How To Answer CASPer Test Questions

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All CASPer test scenarios can be answered using much the same methodology for each. In this guide, we will present the BlackStone method to answering a CASPer prompt. This can be applied to both written answers and video answers, with only differences, which are highlighted.

First, you must review the scenario, in order to understand each of the following areas.

I: What is your role? You might be a manager or a junior, or a parent or a teacher. Understanding your role is key to determining the manner in which you are able to react, whether you should seek senior help, and how quickly you can respond.

II: What type of scenario is this? It could be a team working scenario, it could focus on resilience, it could be about professionalism, etc. If you understand the type of scenario, you will be able to deploy the correct keywords and experiences more readily.

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III: What’s the core concern? Here, try to think about what the single most important issue is, and ensure that you capture it and address it.

IV: Assumptions & Additional Info. Consider the assumptions that you or the prompt are making, and any additional information that might be helpful to you in your answer.

In a written question, you should always read all three questions before you commence answering the prompt – this will ensure that your answers for each part don’t repeat each other, and that you have sufficient time for a difficult question. When answering the questions, some prefer to answer 3,2,1 – others prefer 1,2,3. Practise both ways until you find which way suits you better. Of course, in a video question you’ll be given the questions one after the other and have 10 seconds to read the prompt each time.

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Keys to Any Question

 These ideas are designed to help you create an answer whenever you find yourself struggling, and can be applied to most question types easily.

  • Short Term v Long Term: Actions have both short term and long term consequences – e.g. firing an employee might result in better office behaviour in the short term, but staffing problems and issues for that ex-employee in the long term.
  • Keywords: Always think about the key words and phrases that are relevant to the prompt type as you answer it. For example, in a question that focuses on professionalism, you might wish to include words like ethics, responsible, professional, honest, integrity, dutiful. Having the right words in your head can serve as a useful crux if you are finding it difficult to produce a response.
  • Beginning a discussion: Almost all scenarios will involve speaking to another person, be it a friend or manager, colleague or patient. Having a formula as to how to speak to others is therefore vital: we encourage that you always emphasise speaking in private, leading with open questions, practising active listening, showing empathy, and checking-in with the other person to ensure that you are on the same page.
  • Slippery Slope: One thing will lead to another, and this should be considered in your answers. For example, if a colleague is not completing their fair share of work for a class project, then not addressing this may result in the colleague becoming more complacent with future work, leading to problems in the future.
  • Address The Root Cause: If you are looking to stand out, then showing an awareness of the root cause or root problem will help you to do this. Most students will provide an ethically sound response, but few will address the underlying issue, which could prevent the problem recurring. For example, imagine a scenario in which you have identified that another student is stealing. You should go beyond simply speaking to the student and addressing the immediate issue, and instead consider the circumstances that have given rise to their stealing, and how this might be addressed and dealt with. This will help to prevent them having to steal again.
  • A v Z: You should be aware that every course of action could be seen from multiple perspectives. Showing an awareness of both approaches, and the pros and cons of both, positions you as ethically aware and professional, and as someone who will make sound judgements. You should look to consider opposing views even if you are certain of your own action – e.g. if you catch a student cheating, instead of reporting their actions – despite this being appropriate and safe – you might wish to add that on the other hand, you do not know the background problems that have led them to cheat. Therefore, giving them a warning and attempting to work with them to understand their life pressures could be as suitable a route to take as reporting them.

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