You may have to complete a CASPer test as part of your medical school application. To learn more about this admission requirement, read on.
With so much emphasis on MCAT scores and your undergraduate GPA, medical school admissions often seem like an impersonal numbers game. But, this isn’t the case! Admission committees are increasingly trying to humanize applicants and learn more about their personal lives rather than just their academic achievements.
One way medical schools are trying to learn more about their candidates is the CASPer. The CASPer test is an open-response situational judgement test that determines behavioral tendencies in tough situations. In this guide, we will be providing several CASPer practice questions to help you begin preparing for your test!
Unlike the majority of tests, the CASPer is relatively difficult to study for. In fact, Altus, the makers of the CASPer test, claim this test is immune to coaching.
So, by going over practice questions you won’t necessarily be working on your ability to make the correct judgements, but rather your ability to think quickly and communicate clearly.
Reviewing CASPer practice questions and answers will also show you what you should be including in your answers to make sure you stand out.
With that in mind, as you look through the answers below, you’ll notice key traits being highlighted. This is because the CASPer test assesses students on 10 essential skills that medical schools look for.
As you begin your own practice, ensure you keep the checklist in mind. Do your best to highlight at least four traits per question and all 10 across the test.
Think of a time when you had to make a sacrifice in order to accomplish a goal.
During my junior year of my undergraduate, I was promoted to an executive position in a global health volunteer organization called Helping Hands.
Helping Hands often participated in brigades around the world, and the team decided to participate in a two-week health brigade in Peru the summer after my junior year. The dates of the brigade happened to fall in the two weeks right before my MCAT test, and I would have come back from the brigade the day before my test.
While I was excited to join the brigade, and knew what an impact our team would have in Peru, I ultimately had to stay back to finish studying for my MCAT and write it on time. I chose to act proactively by spending these weeks studying rather than attending the brigade.
Achieving a lower score on my MCAT could delay my admissions process and in return delay my goal of attending medical school. I knew that if I gave myself enough time to study for the MCAT, I would be able to attend the next brigade without any issues.
Due to this sacrifice, I was not only able to achieve my target MCAT score, but was also able to attend a Helping Hands brigade the following summer in Panama.
Why This Answer Works: This answer hits several key traits on the CASPer checklist: collaboration, motivation, problem-solving, and self-awareness.
This answer also demonstrates that this student has an interest in healthcare through their extracurriculars and a clear dedication to their medical career.
They show self-motivation and self-awareness through their decision to make this sacrifice and excellent problem-solving skills since they still attended to both commitments by completing their MCAT and attending a brigade the next year.
I do not regret my decision to make this sacrifice because I was still able to satisfy both commitments. While volunteering abroad has always been a goal of mine, doing so during the summer of my junior year would have interfered with my other goal of attending medical school.
Accordingly, by giving myself the time I needed to prepare for the MCAT instead of attending the brigade, I was able to achieve a high enough mark that I did not have to retake the test the following summer. Due to this sacrifice, I was still able to contribute to my organization and accomplish my volunteering goals by attending the next brigade.
Why This Answer Works: You want to demonstrate that you know how to assess a situation and make the right judgement! This answer does exactly this by stating you do not regret your sacrifice because it ultimately had the most favorable outcomes.
Through this situation, I learned the importance of prioritization and how to juggle various commitments. As a physician, multitasking will be an essential part of my career. I will have several patients to attend every day and will have to know what to prioritize in emergencies.
As a physician, I will also have to know how to make the right decisions that will result in the most favorable outcomes for everyone involved, which is what I did when I made the sacrifice to not attend the brigade.
By attending the brigade, I would not only disadvantage myself by limiting my study time, but also my team and the brigade hosts, whom I would not be able to give my full attention to because I would be worried about my MCAT.
Moreover, learning how to make sacrifices in itself will help me become a better physician. During medical school, my residency, and my career as a physician, I will not always have the time to pursue all of my goals at once. I will have to make sacrifices to ensure I focus on my career and can give my patients my full attention.
Why This Answer Works: Here, we’ve made relevant parallels between the sacrifice made, and the skills required by physicians.
We touched on ethics as well, since we made reference to making sacrifices to be an equitable doctor whose patients are the top priority. This answer also shows self-awareness, as the student acknowledges the rigorous commitments of medical school and a medical career.
