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Everything you need to know about the CASPer test!

The CASPer test—an online situational personality test—is gaining significant momentum in the world of medical school admissions. Its purpose is to increase fairness in application evaluation by rating applicants on key personal and professional characteristics such as empathy, compassion, professionalism, and ethics.

The CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) test was developed by Harold Reiter and Kelly Dore at McMaster University in 2010. It was originally designed for McMaster University’s Program for Educational Research and Development (PERD. Now more than 50 different universities and competitive programs have made it a mandatory application component.

The test consists of 12 sections. Each section contains a video or word-based scenario, followed by three open-ended questions. Test takers are allotted five minutes per question to answer each of the three questions in the scenario. Each test section is scored by a different rater, allowing for maximal fairness and equality.

Medical schools will tell you there is no way to prep for the test and that there are no wrong answers. However, given that the CASPer test is a behavioural test and not a traditional test and that every behaviour is learned behaviour, it’s only natural that prepping for it can provide students with the necessary tools to successfully navigate the scenarios. Here is an example of a word-based scenario (found on the CASPer website):

Think of a time when you’ve had to make a sacrifice in order to accomplish a goal.

1.Briefly describe the situation and the sacrifice you made.

2.Do you regret your decision to make the sacrifice?

3.Did you learn anything from this situation that can be applied to your desired career?

Explain your response. Questions like this are more about sharing personal experiences. But keep in mind,

not all CASPer scenarios are personal stories. The video-based scenarios, for example, assess how well students can navigate delicate and ambiguous situations.

These questions might look easy at first glance. But raters are trained to look for specific elements in your answers. The CASPer test can only be taken once per application, and for McGill’s Medical program, it’s worth a total of 20%.

So why take any chances? Start prepping!

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