CASPer Test Tips

CASPer Preparation Specialists

The CASPer test is an online SJT, used to assess soft skills of applicants. It is increasingly used to judge who to invite to interview, and often makes up a significant part of the pre-interview scoring. As with any test, preparation and understanding are vital. Here are our top 10 tips for success in the CASPer.

Understand the basics of the test

The CASPer will present you with 15 prompts, one by one. You will need to respond to three individual questions on each of these prompts. The prompts will be based on a mixture of situations from healthcare, ethics or other real-life situations. You should remember that no professional knowledge is needed – so whilst knowing the importance of professional qualities and recent trends could be useful, ensure that you do not revise technical terms or be thrown by any that you may see. Prompts are a mixture of videos and text. You will answer 9 prompts by writing down your thoughts, then face a second section in which you must record your answers. Your webcam will be used to video you, and you have 1 minute to record an answer to each of the three follow-up questions.

Develop a solid healthcare understanding

As stated, you should not dedicate time to learning scientific or technical knowledge. However, you should read as far as possible around ethical issues, diversity, cultural sensitivity, professionalism, and communication and team working – as applied to healthcare.

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Recognise question types and categorise them as you answer them

If you are able to quickly recognise each type of question as you go through the paper, then you will be able to understand which attributes and skills you might need to show as part of that question. You will be able to acquire this ability through regular practice, and through ensuring that categorising questions is part of your approach as you practice.

Ensure your setup is ready for the day

As it’s an online test, you should ensure that your computer and internet connection will provide a smooth experience. Any technical issues on the day will cause stress, and could create problems with answering questions. Test your connection beforehand through doing practice questions. Ensure that your webcam works for the second part of the test.

Explore all eventualities

Show that you have thought through each direction the scenario could take. You can do this through explaining what you would do in different situations, and follow each train of thought through. For example:

‘I would check with Pam whether the surgeon’s comments had upset her, in private. If she was upset, then I would… However, if it transpired that the comments had not upset her, then I would…’

Through creating an additional component of the scenario, you are able to show an awareness of what likely would happen, and an ability to deal with it as it does.

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Plan every response before you start typing, use the time between questions before you start speaking

When given a prompt, take some time to outline your answer to yourself. By quickly planning a coherent answer, you will be much more able to cover the correct themes for the question, and will likely save yourself time overall versus an unplanned answer.

Be aware of your role

Consider what position or role you have been given in a scenario – if you are a junior, then bear this in mind when answering. You should not overreach your responsibilities, and deferring to a senior is a perfectly acceptable course of action to take.

Have a formula for talking to others in the discussion

You will have to ‘speak’ to many figures throughout the scenarios – work colleagues, managers, doctors, patients – the list goes on. However, you should consider the same core points when stating that you would speak to them. You should normally speak to them in private, you should consider whether the time is convenient to them or to your work, you should consider using open questions, and you should emphasise that you will use open questions and active listening in order to best understand them.

Manage your time

You must be able to ensure that you answer each question well. In order to do that, you need to have a good time management plan. Some students will prefer to read through every prompt first, in order to highlight to themselves areas that they are most likely to require more time on. Others will prefer to move through steadily, giving themselves only a certain amount of time per question. Practice both techniques, and ensure that time management is a priority on the day.

Rules and regulations take priority over personal feelings

In the CASPer, your goal is to show that you are a future professional. You should therefore show that your ability to correctly implement the relevant rules, guidance or regulations will be prioritised over your personal relationships or friendships. 

Write formally

Your ability to communicate effectively and professionally is being assessed throughout the test. Therefore, you should write in as professional a manner as possible. That means avoiding anything that doesn’t sound suitably academic or professional. You should write in the same voice that you would use in a college paper – educated and clear. You should avoid any remarks that could be construed as politically incorrect.

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