What To Expect In The CASPer Test

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The CASPer is a type of SJT, or situational judgement test. It therefore seeks to assess one’s personal qualities – like how good one might be with people, one’s ethics and morals, one’s professionalism, or one’s ability to work in a team. In order to do this, the team behind CASPer – Altus Assessments – have created a format that they believe is a proven and scientific form of SJT. It was first used to screen applicants at McMaster Medical School, and has since been expanded to dozens of medical schools, and various other programs too. The core idea – a series of video and text prompts, based on real world situations – has not changed.

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The Test Format

The test is made up of 15 scenarios, or prompts. There are 9 written prompts – you write your answers – followed by 6 prompts where you video record your answers. The prompts themselves are either pieces of text or short videos. Each video will last for around ninety seconds, and typically will feature two people talking through a problem or challenging situation that one, or both, of them have faced. They will then require your help, or you might have to assess the scenario from an outside perspective. After the video ends, the three questions will be shown, which often follow a formula. Note that they do not always follow this formula – but you will notice that it appears repeatedly. The formula is:
Q1 – how would you approach the situation?
Q2 – follow on question going into more detail on the situation.
Q3 – describe a time when you faced a similar situation.

The test will often also ask you to ‘imagine if…’ and replace a component of the situation, in order to see how you react.

You may not pause or rewind the video, and as soon as the video ends you will begin the questions on it.

The text prompts are often much shorter, and frequently are no more than a single sentence quote. This means that the questions themselves sometimes have to be longer in order to provide guidance.

Whether the prompt is text or a video, you should seek to categorise it into one of the core areas that the CASPer seeks to assess – there are ten of these. They are communication, collaboration, equity, empathy, ethics, motivation, problem solving, professionalism, resilience, and self awareness.

The entire test will take between 100-120 minutes. You have five minutes total to answer each written scenario’s set of three questions, and 1 minute per question when recording your answers using the webcam in the second section. There are two optional breaks during the test, which you should take to refresh yourself.

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Test Tech

The CASPer takes place online, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world through the CASPer site. You therefore need only to book a test time that suits you, then access the test using your PC. In order to sit it, you must have a fast and stable internet connection – technical issues are not uncommon, and a fast connection will reduce the risk of any serious problems. You should note down any tech problems if they happen and tell the CASPer team. You must have a webcam, and remain in the field of view of this webcam throughout the test. This is so that the remote proctor can confirm that it is you sitting the test, and that you are not being aided in any way – and then so that you can record yourself in the second section.

You may use headphones to listen to the video sections if you wish. You should close down all other programs bar your internet browser that you are using to access the CASPer test.

Duet & Snapshot

If you are applying for a residency program, then you will be expected to use CASPer’s GME suite, which features both Snapshot and Duet. Various other programs might require that you record a Snapshot. If you’ve been asked to record a Snapshot, practice beforehand using the practice questions, and make sure that you are comfortable with the format before you proceed. You will have to answer three short questions, and you will be recorded the entire time – whilst you read the prompt and whilst you speak. Duet is only a feature of residency programs, and asks you to pair a series of principles or values. There will be three sets of 10 values, and you must pair them in such a way as to convey your values to the school that you are applying to. Duet is not timed, and you therefore may take as much time as you like on it.

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