How to Prepare for the CASPer Test to Get Into Medical School

Learn what’s covered, when to take it, and how to study

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Table of Contents

Part 1: Background

  • What is the CASPer Test
  • Why was CASPer developed?
  • Which medical schools require the CASPer Test?

Part 2: Logistics

  • How do I enroll for the CASPer Test?
  • How much does it cost to take CASPer?
  • When is the CASPer Test offered? When should I take it?
  • How long does it take for CASPer to be scored and sent to medical schools?
  • How long will my CASPer results be valid?
  • Are testing accommodations offered for the CASPer Test?

Part 3: Format and Preparation

  • What format does the CASPer Test follow?
  • How is CASPer scored?
  • Is it necessary to study for the CASPer Test?

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Part 1: Background

What is the CASPer Test?

CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) is an admissions test developed by researchers at McMaster University (Canada) that aims to measure traits like professionalism, ethics, communication, and empathy. It may be used by medical schools instead of or in addition to the traditional medical school interview.

Why was CASPer developed?

The test developers claim that traditional methods for evaluating applicants’ personal characteristics (e.g., personal statement and other essays, recommendation letters, and standard interviews) have been shown to be ineffective, and that CASPer provides adcoms a reliable measure of professionalism, ethics, communication, and empathy.

Which medical schools require the CASPer Test?

You can find a current list of the increasing number of medical schools that require the CASPer Test here.

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Part 2: Logistics

How do I enroll for the CASPer Test?

You can enroll for the CASPer Test through https://takecasper.com/

How much does it cost to take CASPer?

As of July 2018, the non-refundable test fee for American students is $10 (click here to learn about test fees for non-US students), with an additional $10 fee for every med school you distribute your results to.

When is the CASPer Test offered? When should I take it?

The CASPer Test is offered at least once a month and can be taken on any computer with internet connection. (CASPer explicitly discourages using a tablet to take the test) You can view the specific test dates here.

CASPer recommends that you register for the exam at least three days before your test date to allow enough time for account verification and payment processing.

We recommend you register for the CASPer Test in May of your application year and take the exam while preparing your primaries (e.g., AMCAS)—or soon after—because a few schools have begun requiring a CASPer score to review your applications.

(Further reading: The Ideal Medical School Application Timeline)

How long does it take for CASPer to be scored and sent to medical schools?

It takes three weeks for your CASPer exam to be scored and distributed to the med schools on your list.

How long will my CASPer results be valid?

Your CASPer scores will be a valid for a single application cycle, and only for the program type (e.g., US professional health sciences) for which you took the test.

Are testing accommodations offered for the CASPer Test?

Yes. CASPer requires that you submit a formal request and supporting documentation (e.g., psychoeducational assessment report) at least two weeks in advance of your test date to be considered for accommodations. As of July 2018, you can submit your accommodation request via email to support@takecasper.com, fax to (416) 352-7615, or secure link to upload your documents. (you may request the link by contacting support@takecasper.com)

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Part 3: Format and Preparation

What format does the CASPer Test follow?

CASPer is an approximately 90-minute test that comprises 12 sections, each of which contains a video-based or word-based scenario (similar to what you will encounter during a multiple mini interview [MMI]), followed by three questions that you have 5 minutes to respond to. The questions may or may not be directly related to medicine. (most are not) You can view sample CASPer questions here.

Video-based scenarios include the following:

  • A description of your role
  • A 1- to 2-minute video
  • Three open-ended questions

Word-based scenarios include the following:

  • A short statement to consider
  • Three open-ended questions

How is CASPer scored?

A different person scores each of the 12 sections. Graders are told to focus on answer content and ignore spelling, grammar, and syntax errors.

As of July 2018 the test developers do not provide information on their site about how standard scores are produced.

Is it necessary to study for the CASPer Test?

The test developers claim that situational judgment tests like CASPer are relatively immune to test prep, that is, studying for CASPer is unlikely to boost your score. However, some research has demonstrated that applicants do benefit somewhat from advance preparation.

While this doesn’t mean that you need to study for CASPer, we recommend you do the following prior to taking the test:

  • Ensure you can type at least 40 words per minute without major grammatical errors. (click here for a free typing speed test)
  • Reflect on challenging experiences and personal weakness and failures, and practice concisely sharing lessons learned.
  • Practice answering a few sample questions.
  • Brush up on medical ethics as  necessary (the University of Washington School of Medicine provides an excellent resource here)

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