Two peers are working on a group assignment, discussing how their third group member, Paul, has been unable to do his work due to a medical condition. Then, a group member discovers a post showing Paul at a pool party, and the legitimacy of Paul’s medical condition is questioned.
There is no indication of when the picture was taken. The team wonders if they should tell their subject coordinator, so Paul doesn’t receive credit for the assignment. It’s up to you to make the final decision.
Since my group members are basing their opinions on a suspicion, it would be unfair to assume Paul is being dishonest and doesn’t have an actual medical condition. Accordingly, I would recommend we first reach out to Paul privately to ask him about the picture in a respectful and non-judgemental way.
By letting Paul tell his side, we can get a full understanding of the situation and avoid making any incorrect assumptions.
It is important to lead with empathy and understanding because without concrete evidence it would be inequitable to accuse Paul of falsifying or exaggerating a medical condition, a matter that is already sensitive and highly personal.
If Paul confirms the suspicion, I would suggest we first allow him to make up for the time and work he missed in order to make an equal contribution to the group. If he refuses, then it would be most appropriate to report back to the subject coordinator.
Why This Answer Works: Again, this answer incorporates various CASPer checklist traits: collaboration, communication, empathy, equity, ethics, and problem-solving. This answer shows you remain impartial in the face of uncertainty.
As a physician, you’ll be expected to treat patients regardless of their circumstances! This answer shows you already understand the importance of empathy in problem-solving and are aware that it’s unethical to make wrongful assumptions about people.
No, unless the concern involves someone’s well-being, it should not be reported to a supervisor without concrete evidence to confirm the suspicion.
Before involving a supervisor, it is important to remain impartial and try to gather as much information on the topic. With more information on the matter, the supervisor, who has more resources and authority, can resolve the issue more easily.
Why This Answer Works: This answer demonstrates you understand the importance of trying to problem-solve on your own before involving a supervisor, showing you know how to take initiative.
Yes, one inappropriate post on social media can have a lasting effect on someone’s career because of the lack of context the post provides. Employers will not know the reasoning behind posts, and will likely assume they accurately reflect one’s persona since they willingly uploaded the post.
In other words, the way people present themselves on the Internet directly influences the way they are perceived by anyone that views their accounts. Even if employers try to remain impartial, inappropriate pictures can have lasting impressions that can affect one’s career, especially if these posts contain discriminatory attitudes.
Why This Answer Works: This answer works because it shows you have an awareness of how important it is to maintain a respectable social media presence, which is what medical schools will expect of all of their students.
The provided answers are simply examples to give you a better understanding of the traits you should incorporate into your answers. Your answers do not have to be this length, and will likely be shorter given the time restrictions.
Now that you’ve seen how to answer some CASPer practice questions, here are some more for you to try out on your own.
Your male coworker is about to have a baby and tells you his wife wants him to take paternity leave with her. He is excited about staying home with his baby, but also has a huge work project coming up that could lead to a promotion.
He knows paternity leave is not supported in his male-dominated field, so if he takes leave he will probably not receive the promotion. He must choose between his family and his career, and you are asked for your opinion on the matter.
You work at a retail store and a man is trying to return a toy without a receipt to your colleague. Your colleague asserts she cannot issue a refund without a receipt, but offers to give him store credit. The man claims he needs the money to fill a prescription for his sick daughter. Your colleague asks you what she should do.
If you have any more inquiries regarding the CASPer practice questions, read on to find your answers.
There will be personal and situational questions on the CASPer test to assess your judgement skills.
The hardest part of the CASPer is articulating your thoughts clearly within the time restraints. But, with practice, you can improve on this!
You should become familiar with the test format and time conditions, keep the CASPer checklist in mind, and be concise! Keep your answers simple and aim for quality over quantity.
You should treat this like any other interview and wear professional clothes.
There will be 14 scenarios in total spread across two sections.
It takes around 90-110 minutes to complete the CASPer.
With the provided breakdowns of how to answer CASPer questions, you should feel more prepared to write your test! If your CASPer answers impress the admissions’ committees, they may just be the final factor to push you from a “maybe” to a “yes!”