CASPer Test Prep Tips, Strategies & Sample Questions
Introduction and what is CASPer?
Why use CASPer?
History of CASPer
Structure of the CASPer test
How to prepare
CASPer Sample Questions
BeMo CASPer Prep
Introduction to CASPer
The Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) test, is a web based assessment of interpersonal skills and decision making abilities designed by McMaster University for entry into their Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (McMaster Medical School).
Note: The CASPer test is now also a mandatory component of University of Ottawa (uOttawa) Med School , New York Medical College (NYMC), and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (Rutgers RWJ) applications that must be completed by all applicants to maintain eligibility.
For the 2015 application cycle, CASPer is worth 32% of the total pre-interview score of your application to McMaster medical school, this makes it weighed equally against your MCAT scores as well as your grade point average (GPA). CASPer has been shown to be significantly more reliable than the traditional autobiographical sketch used by most Canadian medical schools.
Why use CASPer?
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that 92% of the complaints made to the US medical boards were in reference to personal characteristics of the doctors. This urged the medical school admissions team at McMaster to create an alternative and better way of testing and selecting medical school candidates.
Whether it’s a dispute with a patient, a conflict with a colleague, or an emergency medical situation, doctors are up against difficult scenarios every day; scenarios that require, not only intelligence, but also ethical standards, communication and interpersonal skills as well as empathy, emotional maturity and quick thinking. These non-cognitive skills cannot be measured by essays or autobiographical sketches, therefore several studies were initiated to find an alternative method of testing for these skills[2,3,5].
History of CASPer
In 2001, Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI’s), a series of short interviews, were created by McMaster as a method of testing the non-cognitive abilities of candidates. The success of MMI’s, and the realization that candidates poorly represented their non-cognitive skills through their autobiographical sketches, led to the implementation of CASPer in 2010-2011.
Structure of the test
Not much is known about the structure or the questions in the CASPer test, but what McMaster has revealed is that the test consists of 12 sections, followed by 3 questions related to the material presented in each section. 8 of the sections begin with a short video clip showing real-life situations. These clips will ask for your response to various situations and scenarios. The last four sections involve ‘personal’ questions, designed to find out more about the applicant. In total, the test takes 90 minutes; with each section allowing only 5 minutes to answer all questions, as well as a 15 minute break half way through and a short survey at the end.
How can you prepare for your CASPer test? Here are some tips:
Practice using realistic simulation: Just like any other skill set you must practice using timed and realistic CASPer simulations. The same way you practiced for your MCAT for example or when you were learning how to ride a bike. Non-cognitive skills develop just like cognitive skills via practice and experience.
Get expert feedback: Without expert feedback, you will not be able to identify your weakness and learn from them. We highly recommend that you take advantage of expert feedback from a medical doctor who's familiar with the CASPer test. (To learn more about our CASPer simulations + expert feedback programs click here.)
Study medical ethics – Many of the questions asked during your CASPer test are based on ethical dilemmas that arise during real-life situations and scenarios, therefore it is recommended that you get to know the medical system and the daily dilemmas faced in health care.
Know the American and/or Canadian health care systems – you may be asked about issues facing US & Canada’s health care system today.
Read up on health care news: depending on whether you are applying to medical schools in the US or Canada, read up on the current healthcare news.
Learn good medical practice – sites such as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and PhysiciansPractice - discuss good practice techniques for physicians, as well as dilemmas they may face and how to respond.
Learn medical ethics – know the ethical standards relating to the healthcare system; here are two websites discussing medical ethics: MedlinePlus and Medical Protection Society
Personal Preparation– there are usually a few sections of the CASPer test designed to get to know you better. These sections serve the same purpose as the traditional autobiographical sketch. This is your opportunity to ’talk’ to the admissions committee. Your goal is to demonstrate your high level of maturity, excellent communication skills, quick decision-making abilities, leadership, teamwork, and social responsibility based on your own personal experience. A good way to prepare for this is to think of such scenarios in advance and have them prepared; this will save you time trying to think of some during the test.
Practice, practice, practice - CASPer is a different and unusual testing method so an important way to reduce anxiety and stress during the assessment is to make yourself familiar with the structure, questions, and timing of the test. Therefore, it is a good idea to find as much study material as possible and practice. (click here to practice using our sample CASPer Questions)
Feedback – As mentioned, practice is essential to your CASPer preparation, however this practice is meaningless without proper guidance and professional feedback.
How can BeMo help?
As mentioned above, the CASPer test was created as a result of several years of scientific research. At BeMo, we have used the same scientific approach, in collaboration with our team of scientists and medical school admissions experts to design an evidence-based strategy to help you prepare for the test. Our one-on-one consultation sessions include:
- Test taking strategy session - We will arm you with the ability to successfully answer ANY type of question.
- North America's ONLY realistic CASPer simulation including both video-based and text-based scenarios.
- Comprehensive analysis of your performance by experienced professionals - Our CASPer test experts will go over each question, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and provided you with specific recommendations.
- CASPer prep video course: learn our strategies to identify and ace ANY type of CASPer questions (16 in total)
Click here to visit our main website to learn more about Canada's ONLY realistic CASPer simulations, proven CASPer strategies, and CASPer preparation courses or simply contact us.
Leaders in CASPer preparation.
Outstanding success rate.
Admissions experts with 53 years of combined experience.
Click here to learn more.
2- Hanson M, Dore K, Reiter H, Eva K. Medical school admissions: revisiting the veracity and independence of completion of an autobiographical screening tool. Academic Medicine 2007;82:S8-S11.
3- Dore K, Hanson M, Reiter H, Blanchard M, Deeth, Eva K. Medical school admissions: enhancing the reliability and validity of an autobiographical screening tool. Academic Medicine 2006;81:S70-S3
4- Dore K, Reiter H, Eva K, Krueger S, Scriven E, Siu E, Hilsden S, Thomas J, Norman GR. Extending the interview to all medical school candidates –Computer-Based Multiple Sample Evaluation of Noncognitive skills (CMSENS). Academic Medicine. 2009;84:S9-12
5- Brains Alone Won’t Get You into McMaster Medical School
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