Many medical schools choose to pre-evaluate applicants by asking them to take an online situational judgement test and UVM College of Medicine is the latest school to require CASPer evaluation. The CASPer® (Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) test is a 90-minute online situational judgment test (SJT) created by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. The test was originally established as a screening tool to assess prospective medical school candidates’ non-cognitive skills prior to the interview. Applicants are not tested on any explicit subject knowledge and spelling/grammar mistakes are not factored into their results.
Some medical schools find the evaluation of non-cognitive skills (personal and professional qualities) is a crucial component of any medical school admissions process. What has traditionally been assessed through the submission of personal essays, autobiographical submissions, and interviews, can now be evaluated through this online test.
Structure & Format
The CASPer® test consists of 12 sections (8 videos, 4 non-video) lasting a total of 90 minutes. Each section contains either a short 1-2 minute video (video-based) or a short prompt (word-based), followed by three open-ended probing questions. The examinee is allowed a total of five minutes to answer all three questions for each section. Given the short 5 minute time constraint for each section, spelling mistakes and grammar are not explicitly factored into an applicant’s score. There is an optional 15-minute break halfway.
How to Prepare
As an applicant you won’t receive your actual CASPer® test score because unlike other standardized tests with established pass/fail cutoffs, CASPer® is not a pass/fail test but rather a standardized tool for ranking a large number of applicants based on their personal characteristics. The CASPer® test is administered without providing applicants with explicit learning objectives to prepare for the test in the hopes that examinees will take the test “blindly” without any prior preparation.
However, the current research shows that applicants benefit from advance preparation for the test. To prepare for the test, we recommend applicants complete the following tasks prior to taking their CASPer® test:
- Ensure they can type a minimum of 40 words per minute, free of major errors and distractions.
- Self-reflect on their own personal experiences around conflict, personal weaknesses, and personal failures, and be comfortable sharing lessons learned from these experiences concisely.
- Complete at least one full-length timed practice CASPer® test to ensure they are familiar with the time constraints and expectations of the test. Click here for sample CASPer® content.
CASPer has specific dates and times and it can helpful to check this off the to-do list when students are finished with their primary application and waiting for the secondary applications to come through.
Where do I go to take the test?
You complete the CASPer test on a computer and location of your choice at takecasper.com. Check the technical requirements page and the run through the sample test here to ensure the computer and internet connection is suitable for smooth test operation.