CASPer Test Optometry

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Who Sits the CASPer Test Optometry?

This CASPer test must be sat by applicants to certain Optometry programs in the US and Canada. If you are applying to the Optometry program at either Salus University or the University of Missouri St Louis, then you will have to sit the CSP-10101 CASPer: US Professional Health Sciences. Alternatively if you are applying to Optometry programs at the University of Waterloo or Université de Montréal, you must sit the CSP-10201 CASPer: Canadian Professional Health Sciences.

Key Features

Although very few schools currently require that you sit the CASPer exam if you are applying to Optometry, there are still plenty of opportunities to sit this exam throughout the year. That’s because this particular CASPer is used by many different healthcare programs (like pharmacy or radiography, for example.) Some schools will require you to sit a new part of the CASPer as well, called Snapshot. This is not an exam, but rather a video interview. You should double check whether the schools that you have applied to will require that you do Snapshot or not. An example of a school that does now require Snapshot is the University of Waterloo. They explain that they use Snapshot to see applicants’ personal qualities and communication skills.

Your raters – the term CASPer uses for those responsible for marking the papers – will be drawn from the same country as the program that you’re applying to. This means American raters for US programs, and Canadian raters for Canadian programs. Whilst they will not all be healthcare professionals, they should all have an interest in healthcare, education, or both. Remember that they will not, in most cases, have specialist healthcare knowledge, or specialist knowledge of ethics as applied to healthcare. However, they will have been assessed and trained by CASPer prior to being able to rate answers.

As stated above, this type of CASPer exam is universal for Allied Health Professions, as well as Pharmacy. Therefore, you should anticipate that the exam will feature real world scenarios answerable by any type of healthcare applicant. Each of the ten core competencies that CASPer is designed to assess should be prepared for thoroughly. These competencies are: collaboration, communication, empathy, equity, ethics, motivation, problem solving, professionalism, resilience, and self awareness.

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Core Components

The core CASPer exam features 15 situational judgement scenarios, broken down into two sections. There will be ten video scenarios and five text scenarios for you to answer, and each scenario has three questions stemming from it. The total exam takes 100-120 minutes, depending on whether you take breaks, with there being an optional 10 minute break between sections and a 5 minute break halfway through the first section. 

In the first section of the exam you will write your answers, and there are 9 scenarios. Expect three text-based scenarios and six video scenarios. You have five minutes in total to write your response to the three questions, meaning that you can divide your time as you like here. In the second section you will have to record yourself giving answers via your webcam. You will be given six scenarios, of which two are text based and four are video based. You have one minute to speak your answer to each of the three questions on each scenario, and ten seconds in which to read the question. You will also have a 30 second pause between the questions.

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Preparation for the CASPer Test Optometry

Due to the nature of this CASPer you should ensure that your preparation is well rounded and covers each area of the CASPer core competencies. Do not spend time on content that is specific to your course, as this examination will only feature general scenarios which could be approached by a student applying to any number of different courses. You should ensure that you have around 2 months in which to prepare – we recommend that you sit the test towards the end of the summer vacation. You should prepare at first by checking that you understand the test format and the aims of the test. You should then combine practice questions and model answers to work systematically through different areas, and note which types of questions you seem weakest on. At BlackStone Tutors we have over 150 scenarios available, as well as a range of free resources. Focus on those to improve your overall performance. Make sure to record yourself giving answers to questions as well, to practise for the second section. As you come to the end of the two months, read back over BlackStone Tutor’s top tips and keys to success, make sure that you have personal experiences prepared for each type of question, and ensure that you have a system for answering prompts which will stand you in good stead even with tough questions.

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