CASPer Tips & Techniques
CASPer Preparation Specialists
1) Review the brief/video considering four key factors:
- Relevant Role (Are you a teacher? Colleague? Parent? This should and will impact your response; as a teacher whose student is attending class late, the primary concern is how the student’s education is being impacted as well as the potential impact on other students. As a parent, it is important to also consider whether you could play a more important role in ensuring that your child sleeps and wakes up on time and has appropriate transport and contingency arrangements.)
- Scenario Focus (What type of scenario is this? Depending on the scenario type, your focus/expected questions will vary)
- Capture the Core Concern (If you could correct only one issue, which would you choose?)
- Assumptions & Additional Information (What assumptions does the passage/video make and what additional information would assist in mitigating any assumptions)
2) Read all 3 questions before commencing your answers
- This ensures that your answers for different questions don’t overlap – a common error is to answer the third question as part of question one and so forth
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3) Answering the questions:
- 1,2,3 or 3,2,1? This is very much question and individual specific however we would recommend avoiding the common error of spending three valuable minutes on a challenging question 1, when question 3 is considerably easier to commence. Often starting with question 3 (or 2) can provide a helping hand in answering question 1.
- Overlapping answers: With the very limited time, ensure that you don’t repeat points that you have made for other questions in the same scenario
4) Troubleshoot Points - Struggling for points in the exam pressure? Keep in mind the following
Struggling for points in the exam pressure? Keep in mind the following 5 points which are applicable to a wide range of scenarios
- Short Term v Long Term: Almost every action will have one consequence in the short term and a different effect in the long term. For example, lending a colleague money who is in debt would likely relieve their financial pressure in the short term, however in the long term it may make them more financially dependent as well as setting an unsustainable precedent whereby the colleague may expect your continued financial support.
- Slippery Slope: This is the principle of ‘one thing leading to another’. In the case of a colleague not completing their fair share of work for a class project, failing to address this directly may result in the colleague becoming more complacent with future projects as well as examinations, likely to their personal detriment.
- Address The Route Cause: The majority of CASPer candidates will take an ethically appropriate stance that addresses the immediate concern. However, very few will address the underlying cause, which is imperative in preventing a recurrence of the scenario. For example, in a scenario where you have identified a student stealing, the obvious action to take is to address this with the student and consider escalating to a tutor/supervisor. Equally if not more important is to consider and address the circumstances that has required the student to steal (eg. Substance misuse, family challenges, pressure from external influences). Without considering and addressing the underlying aetiology, the perceived problem will likely persist.
- A v Z: Almost every action can be analysed from two polar perspectives; in the case of ethical scenarios, the only ‘right approach’ is the approach that recognises the potentially opposing views. Even in the most universally unacceptable circumstance, you should be able to consider (not necessarily agree with) opposing views. For example, if there was a scenario regarding a student who was cheating in an examination, the majority of students would identify this as being inappropriate and consider reporting this to a scenario tutor; this is a suitable and safe approach to take. Excellent candidates would potentially also state the following; ‘On the other hand, one may argue that there are likely significant stressors that have resulted in the student cheating and by reporting this student, this would likely add to those stressors and encourage further unacceptable behaviour in the future. As such, providing a stern warning in the first instance, may be a more appropriate course of action.’
- Additional Information: Finally, when you are struggling for key points, ask yourself ‘what additional information would help me come to a judgement’. For example, in the case of a ‘friend asking for money’, key factors are likely to be: the amount of money requested, my present financial circumstances, what the friend requires the money for as well as if this is a regular occurrence or unexpected request. Through documenting these factors, the examiners can note your well-reasoned thought processes.
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Common Pitfalls & CASPer Myths
It is important to be aware of common CASPer pitfalls and myths to ensure that you avoid these common errors. These include:
- Answering the question that you want to answer, rather than the question outlined in front of you
- Read the questions very carefully; answer the questions provided, not those that you have rehearsed answers for, or those that you have attempted previously
- ‘There are 3 questions/scenario’
- Whilst officially there are ‘3 question/scenario’ often questions can have two parts, making the tasks even more time consuming.
- ‘Spelling doesn’t matter’
- Whilst the official advice states that spelling and grammar is not formally assessed; each answer is manually assessed by a human marker. There are numerous studies which correlate good grammar and punctuation with credibility and as such, do not neglect the importance of this.
- ‘Don’t worry about finishing all 3 questions; you are being assessed as a whole question’
- In the written prompts, it is true that you are assessed as a whole scenario rather than an individual question mark; however, failing to complete one question in a scenario demonstrates poor time awareness. Failing to answer all parts of a scenario, can be significantly detrimental to your score.
- Observing Videos v Preparing Principles: Most candidates watch the video clips, noting the events that take place; questions on the other hand generally focus on the key principles and issues in the video rather than the actual events. When watching the video clips, make sure that you consider the core principles as well as four key factors, rather than the event occurrences.
- Critical Fails: As part of the CASPer exam, there are ‘critical fails’; this is where a candidate demonstrates unprofessional behaviour that would be unsuitable for a medical professional. Examiners are trained to highlight these and comment where appropriate. In order to avoid this, avoid using ‘I would…’ when addressing controversial topics. We appreciate the importance of recognising opposing views, and in these sensitive cases, make sure that you refer to these points as ‘one may argue….’ or ‘in contrast, it could be argued….’
Scenario Types & Why This Matters:
Personal Quality Based Scenarios: There are 8 CASPer core qualities that are regularly assessed
…………scenario = focus on………
………..scenario = focus on………..
Balance Between Sitting on The Fence & Failing To Recognise Opposing Views
Often the first question in each scenario asks what action would you take? It is important to offer a balanced approach that neither ‘sits on the fence’ or offers an unbalanced decision based on limited information. The best way to navigate such questions is to provide different view-points eg. It may be argued that…….., however it may also be argued……….
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