In my opinion, the CASPer Test is something that could be easily overlooked or forgotten about when thinking about applying to medical school. Or worse yet, the first time you learn about the CASPer Test is when you submit your secondary application and your application is still marked “not complete” because you don’t have a CASPer score.
The latter scenario is especially unfortunate for two reasons. First, this unexpectedly delays your applications by at least 2 – 3 weeks. Second, it is mentally discouraging work hard to finish your secondary application, just to learn that it is still not considered complete.
I hope you have found this article early enough to avoid this! Read below to learn:
- What is the CASPer Test
- When you should take it to avoid delayed applications
- Where you can find example “expert” answers
- How you can practice for free
- & more!
*Quick tip!* If you are applying next cycle, pin the above picture to your Pinterest so you can refer back later (doing this also helps support my blog & reach more premed students!)
Rather watch a video? Head over to my Instagram page here and watch the “CASPer Test” highlight!
So What is the CASPer Test?
The CASPer test is a computer based Situational Judgement Test. There are 12 sections, 8 of them have a video scenario and 4 are text based prompts. For each section, you have 5 minutes to type your answer to the 3 questions that follow.
What Kind of Questions Are Asked?
The CASPer test presents a hypothetical situation then asks you what you would do, advice you would give, or if you have ever been in a similar situation and what you learned from it. If you are familiar with MMI questions, this test has similar question types and purpose. Med schools want to learn who you are “besides the numbers”.
Scroll to the bottom of this page here to which has 3 video scenarios, a text based scenario and 3 example questions for each.
When Should I Take It?
Sooner rather than later! For the schools that I have applied to, they will not consider you for an interview until they receive your CASPer score. There may be some exceptions out there, but that is my personal experience.
If you are applying this cycle (2022 Application Cycle):
Sign up now! Go to CASPer’s website here and create your account. I would suggest taking the next possible date if you can, as you will not get your scores back for 2 – 3 weeks.
If you are applying next cycle/in the future:
Plan to take it in May!
Someone planning to apply during the 2022 application cycle would want to take it in May 2021.
Your score is only valid for the current application cycle. So if you are applying next year, you can’t take it now or next month. Tests taken this year are only valid for this cycle. If you have to reapply next year, you will have to take it again.
May is the earliest month it is offered, so plan ahead now! In April, create your account, get it verified, and reserve your test date. Your scores will be back well before you even start receiving secondary applications.
This will keep you on track to having complete applications early in the cycle which = a higher chance of getting an interview!
Make Sure to Budget For it
It costs $12 per school you send your score to. This adds up if you are doing the right thing and casting a wide net by applying to a lot of medical schools.
If you have been granted fee assistance from AAMC this fee will be waived.
You can read all about how it is scored on CASPer’s website. Here, I just want to highlight the two *major* tips I learned after sifting through a bunch of there blog posts.
1 – Your score is not affected by minor spelling and grammar mistakes!
2 – You can use bullet points in your answer!
How Can I Prepare?
CASPer’s website says this type of test is “immune to test preparation” and they only suggest familiarizing yourself with the test format and tech requirements.
So definitely take the practice exams to get a feel for the timing, because 5 minutes makes it very crunched for time! You will find them after you register on the dashboard page of your profile. They have two full length sample tests that are completely free.
Read their article: How to Maximize Your Chances of Success on CASPer
Beyond that is up to your own discretion!
The company has done research that suggests coaching for a more complicated Situation Judgement Test like this does not improve performance. Find the article here.
My personal take:
I think the best most trustworthy advice comes straight from the horses mouth. At the same time, I would have been completely lost on how to answer these type of questions if I didn’t do some prep.
Anything that is free can’t hurt, but I would suggest not getting sucked in to thinking you need to purchase anything from a test prep company.
Resources I Used
This blog post gives examples of “expert” responses, but they are very long responses which is deceiving in my opinion! I used this to get an idea of how to answer the questions, but just keep in mind you will not have time to actually right that much.
This is a YouTube video that I also liked watching. Same as above though, great tips but long responses!
This YouTube video explains 3 most common types of questions. She gives more tips on how to answer each question type.
Resources I Would Have Used With More Time
I have a decent typing speed, but I couldn’t type all my thoughts fast enough to finish every section. Again, this is my personal opinion to practice your typing. Someone from the company stated in Dr. Gray’s podcast here that “They also have information that the faster you type doesn’t improve your CASPer score.”
I am not convinced. If you type really slow I would think this test would be a major struggle! But like I said, they are the experts not me. Do what you think is best!
If you really really wanted a bunch of examples of hypothetical scenarios BeMo (same company who made the YouTube videos) has a book on preparing for the CASPer. I don’t think it is necessary because people in the reviews state the same thing. Lots of good examples but super long responses.