Strong academic performance is often thought of as the most important thing for medical school admission eligibility. But medical school applications are becoming more sophisticated and nuanced than ever before, taking into account personal and professional accomplishments as a way of identifying the qualities and attributes required for success in a medical profession.
Now, more and more medical schools are using situational judgment tests like the Casper test, as a way of sampling personal characteristics and identifying the best candidates for competitive medical programs.
Why? Because succeeding in medical school and as a physician requires a number of interpersonal skills that are not always easy to identify through academic performance and standardized cognitive tests.
Identifying non-cognitive skills such as resilience, self-awareness, professionalism, along with critical thinking and empathetic communication skills is simply not what standardized tests (like the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT) were designed for. The Casper test was created by Altus Assessments to help improve the admissions process for medical schools.
History and Adoption
Starting as a pilot project to improve the admissions process at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the Casper test was first implemented at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in 2010. Based on its initial success, the parent company Altus Assessments was formed shortly thereafter to develop and administer the test both domestically and internationally.
In 2015, the Casper test was first used in the United States at New York Medical College and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Since then, the test has seen widespread adoption at medical schools in Canada and the United States, with hundreds of thousands of assessments administered each year.
Casper Test – Administration & Evaluation
How it Works
The Casper test is an assessment for sampling personal and professional characteristics that seeks to emulate the experience and results of the multiple-mini interview style used by medical schools, but carried out remotely and at scale. The resulting situational judgment Casper test asks respondents what they would do in particular hypothetical scenarios and why they would follow that course of action. The answers provided help determine behavioral tendencies.
How is the Casper Test Administered?
As a computer-based assessment for sampling interpersonal characteristics, casper tests can be taken from anywhere in the world. All that is required is a computer with a webcam, audio capabilities (headphones are recommended), a reliable internet connection, and a space free from distractions.
Administered on multiple test dates each semester, the Casper test structure consists of 12 text and video-based scenarios. Applicants have five minutes to respond to each section, and their results are combined to arrive at the final Casper score.
How is the Casper Exam Evaluated?
The online assessment is graded by numerous different raters, each responsible for a particular section. As such, the final score is the result of a dozen unique rater impressions.
To make sure that technical or political factors do not have an influence over results, responses are anonymized, meaning that applicants are judged solely on the merits of their responses.
How are the Test Results Used?
The results of this psychological test are used by admissions committees in fields running the gamut from osteopathic medicine to veterinary medicine.
There is no standard model for how Casper test scores should be factored into the application process, so the approach varies from school to school. In many cases, this situational judgement test is used to identify the candidates with the greatest potential to become successful students.
Most medical schools use Casper test results in combination with traditional metrics, such as grade point average and MCAT scores, while others use them solely to facilitate difficult admissions decisions when multiple candidates have similar academic transcripts.
How are Test Scores Distributed?
Upon successful completion of a Casper test in each admission cycle, scores are automatically distributed to a group of academic programs that are selected by the applicant.
Casper scores are only valid for one admissions cycle in its particular test category. If you plan to apply for multiple test categories or in future admissions cycles, you will have to take separate Caper tests to maintain admission eligibility.
Can You Take the Same Test Multiple Times?
No, applicants can only take each Casper test type once during any given admissions cycle.
Casper Test Prep
Unlike knowledge instruction, a situational judgment test, such as the Casper test, is theoretically impossible to study for because it asks probing questions to reveal how you will behave, not what you currently know. But preparing for the test will help applicants alleviate some stress and be more comfortable when it comes time to take their test, which is ultimately beneficial to the final result.
Here are some ways that applicants can prepare for their selected test date in order to put their best foot forward.
- Seek out some Casper practice test questions online
- If you type slowly, work on increasing your speed to make sure you can get your point across during the time provided.
- Reflect on how your personal strengths and weaknesses impacted challenging experiences you have had and what lessons you drew from them.