminology. For example, if the prompt deals mainly with team-working, then you should immediately consider the kind of words and phrases that you might want to deploy, and remember experiences that you have prepared for the ‘describe a time when…’ section of the prompt, if there is one.
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