What Is The CASPer Test Australia?
CASPer Preparation Specialists
The CASPer exams are a set of tests designed to assess the people skills and personal characteristics of applicants to academic courses in Australia. In this article we will provide an overview of the CASPer, who sits it, and how it might be different in Australia to elsewhere.
Who Sits the CASPer?
The Australian CASPer is designed for students applying to the following courses: allied health sciences, nursing, postgraduate medicine, postgraduate teacher education, specialist medical education, undergraduate teacher education, veterinary science – and veterinary science in New Zealand too. It won’t be required for most applicants to these courses, but may be if you are thinking of studying in any of the following institutions:
Australasian College of Emergency Medicine
Australian Catholic University
La Trobe University
The University of Queensland
University of Melbourne
University of Western Australia
University of Wollongong
You should therefore thoroughly check your course’s admission requirements with your university of choice.
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What Should I Expect from the CASPer?
The CASPer consists of a 100 minute to 120 minute long online exam – CASPer standing for Computer based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics. You can sit it anywhere, as long as you have a PC with a webcam and a fast, stable internet connection. There are a range of dates on which you can sit the CASPer, and these will depend on the course that you are looking to study. You should check the CASPer site for more information on the dates available.
As well as the time spent answering questions, you will have two optional breaks that you can take during the test. The test features 15 situational judgement scenarios, and is broken down into two sections. There will be ten video scenarios and five text scenarios in total, with the first section of the exam being 9 scenarios, each of which features three questions that you must write a response to. There are three text-based scenarios and six video scenarios. You will have five minutes in total to write your response to the three questions. In the second section you will be asked to record yourself giving answers via your webcam. You will be provided with six scenarios, of which two are text based and four are video based. Unlike the first section, you have less time – you will have one minute to answer each of the three questions on each scenario. The total exam takes 100-120 minutes, depending on whether you take the optional breaks. There is a 10 minute break between sections and a 5 minute break halfway through the first section.
The CASPer exam will likely be slightly different depending on which area of academic study you are applying to. You should therefore consider this when revising for it. As a guide, the Teaching CASPer exams are designed in conjunction with the AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership), and also with reference to the Victorian Framework for Selection into Initial Teacher Education. Attributes that have been highlighted by these bodies include:
- how motivated you are to teach
- strong interpersonal and communication skills
- a willingness to learn
- resilience and self-efficacy
- how conscientious you are
- organisational and planning skills.
You might therefore expect the Teaching CASPer to have a different emphasis to the Allied Health Sciences CASPer, for example. The Medicine CASPer is likely to be very similar to the US Medicine CASPer. For general Health Sciences, Teaching and Medicine, you may look at BlackStone’s guides to each test to learn more about them.
Your CASPer test will be marked by humans – and these ‘raters’ will be exclusively drawn from the area that the test applies to – meaning that if you are sitting a CASPer for an Australian university or education centre, your raters will be Australian too – and they will represent the demographics of the country as a whole.
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How Should I Prepare for this Exam?
You should consult Blackstone’s specific guide for the type of CASPer that you will be sitting, to make sure that you fully understand the test and how you might be able to succeed in it. We advise that you spend two months preparing for the test. You should begin by adding to your understanding of the exam, its aims, and its format. You should then work through a mixture of practice questions (checking your answers rigorously against model answers as you go) and some course-specific content. Remember to video yourself and have others review the footage, with model answers provided to them, to get objective feedback on how you perform in the video section. This means that if you are applying to Teaching, you should learn AITSL’s guidelines and the Teaching guidelines for your state. If you are applying to Medicine, ensure that you learn appropriate national and ethical and professional guidelines. Remember that your raters ought to be drawn from a group appropriate to your test – meaning healthcare professionals for a healthcare exam, and teaching professionals for a teaching exam. As your test approaches, work on the areas that you seem weakest on (you ought to be able to recognise question types and mentally categorise them by this point). Ensure that you have a range of experiences ready to draw upon if prompted, and a model process with which to answer questions if you are struggling.
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