The Greatest Myth about CASPer Test Preparation Busted - Important Message for Applicants, Pre-health Advisors & Admissions Deans

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The Greatest Myth about CASPer Test Busted – Our frank opinion for applicants, their parents, pre-health advisors, admissions deans and directors on how to easily prepare for this highly coachable test.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle

The greatest myth of all about CASPer test is that "you can't prepare for CASPer" or that it is "immune" to coaching or you can't really "study" for this test. Our students do not require convincing because while we cannot comment about other CASPer prep programs, we know our CASPer prep programs work and the result they produce is the reason we have become the leader in CASPer preparation in the world. In fact, most students also joke about this myth and comment how illogical it sounds. Furthermore, we even have scientific proof to bust this myth but before we share our research results with you, let's think about this myth for a moment.

Nobody is born with personal and professional characteristics

What does CASPer claim to test? It claims to test personal and professional characteristics such as empathy, communications skills and ethics. All these traits are learned behaviors. Nobody is born with any of these. You either learn these behaviors as part of your upbringing or through deliberate training. Normally, but not always, people from higher socioeconomic status learn these skills naturally while growing up because of their social environment. The rest of us must learn these skills actively on our own. When you understand that simple concept, you'll understand how ridiculous it is for someone to claim that it's not possible to prepare for such a test and now you are going to be armed with an intelligent response whenever someone says something as absurd, including the administrators or some random online forum member who may actually be an agent of a test administrator or one of your fellow applicants trying to misguide others in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage. Myth busted. Read more...

Does the situational judgement test (SJT), CASPer, REALLY work as an admissions screening tool?

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Review and opinion piece on the CASPer test publication titled “Extending the interview to all medical school candidates--Computer-Based Multiple Sample Evaluation of Noncognitive Skills (CMSENS)”.

Note: The following represent the opinions of the authors and additional independent research is required to validate or refute the findings in the original CASPer test publication.

Reviewed CASPer test publication: Extending the interview to all medical school candidates--Computer-Based Multiple Sample Evaluation of Noncognitive Skills (CMSENS). Acad Med. 2009 Oct;84(10 Suppl):S9-12. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181b3705a.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle

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Summary of the Overall Findings

1. This study (nor any other study to date) have proven that CASPer is a valid predictor of future behavior. At best, the test has shown a mild correlation with future tests. In essence this test is merely a predictor of future tests. For a test to be valid it must be able to measure the constructs it is designed to measure. For example, a ruler is a good tool for measuring distance but it's not good for measuring the temperature of a room. Similarly, CASPer has been "validated" to measure future test performances such as performance on the objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE) or other examinations. This means that by design such tests are only valid measures of future tests and are not necessarily able to predict future on-the-job behavior. The best predictor of future performance is intrinsic motivation because motivation directs behavior. 

2. The original article on CMSENS (later renamed to CASPer), is a small-scale, pilot study that includes one case site: McMaster University. The positive results showing correlations between CASPer and MMI are at best, predictive for future studies that are larger and geographically diverse.

3. The authors have attempted to generalize the findings to various populations such as domestic and international medical graduates, and undergraduate medical school applicants in the Netherlands, without adequate scientific evidence and sufficient sample size.

5. Statistical issues – the small sample size in the publication suffers from “the law of small numbers” and “a bias of confidence over doubt”.  Read more...

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How to Answer CASPer Questions Using the Punnett Square Approach (aka "if then, then that" approach)

We have discussed CASPer a lot in these blog posts:  (Top Five Tips For Acing Your CASPer Test & Former CASPer Test Evaluator Reveals Her Top CASPer Prep Tips). We have talked about which kinds of questions you should prepare for and how to think about this weird exam. But we haven’t drilled down into detail how to approach decision making in an ethical conundrum.

On CASPer, you will be asked to explain your thoughts and behaviors around a particular matter of ethics. You will have to share your thought process around situations that reflect a lack of professionalism, crossing professional boundaries and displays of cultural incompetence.

Some of these are really complicated. So how do you make the best decision possible? Sometimes, when you place your hands on the keyboard to start writing as the clock feels like it races to 00:00, you aren’t sure what you should do. It’s not clear what the right answer may be. For CASPer, there are some contexts for which there is no perfect answer but you MUST report to authorities when public safety or vulnerable individuals may be in harm’s way. As long as you report when you know you should, and take the high road (which is usually the safest road), then you won’t fail the question. But, not failing is different than excelling at CASPer. Read more...

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