Hardest CASPer Test Questions and Answers

CASPer Preparation Specialists

The CASPer test can often cover challenging topics. Here, we present 10 of the most difficult questions and answers from our CASPer Question Bank. 

Communication & Collaboration

You are part of a healthcare team working on a challenging case. A colleague, who is an integral part of the team, consistently dismisses your ideas and suggestions during team meetings. This is beginning to affect the team's morale and efficiency. How would you approach this situation?

First, I would try to have a private conversation with the colleague. I would express my concern about the situation and the potential impact on our team’s work. I would aim to communicate my feelings without sounding confrontational. If this approach doesn’t work or if the colleague’s behaviour continues, I would then discuss the situation with a supervisor or manager, providing specific examples of incidents and explaining how it’s affecting the team’s dynamics and efficiency. It’s essential to ensure that communication within a team is open and respectful, contributing to better patient outcomes.

Your team leader interrupts your input each time that you try to offer feedback in meetings. You have spoken to them about this situation once, but their behaviour has not changed. What action do you take in this situation?

My initial action would be the same, no matter what my role within the team. It would be to speak to the team leader in private and arrange an informal meeting with them to discuss my concerns. Depending on my role within the team, I would then explain that I find their attitude disrespectful and unhelpful – especially if I was more senior within the team – or not showing adequate compassion and understanding – especially if I was less senior within the team. I would let them answer and explain, and use open questions to facilitate dialogue. I would hope to reach an understanding with them that would permit me to partake in the meetings properly in future. If they were difficult or refused to understand my permission, I would explain that I felt I had to take the issue to another manager to seek help. 

Describe a time that you faced conflict in a work situation.

Whilst working at a startup, I found myself repeatedly in conflict with one of my colleagues. Whilst his responsibility was primarily technology, and mine finance, he would seek to impose his views on both areas. His doing this – although he had many good ideas – was leading to inefficiencies, with neither technology nor finance getting his full attention, and the technology suffering as a result of its leader being absent. I initially found myself being dogmatic, and neglecting to listen to his ideas, due to frustration. However, I realised that this was not the optimal solution. Likewise, I knew that his inability to dedicate himself to one domain – or accept that others could handle their domains – was damaging to all. I therefore organised a series of meetings with him, which explored our roles and how best to work together. We agreed in the end that he should have a daily meeting with me to discuss feedback on finance, and I have the same with him for technology – but beyond that that we should maintain our own areas of expertise. Through this, we were able to learn from each other whilst not damaging our working relationship.

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Empathy & Ethics

A patient under your care is suffering from chronic pain and has become increasingly frustrated and even hostile towards staff. You are tasked with communicating with this patient. How would you handle this?

My first step would be to approach the patient with empathy and understanding. I would allow them to express their frustrations, listening actively without interrupting. Then, I would acknowledge their feelings and reassure them that their concerns are being taken seriously. I would explain the steps we are taking to manage their pain and ask for their patience and cooperation.

If necessary, I would involve a pain management specialist or social worker to provide additional support and resources. The key is to show the patient that we are on their side and are committed to their well-being.

Describe a time when you showed empathy.

One of my good friends at college was involved in a car accident that left him unable to walk. He lost the ability to play sports, from which he derived much of his identity, his mobility, and much of his independence, in one unfortunate event. I had never before truly considered how life changing something like this would be, but now I was forced to for him.

I listened to his sorrow, his anger, and his despair, and did my utmost to understand what he was going through and help him at every moment. I read books on recovery from spinal injuries, took him to hospital appointments, and helped him with physio. Throughout, I tried to see things from his point of view, and think about the impacts – big and small – on his life. 

Describe a time that you helped a friend through a time of bereavement.

My best friend at high school unfortunately lost their father when they were 16. I had little experience of loss myself, and therefore knew it would be hard for me to appear truly understanding or to be knowledgeable and helpful. I accepted this, and when I spoke to my friend I explained that I had no desire to impose my thoughts or feelings on them, and would simply listen to them as much as they needed, and offer input when they asked.

For days, and then weeks, my friend would tell me stories about their father, and would break down in tears. I would listen and occasionally join in with a story of my own about their father, when I could tell that they wanted me to do so. In this manner I came to understand their grief to an extent, without being overbearing, and our friendship was stronger because of it. 

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Motivation & Professionalism

You have completed a long shift and are about to head home when you discover that the incoming shift is understaffed due to unexpected illnesses. The team leader asks if you could stay and work a few extra hours. How do you respond?

Professionalism in healthcare often involves flexibility and the willingness to put the needs of patients first. In this case, I would consider the current circumstances, such as the level of need in the unit, my own physical and mental state, and any personal obligations I might have. If I felt capable, I would stay on for the extra shift, making sure to take breaks and care for myself so that I could provide the best care for the patients.

If I felt I couldn’t safely or effectively work the extra hours, I would communicate this honestly to the team leader and help brainstorm other solutions to manage the staffing shortage.

Describe a time when you had to work hard to cover someone else.

Whilst working in a grocery store over summer, one of my colleagues would repeatedly call in sick, after going out the night before. I spoke to her about her absences, but found it hard to persuade her to be honest, and the manager was very apathetic. I therefore had to handle her responsibilities as well as my own, making my days stressful and frequently far longer than they ought to have been.

However, I learnt ways to make the work more efficient over time, meaning that I was able to move from working hard, long days, to working efficiently for a normal day. My manager was impressed by this dedication, and this in fact motivated them to speak to the other employee about their lack of commitment to the job. 

How can you motivate yourself in a difficult situation?

I think that one can derive motivation from different sources. We might find it through the support of others – through talking to them and asking for their help, or even through learning from them. We might be motivated through committing to something – explaining in public that we are setting out to do something, and holding ourselves to it.

We could find commitment through setting goals and remembering the importance of these goals to our past self. We could think about how important our success is for the good of others – be it through hard work benefiting a partner or children, or success making our parents proud, for example. We might simply try to dig deep and prove ourselves, for no one but ourselves. 

You are working at a bar whilst studying at college. You realise that one of the other employees is a medical student; he frequently stays late after his shift, drinking into the early hours of the morning. You know that he has to be at the hospital in the morning each time. What would you do in this situation?

I’d consider how well I knew the student before acting – if I knew him well, then I would be able to speak to him differently than if he was simply an acquaintance through work. Either way, it’s clearly important to address the problem (especially if I am also a medical student). Assuming that I knew him quite well, I would chat to him at the end of a shift, in private, and ensure that it didn’t seem like I was being condescending or lecturing him. I’d ask if he was finding it tiring working late, having to socialise after, then going to university in the morning.

I’d allow him to explain, and use open questions to gauge the situation. If it seemed he was struggling, that his drinking was a problem, or that he was perhaps not functioning at work, then I would explore the issue further with him. 

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